Affirmative Action

Appendix C. Checklist of Search Committee Activities - Affirmative Action Handbook

Search committee activities will vary from department to department, from college to college, and depending on the type of position to be filled, even from search to search. The following checklist includes required aspects of searches as well as items which may be appropriate for some searches but not all. (Required elements of searches are set forth in the "Academic Hiring Manual"). Some activities listed below may be done by the unit administrator rather than the search committee in some units. Some of the activities may be done in a different order, and various units may have additional activities such as input from other unit committees at various stages in the process. In order for a list such as this to be of maximum benefit to search committees the unit must customize it to fit its own way of conducting searches.

Unit administrator meets with the search committee and delivers the charge. Search committee members must have a clear understanding of the charge including:

[ ] Unit administrator's vision for the position and the necessary qualifications;

[ ] Scope of authority: what tasks and decisions will be the responsibility of the committee;

[ ] General timelines for completion of search committee activities;

[ ] Documentation requirements (see Documenting the Search).

Unit administrator conducts an affirmative action review session with the committee. Members must have a clear understanding of the following:

[ ] The unit's affirmative action profile in terms of women, total minorities, Blacks, Asians, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives, including:

[ ] The University's commitment to affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity. 
[ ] The committee members should have a copy of the "Handbook for Faculty Searches with Special Reference to Affirmative Action".

[ ] The committee members should be provided with a copy of the two forms the unit must complete as part of the search process, the CHR Approved Academic Position Request form (located in the EBS portal) and the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities.

Search committee commences activities

[ ] Elect a search committee chairperson and delineate his/her responsibilities.

[ ] Elect a member of the search committee as the affirmative action advocate and delineate his/her responsibilities. The affirmative action advocate shall evaluate the search on an ongoing basis, in terms of the goals and principles of affirmative action and bring deficiencies to the attention of the search committee (or as necessary to the attention of the unit administrator) for corrective action, including but not limited to:

[ ] Each search committee member shares their vision of the position, and any conflicting opinions concerning the nature of the position and the required qualifications are resolved.

[ ] Write position description, making sure it is not so restrictive as to needlessly limit the pool of applicants.

[ ] Write position advertisement and determine the application due date.

[ ] Complete the CHR Approved Academic Position Request form including the position advertisement.

[ ] Establish a search plan including all the strategies which will be followed in locating and contacting potential applicants.

[ ] Complete the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities form, and the Search Committee Composition located within the CHR Approved Position Request form. If the search committee composition changes at any time after this, send an email to the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives (I3) via the unit administrator and the Dean.

Once the department chairperson/school director has approved the CHR Approved Academic Position Request and the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities form, they are electronically routed for approval to the Dean, the Provost and the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives (I3) for approval. The approval process may take as long as three weeks and sometimes longer. The application due date may need to be revised depending on how long position approval takes. The search committee can continue getting organized and drafting the various letters which will be needed, but the position may not be advertised nor any other searching or recruiting initiated until after the Provost has approved the position.

[ ] If I3 indicates there is a need for a more extensive search than was indicated on the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities form, revise the search strategies in accordance with I3 comments, and redo the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities form. The unit administrator will again submit the report for I3 approval. This process is repeated until I3 approves the form.

[ ] Set deadlines for close of nominations, close of application, screenings, interviews, and final selection.

[ ] Set a schedule of search committee meeting times and places.

[ ] Establish the procedures the committee will follow, including:

[ ] Write sample correspondence to be used in the various phases of the search.

[ ] Establish written job-related criteria for evaluation and selection of candidates, being certain to include the ability of a candidate to add intellectual diversity and cultural richness to a unit. Determine the number of screenings which will be performed and the specific criteria for each level of screening. Typically the first screening, for example, will be for minimal qualifications such as highest degree. Determine at which level references will be checked. 

[ ] Develop plans for the campus visit,

After position is approved: 

[ ] Advertise the position and conduct all the other search and recruiting activities indicated on the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities form.

[ ] When applications have been received, check the diversity of the pool against the availability data shown in the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities form. The gender and race/ethnicity of all applicants may not be known, but if affirmative efforts have been made the search committee will be able to identify some race/ethnicity in a good-faith manner from personal contacts, networking, source of applicants, membership in professional associations, etc. If underutilized groups are not represented in the applicant pool in proportion to availability, revisit the search plan and make additional efforts to create a diverse pool. If there seems to be no way to increase representation of underutilized groups in the pool, contact campus resources to see if they can help. (See "Affirmative Action Resources". Revise Part B. Search and Recruitment Activities of the Academic Hiring Availability Data & Recruitment Activities form whenever additional activities are undertaken.

[ ] Obtain unit administrator's approval of the pool of applicants via approval in COMPASS. If approval is not given, reassess the search strategies to find ways to correct deficiencies. (Unit administrator will obtain Dean's approval).

[ ] Send letter acknowledging receipt of materials to applicants, along with a description of the search process and timeline, and descriptive material about your unit.

[ ] Evaluate candidates holistically in terms of the academic and affirmative action needs of your unit, using the job-related criteria and procedures established previously by the search committee.

[ ] Follow the screening procedures established previously by the committee. After each screening, give the unit administrator a list of those to be dropped from further screening. Provide numerical summaries of the gender/ethnic id of 1) all those who will be off the list, and 2) those remaining on the list. Maintain documentation of reasons for dropping applicants from further screening.

[ ] Obtain unit administrator's approval of the list of applicants to be eliminated from further consideration after each screening.

[ ] Check applicants' references.

[ ] Select final (on-campus interview) candidates and maintain documentation supporting the selection.

[ ] Identify the final candidates in COMPASS.

[ ] Obtain unit administrator's approval of the finalists.

The list of final candidates will be denoted in COMPASS for Dean and I3 approval.  If there is disapproval at any point, take the necessary steps to correct the problem and revise accordingly. Once I3 has approved the initial applicant and final candidate list, approval is documented within the COMPASS system.  This process may take a week or two. The committee can refine its plans for the interviews during this time.

[ ] Select an individual to handle travel arrangements and itinerary for candidates who are to visit the campus.

[ ] Review the questions you may and may not ask at interviews.

[ ] Identify individuals you wish candidates to meet who are not on the search committee.

After the final candidate pool has been approved by I3:

[ ] Send letters to candidates who do not meet minimal criteria.

[ ] Finalize plans for the campus visits.

[ ] Send finalists additional printed information on the unit, college and University.

[ ] Conduct patterned interviews for all final candidates.

[ ] If possible, have candidates teach a class or present a seminar.

[ ] Candidates meet with interested groups.

[ ] Candidates are interviewed by the unit administrator.

[ ] Present unit administrator with the following:

Unit administrator sends letter of offer, reflecting the guidelines established by the Office of the Provost, and secures a letter from the selected candidate that he or she accepts the position. If the preferred candidate rejects the offer, the unit administrator offers the position to the next final candidate denoted in COMPASS, and so on. If none of the final candidates accept the job, the search committee goes back to the applicants who met the minimum criteria and determines whether a new list of final candidates can be selected. If so, the final candidate list must again be approved by the Dean and I3 and the process continues from there. If not, the unit may declare a failed search and start the process all over again.

After a candidate has accepted the position:

[ ] Consider whether Office of the Provost support for a portion of the salary should be requested for an outstanding woman or minority not offered the position. (Secure approval from the Office of the Provost before notifying the second candidate).

[ ] Notify the remaining applicants who were not on the final candidate list.

[ ] Notify the final candidates who were not selected.

[ ] Be prepared to offer assistance for a spouse desiring employment.

[ ] Send informational material on the Lansing area provided by local realty firms, Chamber of Commerce and community organizations.

[ ] Maintain records of the search process for three years after the date of appointment. These records include all the materials provided by the search committee with their final evaluations of final candidates. If more than one candidate is offered the position and the initial salary offers were different, the reason(s) for the difference must be documented within the COMPASS system and added to the records which are kept for three years.

Back to the Handbook for Faculty Searches with Special Reference to Affirmative Action

©