Search and Hire Planning

There are several issues to consider prior to launching a search for a new candidate. General policy requirements on appointment of faculty are described in the Faculty Code, Chapter 24. Please check with your College/School/Campus for any additional requirements or procedures related to the search and hire process.

Search and Hire Overview

While this document describes procedures general to the University; Campuses, Schools and Colleges have procedures specific to them. The search committee should check with it’s Dean’s/Chancellor’s office to assure that it has the latest procedures.

  1. The Dean/Chancellor and Provost meet to determine how many vacancies, and at what level, will be available for the following academic year. This discussion results in a formal letter of approval from the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel to the Dean/Chancellor, Deans/Chancellors, in consultation with faculty, determine which positions will be filled. Schools/College/Campus may vary as to whether there is a formal document to complete to initiate the recruitment.
  2. The unit clarifies its hiring aims (e.g., specialty, approach), and a search committee is appointed by the Chair/Director or Dean/Chancellor. Agreement by faculty on hiring aims at the beginning of the search improves the likelihood of a successful search. The search committee drafts a proposed advertisement. The search committee reviews policies, drafts an ad, completes the Advertising Template and routes to the Dean/Chancellor’s office for approval, who then emails the ad to Academic Human Resources at for review, approval, and posting on the University web site.
  3. The unit must place the ad in either a national print journal or online through the Chronicle of Higher Education for 30 days
  4. Search committee receives applications, sends a letter of acknowledgment and includes the Affirmative Action Information Request (AAIR) link, a return envelope and, when applicable, also include the self-disclosure questionnaire to initiate the criminal background check process. The criminal background check is required if the position will or may have unsupervised access to children under 16, developmentally disabled adults, or vulnerable adults, or is security/safety sensitive.
  5. Search committee chooses group from which to request letters of recommendation, if not part of the application requirements. Some units choose to request information from others as well.
  6. Interviewees are chosen. Refer interviewees to UW Benefits.
  7. Check specific School/College/Campus rules for levels of approval for travel funds and Dean’s/Chancellor’s review before proceeding with interviews. Review any School/College/Campus specific recommended procedures. If your school/college/campus does not have written procedures, see Suggestions for Interviews. Read the Guide to Fair Pre-employment Inquiries before interviews begin.
  8. Interviews are conducted.
  9. Faculty votes on the appointment, and the Chair/Program Director conveys recommendation to the Dean/Chancellor in writing, including a description of search and selection procedures, the faculty vote, and the files of the proposed candidate and of the second choice. The recommended appointment must be at the advertised level in order to proceed.
  10. For tenured appointments, the Chair/Director requests review and approval of college council or promotion and tenure committee before appointment proceeds. If such a review is not possible because of timing (e.g., offer being made during the summer), appointment must initially be made at the acting level, and this condition must appear in the offer letter. Schools/Colleges/Campus may require a similar review for "without Tenure" and "Research" appointments above the Assistant Professor level. The vote or recommendation of the college council or promotion and tenure committee is included in the letter from the Dean/Chancellor to the President.
  11. The Dean/Chancellor reviews and approves the offer.
  12. At the time the Chair/Director talks to the candidate about a tentative offer, the Chair/Program Director ascertains his or her citizenship/permanent residence status. If the candidate is not a U.S. citizen or does not have permanent residence, the Chair/Director should review the H-1B Nonimmigrant Status and U.S. Permanent Residency, and contact International Scholars Operations to begin the permanent residency process. The Chair/Director may ask all candidates whether there is a need for partner accommodation.
  13. The unit drafts an offer letter which must include the conditional language regarding the criminal background check as well as school/college/campus, and Provost or Board of Regents approval. Units must adhere to School/College/Campus requirements for review of this letter before sending to candidate. Units should follow School/College/Campus requirements for review of subsequent changes from the original offer.
  14. Unit notifies the Dean/Chancellor immediately upon receipt of acceptance of offer.
  15. Unit sends copy of letter of acceptance and a summary of the terms of offer or other special School/College/Campus forms to the Dean/Chancellor.
  16. Unit sends new faculty member the forms needed to complete the new appointment packet and the moving expense packet. If the candidate is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the unit instructs the candidate to secure a social security number before beginning employment.
  17. Unit sends letters to unsuccessful candidates.
  18. Unit administrator populates online Applicant Flow Report.
  19. Unit prepares appointment packet and sends to the Dean’s/Chancellor’s office. Unit includes college council or promotion and tenure committee information if needed.
  20. Dean’s/Chancellor’s office reviews for completeness. Dean/Chancellor prepares letter of recommendation of the appointment and sends appointment packet to AHR. Dean’s/Chancellor’s original signature must be included: this may be in the form of a short concurrence or a formal letter. No moving expenses or visa requests can be processed until this step is completed.
  21. AHR checks for completeness of materials.
  22. New faculty member may be given an email account set up by his/her payroll coordinator or new hire coordinator.
  23. AHR prepares the appointment materials for the Board of Regents or Provost, as appropriate.
  24. After approval by Regents, AHR, on behalf of the Provost’s Office, notifies the Dean/Chancellor and candidate. AHR provides an appointment confirmation to candidate.
  25. The unit retains files of all applicants and all associated hiring materials for a minimum of three years. These records may be stored by Records Management.

Affirmative Action Compliance

As a condition of being a federal contractor, the University of Washington maintains an affirmative action program. This page outlines the affirmative action obligations of the University. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in the loss of federal funds. Review these policies before proceeding. All applicants must be asked to complete the Affirmative Action Information Request (AAIR) form. The link to this online form is unique to each search and must be obtained from Academic Human Resources.

Affirmative Action Goals

The Dean/Chancellors and Chair/Directors are provided an Affirmative Action Update annually, which includes reports on faculty workforce, utilization, and goals for minorities and women. Goals are established for each School/College/Campus and University-wide and are updated annually. Where there are goals, special efforts should be made to recruit and hire those who are representatives of underutilized groups, (e.g. minorities, women)The University also sets goals for persons age 40 and over, persons with disabilities, and protected veterans; the goals are set University-wide; special efforts should be made to recruit and hire from these groups in goal areas.

On an annual basis, a representative from the Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action office will meet with Dean’s/Chancellor’s to discuss the status of each unit in meeting affirmative action goals. This information should be shared with search committees as well.

Search Committees

The unit Chair/Director should ordinarily appoint a search committee if a regular departmental personnel committee does not already exist. In schools without departmental structures or if the search is for a unit Chair /Director, the Dean/Chancellor appoints the search committee.

The search committee should include academic personnel that are committed to diversity and excellence. Ensure that women and minorities have equal opportunity to serve on search committees.

Role of Search Committee

It requires proactive placement of advertisements, contacts with other institutions, attendance at professional conferences, maintaining contact with potential future candidates and networking with colleagues in order to net the broadest possible pool of job applicants.

Search committees need to be certain that the criteria used for selection accurately reflect the requirements outlined in the job description and that these criteria are free of bias. Job descriptions can include diversity requirements as specific job qualifications if all candidates are held to the same standard. For example, ads could include these statements:Describe how multicultural issues have been or will be brought into courses.

Describe previous activities in mentoring minorities, women, or members of other underutilized groups. The University is committed to building a culturally diverse educational environment. Applicants are requested to include in their cover letter information about how they will further this goal.

The University is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through their research, teaching, and/or service.

Governmental Reporting Requirements

In order to meet federal and state affirmative action compliance requirements, the University must request information on the race/ethnicity, sex, age, disability, and veteran’s status of all applicants to a specific position. An Affirmative Action Information Request (AAIR) must be sent to all applicants.

After the recruitment has been completed the unit must populate the online Faculty Applicant Flow Report.

Candidates brought for interview must meet the minimum requirements as stated in advertisements. Appointments cannot be made at other than the advertised level.

For additional information visit:

Child and Adult Abuse Law and Security/Safety Sensitive

In response to the Washington State Child and Adult Abuse Law (CAAL), all applicants who will be working with members of certain populations must undergo a criminal background check performed through A-Check America, the consumer reporting agency vendor that conducts background checks for the University.

Determine whether the position is covered by CAAL: whether it "will or may have unsupervised access" to any of the following special populations:

  • Children under 16 years of age;
  • Developmentally disabled adults; or
  • Vulnerable

Most typically these positions are located in the following schools or colleges:

  • College of Arts and Sciences (CAAL-covered)
  • College of Education (CAAL-covered)
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Medicine
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Public Health
  • School of Social Work

Questions regarding whether a position is covered should be directed to the school/college/campus dean or chancellor, or to AHR (206.543.5630 or

Terminal Degrees

Many of the faculty positions at the University of Washington require a terminal degree. A terminal degree is the generally accepted highest degree in a field of study. While a doctorate is considered the terminal degree in most fields of study, other disciplines may consider different degrees as terminal degrees. Please check with the appropriate school/college or department to verify which degrees they consider to be terminal.

Typical Terminal Degrees:

  • Ph.D.
  • M.D.
  • D.D.S.
  • D.D.M.
  • D.V.M.
  • J.D.
  • M.F.A.
  • M.Arch

Additional Resources