(Hiroko Yamamoto, Editorial)
In the midst of internationalization of research-type universities, "How to hire talented foreign faculty members" is a headache. At Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), with more than half of its students and faculty members being from overseas, the time spent for individual interview and negotiation after sending out notification of appointment is “higher than global level.” In FY 2018, extra consideration had been made on the recruitment period and advertising media, and as the result, the number of applications reached approximately 1,500 for 19 faculty positions.
OIST is a special private graduate university funded with a large amount of government subsidy for the world-class research education and promotion of Okinawa. The official language is English and there are approximately 1,100 people from more than 40 countries and areas. Half of them are post-doctoral researchers, and there is only five-year PhD course. There are over 60 faculty members from 18 countries / regions. OIST takes California Institute of Technology as its model, and the research budget is comparable to CALTEC.
The major part of hiring faculty is Associate Professor’s positions on Tenure Track, a fixed-term employment for young faculty with unlimited employment term. This position’s term period is seven years, which is more than usual, and thus young faculty can challenge some research theme with potential failures. The initial annual salary for this position ranges from eight million yen to 11 million yen, which is favorable in Japan though it may not be high enough in the US.
The recruitment process proceeds with document screening, interviews, and the external evaluation in which top-level researchers review the candidates’ papers toward April, the beginning of the semester in Japan. The biggest difference on OIST recruitment is the process after sending out the notification for job offer. Conditions including salary, research fund, research space and facilities, number of postdoctoral researchers, etc. are thoroughly discussed.
Toru Ito, the Assistant Manager who is in charge of Faculty Affairs, commented, “If we say, ‘That would not be possible,’ the applicants may choose another Institution. Since we have been spending a lot of time for recruiting them, we are trying to tenaciously continue our negotiation considering, ‘how can we change our side to meet their expectation.’” Yet, “the success rate” to secure the candidate faculty members is only 80% even in this final process. While recruitment simultaneous goes on in prominent institutions in the US and Europe, sometimes OIST gets behind for sending out the job offer.
Therefore, though the recruitment period lasts for half a year starting from the summer and autumn, there could be some differences depending on fields such as “Oceanology starts from the year end, while mathematics can start much later,” and so forth.
In FY 2018, following the advices of faculty members, the proper advertisement period for each field has been set, and the number of advertising media such as journals and magazines have been increased to 73, which is 1.5 times compared to the previous year. In the global faculty recruitment arena, competition has been growing by adding various know-hows on top of each institutes’ profiles and recruitment conditions.