A Selection Committee is a group of people charged with reviewing and selecting candidates for a specific position or honor. These committees should be diverse in order to gain a wide variety of perspectives regarding the qualifications and needs of a particular position.

A well-designed Selection Committee process is critical to ensuring that your organization hires the best and most qualified employees. Having a diversity of perspectives and eliminating biases can be challenging, however. To help you navigate this process and make the most of your Selection Committee, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Identify and communicate potential conflicts of interest. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is an essential first step to avoiding biases and promoting fairness throughout the selection process. Conflicts of interest may involve relationships between Selection Committee members, nominees, and/or their institutions. They also include academic, work, and/or personal connections between the Selection Committee member and a nominator or supporter of a candidate.

In some cases, it may be possible to resolve a conflict of interest by separating the Selection Committee member from the process and/or nomination. This is particularly true for nominations that are very close in terms of the selection criteria and where the nominee is the only candidate meeting those criteria.

Selecting a chair for your Selection Committee is an important decision. A good selection committee chair sets the tone for a productive deliberation, helps maintain confidentiality, and ensures that the selection procedures are followed.

The selection committee chair is responsible for writing a report on the committee’s deliberations and making recommendations to the officers who approve awards or fellowships. The chair is also responsible for ensuring that the selection committee follows Conflict of Interest rules.

The chair of a Selection Committee is usually a senior staff person from the unit, committee or other body that oversees the award. The chair is responsible for setting the agenda and reminding committee members of their obligations. They should also be familiar with the award’s policies and procedures and know what information is required by the officers approving the recommendation.

If the committee does not have a staff member with sufficient expertise to serve in this capacity, a chair or vice chair may be appointed by the oversighting unit, committee or other body. The chair may be a nonvoting member of the committee.

When the Selection Committee is conducting interviews, it is recommended that each committee member use a random ordering when rating and discussing nominees to avoid presentation bias. This technique will ensure that all applicants are evaluated equally and that no one gets shortchanged because they were rated or discussed earlier in the process.

Selection Committees are a vital part of the SIAM Awards and Fellowships process, and we thank our dedicated volunteers for their time and effort in this important endeavor. We encourage you to consider submitting your name to the Selection Committee for the next cycle of awards.