Academic Policies

AC22 Search Procedures for Academic Administrative Positions (Formerly HR22)

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Kathy Bieschke, 814-863-7494,

Policy Steward: 

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs




To outline responsibilities for the process of hiring academic administrators.


It is the policy of the University to ensure 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 unit, and central administrative levels of the University, and to ensure the application of affirmative action guidelines to all major phases of this process.

  1. University units seeking to fill academic administrative positions should review their respective affirmative action plan data to determine areas of underutilization. This is particularly important for those units that have historically had significant underrepresentation of members of specific groups. Attention should also be paid to advancing employment opportunities for members of other underrepresented groups within their unit.
  2. National advertising is required for all no term academic administrative 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. 
    1. Exceptions will not be granted for the following positions: academic dean, campus chancellor, academic vice presidents, academic vice provosts, and the Executive Vice President and Provost.


The next highest administrative office will serve as the appointing authority and be responsible for appointing search committees and making the final decision about the hire.


The following general guidelines will apply to nationally and internally advertised searches:

  1. A search committee consisting of a minimum of five (5) members is required for all academic administrative positions; any exceptions to this minimum must be approved by the appointing authority.  

  2. Search committees will participate in the various phases of the search. 

  3. The majority of the faculty members on a search committee will be members of the academic unit or those who hold joint appointments within the academic unit.  

    1. All search committees should represent a broad range of diversity within their members, which includes members of underrepresented groups. 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 (see the accompanying guidelines for details). 

    2. Search committees, whenever possible, will include representation across the unit.  

  4. The academic unit leader will appoint search committee members and designate one member as the committee chair.  

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

  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 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. Search committee chairs will document and report on the search committee’s efforts undertaken to recruit applicants who are members of underrepresented groups.  

    5. 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.  

    6. 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 appointing authority approves candidates for on-site interviews from the list of candidates recommended by the search committee. If, however, the appointing authority is not satisfied with the candidate pool, the appointing authority may make the decision to close the search. 

    7. 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.   

    8. All search committee members will maintain confidentiality and the integrity of the process by discussing candidates and deliberating 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 opportunity 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. Promotions provide upward mobility for qualified current employees. As long as consideration is given to all qualified employees including members of underrepresented groups, promotions will not conflict with equitable, affirmative employment practices.  

    4. 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 promotion 

      4. Reason for selection of successful candidate 

      5. Affirmative Action recruitment efforts implemented or considered. 

    5. In the event of an internal search, a search committee is still required and will be charged with screening candidates and presenting their evaluations and recommendations of internal candidates to the appointing authority for further consideration. Exceptions to this process must be approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.  

All employee transfers must be approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Only employees who were hired via a national search process are eligible to be transferred or promoted into an academic administrative position. 

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

academic dean, associate dean, assistant dean

academic vice president, associate vice president, assistant vice president

academic institute director

campus chancellor

campus director of academic affairs

department head

division head

executive vice president and provost

vice provost, associate vice provost, assistant vice provost.

It is the responsibility of the appointing authority or their desinee to notify a successful candidate in writing of the offer of employment.

In the case of central administrative academic officers, the search 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.

As set forth in Section 5.09(a)(iv)(1) of the University's Bylaws, in the selection of a President, the Board shall consult with representatives of the faculty and the student body.

Date Published: 

October 3, 2022