Academic Policies

AC22 Search Procedures for Academic Administrative Positions (Formerly HR22)

Policy Status: 


Policy Steward: 

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs




To state University policy concerning the search process for filling vacancies in academic administrative positions.


It is the policy of the University to insure the appropriate involvement of the faculty and professional staff in the search process for filling academic administrative vacancies at the department, college, campus, Interdisciplinary and Defense-Related Research Units, and central administrative levels of the University, and to encourage the application of affirmative action guidelines to all major phases of this process.

a. University units seeking to fill academic administrative positions should give consideration to their respective affirmative action goals as outlined on their most current Affirmative Action Audit Report. This is particularly important for those units that historically have had significant under representation of women and/or minorities in their staffing.
b. National advertising is required on all standing academic administrative positions. Exceptions to this policy may be approved by the Executive Vice President and Provost in consultation with the Affirmative Action Officer. In such instances, however, the unit must provide equal promotional opportunity to women and minorities, documented by advertising the vacancy in the Intercom and considering fairly all applicants internal to the University. Additional efforts should be made to encourage Penn State women and minorities to apply. Exceptions will not be granted for the following positions: academic dean, campus chancellor, academic vice presidents, and the Executive Vice President and Provost.


The next highest administrative office will be responsible for appointing advisory search committees.


The following general guidelines will apply:

1. Advisory search committees will participate in the various phases of the search.

2. The majority of faculty members on an advisory search committee will be members of the academic unit within which leadership is sought.

In the case of Interdisciplinary and Defense-Related Research Units, the academic unit embraces those colleges and departments in which faculty in Interdisciplinary and Defense-Related Research Units hold joint appointments. Exceptions to this guideline require that the appointing authority obtain written approval from the next higher level of administrative authority.

a. Advisory search committees, whenever possible, will include women and members of minority groups. When women and minorities are not represented on a search committee, written documentation explaining the lack of representation of each group shall be included in the search file available for review.
b. Advisory search committees, whenever possible, will include representation from all locations within the unit.

3. The method of nominating faculty members to advisory search committees will be determined by procedures agreed upon by the faculty and the academic unit's academic administrator who is immediately above the position for which the search committee is formed.

4. The list of faculty nominations for advisory search committees will not exceed twice the number of faculty members to be appointed by the appointing authority.

5. The appointing authority will designate as chair one of the faculty members of the committee who comes from the academic unit within which leadership is sought. Exceptions to this guideline require that the appointing authority obtain written approval from the next higher level of administrative authority.

6. Faculty members from other academic units, administrators and students will be included on advisory search committees as appropriate.

7. The general charge to advisory search committees will be to identify qualified candidates. The appointing authority will provide specific charges as appropriate within the framework of this general charge applicable to all advisory search committees.

a. Advisory search committees will report on efforts undertaken to locate women and minority applicants.
b. Application deadlines should be at least 30 days from the date the vacancy is first publicized.

8. Advisory search committees will participate in the determination of candidates to be interviewed and in the interviewing of those candidates.

9. Prior to the final selection, advisory search committees will present their evaluations and recommendations of candidates to the appointing authority. At the request of either the committee or the appointing authority, a meeting to discuss recommendations will be held.

10. When academic administrative positions are to be filled by internal processes, the following special guidelines apply:

a. Advertising: position announcements should be placed in the Penn State Newswire and should be posted in the unit having the vacancy. The application deadline should be at least 30 days from its appearance in the Penn State Newswire.
b. Promotions provide upward mobility for qualified current employees. As long as consideration is given to all qualified employees including women, minorities, handicapped persons, and veterans, if any, promotions will not conflict with equitable, affirmative employment practices.
c. When an appointing authority utilizes the internal search method, a preappointment report will be provided to the Affirmative Action Office with the following information:
  1. Copy of position description.
  2. Resume of selected employee.
  3. Resumes of other employees who were considered for promotion.
  4. Reason for selection of proposed employee.
  5. Affirmative action efforts made or considered.
d. At the discretion of the appointing authority, an advisory search committee may or may not be appointed for internal promotions. If an advisory search committee is not used, the form of faculty consultation to be used must be specified in the internal request for approval to use internal search processes. Faculty consultation will include matters noted in the guidelines numbered 2, 7, 8, and 9.
e. No employee may be transferred (or promoted) from a Non-Tenure Line Appointment to a Tenure-Line Appointment without going through an affirmative action search unless the person selected on the Non-Tenure Line Appointment was chosen after a national search.

The above general guidelines apply in all search processes for academic administrative positions such as, but not limited to,

department head,

division head,

program head,

academic institute director,

assistant dean,

associate dean,

academic dean,

campus chancellor,

campus director of academic affairs,

academic vice president,

executive vice president and provost.

In the case of central administrative academic officers, the committee will be appointed by the President of the University with faculty membership being representative of the total University as nominated by the appropriate Senate mechanism.

In accord with Section 101.03 of the Rules of the Board of Trustees for Governance of the University, in selection of a President, the Board shall consult with representatives of the faculty and the student body.