2.6 Conduct of Administrative Searches

The following was a result of a joint administration-faculty committee (3-3-3 Committee on Administrative Searches), which met from December 2013-May 2014.

These stipulations pertain primarily to academic administrative positions whose titles include the word Dean or Provost but also pertain to other senior administrative positions that are directly concerned with academic matters.

  • The process of selecting a candidate should always be transparent. Shared governance is a hallmark of the University of Delaware. In keeping with that tradition, there should be absolute transparency around the issues of who, what, when, where, and why in initiating a search for an academic administrative position.
  • Every effort should be made to include/engage a representative group of faculty on the committee. Academic administrative positions directly affect the governance of an institution. As such, faculty input into academic administrative search decisions is critical. While no single group of faculty can ever represent the full spectrum of intellectual diversity and views of a University faculty, efforts need to be made to ensure multiple perspectives are represented. The individual responsible for convening the search should solicit advice/representation from faculty stakeholder groups (e.g., department/college faculty, Faculty Senate, AAUP, as appropriate) when populating search committees to ensure broad faculty representation. Searches for positions that include the word Provost in the title should always include consultation with the Faculty Senate.
  • Confidentiality might be desired in the early stages of the process (until the selection of the final short-list of candidates). Often in administrative searches candidates will prefer that the process remains confidential, at least until the stage where final short-list of candidates is identified. Although there may be a desire for confidentiality during the early stages of an academic administrative search, once the final candidates are identified, the process should be open and engage the full academic community. The process always should be defined at the outset so that it is transparent to candidates and to the University community.
  • The outcome of the process is that final short-listed candidates should be interviewed in an open and transparent manner that maximizes their engagement with the University community. The opportunity for final short-list candidates to engage with the University community in the final stage of the interview process allows for honest and open mutual assessment (University of the candidates and candidates of the University) and is in the best interest of both the University community and the successful candidate.

An open and transparent search for academic administrators is always preferred for the reasons articulated above; however, there may be rare instances when a completely confidential search may be considered. It is particularly important that a completely confidential search engage members of the university community (as appropriate to the search) in developing the context and criteria that will help drive the search to a successful outcome. This should be implemented as follows:

  • Present the rationale for a completely confidential search. The desire for a completely confidential search process is first identified by the person convening the search. That individual is responsible for developing the rationale for a completely confidential search and broadly asking if such an approach would be acceptable to the affected faculty. The rationale and approach should be clearly articulated to faculty in the appropriate unit, especially in cases where a difference in opinion about the need for a completely confidential search may exist.
  • Maintain transparency in the process for a completely confidential search. The faculty in the unit should be informed of the plan for a completely confidential search and have the opportunity to advise and comment on the search plan. In cases where the position title includes the word Provost, advice and input should be solicited from the Faculty Senate. As with searches that are not completely confidential, it is expected that the search committee would include a representative and diverse cross section of the faculty, as appropriate. In addition, for a completely confidential search for a position title that includes the word Provost, the Faculty Senate and the AAUP should both have a member designated on the search committee. This should be done in accordance to Faculty Senate/AAUP protocol. It is also expected that there would be broad involvement of the members of the University community (as appropriate to the level of the completely confidential search) at the outset in order to solicit comments on specific individual candidate attributes. The search committee would use this information for context during the confidential search process.
  • Non-academic senior administrative searches. These stipulations focus on those searches that include the word Dean or Provost in the position title. However, the spirit of inclusion and transparency embodied in these stipulations for academic administrators should be readily transferred to other non-academic senior administrative searches at the University of Delaware.

In the case of new administrative positions, the administration should consult with the Faculty Senate (in the case of university-wide positions, such as in the Provost's office) or faculty in the appropriate college (in the case of a dean's office) regarding scope and need for the position. This is in accordance with the guidance provided by the Board of Trustees in their bylaws (Section 3.2.4.12) stating that it is the responsibility of the faculty to consider and make recommendations for "the establishment or abolition of administrative offices that are directly concerned with academic matters." (Added 3/15/16)