Why faculty fashion matters in institutional hiring, branding
- The Chronicle of Higher Education's archival spotlight series revived a conversation from 1998 about the impact of faculty attire on the interview and hiring process.
- In some cases, faculty want to send the message that they are less concerned with frivolous matters like attire, and more concerned with pressing issues like educating students and research.
- However, some interview committee members believe attire choice communicates personality fit, attention to detail and appreciation for institutional culture.
Faculty may enjoy some flexibility in classroom attire, but as institutions search for ways to make their professors and researchers stand out as experts and thought leaders, the ways small details of one's appearance might be perceived by others should be a consideration for faculty members.
St. Augustine's President Emerita Dr. Dianne Suber advises faculty members and administrators dress in a way that differentiates them from other candidates and helps the committee remember them beyond just the CV credentials. "Don't feel like you have to wear a black suit," she says. Accents that reflect institutional culture or the professor's own personal brand help one to stand out during the interview process.
However, paying attention to such details as attire could lead to a legal quagmire for institution administrators. Discriminating taste in style and delivery could also lead to potential claims against an institution for racial, sexual or gender discrimination.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education Frumpy or chic? Tweed or kente? Sometimes clothes make the professor