Regents might streamline hiring process

Nancy Ngo

As early as July, getting a teaching or administrative job at the University will be a lot less time-consuming.
University officials are proposing several changes for academic and professional hiring in a way they believe will make their 300 yearly searches more efficient.
The school loses a high-quality pool of applicants each year because of inefficient hiring methods, said Acting Vice President for Human Resources Carol Carrier.
“Often we lose candidates because they’ve found options where the process moves along quicker,” Carrier said.
She presented a proposal to the Board of Regents Thursday which would alleviate what she sees as unnecessary steps in the current process. Under the proposed streamlined strategy, steps like search committees would be eliminated in some cases.
The move would lessen administrative authority in hiring and place more accountability on college deans.
“It fits in with the decentralized approach to administration that President Yudof is advocating,” Carrier said.
Having top administrators do less micromanaging is what makes the revisions attractive to Regent Bob Berglund.
“The thing I like most is the process involves those more at the department level, which is where it belongs,” said Berglund, who added that people who work in the departments are more apt to hire someone that fits their needs and qualifications.
Deans would have the final sign-off for faculty hires rather than administrators. The University undergoes 80 to 100 faculty searches every year. Other searches fill staff or administrative positions.
“It makes sense,” said Victor Bloomfield, professor of biochemistry and chairman of the Faculty Consultative Committee. “In practice that’s the way it works anyhow. This just takes an extra line of reporting out of the way that usually doesn’t contribute much.”
Carrier said reviews would document the hiring practices within colleges and departments to ensure fairness and accountability.
But the process simplification is the proposal’s biggest appeal. Current University employees could be moved to a new position without the college or department undergoing a search process.
This would apply to associate or assistant positions whose roles require them to report to a few managers rather than the University community at large, said Julie Sweitzer, acting director for the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
“This, of course, increases some risk of abuse,” she said, adding that the proposed policy leaves open the concern that those doing the hiring will pick favorites.
For such hiring to become official, human resource officials would have to give their approval.
Regents will discuss the proposal at their April meetings and have yet to schedule a vote on the matter.