Academic Policies

AC13 Procedure for Hiring Full-time Faculty (Formerly HR13)

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Kathy Bieschke, 814-863-7494,

Policy Steward: 

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs



  • Purpose
  • General
  • Responsibility
  • Guidelines
  • Notification of Candidates

    To outline responsibilities for the process of hiring new full-time tenure-line and non-tenure-line faculty members as defined in AC21 (Definition of Academic Ranks).


    The Academic Dean or Campus Chancellor is responsible for the staffing of faculty positions within the approved budget of that college or campus. This individual serves as the appointing authority for the college or campus. It is the policy of this university to ensure the application of Penn State's affirmative action plan to all major phases of this process.

    1. The appointing authority for the academic unit seeking to fill faculty positions is responsible for reviewing their respective affirmative action plan data to determine areas of underutilization. This process is particularly important for those units that have historically had significant underrepresentation of members from specific groups. Attention should also be paid to advancing employment opportunities within the unit for members of other underrepresented groups.
    2. National advertising is required for tenure-line or tenured faculty positions, but is optional for non-tenure-line positions. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Executive Vice President and Provost in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Affirmative Action. Within the framework of the academic unit, the hiring of candidates for these positions primarily is the responsibility of the department head, school director, division head, director of academic affairs, or dean, as appropriate.


    While the practices in selection of candidates differ in the academic units, a position will be offered to a candidate only upon the prior approval by the dean/chancellor as to the candidate and the terms of employment.



    The following general guidelines apply to searches for full-time faculty positions. The appointing authority and the search committee chair are responsible for reinforcing adherence to these guidelines.

    1. A search committee consisting of a minimum of five (5) members is required for all full-time faculty positions; any exceptions to this minimum must be approved by the appointing authority.
    2. Search committee members will participate in the various phases of the search.
    3. No fewer than half of the members on a search committee will be faculty members of the academic unit in which the new faculty member will be appointed, or those who hold joint appointments with the academic unit.
      1. All search committees should represent a broad range of diversity within its members, which includes members of underrepresented groups.
      2. If such representation is unable to be obtained within the unit, committee members should be solicited from related units. When such diversity is not represented on a search committee, documentation explaining the lack of representation shall be included in the search record available for review (guidelines pertaining to this are forthcoming). 
    4. One of the search committee members will be designated as the committee chair. For tenure-line searches, under ordinary circumstances, a tenured faculty member from the academic unit or a closely related discipline should serve as chair.
    5. Faculty members from other academic units, administrators, and students will be included on search committees as appropriate, but are not required in search committee membership.
    6. The general charge to search committees will be to identify qualified candidates. The appointing authority will provide specific guidelines as appropriate within the framework of this general charge applicable to all search committees.
      1. The charge will include a review of Penn State's Affirmative Action guidelines that must be adhered to.
      2. Application deadlines should be at least 30 days from the date the vacancy is first publicized.
      3. The efforts to recruit a diverse pool of candidates must reflect the efforts of the full committee. Units should not place the responsibility to diversify the pool specifically on members of the search committee who are from underrepresented groups.
      4. The search committee chair will document and report on the search committee's efforts undertaken to recruit applicants who are members of underrepresented groups. The search committee will also document and report on the committee's assessment of the strengths of and concerns about each candidate recommended for an on-site interview. If either the pool or the list of candidates recommended for an on-site interview is not viewed as either sufficiently diverse or qualified by the appointing authority, the appointing authority may request that the committee recruit and/or review additional candidates, or close the search.  
      5. The search committee will submit names of candidates it would like to invite for on-site interviews to the appointing authority before such invitations are issued. The appointing authority may request that the search committee provide a ranking of the candidates it has recommended for an on-site interview. The search committee may request to rank the candidates it recommends for an on-site interview. The appointing authority approves candidates for on-site interviews from the list of candidates recommended by the search committee. If requested by either the committee or the appointing authority, a meeting to discuss recommendations will be held.
      6. After the on-site interview process, the appointing authority will select a finalist for the position from the candidates interviewed for the position. If a finalist is not or cannot be selected, the appointing authority may decide to close the search or ask the search committee members to return to the candidate pool in search of qualified candidates recommended for an on-site interview.
      7. All search committee members will maintain confidentiality and the integrity of the process by discussing candidates and deliberations with only other search committee members and appropriate administrators/faculty/staff. Such confidentiality will be maintained throughout the search and into the future.
    7. All internal searches must be approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost in consultation with the Affirmative Action Office. The following general guidelines will apply to internal searches if they have been approved:
      1. The unit must provide equal promotional opportunities to members of underrepresented groups, documented by advertising the vacancy with an application deadline at least 30 days from the date the vacancy is first publicized and by fairly considering all qualified applicants internal to the University.
      2. Additional proactive efforts are expected to be implemented and documented to encourage internal potential candidates who are members of underrepresented groups to apply. 
      3. When an appointing authority utilizes the internal search method, prior to an offer being made, an Internal Recruitment report will be provided to the Affirmative Action Office with the following information:
        1. Copy of position description
        2. Curriculum Vitae of selected employee
        3. Curriculum Vitae of other employees who were considered for the position
        4. Reason for selection of successful candidate
        5. Affirmative Action recruitment efforts implemented or considered
      4. Faculty transfers from non-tenure-line to tenure-line or vice versa are rare and must be approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. No faculty member may be transferred (or promoted) from one type of faculty role to another (i.e., non-tenure-line to tenure-line or tenure-line to non-tenure-line) unless the faculty member under consideration was originally hired via a nationally advertised search.



    It is the responsibility of the dean/chancellor or their designee to notify a successful candidate in writing of the offer of employment.



    August 10, 2020: Substantial changes were made to align this policy with Penn State's current practices and strategic goals, and to add specificity to the process.

    Date Approved: 

    September 6, 2020

    Date Published: 

    September 6, 2020