Search Process

Academic Hiring Roles

Role of the Hiring Officer

The Hiring Officer is the individual to whom the search committee forwards its recommendation for hire and to whom the successful candidate typically reports once hired. The administrative functions of the role may be delegated to a representative. The Hiring Officer may or may not be a member of the search committee.

The Hiring Officer’s approval certifies the authorization to fill a position at the salary, level and scope specified. It additionally attests to the unit’s commitment to furthering the objectives of equal opportunity and affirmative action in hiring and promotion practices. The Hiring Officer is responsible for Affirmative Action even if he/she delegates the role.

Role of the Search Committee

The Office for Access and Equity in partnership with the Office of Diversity and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs offers a 90-minute workshop for search committees of faculty and faculty/administrator positions at UIC. This workshop addresses the search process, issues of implicit bias and stereotypes, as well as other issues that can affect the fairness of a search. This is not a mandatory workshop however, attendance is highly recommended. Attendees are permitted to serve on search committees for three years without retaking the training.

In addition to proper training, crucial to the success of any search is a serious commitment of time and effort by search committee members, its chair, and the unit served. Search Committees are designed to strengthen the pursuit of a highly qualified, diverse pool of candidates and serve in an advisory role to the hiring officer as the ultimate decision to hire rests therewith.

Additionally, the committee is responsible for:

  • Developing a recruitment plan
  • Participating in recruitment activities
  • Evaluating candidates
  • Recommending the finalist(s) to the hiring officer

An important goal of the search committee is to recognize and put aside their own biases and to make good faith efforts to identify qualified ethnic minorities, women, veterans, and disabled individuals, as well as majority candidates.

Search committees must remain cognizant of the unconscious bias that may occur while searching for candidates. Unconscious bias is the tendency to assign stereotypical characteristics of certain groups to our judgments about individual members of that group. To prevent unconscious bias during the evaluation stage, the committee should adhere to the following:

  • Develop evaluation criteria prior to evaluating applicants
  • Standardize the interview process
  • Use inclusion rather than exclusion in the decision making process

The ideal size for a search committee is five to nine individuals. Smaller search committees may be appropriate for searches with a limited number of available applicants, but may be no fewer than three individuals. Search committees with ten or more members are typically formed for executive level positions.

Role of the Academic Search Coordinator

The Academic Search Coordinator (ASC) serves as a liaison between the Office for Access and Equity (OAE), and academic departments or administrative units that seek to fill faculty and/or academic staff positions. The ASC acts as a resource person for academic personnel transactions in the recruitment, selection, and appointment of individuals to new or vacant positions. An important role of the Academic Search Coordinator’s responsibilities is to further the objectives of equal opportunity and affirmative action in hiring and promotion.

The ASC has a responsibility to:

  • Participate at all stages in searches and hiring for faculty and academic professional positions. The ASC should be informed of all necessary information required to monitor recruitments and appointments for fairness and consistency.
  • Maintain working knowledge of standard academic search and hiring practices and procedures, be familiar with all requisite forms and their associated time frames, signatures, and other requirements.
  • Be cognizant of the department’s/unit’s current diversity status in relation to campus Affirmative Action Plan goals for hiring and retaining qualified females and members of underrepresented minority groups.
  • Be familiar with advertising and other recruitment sources appropriate to his/her department or unit’s occupational categories and professional disciplines.

Deans and Unit Executive Officers appoint their respective ASC. Appointees must then be approved by the Office for Access and Equity and attend training.  ASC approval ensures adherence to both unit and campus guidelines for appointment procedures and basic equal opportunity standards.

Role of the Office for Access and Equity

The Office for Access and Equity (OAE) is responsible for the University’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) and the Faculty and Academic Professional search and appointment processes. OAE oversees and monitors the compliance aspects of academic appointments to promote diversity, and address areas of underrepresentation. OAE seeks to ensure that units direct their recruitment efforts toward addressing underutilization and increasing diversity on campus whenever feasible.

OAE’s approval affirms that the position notice and the unit/department’s recruitment plan have been reviewed to determine whether: 1) the job opening represents an opportunity to correct underrepresentation, 2) any additional recruitment sources should be recommended, 3) this search is in compliance with Executive Order 11246.