Here at Trinity College(Hartford), we develop a student search committee
from our best students drawn from the sophomore, junior and senior classes.
The students have lunch with the candidates, attend the research seminar,
and meet after all candidates have gone through to discuss them. The
student committee chair (or co-chairs) then give the faculty a summary of
the discussion and who they would find acceptable or not acceptable.
We have found the students to be very responsible, and their input has been
invaluable. Candidates will often reveal to students attitudes or
enthusiasms that they don't reveal to faculty. I can think of no time in
the last 5 searches that the students did not agree with the faculty's top
choices, and on several occasions the students provided additional
information that helped the faculty make a final decision.
We haven't had trouble getting students to agree to be on the committee.
It is seen as an honor, and usually the committee has enough students (8-10
or so) that if a couple can't attend a particular lunch it is covered by
the others. Any student contemplating grad school and an academic career
of their own is especially eager to participate in the process.