UGA Libraries Guidelines for Search Committees
Search committees are used to fill vacant Libraries’ faculty positions or key administrative positions at the University of Georgia Libraries. A search committee ensures the selection of the best possible applicant in a fair, equitable, consistent, efficient and open manner by:
- Allowing for participation in the selection process by interested constituencies;
- Promoting objective consideration of the candidates’ qualifications from varied representative viewpoints;
- Developing consensus among interviewers; and
- Offering candidates a balanced view of the institution.
The Role of the Libraries' Human Resources Department
A member of the Libraries’ Human Resources Department will serve on all search committees (Ex-Officio) as the Equal Opportunity Officer, and will provide administrative support and guidance to the search committee, and will ensure that, throughout the process, communication with all candidates is made in a timely and efficient manner.
Evaluation of the Position
The supervisor and/or department head will discuss filling the position with the University Librarian and the Libraries’ Human Resources Department. The position should be evaluated with the following criteria in mind:
- What are the needs of the department/Libraries now and in the future?
- Is the position needed elsewhere within the Libraries?
- Is the position still needed at the same level, classification, or to fill the same duties as it previously existed?
- What other vacancies are there in the department?
- What are the years of experience and level of expertise of the incumbent librarian? How has the position changed since it was last filled? Has consideration been given to the potential training needs of the new hire? Hiring entry-level librarians should not be the default for filling most vacancies that occur.
- What salary funding is available?
Developing the Position Description and Summary
A written position description announcement and a summary for advertising purposes are prepared by the supervisor of the position (with feedback from the Libraries’ Human Resources Department, the department head, and the University Librarian) at the outset of the search. The position description serves as the standard against which candidates' qualifications are judged. The position description will include a full account of the responsibilities and will describe the educational background, experience, and competencies required or desired of the candidate. Qualifications should be written in accordance with equal opportunity and affirmative action policies. Search committee members will have input as to how to display salary information in the job ad. Each member of the search committee will receive a copy of the position announcement at the first meeting and have an opportunity for input and clarification.
Formation of Search Committees
The University Librarian and Associate Provost, in consultation with the department head and the Libraries’ Human Resources Department, appoints search committee members. The immediate goal in the formation of the search committee is to create a body representative of the constituencies affected by the position. Search committee members communicate the opinions of interested faculty and staff. Persons accepting appointment to the search committee automatically disqualify themselves as candidates and as references for candidates of the position.
The search committee may be selected from all levels of regular Libraries’ faculty and staff and should have the following minimum composition:
- Supervisor of the vacant position or his/her designee (normally chair of the committee)
- Representative from the functional area where the vacancy occurs;
- Representative from another functional area in the Libraries;
- An at-large member whose representation has some application to the vacant position;
- Additional members as necessary; and
- A member of the Libraries’ Human Resources Department.
The role of the search committee chair is to establish and facilitate meetings. The responsibilities of all search committee members include being familiar with the position, reviewing applications, conducting interviews and making assessments of final candidates.
For more information please visit the Working document for faculty search committee chairs or Working document for faculty search committee members.
The Search Process
The Libraries’ Human Resources Department will schedule the first meeting of the search committee, at which the Human Resources Department representative and the person to whom the position will report, will guide the committee as to the following:
- Description and need for the position and any unique concerns with respect to the position;
- Duties of the search committee and review of the process;
- The affirmative action/equal opportunity requirements;
- The responsibility for documenting committee actions and for preserving those records;
- The need for confidentiality and discretion;
- Timeline for the search process;
- Communication of process to the administrative chain (number of interviews, final recommendation, etc.)
- The approximate number of finalists to be invited for interviews; and
- The arrangements for financial and staff resources.
The Libraries’ Human Resources Department is assigned the responsibility to document committee actions, in particular, how and when candidates are contacted, and reasons for eliminating any candidates who have met established minimum qualifications.
Members of the committee and candidates for jobs should be reminded that Georgia is an open records state. The circulation of e-mail amongst members of search committees to discuss anything outside of scheduling is discouraged. For specific guidelines regarding the Open Records Act, contact the UGA Office of Public Affairs at 706-542-8090.
The Libraries’ Human Resources Department will communicate key events during the search to Grapevine. This includes:
- When a new faculty position has been posted;
- When a search committee has been formed;
- Who the members of a search committee are as soon as the search committee has been appointed by the University Librarian and Associate Provost;
- When campus interview candidates have been selected from a search;
- When candidates come to interview on campus;
- The candidate’s presentation schedule
Posting the Position
The Libraries’ Human Resources Department files notification of the position with the University and in appropriate publications. Specific information to be included in the position announcement and guidelines for advertising are the responsibility of the Libraries’ Human Resources Department and take into consideration unique needs, traditional areas for advertising and EEO/Affirmative Action compliance. An announcement will also be made to Grapevine when a new faculty position has been posted.
A candidate's references are those individuals who the candidate lists to speak or write in support of his or her candidacy. References should be requested only for those candidates under active consideration. References should be solicited from individuals whose names are provided by the applicant, and the contents should be held in strict confidence by the committee, those in the administrative chain and, in the case of a successful candidates, information from references will be examined by the Committee on Promotion. If additional information is needed from a candidate, the candidate should be told and should supply the names and contact information of the additional references.
Prior to an on-campus interview, the search committee will have a reference from at least one direct supervisor.
Persons accepting appointment to the search committee automatically disqualify themselves as candidates for the position; however, search committee members are permitted to serve as references for candidates.
Applicants are permitted to include additional internal (UGA Libraries or UGA) letters of reference for their application packet beyond the required three external (non-UGA) references.
If an applicant is a current UGA librarian faculty member, the letters of recommendation already on file from their original appointment will be accepted by the Office of Faculty Affairs in most cases.
Fair and Uniform Treatment
All candidates, whether external or internal to the institution, should be accorded fair and uniform treatment in the screening and interview process. The search committee should be aware of institutional guidelines when developing questions to ask the candidate before the screening and interview process.
Each search committee should establish its own plan for screening and evaluating nominees and applicants consistent with the Libraries and University policies, and based upon the qualifications and requirements stated in the position description. The search committee and the Libraries’ Human Resources Department should agree on the key questions to be asked of each applicant during any telephone and/or on-site interview. The screening criteria must be applied equally to each nominee or applicant. Members of the search committee review applications, convene to discuss applications, identify and eliminate nominees and applicants who are clearly unqualified, and prepare a list of persons to whom the committee will be seeking additional information. The Libraries’ Human Resources Department will send a letter to unqualified candidates stating that they will not be considered.
Fair, objective, consistent, and equitable processes should be used to narrow the field of candidates to the desired number of finalists, who will be invited for telephone, and/or on-site interviews.
After references are contacted, the search committee will meet to decide on whom to invite for an interview. Based on the candidate’s and the institution's need for information, the search committee will determine the composition of the interview schedule and compose a draft of the schedule. The Libraries Human Resources Department will contact candidates to make arrangements for the interview and will provide pertinent information to each candidate. This includes such items as:
- The interview schedule;
- List of search committee members;
- Information about the department (i.e. annual report);
- Benefits and promotion information;
- Library information (mission statement, organization chart, etc.); and
- University summary, campus map, visitor packets).
The search committee members are responsible for all transportation and accompaniment from meeting to meeting during the interview and to any associated meals. The Libraries Human Resources Department will make sure position descriptions, interview schedules, and candidate letters and resumes are available to all individuals involved in the interview. The Libraries’ Human Resources Department will also communicate key events to Grapevine (when top candidates have been selected from a search; when candidates come to interview on campus; when the candidate’s presentation schedule has been set).
The entire bill for the candidate and the committee members should be paid for by one volunteer, who will be reimbursed later after filling out the appropriate form. It is the prerogative of the search committee chair to invite people outside of the search committee to candidate meals although only three individuals plus the candidate should be invited unless the University Librarian has made an exception to this rule. Anyone participating in departmental tours, interviews, information sessions, or meals should be aware that the candidate’s interview continues through all social activities. The Libraries will cover the cost of travel, meals, and lodging for candidates invited to the campus for interviews. If an off-campus site is selected for the interview, the Libraries will also cover the candidate's expenses.
Recommendation of Candidates
Upon completion of the interviews, the search committee will reconvene to discuss the outcome. The committee should consider and evaluate in a timely manner the information gathered regarding the candidates. The Chair of the search committee will write a report of the committee assessments to the Department Head and University Librarian and Associate Provost. The report is a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate to qualify in terms of acceptable/unacceptable; if instructed to do so, the committee will rank the acceptable candidates. The University Librarian and Associate Provost will approve the recommendation and the Libraries’ Human Resources Department will offer the position.
Once a decision has been reached to offer the position to a particular candidate, the Libraries’ Human Resources Department will contact the successful candidate. While the initial form of this communication may be oral, the official offer will be in writing and will include the specifics of the offer (i.e. start date, salary, rank). The successful candidate should be allowed a reasonable period of time, acceptable to both parties, to reach a decision on the matter. A letter will be sent to all unsuccessful applicants alerting them as to the outcome of the position and thanking them for their interest in the position. Institution guidelines should be followed in making these communications.
If the committee is unable to reach a decision based on the applications received, or if the position is re-advertised with a new set of desired qualifications, all active candidates will be notified of the intention to extend the search.
Announcement of Appointment
Upon receipt of the successful candidate's formal written acceptance, the Libraries’ Human Resources Department will coordinate the announcement of the appointment with the successful candidate and the department. The Chair of the search committee will formally discharge the search committee and provide a written thank you note to the members (copies to supervisors and personnel files) for their service.
Reports, Files, and Records of Proceedings
The Libraries Human Resource Department will complete the necessary reports promptly and accurately. The files relating to the search will be stored in the Libraries Human Resources’ office according to the University’s EEO/Affirmative Action Guidelines.
The standard method for filling all faculty vacancies is to seek a national pool. However, the University Librarian and Associate Provost may choose to solicit interest in an internal reassignment of responsibilities from current members of the Libraries faculty through an "Announcement of Reassignment Potential." This announcement would include a description of the position, names of the search committee members, and a minimum salary. Responses would be accepted for a minimum of ten and a maximum of fifteen working days. All committee and administrative procedures follow the expectations and guidelines for a national search.
- Based on the letters of interest received, the search committee will recommend to proceed with the internal reassignment process or to post a position for a national search.
- If the internal reassignment process goes forward, conduct the interviews and make a recommendation to the University Librarian and Associate Provost to appoint from the pool of internal candidates or to conduct a national search will be made to the University Librarian and Associate Provost.
- Should there be no internal reassignment made from the pool of internal candidate(s), any Libraries faculty who indicated an interest in the reassignment will automatically be considered in the national candidate pool unless they choose to withdraw. Additional information will be requested from them only if the same information is requested of all applicants in the national pool.
- If an internal reassignment is made mid-year, the University retains the right to approve or disapprove a salary increase, if any is justifiable. If no mid-year salary increase is approved, the Libraries' Administration will make any justifiable increase as part of the normal budget process in the spring to take effect at the next salary increase time for the following fiscal year.
- Libraries faculty who are internally reassigned are expected to provide at least one month's notice before leaving or changing responsibilities. Deviations from this standard will be negotiated between the appropriate parties as necessary.
- Positions with added-on administrative duties are exempt from national searches.
EEO / Affirmative Action Recruitment
The University of Georgia Libraries is committed to and supports equal employment opportunity/affirmative action steps for under-represented groups in the workforce: women, veterans, persons with disabilities, and minorities. Aggressive steps should be taken during every faculty search to increase the candidate pool to include under-represented groups such as contacting colleagues at other institutions, calling prospective candidates to encourage application, and registering open positions with the University System of Georgia's Applicant Clearinghouse.
See the University of Georgia’s EEO/Affirmative Action Guidelines for Faculty or Administrative Search/Screen Committees and the Office of Institutional Diversity's Mission & Goals.
(Based on the revised “ACRL Guideline for the Screening and Appointment of Academic Librarians Using a Search Committee”, originally prepared by ACRL's Academic Status Committee and approved by the ACRL Board of Directors on June 30, 1992.)