CAUT Policy Statement
The process for hiring academic staff is of critical importance to the future of an academic institution. Sound appointment decisions require a process of peer assessment and review, and that process must be consistent with fair hiring practices and with policies on employment equity and Canadianization. A hiring process that includes an effective advertising strategy and a fair and transparent assessment of candidates will help to ensure that a new hire will have qualities consistent with the needs of the institution.
The size of the academic staff complement, including the renewal of academic staff and creation of new positions, should be subject to the terms of the collective agreement with the academic staff association.
When vacancies arise from the retirement, resignation or other forms of termination of employment of an academic staff member, the academic unit shall provide the Dean or appropriate academic administrator with an outline of the qualifications and specific duties required for the position to be replaced. The Dean or appropriate academic administrator shall only deny such a replacement upon the demonstration of sound academic or financial reasons. Departments or equivalent academic units have the right and responsibility for strategic planning, including making recommendations to the Dean or other appropriate administrative officer for new positions in light of student enrolment, research programs, new academic initiatives, and the need to preserve the integrity of the curriculum.
When the department or appropriate academic unit has been authorized to conduct a search to fill a vacancy or to fill a new position, the department or its selection committee, as established by the collective agreement or memorandum of understanding, shall first conduct an internal search by providing notice to academic staff employed by the institution of the availability of the position. The department or its selection committee shall conduct an external search only after the internal search is completed and has failed to find a qualified Canadian or permanent resident candidate.
Advertisements for an academic position shall clearly explain the nature and responsibilities of the position, and the minimum qualifications required, including the preferred area(s) of expertise. The advertisement must be consistent with the relevant clauses in the collective agreement or academic staff handbook, including employment equity policies.
The advertisement should appear in the CAUT Bulletin and/or its associated website in a timely fashion as well as any other relevant journal. All reasonable efforts should be made to ensure that advertising reaches all potential applicants.
The academic unit to which the position is attached should evaluate candidates, preferably through a representative selection committee. To ensure fairness, there should be an external observer charged with assessing the process who shall report in writing to both the selection committee and the appropriate senior administrator.
The employer is responsible for providing a copy of the collective agreement or academic staff handbook to all candidates who are to be interviewed. Candidates should be encouraged to contact the academic staff association for information about their rights and obligations both during the selection process and after they accept an appointment. Academic staff associations should prepare an information package highlighting relevant information for individuals considering an appointment.
Interviews should thoroughly assess the candidate on all facets of the position including in particular teaching, research, and service. The interviews should include all members of the academic unit as well as relevant academic administrators.
The evaluation and ranking of the candidates must be consistent with the criteria listed in the position advertisement. In the case of an external search, recommended candidates must be demonstrably better qualified than the best qualified internal candidate.
The selection committee makes its recommendation to the appropriate administrator or administrative committee, usually the Dean or equivalent. At all stages the administrative approval process shall ensure that the recommendation is consistent with the advertisement, that internal policies, including employment equity, are adhered to throughout the process and shall provide an additional assessment of the candidate recommended for the appointment. While recommendations may be questioned or rejected during the administrative review process, this process may not suggest alternative candidates, different hiring criteria, or make any other significant changes to the nature of the appointment. If a recommendation is rejected, written reasons shall be provided and a new recommendation shall be sought.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are found qualified are to be offered the position before it can be offered to a foreign candidate. Until it has been determined that no applicants who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents are qualified, no files other than those of applicants who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents shall be considered or reviewed by selection committees. There shall be an appointments review committee, appointed jointly by the academic staff association and the administration, with a clear majority of academic staff members on it. This committee shall advise the president on all appointments, evaluating whether each vacancy was adequately advertised in Canada, the qualifications listed were reasonable, the selection procedures were fair, and an active effort was made to recruit Canadians and permanent residents.
All offers of appointment shall include the starting rank and salary, the first date of any salary increment, the academic unit to which the individual will be assigned, the starting date and termination date (if applicable), as well as any additional terms such as change in salary/rank if the candidate completes a degree.
Approved by the CAUT Council, May 2003;
revised, November 2005.