APP 2-10 General Recruitment Guidelines

Describes the process to be used for recruiting the best faculty by ensuring a large and diverse pool of qualified candidates.

The following requirements must be fulfilled before an academic appointment recommendation in the Professor series or equivalent ranks is submitted to Academic Personnel. For other series, use these requirements as a general guide, modifying them as appropriate for the series. Since the pool of candidates for almost all academic positions is a national pool, national advertising is appropriate in almost all cases.

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A. Budgeted Provision (FTE)

Before recruiting can be authorized for a member of the Professor series, Supervisor of Physical Education series, Lecturer with Security of Employment series, the availability of a budgeted FTE position must be verified by the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.

B. Description of Need

The academic unit must present a careful case concerning the type of appointment to be made, and this must be reviewed by the Academic Planning Council and approved by the Executive Vice Chancellor before recruiting can begin. The filling of a position cannot occur except in the context of academic planning. The description should discuss the need for an appointee in a particular discipline or sub-discipline, at a particular level. It should also discuss the relationship of this proposed appointment to the long-range goals of the unit and other related units, and should try to evaluate the impact of the appointment on various resources. Particular attention should be paid to the impact of the appointment on library resources. In addition, the estimated magnitude of initial set-up costs and of space and equipment needs should be considered carefully. The description of the need will be evaluated in light of the planning goals of the academic unit, the relationship between this unit and others, the need for such an appointee in terms of workload, anticipated growth in workload in the future, the tenure/non-tenure ratio of the unit, and the affirmative action goals of the unit. The description should also indicate that the faculty played a role in its development.

C. Advertising

The description of need forms the basis for the advertisement. All Professor series appointments must be advertised nationally in suitable academic or professional publications. Advertisements must be run for a reasonable amount of time (minimum of 30 days) to ensure wide dissemination. For example, if advertising is in journals which appear monthly, then the advertisement might appropriately be placed for two months; if it is in journals which appear quarterly, then one issue is sufficient. For weekly publications, the advertisement should be run for three weeks. Shorter periods of advertising are acceptable for non-ladder ranks positions (i.e., one-year temporary appointments). Any closing date for applications must allow a reasonable amount of time (normally one month) following the appearance of the advertisement for the majority of interested candidates to apply.

All advertisements for ladder rank and Sr/LPSOE/SOE positions must be submitted through AP Recruit to the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel for approval prior to publication. They must be consistent with the position as released and as described in the “description of need.”

Advertisements should contain the following: Department name, position level, teaching duties (if pertinent), preferred research area, necessary qualifications and experience, AP Recruit job number/link, and the EEO statement. A sample advertisement might read as follows:

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

Position for an Assistant Professor* in the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology. Duties involve undergraduate and graduate teaching in vertebrate embryology and developmental biology. Research area preferred: vertebrate developmental biology with a focus that complements the interests of the existing faculty.** Applicants must possess Ph.D. or M.D. Postdoctoral training is preferred. To apply, upload curriculum vitae, statement of contributions to diversity, and names of three references at: https://recruit.ap.uci.edu/apply/JPF0XXXX.  Applications received by February 1, 2017 will receive full consideration.  The University of California, Irvine is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

Copies of the published advertisement must also accompany all Search Reports.

*Academic title and rank should be stated wherever possible… If proceeding with an “open rank” search, Departments must provide appropriate rationale in the “Planned Search and Recruitment Efforts”.  The rationale must include outreach efforts to promote a diverse applicant pool.  They should also explain in the “Selection Plan” section how they will distinguish and evaluate candidates between different ranks (how will they review the candidates?).   Recent Ph.D.’s should never be compared to more senior academics in terms of the amount of work accomplished in cases where recruitment is open for Assistant or Associate Professors. Where a position is advertised at a given level, it should be filled at that level. If an appointment at a different level becomes unavoidable, the situation must be discussed at an early stage with the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and the Affirmative Action Officer to determine whether a new search should be initiated.

**The area of specialty should be stated. If any of a number of areas is acceptable this can be stated, but selection cannot subsequently be made on the basis of one of these areas being preferred to another.

D. Institutional Reference Check Program

Applies to Senate Ladder-Rank Professor and Professors of Teaching Series at Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor Rank

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community dedicated to the advancement, application, and transmission of knowledge and creative endeavors through academic excellence; where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in a safe and secure environment, free of violence, harassment, discrimination, exploitation, or intimidation. In support of this commitment, and as a means to address all forms of academic misconduct, UC Irvine completed a campus-wide pilot reference check program (2020-21, 2021-22). The reference check program has been formally adopted by the Office of Academic Personnel (AP) as of July 1, 2022 as a campus-wide requirement for recruitment of finalists in the Senate Ladder-Rank Professor and Professor of Teaching series, at all ranks (i.e. assistant, associate, full), prior to extending a formal offer of appointment. Applications submitted via AP Recruit must include a complete copy of the Authorization to Release Information Form, which allows the University to conduct an inquiry across previous institutions for instances of professional misconduct. This institutional reference check does not involve a process for criminal background checks, which are covered by other University policies.

The following are key program guidelines and requirements to be implemented by hiring units in the recruitment of Senate Ladder-Rank Professors and Professors of Teaching:

1. Job Ad Description

The unit shall include the following statement under a bolded section header titled “Institutional Reference Check” in the job ad description field in AP Recruit and when advertising the position in external sources:

Institutional Reference Check:

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community dedicated to the advancement, application, and transmission of knowledge and creative endeavors through academic excellence; where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in a safe and secure environment, free of violence, harassment, discrimination, exploitation, or intimidation. In support of this commitment, and as a means to address all forms of academic misconduct, UC Irvine will conduct an institutional reference check on recruitment finalists of Senate Ladder-Rank Professor and Professor of Teaching series, at all ranks (i.e. assistant, associate, full), prior to extending a formal offer of appointment. Applications submitted via AP Recruit must include a signed copy of the Authorization to Release Information Form for consideration.

Note: AP Recruit uses html formatting to bold text. Place double asterisks before and after the text to make content bold.

2. Required Documentation

The Authorization to Release Information Form is, by default, a required document when preparing a search plan in AP Recruit. Applicants will be asked to sign and upload the form as part of their application materials. Incomplete submission of the form, including missing signature and date will deem the application as incomplete and should not receive further consideration from the search committee.

Note: Recruit Analysts will need to change this document from “Required” to “Optional” if not recruiting in the Senate Ladder-Rank Professor or Professor of Teaching series.

3. Search Waivers

The Institutional Reference Check is also required for selected finalists of Senate Ladder-Rank and Professor of Teaching series, at all ranks (i.e. assistant, associate, full), processed via a qualifying search waiver. This includes but is not limited to faculty hired through the Inclusive Excellence Supplement Program, Career Partner Program, and the Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow Hiring Program. It is the responsibility of the hiring unit to provide a copy of the authorization form to the finalist and upload a copy of the completed form into the documentation tab of the search waiver in AP Recruit.

Note: Review – Search Waiver Guidelines

4. Identifying a Finalist

Once a finalist in a Senate Ladder-Rank Professor and Professor of Teaching search has been identified, it is the responsibility of the hiring unit to inform the Office of Academic Personnel (AP) when a tentative offer is made. In addition, the unit should inform AP if the candidate declines the offer before the reference check is completed so it can be halted.  It is the responsibility of the AP to conduct the institutional reference check for the selected finalist. The reference check process will be initiated once AP is informed of the acceptance of a tentative offer and the check will proceed in parallel with the recruitment to appointment process. AP will inform the unit when the reference check is complete. If there are no findings of misconduct, the delegated authority will receive approval to extend a formal appointment.  If there are findings of misconduct documented at a previous institution AP will inform the unit and work with them to determine the next steps in each individual case.

Note: Please contact acadpers@uci.edu to begin the institutional reference check process. Provide the AP Recruit JPF number (or Search Waiver number), candidate’s name, and anticipated start date. Any changes to the outcome of the recruitment search should also be communicated to AP.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How is the Institutional Reference Check conducted?
    Academic Personnel will provide the signed authorization form to the finalist’s previous institution(s) with a request for information about known misconduct related to teaching, research, service, and (if applicable) clinical care. Academic Personnel will limit its inquiry to substantiated findings of misconduct and associated discipline. In accordance with the signed authorization form, the University is entitled to this information, including any confidential material that has been sealed or agreed to be withheld pursuant to any prior agreement or court proceedings.
  2. Does the Institutional Reference Check only apply to finalists with no prior UC experience? 
    It applies to finalists with or without prior UC academic appointment experience, who held appointment in a faculty, academic instructor, or equivalent title at a college or university.
  3. Are Institutional Reference Checks considered confidential?
    The Office of Academic Personnel respects the confidential nature of an institution’s response. Therefore, only substantiated findings will be shared with the relevant dean and the recruitment finalist. All information will be maintained with the Office of Academic Personnel, subject to applicable personnel and retention policy. The University reserves the right to consult with central campus offices, including but not limited to Campus Counsel, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, and Human Resources during its review of substantiated cases.
  4. What will happen if an institutional reference check reveals a substantiated incident of misconduct?
    The finalist will be given an opportunity to review and comment on the information that has been revealed. The hiring authorities will then take the provided information, as well as the finalist’s response to the revelation of the substantiated incident of professional misconduct, into account and make a final judgement about the proposed appointment. To do so, the hiring authorities will consider the recommendations of a peer review committee composed of three tenured faculty members who are outside of the hiring unit’s school and have no conflict of interest with the candidate. This committee will be convened by the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and will also be subject to upholding strict confidentiality.
  5. How should units proceed if a search does not result in a finalist?
    As with all cases in which an effort to recruit a finalist is not successful, the dean, chair, and faculty search committee will decide whether to proceed with another applicant or discontinue the search. If another applicant is advanced as a finalist, the hiring department will need to request an institutional reference check for that individual.
E. Other Recruitment Activities

In addition to national advertising, the following measures should be undertaken to ensure consideration of a large and diverse pool of qualified candidates and to ensure that this pool includes candidates targeted under the campus affirmative action program; i.e., minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and protected veterans.

  1. Consult with the school’s Equity Advisor on planned outreach efforts and schedule training for the search committee on best practices for a non-biased search process.
  2. Faculty members in the department who are planning to attend national meetings should be asked to publicize any vacant positions, and to attempt to locate diverse qualified candidates for consideration.
  3. Letters should be sent to colleagues at other institutions and to professional organizations serving the interests of minorities, persons with disabilities, veterans, etc., soliciting their nominations of candidates. All correspondence about the position should contain the statement: “The University of California, Irvine is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.”
  4. Announcements about vacant positions should be publicized on campus in order that any non-ladder academic appointees will be aware of the openings. This can be accomplished by posting an announcement about the position and/or by circulating an announcement to any academic units where qualified candidates might reasonably exist.
F. Search Committee
It is recommended that an academic unit establish a search committee to receive and review applications. Women and minority faculty should be included on search committees. The chair of the academic unit is responsible for ensuring that the search committee is fully informed about, and adheres to, all affirmative action procedures. The search committee should serve the faculty as a whole by evaluating candidates and informing the faculty about certain candidates. Departmental faculty should have access to the search committee’s findings (minutes of all meetings should be kept) and should be able to bring any inadequacy of the search procedure to the committee’s attention. The committee should be responsible for dealing with any such perceived inadequacies in a responsible fashion.

Conflict of Interest Policy for Faculty Searches was 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.  This policy is effective July 1, 2020.

G. Pool of Candidates

At the end of the recruiting period and prior to the onset of the selection process, it is important to determine that the pool of candidates contains women and minorities in reasonable proportion to their availability, and that appropriate affirmative action search measures have been taken. Therefore, at this point, the department should run an Applicant Pool report and review with the search committee and Equity Advisor to ascertain whether the selection process can proceed or whether the search needs to be extended.

H. Selection Process

Once a satisfactory pool has been established, the selection process can begin. Only job-related criteria may be used as selection devices. Furthermore, selection should be based on the criteria spelled out in the position description and advertisement. The academic unit is responsible for maintaining the academic quality of the institution by hiring the best qualified candidate. However, it must be recognized that in most cases there is no such thing as only one best qualified person, but a narrow range of best qualified candidates. It is important to give full consideration to the principles of affirmative action in deciding among the “best qualified” candidates. The selection of the final candidate proposed for an appointment should be by the faculty as a whole, based upon the final group of candidates proposed by the search committee. This final group of candidates should contain a diverse group of qualified candidates whenever possible. To limit the impact of implicity bias, it is important to give more than cursory consideration to all applicants. This means carrying consideration beyond the initial contact level. The recommendation concerning the final candidate must in all instances be accompanied by a record of the opinions of the faculty as described in Section APP 1-14, Departmental Voting Procedures. Such a recommendation for appointment may be indicated to the individual concerned, but it must never be represented as an offer of a position.

Documentation requirements for accommodation of applicants who request a reasonable accommodation due to a disability are extensive and differ somewhat from usual search documentation procedures. To ensure that these requirements are met, Human Resources should be consulted whenever accommodation requests are received.

Letters notifying candidates that they were unsuccessful should be very carefully worded. Under no circumstances should any factors which are not related to academic performance be mentioned in such letters. The following tone is usually appropriate:

Dear______________ :

I would like to thank you for your application for the position of ____________ in the Department of ____________, and for your interest in the University of California, Irvine.

The Search Committee for this position has received and reviewed a very large number of applications from highly qualified individuals. Although a final decision has not yet been reached, the Search Committee has completed the difficult task of selecting a short list of candidates whose qualifications most closely match our needs at this time. I regret to inform you that you are not among this small group of final candidates.

I hope you will accept my best wishes for your success in finding a suitable position.

I. Search Activities Statement

Each appointment dossier must have a corresponding Shortlist and Search report in AP Recruit The information in AP Recruit should accurately describe the search and selection procedures, and it should clearly articulate reasons for the final choice. It is important to state the reasons why the other ranked finalists were not chosen. Approval of Search Report will be given if they demonstrate the following:

  1. Advertising was carried out in appropriate publications for appropriate lengths of time;
  2. The Affirmative Action Officer certified that the pool of candidates considered was reasonably representative of available persons;
  3. A serious effort was made to locate and consider a diverse pool of candidates; and
  4. The final selection is readily understandable from the description of the criteria in the position profile, the advertisement, and the ranking and reasons given for choosing the finalist and for not choosing the other seriously considered candidates.

If appropriate search procedures cannot be demonstrated, an appointment will not be made.

J. Record Retention

Complete records of the search, including applicant files and any search committee reports, must be maintained for a minimum period of three years after the close of recruitment. AP Recruit is the system of record for searches.

K. Transfer to the Professor Series from Another Academic Title at UCI

Transfer into the Professor series from another academic title may be made without following the prescribed affirmative action procedures if the original recruiting procedures made the possibility of such a transfer clear and explicit, and the original recruitment was carried out in conformance with affirmative action procedures. In all other cases, a potential candidate for such a transfer should be regarded as one of many possible candidates for that position, and normal recruiting procedures should be conducted.

L. Search Waivers

Occasionally, an opportunity to hire someone of outstanding ability will occur. It may not be possible to comply with all affirmative action procedures. If this is clearly the case, a waiver to affirmative action procedures may be requested. Such a request may be granted if a strong case can be made that this is a unique and very important opportunity for UCI (e.g., a member of the National Academy, a Nobel Laureate). Care should be exercised in requesting waivers in order that their value does not become eroded by too frequent requests.

M. Aggregate Recruiting

When simultaneous recruiting for several positions occurs, each position should be treated separately. If there are reasons why this cannot reasonably be accomplished, then a statement should be submitted which explains how the selection will be made without bias and without addition of further criteria.

N. Summary of Required Steps
  1. FTE must be available.
  2. The Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor must authorize recruiting for that FTE.
  3.  Advertisement must be approved by the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel.
  4. The Equity Advisor should be contacted when a pool of candidates has been developed and before selection occurs.
  5. An institutional reference check must be conducted following acceptance of a tentative offer, but prior to appointment.
  6. Every appointment dossier submitted must have an approved Shortlist and Search report in AP Recruit.
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