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Search Committee Resources

Information, guidelines, and resources to support Utica College search committees.

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Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the Provost or the Office of Human Resources for assistance with the faculty search process.

Guidelines

Utica College’s hiring procedures are designed to advance the College’s goals of developing an excellent and diverse faculty and staff, as well as meeting Federal standards governing equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. Exceptions to these procedures are, therefore, strongly discouraged and must be discussed with the Provost’s Office and the Office of Human Resources in advance.

This web resource is intended to provide a guideline for departments and programs as they prepare and conduct a faculty search.

(For details: click "More" on any of the items below.)


Prior to Posting

The appropriate school dean must gain approval to run a search by completing a Preliminary Position Worksheet (PPW) and submitting it to the Office of Provost. This includes gaining re-approval for a failed search. Any inquiries on appropriate salary range for positions should be directed to the Office of Human Resources. A Personnel Action Form (PAF) should be completed for the exiting employee if it is a replacement position. These forms may be submitted together since they require the same approval/signatures by Leadership. Once the PPW is approved, the posting may be entered in PeopleAdmin by the appropriate school senior administrative assistant. The search chair is assigned when the posting is entered and will be notified via email. The executive approvers in PeopleAdmin review the posting details and may edit the posting as necessary. The Office of Human Resources may also contact the search chair with additional posting suggestions. All postings will include the College diversity statement as well as notification that Utica College is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Once the position has moved through the approvals in PeopleAdmin, the Office of Human Resources will post the position on the Utica College website, send an email to the College community, and advertise the position in appropriate venues.

Link: Position Request Procedure 
Link: Preliminary Position Worksheet (PPW)
Link: Personnel Action Form (PAF)


Search Committee Composition

The purpose of a Search Committee is to ensure that the search process is fair and equitable to all and leads to the recruitment and selection of the best qualified candidate. Committee members should be individuals who understand the requirements of the position and who are committed to the goals of the department, school and the College. The department/program chair will generally serve as chair of the search committee. The committee should include members of the department and at least one member of the faculty from outside of the department. The committee should have a fair representation of both genders. Every effort should be made to include members of underrepresented groups. We encourage student representation with participation on search committees, though this is not required. The chair and diversity advocate will work together to identify individuals to serve who can bring valuable perspectives to the search process. Advisory groups should not be part of the search committee and do not have access to candidate materials. Advisory groups should participate in the search process at the point of campus interview for the open session to the community and provide feedback individually to the search chair.

A “diversity advocate” will also be assigned to serve on each search committee based on availability. Diversity advocates are typically senior, tenured faculty members or seasoned staff members who have been trained to serve in this role for the College. The diversity advocate is expected to uphold the importance of diversifying the faculty by assisting the committee with implementing inclusive hiring practices.

Link: listing of “diversity advocates”


Search Committee Training

All search chairs and diversity advocates will receive formal training that is aimed at providing guidance and support. The training will include, but is not limited to, information on effective recruitment practices, bias awareness, search best practices, and the implementation of inclusive hiring practices in the search process. There will be a series of four training sessions provided by the Office of Human Resources in conjunction with the Office of the Provost and the Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, and these are mandatory for search chairs and diversity advocates. Search committee members and school deans are also encouraged to attend these sessions. Additional information may be found in the Search Committee Training/Workshop Outline.

Link: Search Committee Training/Workshop Outline


Search Expenses and Budget

The budget for a search may include advertising, search committee travel to interview candidates at disciplinary conference (where appropriate), candidate travel to campus, and candidate hotel, meal, and entertainment expenses. Please review the Search Expense Procedure prior to making any contact with candidates.

Link: Search Expense Procedure


Advertising the Position

An ad draft is typically provided to the Office of Human Resources. Human Resources will review and include all approved language. The search committee chair and the Office of Human Resources will work together to identify the additional venues where the ad should appear, with the goal of enhancing the depth and diversity of the applicant pool but also ensuring sources are effective to control costs. The Office of Human Resources will place the ad in the identified sources. Every effort will be made to recruit candidates from underrepresented groups. Search committee members are also encouraged to recruit and refer qualified applicants through professional networks. All tenure-track and non-tenure track positions will be posted both internally and externally. An internal posting is only appropriate for a one-year term position.

Link: advertising sources
Link : sample faculty ad


Applications

The search committee may view applications in PeopleAdmin, which can be accessed from the Utica College login webpage. All applicants will be asked to describe their work or experiences with diverse student populations in a two-page statement of teaching philosophy. Applicants who are not able to submit a sufficient statement of teaching philosophy will not be considered. All applicants will receive an automated email message to confirm receipt of their application materials. The Office of Human Resources will review all applications to remove any applicants who do not meet the minimum qualifications of the position.


Internal Applicants

Utica College encourages transfers and promotions from within if the qualifications are met by the internal candidate. A decision not to interview an internal candidate must result in a courtesy call or conversation with the internal candidate about the decision not to interview. This should be done in a timely manner and before any interviews are scheduled with other candidates.


Screening and Evaluating Applicants

The most important and challenging responsibility of the search committee is screening applicants. Curricula vitae are screened for matching qualifications. PeopleAdmin has many sorting features to assist with this step of the process. In all cases, the method and criteria used to evaluate candidates must be agreed upon objectively in advance by the committee:

1. Applicants should be evaluated against a common standard to determine whether they are qualified.
2. Applicants should be evaluated again to determine how competitive they are among other applicants.
3. The search chair should request that individual committee members complete the first evaluation of applicants based on their submitted materials and bring a “long short list” for search committee discussion.
4. The screening instruments provided by the Office of Human Resources should be used. Contact HR for more information.


Search Best Practices

Before the search committee has any formal contact with candidates, the search chair will send the “long short list” to the school dean for review, who will then forward it to the Provost. The Provost and the school dean will consult with the Office of Human Resources to verify that the selected candidates are a fair representation of the pool’s total demographics. The search chair must also send the screening matrix that was used and any notes or comments for the applicant pool. The Provost may call a meeting with the diversity advocate and school dean to discuss revisiting the pool and considering additional candidate before moving forward with the search. If at any time during the search process the school dean or the Provost finds that the search committee is not implementing inclusive hiring practices, the search will be closed. If a search is closed, the position may be searched in the following academic year with a new committee.


Initial Interview

The initial interview is most commonly a web conference or telephone interview to help determine which of the candidates will be invited to campus for a regular full day on-campus interview. Candidates should be notified of the timeline for the search at the conclusion of the initial interview. The approved salary range for the position should be discussed with candidates prior to an invitation to campus. Full committee participation is recommended for all interviews, including the initial phone or Skype interview.


On-Campus Interview

When finalists have been identified, the search committee must share their application materials with the school dean who gains approval from the Provost before inviting candidates to campus. The search committee may invite up to three finalists to campus. It is not uncommon for candidates to withdraw their candidacy upon invitation to campus so search committees should have a second tier of candidates ranked in case they need to go to that list. Except under extraordinary circumstances, no less than two candidates should participate in the on-campus interview for any given position. If the search committee requests that only one candidate be interviewed on-campus, the search chair must submit their request and rationale to the Dean and Provost. It is customary for faculty candidates to participate in a full-day interview, or interviews of up to a day and a half. Once the campus dates have been established, the school senior administrative assistant will contact the candidates and assist them with their hotel arrangements. Candidates are expected to book their own transportation. Please remember to review the Search Expense Procedures prior to any contact with candidates.

Link: Search Expense Procedure

A “community liaison” will need to be assigned to meet with each of the candidates during his or her time on campus. Community liaisons are members of the faculty, staff, and student body who volunteer to meet with candidates and answer questions about the College and surrounding community. The community liaison may not be a member of the academic department of the candidate. Matters discussed with the community liaison are considered confidential and not part of the interview process. Candidates from underrepresented groups may have particular concerns about the climate of the institution and the community in which they would live and work. The role of the community liaison is an effort to make the recruitment process sensitive to these concerns. The College will make every effort to assign a community liaison to a candidate from a similar background to increase the positive impact of their time together, but this may not always be possible. The community liaison will contact applicants prior to the scheduled visit to inquire about any special interests or areas of the community they may want to tour.

The typical schedule for the on-campus interview is as follows:

  • Breakfast at the candidate’s hotel or area restaurant (e.g., IHOP)
  • Campus tour (which may be with a member of the search committee or a community liaison)
  • Meeting with the dean of the appropriate school
  • Meeting with the search committee
  • Lunch with two members of the search committee (preferably in campus dining hall)
  • Presentation to members of campus (please schedule at least 15 minutes of free time before presentation for candidate to prepare)
  • Class presentation to students
  • Meeting with the Provost or Associate Provost
  • Tour of the community/off campus (another opportunity for candidate to meet with a community liaison)
  • Open Reception
  • Dinner (either night of arrival or day of interview)

Candidates should be told at the end of the interview what the next steps will be, who will contact him or her, and when decisions will be made. The search chair should move candidates through the workflow in PeopleAdmin as they move along in the search processes.


References

Failure to check references can result in a poor hiring choice, which is costly in time, energy, and money. References should be obtained on the final candidate before making any recommendations to the dean or provost. While written letters are often required for academic positions they may not substitute for telephone contacts. At least one telephone reference must be obtained for all faculty positions and documented appropriately.

Link: Reference Check form for Faculty Recruitment
Link: Reference Checking Guidelines


Search Committee Recommendation

After the candidate visits have been completed, the search committee should prepare a recommendation and written rationale for its selection in terms of candidate qualifications and his or her relation to College priorities. The search committee chair should meet with the school dean to discuss the recommendation and rationale. The school dean will then discuss the recommendation with the Provost, who will authorize the offer.


Offer of Employment

When the top candidate has been identified, the dean will contact the candidate to make a job offer. The candidate will be given a period of time (usually one week) to consider the offer. At the end of this period, the dean will follow up with the candidate. If the offer is accepted, the school office can complete a PAF for signatures. All references collected should be submitted.

The Office of Human Resources should be notified upon verbal acceptance to initiate the criminal background screening. Start date for candidate may not precede successful, completed background screen. Upon approval of the PAF by leadership, the Office of Human Resources will prepare the formal offer letter and send to the new employee.

Link: Relocation Procedure & Visa Sponsorship Procedure

If the offer is declined, the Office of Human Resources should be notified and they will contact the candidate for further information.


Conclusion of the Search

Once the candidate has accepted the offer, the search needs to be closed in the PeopleAdmin portal. Remaining unsuccessful candidates need to be moved through the workflow so that they will receive the appropriate email communication. Unsuccessful candidates who were invited to campus for interview will not receive an email and need to be called by the search chair. Internal applicants should always receive personal communication from the chair.


Complete Record Keeping

Hiring processes are subject to federal and state regulations as well as Utica College policies. Search committees are charged with developing and maintaining information about the decisions made at the different steps in hiring. If a hiring decision or hiring process is challenged under one of these requirements, such as a discrimination allegation, this documentation is key for the College to successfully defend its hiring processes. Records can support that the process focused on job-related requirements, skills, and abilities, and that the process was managed in a professional manner.

All members of the search committee must be prepared to retain all search-related documents (search committee notes, evaluation matrices. email correspondence, copies of correspondence, email and letters sent to candidates etc.). At the conclusion of the search, the committee chair collects all the documentation and forwards it to the Office of Human Resources for retention. Human Resources retains online employment application materials, job postings and advertisements.


Onboarding

New faculty members will be invited to faculty orientation in August, prior to the start of the semester. The community liaison assigned to the candidate will reach out and offer further assistance as well as schedule time to meet with the candidate once he or she arrives on campus. A mentor will be assigned to new faculty members by the department chair upon his or her appointment and will make contact with the new faculty member prior to arrival to campus. For additional information see the Faculty Mentoring Program document at the following link:

Faculty Mentoring Guide


Guidelines

Utica College’s hiring procedures are designed to advance the College’s goals of developing an excellent and diverse faculty and staff, as well as to meet Federal standards governing equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. Exceptions to these procedures are, therefore, strongly discouraged and must be discussed with the divisional vice president and the Office of Human Resources in advance. This document is intended to provide a guideline for departments as they prepare and conduct a search. Timeliness of process is critical to the success of the process. Delay in interview schedule and selection causes lost of interest and frustration in qualified candidates as well as a negative perception of the College. The Office of Human Resources will contact the hiring manager to keep the process on target.


Prior to Posting

The hiring manager must gain approval to run a search by completing the Preliminary Position Worksheet (PPW) and submitting to the Office of Human Resources. You must also complete a Personnel Action Form (PAF) for the exiting employee if it is for a replacement position. These forms may be submitted together as they require the same approval/signatures by leadership. Once the Preliminary Position Worksheet is approved, the appropriate department user may enter the posting in PeopleAdmin where it will move through the approval process. When the posting is entered, the search chair is also assigned and notified via email. The executive approvers in PeopleAdmin review the posting details and may edit the posting as necessary. The Office of Human Resources may also contact the search chair with any additional posting suggestions. All postings will include the college diversity statement as well as notification that Utica College is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Once the position has moved through the approvals in PeopleAdmin, the Office of Human Resources will post the position on the Utica College website, send an email to the College community, and advertise the position (where appropriate).

Link to Position Request Procedure: http://www.utica.edu/hr/procedures.cfm

Link to the Preliminary Position Worksheet (PPW): http://www.utica.edu/hr/forms.cfm#Search_PeopleAdmin_Information

Link to the Personnel Action Form (PAF): http://www.utica.edu/hr/forms.cfm#Search_PeopleAdmin_Information


Composition of the Search Committee:

The purpose of a search committee is to ensure that the search process is fair and equitable to all and leads to the recruitment and selection of the qualified candidate who is best suited to the position. Committee members should be individuals who understand the requirements of the position and who are committed to the goals of the department and the College.

The supervisor of the position generally serves as the chair of the search committee. The search chair serves as the hiring manager. The committee should include employees from outside of the department as well as members of the department. The committee should have a fair representation of both genders. The size of the committee depends on the depth and reach of the position being searched. We encourage student representation with participation on search committees, though this is not required. The chair and diversity advocate will work together to identify individuals to serve who can bring valuable perspectives to the search process. Every effort should be made to balance the committee with members of underrepresented groups. Ideally, the search committee should be composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds in order to provide a variety of perspectives.

A “diversity advocate” will also be assigned to serve on each search committee. Diversity advocates are a group of staff volunteers that have been trained to serve on the committee for a specific purpose. The diversity advocate is expected to uphold the importance of diversifying the staff by assisting the committee with implementing inclusive hiring practices.


Search Committee Training

All hiring managers/search chairs must receive formal training, which is aimed at providing guidance and support throughout the search process. The training will include but is not limited to information on effective recruitment practices, bias awareness for searches, best practices and implementing inclusive hiring practices in the search process. Search committee members are also strongly encouraged to attend the training, which will be provided by the Office of Human Resources in conjunction with the Office of the Provost and Dean for Diversity & Inclusion. Additional information may be found in the Search Committee Training/Workshop Outline at the following link: https://www.utica.edu/hr/search/


Search Expenses and Budget

The budget for a search includes money for advertising, candidate travel to campus, and candidate hotel/lodging, meals, and entertainment while on campus. Search expenses are not standard for all searches and commonly reserved for executive searches, and some administrative positions. Contact the Office of Human Resources if you are unsure about whether a search expense qualifies for reimbursement. Please review the Search Expense Procedure prior to making any contact with candidates.

Link to the Search Expense Procedure: http://www.utica.edu/hr/procedures.cfm


Advertising the Position

An ad draft is typically prepared by the Office of Human Resources, which will review and include all approved language. The search committee chair and the Office of Human Resources will work together to identify the additional venues where the ad should appear, with the goal of enhancing the depth and diversity of the applicant pool. Every effort will be made to recruit candidates from underrepresented groups. Search committee members are encouraged to recruit and refer qualified applicants. The Office of Human Resources will place the ad in the identified sources.

Link to the advertising sources: https://www.utica.edu/hr/search/Recruiting_Sources_FINAL.pdf
Link to a sample ad for staff: https://www.utica.edu/hr/search/Sample_Ad_text_Staff.pdf


Applications

The search committee may view incoming applications in PeopleAdmin which can be accessed from the Utica College login webpage. All applicants will be asked to include information in their cover letter such as:

  • Candidates for this positon must include in their cover letter how you will advance our institutional values which include serving a diverse community.
  • All positions at Utica College support the College’s mission and values in part by being active members of an inclusive environment. Please describe in your cover letter how you would see yourself incorporating into this role.

Applicants who do not submit a sufficient cover letter will not be considered. All applicants will receive an automated email message to confirm receipt of their application materials. The Office of Human Resources will review all applications to screen out individuals who are not qualified, to help make the initial review by the committee easier. Human Resources will group remaining applicants as follows:

  • Internal – all current UC employees
  • Group 1 – warrant consideration: Candidates possess all of the relevant experience, qualifications for the position
  • Group 2 – may warrant consideration: candidates possess a majority of the relevant education, experience, qualifications for the position
  • Group 3 – do not warrant consideration: candidates have minimal or no relevant experience and education. This group will not be viewable to the search committee unless requested. Unqualified candidates may not be considered unless the search is failed and reposted with different qualifications.

Link to PeopleAdmin: https://uc.peopleadmin.com/hr/sessions/new


Internal applicants

Utica College encourages transfers and promotions from within for qualified internal candidates. The search committee may determine that an internal candidate is not going to be in the pool of applicants moving forward in the search process. A decision not to interview an internal candidate must result in a courtesy call to the internal candidate about the decision not to interview. This should be done in a timely manner and before any interviews are scheduled with other candidates.


Screening and evaluating applicants

The most important and challenging responsibility of the search committee is screening applicants. Search committees must adhere to the evaluation criteria stated in the position posting and evaluate candidates according to job-related criteria. PeopleAdmin has many sorting features to help assist with this step of the process. In all cases, the method and criteria used to evaluate candidates must be agreed upon objectively in advance by the committee:

  1. Evaluate applicants against a common standard to determine whether they are qualified
  2. Evaluate applicants again to determine how competitive they are among other applicants
  3. The search chair should request individual committee members to complete the first evaluation of applicants based on their submitted materials and bring a “long short list” for search committee discussion.
  4. The search committee will then narrow down the number of candidates to move forward in the search process – we suggest keeping the top 5-8 candidates and then another 3-5 possibilities as a backup.
  5. Please utilize the screening instruments provided by the Office of Human Resources available at the following link: https://www.utica.edu/hr/search/

Search Best Practices

Before the search committee has any formal contact with candidates, the search chair will send the “long short list” to the Office of Human Resources to verify that the selected candidates are a fair representation of the pool’s total demographics. The search chair must also send the screening matrix that was used and any notes or comments for the applicant pool. The Office of Human Resources will consult with the area Vice President if concerns arise that the pool is not a fair representation. The Vice President may call a meeting with the search committee to discuss revisiting the pool and considering additional candidate before moving forward with the search. If at any time during the search process the Office of Human Resources or area Vice President finds that the search committee is not implementing inclusive hiring practices, the search will be closed. If a search is closed, the position will have to be searched for at a later date, with a new committee.


Initial Interview

The initial interview is most commonly a short phone or web conference interview to help determine which of the candidates will be invited to campus for a regular on-campus interview. The Office of Human Resources is available and prepared to conduct the initial phone interview for a staff search. The questions will be pre-determined and reviewed with the search chair/hiring manager. The Office of Human Resources will share the interview notes and summary upon completion. The Office of Human Resources can help coordinate web conference interviews with the candidates upon request. Be sure to notify candidates of the timeline for the search at the conclusion of the initial interview. The approved salary range for the position should be discussed with any applicants prior to an invitation to campus.


On Campus Interview

When finalists have been identified, the search committee may invite up to three candidates to campus. Candidates should be given as much advance notice as possible and an idea of how long the interview will take as well as the names and titles of the college personnel they will be interviewing with. Staff interviews typically are half a day or less with the exception of executive level positions.

A “community liaison” will be assigned to meet with each of the candidates during their time on campus. Community liaisons are a group of faculty, staff, and students who volunteer to meet with candidates and answer questions about the college and surrounding community. Candidates from underrepresented groups may have particular concerns about the climate of the institution and the community in which they would live and work. The community liaison may not be a member of the department that is searching the position. Matters discussed with the liaison are considered confidential and not part of the interview process. The role of the liaison is an effort to make the recruitment process sensitive to these concerns. The College will make every effort to assign a liaison to a candidate from a similar background to increase the positive impact of their time together, but this may not always be possible. The liaison will contact the applicant prior to their scheduled visit to inquire about any special interests or areas of the community they may want to tour.

The typical schedule for a staff on-campus interview is as follows:

  • Campus tour (which may be with a member of the search committee or an ambassador)
  • Meeting with the search committee
  • Meeting with the department
  • Meeting with students (for appropriate positons)
  • Meeting with the area Vice President
  • Tour of the community/off campus (another opportunity for candidate to meet with a “community liaison”)

Candidates should be told at end of interview what the next steps will be, who will contact him or her, and when decisions will be made. The search chair should move candidates through the workflow in PeopleAdmin as they move along in the search processes.

Link to search expense procedures: http://www.utica.edu/hr/procedures.cfm For a listing of workflow states and their definitions link: https://www.utica.edu/hr/forms.cfm#Search_PeopleAdmin_Information


References

Failure to check references can result in a poor hiring choice, which is costly in time, energy, and money. References should be obtained on the final candidate before a verbal offer of employment is made. Written letters may not substitute for telephone contacts. The Office of Human Resources will check reference on the finalist upon request. All references should be documented appropriately and kept on file in the Office of Human Resources.

Link to Reference Checking Guidelines & Forms: https://www.utica.edu/hr/search/index.cfm?


Offer of employment

When the top candidate has been identified, the search chair should contact the Office of Human Resources to make the formal job offer. The candidate will be given a period of time (typically 24-48 hours) to consider the offer and follow up with any questions. At the end of this period, the Office of Human Resources will follow up with the candidate. If the offer is accepted, the search chair/hiring manager may complete a personnel action form for signature.

Upon verbal acceptance, the Office of Human Resources will initiate the criminal background screening. Start date for candidate may not precede a successful, completed background screen. Upon approval of the PAF by leadership, the Office of Human Resources will prepare the formal offer letter and send it to the new employee.

Link to Relocation Procedure & Visa Sponsorship Procedure: http://www.utica.edu/hr/procedures.cfm

If the offer is declined, please notify the Office of Human Resources and they will contact the candidate for further information.


Conclusion

Once the candidate has accepted the offer, the search needs to be closed in PeopleAdmin, the online application portal. All unsuccessful candidates need to be moved through the workflow so that they will receive the appropriate email communication. Unsuccessful candidates who were invited to campus for interview will not receive an email and need to be called by the search chair. Internal applicants should always receive personal communication from the chair. All search committee members should turn in any notes from the search to the Office of Human Resources.


Complete Record Keeping

Hiring processes are subject to Federal and state regulations as well as Utica College policies. Search committees are charged with developing and maintaining information about the decisions made at the different steps in hiring. If a hiring decision or hiring process is challenged under one of these requirements, such as a discrimination allegation, this documentation is key for the College to successfully defend its hiring processes. Records can support that the process focused on job-related requirements, skills, and abilities, and that the process was managed in a professional manner.

All members of the search committee must be prepared to retain all search-related documents (search committee notes, evaluation matrices. email correspondence, copies of correspondence, email and letters sent to candidates etc.). At the conclusion of the search, the committee chair collects all the documentation and forwards it to the Office of Human Resources for retention. Human Resources also retains online employment application materials, job postings and advertisements.


Onboarding

New staff members will be invited to the half-day full orientation, which is provided every other month. They will start their orientation process with the Office of Human Resources on or before their first day of work, and then be handed off to the supervisor. The liaison assigned to the candidates should reach out and offer further assistance as well as schedule time to meet with the candidates the once they arrive to campus. A “mentor” should be assigned to new staff members by the supervisor to assist new employees during their 90 day probationary period and beyond as a point of contact. Supervisors should utilize the “New Employee to do checklist” available online at the following link: http://www.utica.edu/hr/new/supervisor orientation checklist template FINAL.pdf


Please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Human Resources at 792-3276 for assistance with the staff search process.

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