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  • Policy Number: SP.20.008
  • Version:
  • Drafted By:
  • Approved By: Academic Senate
  • Approval Date: May 11, 2021
  • Effective Date: Fall 2021
  • Supercedes:


The purpose of this policy is to insure a transparent, fair, equitable, inclusive, and faculty-driven process of hiring individuals into the tenure-line faculty of the university. The policy aims to be clear about who is involved in the process, what agency and accountability they have in the process, how decisions are made, and how the process is documented, reviewed and shared. This policy is consonant with past Senate Resolutions on tenure-line hiring, advancing diversity in our community, and thoughtful planning for growth of the tenure-line faculty (see Senate Resolution in Support of Tenure-Track Hiring (SR 11-06), the Senate Resolution to Advance the Ethnic and Racial Diversity of Faculty, Staff, and Administrators (SR 11-03), and the Senate Resolution on a Tenure-Track Hiring Plan (SR 14-02)). This policy codifies the foundational processes and practices that are expanded upon in the Faculty Hiring Handbook that is maintained by the Faculty Affairs Office. The Handbook shall contain plan templates and forms that support this policy and exemplify best practices in hiring processes and plans. The Faculty Affairs Office will develop and regularly update Handbook materials in consultation with the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee.


This policy codifies practices for all participants in the tenure-line hiring process to ensure greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in service of the University mission.

The goal in hiring is to identify and to recruit the best faculty for the university’s academic programs. This superlative reflects qualities of teaching excellence; potential in research, scholarship, or creative activity, area of specialization; and the candidate’s ability to serve the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion needs relative to the institution’s goals.

Recruiting candidates with these qualities requires the work of many groups. This policy puts significant weight on written plans that are created by a hiring department, shared with other internal stakeholders, and jointly approved by a dean, the AVP of Faculty Affairs, and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Equity and Anti-Racism or their designees. Relying on plans allows for searches to be documented, transparent, and improved for the future. Plans also give a department the flexibility to structure a search to meet unique and varied needs; they allow departments to propose individual, stand-alone searches (i.e., a traditional search in academia) or a search conducted in parallel with (i.e., a group search like those CI has traditionally conducted) or jointly with other departments (i.e., a cluster hire). Though this policy proscribes many elements a search must have, it leaves great flexibility in others.

This policy takes as a bedrock principle that a search cannot be successful if the process does not account for how the hiring department will support and retain a new faculty member. Though it is beyond the scope of this policy, it is critically important to the health of the institution that there be a caring and thoughtful process for bringing new faculty into the university community. This starts by treating all applicants, candidates, and finalists equitably and with respect. Another bedrock principle of this policy is that the necessary expertise for appropriate assessments, authority, and clarity of purpose rest with the faculty. Absent evidence to the contrary, administration should accept and follow the hiring recommendations of the departmental search committee.



All participants at every level in the tenure-line hiring process, including faculty and administrators, must adhere to this policy to ensure an equitable and inclusive hiring process that serves the University’s mission.


This policy applies to the hiring of all tenure-line faculty and librarians into the Division of Academic Affairs. Tenure-line faculty may not be hired into any other division of the University or any of its auxiliaries (e.g., University Extension).

This policy goes into effect immediately but will not be applicable to those searches already in progress and having the goal of hiring one or more individuals into the tenure-line faculty before Fall 2023.


For the purpose of this policy, the following terms are used as follows:

Applicants are individuals who have submitted all materials requested in response to a call for applicants for an open tenure-line appointment.

Candidates are applicants whose application materials provide evidence that they meet the minimum qualifications for the position as described in a position description of an open tenure- line appointment.

Equity, as defined by the President’s Advisory Council on Inclusive Excellence and adopted by the Academic Senate, is fairness, access, opportunity and advancement for students, faculty and staff. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in the distribution of resources.

Equity Advocates (EA) are members of the faculty who have completed training specified by the Faculty Affairs Office in consultation with the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee. The Faculty Affairs Office will maintain a list of certified EAs, will provide training for new EAs, and will provide continuing education for existing EAs. The official EA on a DSC will have full DSC member responsibilities and will also advise the DSC on employing search practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Finalists are candidates whom the DSC has determined merit an on-campus interview for an open tenure-line appointment.

Inclusion, or inclusive excellence, as defined by the President’s Advisory Council on Inclusive Excellence and adopted by the Academic Senate, is the collective values, engagement, and practices that support equity, diversity, and inclusion among students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni and the community.

Restricted materials are those search materials in an applicant’s application file that shall not be reviewed by individuals outside those elected to or appointed to the hiring process. These materials include transcripts; letters of recommendation; reference checks; scholarly or creative samples including unpublished or proprietary research, data sets, inventions that the candidate requests remain confidential; other materials protected by law or policy. Restricted materials shall be made available to the provost, dean, department chair, and all members of the DSC.

Semifinalists are candidates whom the DSC has determined merit a remote interview for an open tenure-line appointment.

A tenure-line faculty member is a member of the faculty who is tenured or who will be eligible to apply for tenure.

Unrestricted materials are those materials in an applicant’s application file that are confidential but may be reviewed by those who want to provide input into the semifinalists or finalists. These materials include the application letter (cover letter); CV; scholarly or creative samples that are not confidential; teaching, scholarship, and diversity statements; other materials allowed by the DSC and not protected by law or policy.


Hiring in a Context of Long-Term Planning

Hiring individuals into the University’s tenure-line faculty directly serves ends that include replacing losses through attrition, increasing long-term tenure density, enhancing the diversity of the faculty, adding new programs, and adding new expertise to existing programs. Hiring has immediate and longterm effects on the University, so deciding when to hire and for what expertise to hire should occur in the context of continual, integrated long-term institutional planning at the departmental, school, and divisional levels.

A. Long-Term Departmental Hiring Plans

The chair of each department, in consultation with department tenure-line faculty and the Faculty Affairs Office shall develop and maintain a multi-year departmental plan for growth and improvement that includes plans for hiring. These plans shall be informed by program review recommendations, demonstrated student demand, major-specific needs (e.g., scientific developments, industry demands), anticipated departures of tenure-line faculty, and any other factors relevant to the department. These plans should include demographics of faculty and staff in the department along with demographics of the discipline more broadly.

The chair of each department shall also maintain retention plans for new faculty. Retention plans shall address how the department uses best practices for successful long-term retention of new faculty.

Copies of the active departmental plans shall be kept on file with the dean.

B. Long-term School Hiring Plans

The dean of each school, in consultation with the department chairs and the Faculty Affairs Office, shall develop and maintain a multi-year growth and improvement plan for the school that is based on departmental plans and that includes hiring priorities for the school.

C. Long-term Divisional Hiring Plans

The provost and the deans of each school, in consultation with the department chairs, the Senate Committee on Anti-racism and Equity, the Senate’s Academic Programs and Planning Committee, and the Faculty Affairs Office, shall develop and maintain multi-year hiring plans for the university. These plans may include cluster hiring. These plans shall articulate benchmarks at the school, department, and major level in expected growth in FTEs; diversity, equity, and inclusion goals to afford our students robust opportunities for multicultural and international perspectives; improvement of tenure density; and anticipated departure rate of tenure-line faculty, and will be updated and revised annually to inform immediate hiring plans.

D. Two-Year Faculty Hiring Timeline

The cycle that culminates in the new appointment to the tenure-line faculty starts two academic years prior to the appointment.

In the Fall of the first academic year, the deans shall consult with their department chairs and update the current divisional and school hiring plans, including benchmarks. In the Spring of the first academic year, the deans shall solicit requests for hiring from all programs whose plans include a new hire within two years. Department chairs may coordinate requests between them, e.g. for a cluster hire, or for a group hiring experience.

A department’s request should describe the position(s) to be hired, indicate the proposed rank if one is to be specified, and justify the need for the hire. The request should also describe the demographics of the department’s faculty and the demographics of the likely applicant pool.

No later than the first week in May of the first academic year, the provost shall announce which departments are granted conditional permission to start the hiring process. This permission may be conditional on budget and shall be conditional on the department’s ability to follow this policy.

Once chairs have conditional permission from the dean to start the hiring process, they may assemble a Departmental Search Committee (DSC) and begin carrying out the planning process detailed in the next section.

Hiring and Retention: Planning and Processes

Forethought and planning are essential to a successful and equitable recruitment, hiring, and retention process, defined as one that not only attracts and retains a diverse body of teacher- scholars of the highest caliber, but that does so in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust and in a manner that makes best use of the university’s limited financial and human resources (i.e., the labor of faculty and departmental support staff). Timeframes for decisions should allow sufficient time for consultation with stakeholders and should allow parties to come to consensus on decisions, where possible.

Note: Two adjustments are to be understood in the cases of cluster hiring or hiring faculty for a new program that does not currently have any faculty.

  1. Cluster hiring carried out by a collection of departments is included in this section by the substitution of “chairs” for “chair” and “departments” for “department” wherever necessary.
  2. The Provost shall recruit faculty to form committees to support the formation of any new program being activated through a hire, and the provost shall designate a DSC chair. Additional faculty may be asked or may volunteer to serve in the capacity of department faculty.

A. Selection of the Department Search Committee

Each department shall include in their bylaws the composition of their DSC and the method used (e.g., voting) to obtain approval from the department faculty.

The size of the Department Search Committee (DSC) will vary between departments. At minimum, the DSC shall have a chair, an Equity Advocate (EA) external to the department, enough additional tenured faculty to conduct references checks (i.e., in pairs), and enough additional members to meet requirements of the department bylaws and requirements of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The EA must be external to the department but shall be a full voting member of the DSC with the additional responsibility to assist the DSC in identifying and using practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of the search process. The EA shall not be eligible to be Chair of the DSC. With support from the AVP for Faculty Affairs and the approval of the dean, the DSC may identify an EA from a list of those available. Otherwise, the EA will be assigned by the AVP for Faculty Affairs in with advice from the dean.

All members of the DSC must successfully complete training provided by Faculty Affairs before the DSC begins work on the position description.

B. Search Plan and Retention Plans

Each DSC Chair with a conditionally approved hire shall submit a Search Plan and a Retention Plan to the appropriate dean in or before September of the year in which the search is to occur.

The Hiring Handbook shall provide templates for the following components of a Search Plan: an inclusive and equitable search process, a position description, a plan for active recruiting, screening plans, and a search timeline. The timeline shall include these items:

  • Date(s) for posting the position description(s);
  • Date by which DSC members will complete DSC training from the Faculty Affairs office
  • Date that application review will start;
  • Dates for selecting semi-finalist candidates and dates of semi-finalist interviews;
  • Date for search committee meeting(s) to plan on-campus visits;
  • Dates for selecting finalists;
  • Potential dates for on-campus visits (in coordination with the dean’s office and with the administrative assistant supporting the search);
  • Dates for search committee deliberation of the finalists;
  • Date for bringing the committee’s recommendation to the Dean.

DSCs shall submit Search Plans including these components, tailored to their particular instances, to the dean.

The Hiring Handbook will provide a template for Retention Plan. These Retention Plans shall detail ways the school and department will work with the new hire prior to appointment, and during their probationary period to help them adjust to the University, find their place in the department, and start a long career at the University. Understanding that timeline dates are subject to change for reasons largely outside the control of the DSC, the DSC Chair will be responsible for updating target dates, justifying the changes, and sharing the updated calendar
with the DSC and dean.

C. Approval of Search and Retention Plans

After the DSC submits their Search and Retention Plans, they will be reviewed by the AVP for Faculty Affairs, the appropriate dean, and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Anti-racism and Equity. Search and retention plans may be returned to the department for revision and resubmission, as needed.

The DSC must adhere to the details in their approved Search and Retention plans. Requests for significant deviations from the plan must be made in writing to the dean who will review and seek the approval of the AVP of Faculty Affairs and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Anti- racism and Equity.

Carrying Out the Hiring Processes

All those engaged in hiring processes are expected to respect the position description and to follow all aspects of the Search Plan and the relevant aspects of the Retention Plan. Significant deviations from plans must be approved in advance by the dean, the AVP for Faculty Affairs, and the Chair of the Senate Anti-racism and Equity Committee. Significant deviations without approval may result in a search being canceled by the dean. The criteria for screening and the inclusive processes spelled out in the Search Plan are to be used throughout the screening process. In addition, the following process shall be implemented.

A. Approval of the Applicant Pool

The applicant pool shall be monitored by the DSC Chair using data provided by the Faculty Affairs Office, and the DSC Chair shall report diversity measures to the DSC regularly.

One week prior to the date for application review, the DSC Chair and EA will review the data on the applicant pool and report to the dean with a recommendation for whether the review should begin, the search should be extended, or the search should be canceled. This recommendation shall be justified with reference to the baseline data in the department’s Search Plan regarding the discipline diversity.

By the date specified in the job position for application review to begin, the dean shall provide written approval (e.g., an email) for the screening to begin, a recommendation that the search be extended, or a recommendation that the search be cancelled.

B. Screening for Applicants

Once screening begins, the DSC chair and EA may assess the pool to determine the need to encourage any applicants to complete their application. If the DSC Chair (with input from the DSC) wants to encourage individuals to complete their application, a message to that effect should go out to everyone with an incomplete application, and a deadline should be set for the completion of applications; those applicants who do not meet that deadline should be removed from the pool.

C. Screening for Candidates

The DSC shall use the processes in its approved position description to determine which applicants meet the qualifications of candidacy for the open position.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements for the position will be contacted, thanked for their application, and notified that they are no longer in competition for the position. Faculty Affairs staff will carry out this communication in consultation with the DSC Chair.

If there are more than three (or a greater number specified in the Search Plan) candidates who meet the minimum requirements for the position and possess some or all of the required qualifications, the DSC may submit those candidates to the dean as semifinalists for the position.

D. Interviewing Semifinalists

The DSC shall conduct remote interviews with semifinalists, as specified in the approved Search Plan, to determine who may be invited to campus for an on-campus interview. In order to gain further insights into a semifinalist’s qualifications, and under the direction of the DSC Chair, DSC members may conduct reference checks with individuals who have been listed by the semifinalist as references. In any conversation conducted with a reference, at least two members of the DSC shall participate and report.

E. Selection of Finalists

When the DSC has concluded the screening of semifinalists, it shall identify finalists to be invited to campus for interviews. All faculty (probationary, tenured, full-time lecturer, and part- time lecturer) in the department may be given the opportunity to review in confidence unrestricted candidate materials and to provide written input on the candidates. Unrestricted material includes CV, cover letter, and narrative statements provided in the application package. 

Written input may include an email to or a conversation with the DSC chair or the Equity Advocate. Any anonymous feedback received by members of the DSC will be disregarded as never having been shared and it shall not influence the deliberations of the DSC. Any department member may opt to share feedback in confidence with the EA or DSC Chair by meeting with one of them in person and sharing in confidence. When the EA or DSC Chair shares that feedback with the DSC, they will identify that feedback to the DSC as coming from an unnamed member of the program.

The DSC Chair will share gathered input as specified above, including input shared in confidence, with the DSC along with reports from reference checks. The DSC shall use the information they have gathered from the screenings and information gathering processes to select finalists to invite to campus from the list of semifinalists. The DSC Chair submits list of finalists to the dean, who forwards the list to the Provost and AVP of Faculty Affairs.

Once the dean acknowledges receipt of the list of finalists, the DSC will work with the Faculty Affairs Office to make arrangements for campus visits of finalists.

Campus Visits by Finalists

The campus visit represents a particularly critical step in the hiring process. It is the most intensive and interactive step which allows members of search committees, program faculty, and the campus community to assess candidates’ potential as a teacher, scholar, and colleague, as well as their professional values and commitments and how they align with the University’s collective values and commitments. It is also the step that leaves the deepest and most lasting impression upon candidates, and which communicates to them whether our campus will be a good professional home for them. Visits also leave a deep impression on the candidates who are not hired. They will go on to share descriptions of their campus experience with colleagues, influencing the external reputation of and potential interest in our campus in the future. For these reasons, it is imperative that the on-campus visit clearly integrates and communicates collective values and commitments to equity and inclusion; to academic excellence; to mission pillars; to campus community; and others.

Prior to their campus visits, finalists should be provided with general information about campus, information about campus values and the University mission, information about the hiring department and its goals, along with a schedule for their visit.

Finalists shall visit campus for at least a full day or at least two partial days.

Every finalist should have a pleasant and comfortable visit in which they are treated like the valued guest they are. The DSC should ensure that any special needs a finalist has are met, that all local meals with the finalist are hosted, that all travel arrangements to and from campus are communicated in advance, and that the finalist has a way to have questions or concerns heard quickly and addressed.

Members of the DSC will solicit feedback on the finalists from all individuals who interact with the finalist during their visit to campus. That feedback will be collated and reported to the DSC Chair by the Faculty Affairs Office on the first business day after the last finalist leaves campus after their visit.

Recommendations for Hiring

The DSC shall meet after all finalists have visited to agree on a list of acceptable finalists to be submitted to the dean, who has been delegated with final hiring authority. In their recommendation, the DSC shall list strengths and weaknesses of each finalist according to the position description and position requirements, shall determine which finalists are acceptable, and may rank the candidates in the order they should be offered the position being filled. This full recommendation to the dean must be supported by a majority vote of the DSC before being sent to
the dean.

The dean shall review the list of acceptable finalists. The DSC Chair or committee may consult with the dean on the list of acceptable finalists. The DSC Chair or committee may make suggestions to the dean about the terms of the offer, yet any offer will be communicated to the finalist(s) by the dean.

If the DSC submitted a ranked list of acceptable finalists and if the dean’s ranking of acceptable finalists differs from the DSC’s ranking, the dean must justify that deviation in a meeting with the DSC or in writing. After corresponding (or meeting) with the DSC, the dean will inform the provost of the differing rankings prior as part of their request to appoint.

Prior to extending an offer to a finalist, if the DSC recommends either service credit or tenure for that finalists, the dean shall receive a written recommendation from the from the tenured faculty or the department’s personnel committee.

A. Appointment Process

Once the ranked list of successful finalists has been transmitted to and accepted by the dean, the dean shall forward the required documents to the Faculty Affairs Office and the provost. With the approval of the provost, the dean may begin the process of making an appointment offer.

B. After-search Report
When the DSC has concluded its work, the DSC Chair will draft a report on the hiring process. The report shall inform the continuous improvement of departmental and University-wide hiring of tenure-line faculty. As such, it may include the following:

  • planned and actual search timelines,
  • demographic description of tenure-line faculty and national pool of applicants, the actual applicant pool (pre-applicant, applicant, candidate, semi-finalists) with reflection on how well the recruitment plan worked,
  • final approved Search Plan and Retention Plan with documents of changes requested and approved with a reflection on how well Plans worked, and
  • any reflection on which aspects of the search process worked well and which merit review or reconsideration.

When approved by the DSC, the report will be submitted to the Department Chair, the dean, the AVP of Faculty Affairs, the Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Anti-Racism and Equity.

The Senate committees shall review the reports and recommend to the Senate Chair how policy or procedure (including the Faculty Hiring Handbook) should be changed. The AVP for Faculty Affairs shall review the reports and recommend to the Senate Faculty Affairs Committee changes to the Faculty Hiring Handbook.

After the DSC has approved the DSC Chair’s report, all members should turn over any and all search records (e.g., copies of applicant materials, notes from meetings or interviews) to the DSC Chair, who will transfer them to Human Resources in accordance with the campus records retention policy.

C. Smooth Transition and Onboarding

The staff in each dean’s office shall provide guidance to and support for department staff to ensure that the new hire’s transition to the University is smooth and seamless. In addition to actions described in the DSC’s Retention Plan, this work shall include logistical matters such as office assignment, key and key code access, creation of a network account and password and email address, employee identification, procurement of computer and other equipment, and ordering textbooks and providing extant syllabi for classes the new hire will be teaching.


Failure of a search committee or of any individual member of a search committee to comply with any aspect of the approved Search Plan may result in cancellation of that year’s search.

Decision Making

Each step in the hiring process is carried out according to a plan that a DSC, its department, its dean, and its provost has approved in advance. Front-loading communication and decision making facilitates the smooth flow of the hiring process.

At every step of the decision making process, individuals should work to arrive at consensus. If consensus is not possible among members of the DSC, then the DSC will use the method of majority vote to come to agreement (unless department bylaws direct otherwise) and move to the next issue before them.

If any member of the community believes that decisions have been made in violation of this policy, other University policy, policy of the CSU system, or laws of California or the United States of America, then those concerns may be brought to the University Ombuds who can initiate the appropriate inquiries or interventions.



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