From AAUP Leadership: More on the New Hiring Procedures
As you may know the AAUP has raised concerns about a new set of "Hiring Guidelines" that have been promulgated by the administration. Unfortunately, our concerns have been mis-characterized by some as AAUP opposition to increasing faculty diversity. Nothing could be further from the truth. The AAUP firmly believes in the value of diversity, of students, faculty and ideas in education. We have a long history here at Rider of fighting for increased diversity including encouraging the faculty to foster the value of multiculturalism and diversity in teaching and in scholarship through their own work and through their involvement in the hiring and mentoring process. We have made numerous proposals at the negotiating table to support the hiring and retention of historically underrepresented groups. We worked to create an Affirmative Action committee, then repeatedly begged to have the committee convened. Same story with the Minority Affairs Committee. Regardless of president, every year faculty were recruited to serve, only to hear that the committee had never been convened. The AAUP also outlined many other proactive steps the administration could take to increase diversity, such as supporting personal contacts with prospective hires while they are still in graduate school and sending our faculty to conferences that specialize in the interests of diverse audiences, but very few of our recommendations were taken up by the administration.
What we have objected to in the present moment was the unilateral introduction of new procedures for hiring with no reference to or agreement by the AAUP. These new procedures aim to reduce the faculty role in hiring and elevate the administrative role in the process under the guise of improving diversity.
A careful reading of the new "guide for hiring procedures" which was created without any reference to the AAUP makes clear that the real goal is to diminish the role of the faculty in hiring. To give just one example the new guide includes the following statement,
“Although faculty actively recruit their colleagues, screen candidate pools, interview candidates, and make recommendations to the Dean, it is the Provost, in consultation with the Dean, who determines who should be hired.”
The Agreement does not give the Provost the authority to determine who to hire. It (the Agreement) instead gives the Dean and ultimately the Provost authority to reject departmental candidates but only for compelling reasons:
“The dean shall offer the position to candidates based on the department's order of preference unless the dean believes that the candidate(s) preferred by the members of the department do(es) not meet the established and stated qualifications for the position or the dean determines that there are other compelling reasons (provided such reasons do not violate academic freedom as defined by the AAUP policy statement and the common law) for selecting the next candidate from the list. In such a case the dean shall meet with the department within five (5) days of his/her meeting with the departmental chairperson to attempt to resolve the disagreement. If no resolution of the disagreement occurs at this meeting, the department shall have five (5) days to appeal the dean's decision to the Provost. If the department does not appeal the dean's decision, the dean shall offer the position to the next candidate on the department's list. If the department appeals to the Provost, he/she shall meet with the department and the dean within five (5) days to attempt to resolve the disagreement. If the Provost rejects the department's appeal he/she will provide in writing within five (5) days his/her reason, which shall not be arbitrary or capricious, for rejecting the department's appeal. The dean shall then offer the position to the next candidate on the department's list, unless the dean believes that this candidate is unacceptable for one of the reasons stated above, in which case this process shall be repeated with regard to this candidate. If after going through this process there are no acceptable candidates, the University shall declare the search suspended and shall reopen the search.”
There is a world of difference between being able to reject a candidate for "compelling reasons which shall not be arbitrary or capricious" and "determining" who should be hired. Particularly when the Agreement states,
"If any interviewed candidates are deemed unacceptable to the department, that shall also be noted on the list, and under no circumstances shall the University offer a position to a candidate who has been found unacceptable by the department."
The AAUP as always stands ready to discuss with the administration changes to the Agreement that would increase the diversity of the faculty while maintaining the centrality of faculty in the hiring process and we have already agreed to meet with representatives of the Provost to see if that can be accomplished.
Contract Administrator, AAUP