University of Virginia Process Simplification
Process Simplification Teams and Reports: Completed Teams

Faculty Hiring Team Final Report

Executive Summary

Background and Overview of Work
The Administrative Services Process Owners Group appointed a process simplification business case team in December, 1996 to review the faculty recruitment and hiring process. The objectives of the business case team were to
  • gather information about the process;
  • identify areas for improvement;
  • document the need for change; and
  • recommend the subsequent work action that should be taken.
The team defined the faculty recruitment and hiring process as beginning when a department identifies the need to hire a faculty member and ending with election to the faculty by the University’s Board of Visitors. Hiring officials and applicants were viewed as the primary and secondary customers of the hiring process, respectively. The team focused its research on the Academic Division and excluded Medical Center and Clinch Valley College faculty.

The team gathered information by interviewing individuals involved in employing faculty at Alderman Library and at the three schools that hired the most faculty during the 1996-97 academic year (the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences). Representatives from the Office of the Vice President and Provost, Office of Vice President and Provost for Health Sciences, Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, and Department of Human Resources were also contacted. Additionally, team members questioned recently hired faculty members in four departments about their experiences.

Results
  • The team found that the process for recruiting and hiring faculty accomplishes its purpose: hiring officials in departments are completing required forms, and departments are hiring new faculty. However, while the required procedures are followed, the steps are not always completed in the intended sequence.
  • Some of the process is completed in a paper format, while some of it is completed electronically.
  • The electronic process (HR on-line system) used to forward information to Human Resources is too linear, has limited editing capabilities, has limited on-line approval viewing capabilities, and does not include all the steps in the process.
  • Many individuals in departments consider the time period between selecting a candidate and receiving approval from their Dean’s Office and the Provost’s Office to make an offer too lengthy. As a result, unofficial offer letters are often sent to selected applicants to keep from losing the candidates to other institutions.
  • Individuals working in the schools and departments do not always know or understand the roles of the Provost’s, Equal Opportunity Programs and Human Resources Offices. They do not know who to ask for information about the hiring process or what criteria are used to approve forms.
  • Faculty recruitment and hiring policies and procedures that include all of the required steps in the process are not available in an easily accessible or central location. Furthermore, there is no formal University or School training about the hiring process. Employees who are responsible for completing paperwork learn what to do either through " trial and error" or through co-workers.
Recommendations
The team recommends that two groups study specific areas of faculty hiring and make recommendations for improvement.
  • The first group would study and make recommendations to improve the Human Resources on-line system as it applies to faculty hiring. An existing group, the On-line Personnel Action System User Advisory Group, should be asked to investigate this issue. Before this group begins its work, the Process Owners Group or other appropriate individuals should determine if sufficient resources will be available to make recommended changes to the on-line system.
  • The second group would study ways to improve communication and training about the faculty hiring process. The team recommends that a representative from the Provost’s Office be responsible for overseeing the activities of the second work group.
The outcome of these groups’ work should result in a process that is:
  • seamless and efficient;
  • practiced consistently throughout University;
  • clearly understood by all persons involved in the process; and
  • easy to learn and use.
Introduction

The Administrative Services Process Owners Group appointed a business case team in December, 1996 to review the faculty recruitment and hiring process and recommend whether a redesign team should be established to further study the process. The objectives of the business case team were to
  • gather information about the process;
  • identify areas for improvement;
  • document the need for change; and
  • recommend what subsequent work action should be taken.
Ron Wenger, Chief Operating Officer at the Virginia Neurological Institute, served as team leader. Other team members included: Angela Koogler, Director of Administration, Pathology; Donna Hearn, Grants Program Administrator, Psychology; and Christina Morell and Marilyn Lockhart, Process Simplification Coordinators, Office of the Vice President for Management and Budget.

The team defined the faculty recruitment and hiring process as beginning when a department identifies the need to hire a faculty member and ending with election to the faculty by the University’s Board of Visitors. This process applies to all types of University faculty appointments including tenured, tenure track, and general faculty positions. Hiring officials and applicants were viewed as the primary and secondary customers of the hiring process, respectively. The team focused its research on the Academic Division and excluded Medical Center and Clinch Valley College faculty.

The team began its work by reviewing the Office of Equal Opportunity Program’s Faculty Recruitment and Appointment Manual (see Appendix A) and data obtained from the Department of Human Resources listing the types and numbers of faculty positions at the University. The team identified the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Medicine, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as the three schools with the largest number of faculty (see Appendix B for a breakdown of current faculty by major budget unit). The team interviewed representative(s) from the dean’s office and from two departments in each of these schools. The team also interviewed recent faculty hires at all three schools. In addition, at the request of an official from Alderman Library, the team interviewed two persons from the library involved in the faculty hiring process.

The Office of the Vice President and Provost, the Office of the Vice President and Provost for Health Sciences, the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP), and Faculty Transactions and the Benefits Office in the Department of Human Resources were also identified as areas involved in the faculty hiring process. Accordingly, the team conducted individual interviews with the appropriate officials from these offices, including the Acting Director of EOP, the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, and the Chief Human Resources Officer.

This report presents key information collected by the team, identifies areas for improvement, and recommends an approach to further examine and improve aspects of the faculty recruitment and hiring process. During its review, the team maintained its focus on the processes involved in recruiting and hiring a member of the faculty. However, members of the team found that processes related to hiring faculty are linked to policy and that they could not examine the process without some review of the policy.

Stakeholders

The team identified the following as primary stakeholders in the faculty hiring process: Hiring Officials: the primary customers of the process. These include department chairs and deans.

Applicants: the secondary customers of the process. The focus of this study was the applicant selected for a faculty position.
Office of Vice President and Provost: approves all faculty hires at the University of Virginia except for those in the Health Sciences Center.
Office of the Dean, School of Medicine: approves all faculty hires in the School of Medicine.
Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP): approves all advertising, applicants selected for interviews, and applicants selected to receive a letter of offer of employment.
Department of Human Resources: (1) Faculty Transactions: manages appointment paperwork, enters new hire into the payroll system; (2) Benefits: initiate benefits coverage.
Board of Visitors: elects new faculty to the University subsequent to approval by the Office of the Vice President and Provost or the Office of the Dean, School of Medicine.

Information Gathering

The team gathered information about the faculty recruitment and hiring process by examining the EOP manual, interviewing representatives from the identified stakeholder groups, and reviewing materials developed by schools to manage the process internally. Two lists of questions were developed, one for recent faculty hires (Appendix C), and one for representatives from the departments and other stakeholders (Appendix D). Departmental hiring officials and other stakeholders were asked about the steps in the hiring process which lead to bottlenecks,
  • are particularly prone to error,
  • add demonstrable value to the process, and
  • are of high quality.
The team asked hiring officials to describe how personnel involved in hiring faculty learn about the process and to make recommendations to improve the process. The team asked new faculty members to evaluate their experiences with the faculty recruitment and hiring process.

The team interviewed representatives from the three schools that hired the most faculty members in the past year: the College Arts and Sciences; the School of Medicine; and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (see Appendix E). Interviewees included individuals from the Dean’s offices and from two departments in each school. At the departmental level, the team contacted the Chair and/or Administrative Director as well as the person involved in processing the paperwork. The team also interviewed new faculty hires in four departments. The majority of interviews were conducted one-on-one and in person. The remainder were completed electronically (i.e., team members forwarded the questions to the person via e-mail for completion) or by telephone. Approximately 32 people were interviewed.

In addition to school representatives, the team interviewed the Acting Director of EOP, the Assistant to the Provost, the Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, the Executive Assistant to the Vice President and Provost, an Administrative Assistant in the Office of the Vice President and Provost, an Assistant Director in the Office of the Vice President and Provost for Health Sciences, the Chief Human Resource Officer, the Director of the University Benefits Office, and the Director of Faculty Transactions, and two representatives from Alderman Library.

Overview of the Faculty Recruitment and Hiring Process 

The faculty hiring process begins when a department identifies the need to hire a faculty member and ends when the successful applicant is elected to the faculty by the University’s Board of Visitors. Before initiating a search for a new or existing faculty position, a department must receive approval from the appropriate dean or vice president’s office to initiate the recruitment process. In the School of Medicine (SOM), a department must obtain written approval from the Dean before initiating a search only if there is an FTE or dollar budget variance before starting the faculty search process. Once this approval is secured, the department is responsible for managing and coordinating the recruitment and hiring process including advertising the position, establishing a search committee, and ensuring that the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs approvals are obtained at the appropriate times. The following is a side by side comparison between the procedures required by the EOP and Provost’s Office and observations the team made regarding what often occurs in practice.

Recruitment
Required Procedures Actual Procedures (if different)
- Approval to initiate recruitment obtained from Dean's/Vice President's Office. In the SOM, written approval from the Dean is necessary only if there is an FTE or dollar budget variance Observation: In some schools approval to recruit a new hire is not always obtained in writing.
- Department establishes search or advisory committee to coordinate search process.
- Department forwards Appendix A, "Search Information Form" to EOP office for approval. [This is a paper process]
- Once EOP approval is obtained, department forwards advertising to selected sources and assumes all advertising costs. Observation: Appendix A forms are typically approved by EOP even if no recruitment plan is in place.
- EOP and oftentimes the department forward notice to HR for posting. Departments on occasion forward job notice to HR even though EOP always forwards the information resulting in a duplication of effort.


Search Process
Required Procedures Actual Procedures (if different)
- Interested applicants respond to ad.  
- Resumes, curriculum vitae and/or any other information requested is forwarded by the candidate to the department.
- Department forwards Appendix B, "Applicant Information Form" to the applicants for completion on a voluntary basis. [This is a paper process] Observation: No documentation is maintained to verify that Appendix B was distributed by the search committee.
- Search committee reviews materials submitted by candidates, ranks applicants, and selects persons for interviews.  
- Before conducting interviews, the department forwards Appendix C, "Selection of Candidates for Interview," to the EOP office for approval. [This is a paper process] Departments may initiate or complete the interview process before submitting Appendix C to EOP Office and receiving approval.
- The search committee interviews candidates and recommends top candidates to the hiring official. Observation: Although policy infers that a search committee will recommend candidates to the hiring official for interviews, the selection official is often a member of the search committee.
The Department conducts final interviews and selects a candidate.
The department obtains approval from the Dean to hire the candidate. Some departments send Appendix D "Summary of Data Form" to EOP at the same time as Appendix C "Selection of Candidates for Interview."
The Departments constructs terms and conditions of the offer letter.
Department forwards Appendix D "Summary Data Form" to EOP office for final approval. [This is a paper process] Observation: EOP has never "not approved" a hire.

Offer
Required Procedures Actual Procedures (if different)
Before making an official offer, the department forwards the Preliminary Faculty Approval Form along with the required supporting documents to the Office of the Provost or other appropriate office (e.g., Dean’s Office, SOM) for approval. Some departments make unofficial offers to candidates (either verbal or in writing) and seek acceptance before forwarding paperwork to the Provost’s office for approval.
Once approval is provided by the appropriate office, the department mails an offer letter to the candidate.
If the candidate selected for the position is a non-U.S. citizen, the department must complete either the J-1 form or the H1-B packet (VISA application) and forward this material to the Office of International Studies for processing. A copy of this material must also be forwarded to the appropriate dean’s office for approval.

Completion of Hire Approval Process
Required Procedures Actual Procedures (if different)
Department forwards offer letter and Faculty Personnel Data Sheet (P-12A Form) to candidate. [This is a paper process]
The candidate accepts offer in writing and forwards letter, along with completed P-12A form, to the department. Some departments ask for acceptance letter while others provide two copies of offer letter to the candidate with a line for the applicant’s signature to denote acceptance of offer.
The department initiates original appointment. [This can be a paper or electronic process]
Dean approves appointment. [This can be a paper or electronic process]
Once a signed acceptance letter and a completed P 12-A form is received from the new faculty member, the appropriate office approves appointment [This can be a paper or electronic process].
The Provost Office (Dean’s Office in the SOM) forwards the materials collected for the candidate (i.e., P-12A Form and signed offer letter) to Faculty Transactions at Human Resources for payroll and benefits processing.

Actions Performed by Faculty Transactions
Required Procedures
  • Receives appointment notice (electronic or paper) and corresponding paperwork.

  • Appointment forms (electronic or paper) are reviewed for accuracy.

  • If original appointment forms (electronic or paper) are not completed accurately, Faculty Transactions disapproves the paperwork and requests corrections from originating department.

  • If original appointment is correct, the information is forwarded automatically (for on-line appointments) to the payroll system, or entered (for paper appointments) into the payroll system.

    Faculty receive paycheck. Actions Performed by Benefits Office
    Required Procedures
    • Benefits Office obtains names of new faculty hires from either:
    • Faculty Transactions;
    • Departments that forward a "Faculty Benefits Orientation" sheet; or
    • >
    • Through direct contact with faculty members who call the office for information.
    • Benefits Office schedules group benefits presentations.
    • At benefits session, new faculty are provided benefit information and enrollment forms. The number of benefits sessions offered vary according to the number of new faculty hired during the academic year. Prior to the start of the academic year, benefit sessions are held about twice a week. After the start of the academic year, these are held about once a week.
    • Office collects completed enrollment forms and processes forms.
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Last Modified: 10-Nov-2010 07:58:01 EDT