Effective July 1, 2020
Faculty searches should be conducted to avoid conflicts of interest during the search process, whether real or perceived. In the context of faculty serving on a search committee to recruit new faculty, a conflict of interest can compromise a faculty member’s professional judgment in the identification of an appropriate candidate to recommend for advancement in a search and the recommendation of a final candidate for appointment, or give the appearance of an unfair process to others. Prior to agreeing to serve as a search committee chair or member, that individual agrees to inform the department chair and equity advisor if they know of any potential conflict of interest that should be addressed. Search committee members must also disclose to the search committee chair any potential conflict of interest with any candidate as soon as they are aware of it; the search chair would disclose to the department chair and equity advisor.
Recusal required if:
- The search committee member has had a familial or intimate relationship with the candidate, such as being a current or former significant other, sexual or romantic partner, spouse, child, parent, sibling, etc.;
- The search committee member has a shared financial interest or endeavor with a candidate, including shared ownership of property, patents, or business interests;
- The search committee member and the candidate have had an officially recognized mentor- mentee relationship, including having served as a former graduate or postdoc advisor to the other;
Disclosure to full committee required and possible recusal if:
- The search committee member has been a substantial collaborator on creative/scholarly work or grant applications in the past four years; and in the case of team science or similar multi-person collaborations, the search committee member should contact the chair to determine whether the collaboration is substantial enough to warrant recusal;
- The search committee member is aware of any prejudice, pro or contra, that would impair their judgment of the case. This could include being a close personal friend;
- The search committee member believes that their recusal is necessary to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest;
- The search committee member believes that their recusal is necessary to preserve the integrity of the review process.
A search committee member is not expected to recuse from deliberations simply because they have published research or publicly expressed views opposed to or supportive of those of the candidate. Generally, a faculty member would recuse only from discussions of the conflicted candidate. If a search committee chair, following discussion with the committee is uncertain whether recusal is required or advisable, they should disclose the potential grounds for recusal to the chair of the department and equity advisor. The chair of the department and equity advisor may then consult with Academic Personnel to discuss whether the search committee member should recuse themselves from discussion of a candidate, and convey that recommendation back to the committee member.
Any concerns related to conflicts of interest and faculty searches may be discussed with the equity advisor at any stage in the process.
Conflict of Interest Policy for Faculty Searches were drafted by the Office of Academic Personnel and the Council on Academic Personnel with Equity Advisor feedback, May 19, 2020. It was further endorsed by the Academic Senate Cabinet, June 16, 2020.