Office of Academic Affairs
These guidelines were developed to update the longstanding Office of Human Resources hiring document. The Faculty Search Committee and/or Academic Department may adjust these guidelines within the individual Colleges, in consultation with the Dean's Office, to fit the needs of the specific discipline and College. However, these guidelines are intended to ensure a high degree of uniformity in hiring practices.
1. Establishing Need for a Faculty Position/Line
- All new positions should be junior level (Lecturer, Instructor, Temporary Instructor, or Assistant Professor) unless otherwise authorized by the Dean's Office.
- Requests for faculty position/line are made in coordination with the Dean's Office, usually through the “Academic Program Assessment and Departmental Planning Report.”
- All faculty searches must begin with the “Authorization to Begin Recruitment” form to be signed by the Dean and Provost. No faculty search may be implemented without the proper signatures affixed to this form, authorizing the search and the salary line.
2. Writing the Job Description
The Department Chair has the primary responsibility of submitting the job description in consultation with the Dean. The Office of Human Resources will make sure that the non-discrimination statement is added to the description before it is sent in for publication. The Chair and the Dean shall confer on the appropriate publishing venues (including on-line venues), but the Dean has approval authority, given that funding is involved. Job descriptions that are relatively broad and flexible are preferred over those that are narrow and very specialized.
3. Establishing a Search Committee
- The Search Committee should comprise faculty members from the academic department to which the newly recruited faculty member would be assigned, one of whom shall serve as Committee Chair. The academic department, in consultation with the Dean, should establish the size of the search committee.
- The committee should also include one faculty member from outside the department and one student representative (the student is non-voting).
- The Search Committee should be as demographically diverse as possible. The committee should normally include an Inclusion Advocate (unless none are available). To the extent possible, the Committee should make a deliberate effort to include at least one faculty member from an underrepresented demographic group (African American, Hispanic, etc.) and should also be diverse with respect to gender.
- The Search Committee reports directly to the Dean.
4. Receiving and Evaluating Applications
SVSU receives all employment applications electronically. The Office of Human Resources governs this process and all applications for the faculty position must be submitted electronically to HR - Employment. The Chair of the Search Committee coordinates with the Coordinator of Employment in the Office of Human Resources to publish the employment ad, to receive applications, cover letters, vitas, and other documents sent by applicants, and to provide members of the Search Committee with on-line password access to these files. There is an on-line tutorial linked to the Office of Human Resources website to facilitate the use of this automated employment application system.
5. Evaluating Applications
The Office of Human Resources will receive all applications and log them in before sending them to the Dean or Search Committee. The Search Committee then establishes a shortlist of three or four applicants that they would like to recommend for an invitation to campus for an interview. The Search Committee generally should engage in phone interviews and/or conference phone calls as it works to designate its shortlist. Alternatively, preliminary interviews can occur at professional conferences. The Committee must also check references at this juncture. The shortlist is conveyed to the Dean's Office where the invitation to interview is made.
6. Interview Itinerary
The Search Committee Chair works with the Dean's secretary to schedule the on-campus interview. It should be noted that candidates, in consultation with the Dean's office, are required to book and pay for their own flights. They will be reimbursed at the time of the interview. The Dean's Office will book the hotel. The Chair of the Search Committee works with the Dean's Office to develop the interview itinerary, which should include a summary of the applicant's vita and a schedule of activities. These activities should include a classroom presentation or seminar, tour of the campus, and visits with at least the following:
- Faculty Search Committee
- Departmental Faculty Members who are not on the Search Committee
- Special Assistant to the President for Diversity
- Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (unless the Provost waives this stipulation)
- If appropriate, the director of applicable support programs such as the Writing Center, the Math Resource Center, Library, etc.
7. The Interview Process:
- When an applicant is scheduled to visit the campus for an interview, the Chair of the Search Committee designates specific tasks among the committee members, including faculty to transport the applicant to and from the airport (and to and from the hotel), serve as hosts at meals on and off-campus, and to serve as guides and escorts while the candidate is on-campus interviewing.
- The Dean should communicate to the Chair of the Search Committee expense allocations and/or cost limits for meals that will be provided to university personnel and the candidate in advance and in writing.
- The Search Committee Chairs must inform the candidate of the exact nature of the position; e.g., that a temporary appointment lasts solely for the academic year without guarantee of any contract renewal for future academic years or, if relevant, explain the contractual definition of Lecturer at SVSU. If the position is tenure track, the Search Committee Chair should explain the evaluation system and academic career ladder to the candidate pursuant to the Faculty Contract.
- Search Committees shall abide by all labor and employment laws and refrain from asking improper questions. A set of guidelines dealing with interview questions is linked to the ESC site and all Search Committee members should be instructed to consult the material in this link.
- If the candidate is ABD (all but dissertation) the Dean has the discretion to require documentation from the applicant's dissertation committee or from the Chair/Dean of that doctoral program indicating the candidate's expected date of completion.
- The Search Committee shall forward to the Dean a list of all acceptable candidates along with a hiring recommendation. If the committee only lists one acceptable candidate for hiring, then the Dean may require that additional candidates be brought in for in-person interviews before any offer of employment is made. The credentials and professional backgrounds of candidates invited to campus for interviews should align with the contents of the job description.
- If a candidate is brought to the campus for an interview, and the Search Committee subsequently finds the candidate to be unacceptable, the Chair of the Committee must specifically state the reasons for this recommendation in writing to the Dean.
- The Dean, in consultation with the Provost is vested with the authority to issue offers of employment, negotiate and establish salary compensation, and assign academic rank based on credentials and professional experience. The Dean's Office issues the employment contract after the candidate accepts the offer of employment and works with the academic department to establish teaching assignments for the new faculty member.
The Dean's Office, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, explains the university benefit package, including:
- medical, dental, and vision insurance
- retirement plan
- disability insurance, accidental death/dismemberment insurance, and accelerated death
- benefits package as appropriate
- tuition waivers for SVSU classes (for family members)
- a home computer loan program
- membership to Ryder Center for employee and family and affiliate membership in the Bay City Country Club
- Zahnow Library access for employee and family
8. Waivers for Background Checks
The Dean's Office, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, shall inform prospective new employees (before candidate signs employment contract) that they will be subjected to three verifications and must sign a waiver giving the university permission to engage in such background checks:
- Social Security Number: This is done to verify name, current and former addresses, current and past employers, consistency of past employment, and to make sure that the candidate is eligible for employment in the United States.
- Educational Credentials: To confirm the candidate has actually attended the college/university designated on the vita, the number of years attended, and the precise degree received.
- Criminal History (felony records): To prevent legal liability on the part of the university for negligent hiring.
9. Hiring Non-U.S. Citizens
- The Dean's Office, in consultation with the Provost, must first approve the short-listing of a candidate who is not a U.S. citizen and has the discretion to reject such requests. The candidate's visa status and employment eligibility must be determined by the Provost's Office in consultation with the Office of International Programs.
- The university shall adhere to federal law 72 Fed. Reg. 27904 (May 17, 2007) that requires the university "to pay the costs of preparing, filing, and obtaining certification" (for eligibility to work in the U.S.) if the university determines that it wants to hire a non-U.S. citizen.
- The prospective employee is responsible for making sure all appropriate documents are submitted to the university to permit the university to legally employee the individual. The candidate must be informed in writing that employment with SVSU remains contingent upon SVSU's ability to lawfully employ him or her pursuant to applicable immigration laws.
- SVSU must demonstrate that appropriate efforts were made to advertise the position in publications accessible to American citizens. Websites and list servers alone do not meet the criteria for a thorough recruitment plan when applying for immigrant visas. Although these sources are an excellent means of attracting qualified candidates, The Michigan Department of Career Development, Employment Service Agency requires at least one print advertisement to support the application for an immigrant visa. Legal counsel recommends advertising in a national, discipline-specific, publication other than the Chronicle.
It is recommended that the following language be included in all faculty appointment letters involving non-U.S. citizens to maintain consistency:
- If an H-1B nonimmigrant visa is required in order to be lawfully employed by SVSU, the University will provide the legal assistance necessary to obtain approval for H-1B classification from the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- The university shall adhere to federal law 72 Fed. Reg. 27904 (May 17, 2007) that requires the university "to pay the costs of preparing, filing, and obtaining certification" (for eligibility to work in the U.S.), if the university determines that it wants to hire a non-U.S. citizen. It is not SVSU's policy to pay expenses associated with obtaining the appropriate immigration status for spouses and/or dependents. The new employee is encouraged to discuss this matter with SVSU's legal counsel as soon as possible.
- If the new employee is accepting a tenure track position with SVSU and needs an immigrant visa in order to remain lawfully employed by the University, it is SVSU's policy to provide necessary supporting documents required by pertinent federal agencies. However, the employee is responsible for the payment of all associated fees and expenses not covered by federal law.
- If the employee is or will be in H-1B or another nonimmigrant status in relation to employment at SVSU, permanent residency proceedings should be started as soon as possible after beginning employment with SVSU, as a Labor Certification application must be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor within 18 months of the date that the employee accepts the SVSU appointment. Failure to meet this deadline will require SVSU to begin a new recruitment campaign for the position and could result in SVSU being required by federal law to terminate this employment. The employee is responsible for all of these expenses unless otherwise indicated by the university advance and in writing.
- Regardless of whether the employee has received a tenure track appointment, employment at SVSU shall remain subject to, and contingent upon, SVSU's ability to lawfully provide employment pursuant to applicable immigration laws.