The Search Waiver Process

As a general rule, it remains the policy of the University at Albany that a full, open and affirmative action search should be conducted prior to filling a faculty or professional staff vacancy.

This is consistent with the President's Reaffirmation Statement, as well as the governing SUNY policy first issued in 1977. It also is consonant with all applicable laws, both state and federal. As in all cases, however, a certain degree of flexibility remains necessary

In some instances, a vacant position might be filled via internal promotion. This is perfectly consistent with collective bargaining arrangements, and serves to foster and preserve high employee morale. In other cases, the appointment is of either short duration or part-time, suggesting that the effort involved in mounting a full search would be impractical at best, with little likelihood of an enthusiastic applicant response.

Emergencies arise as well, and in certain instances the illness or death of an incumbent may leave a department in a situation that simply does not allow for a full search. Finally, a new president or vice president may wish to reorganize staff in a manner compatible with his or her own administrative style, in order to accomplish their mandate. Accordingly, certain exceptions to the requirement for a full search are necessary.

Search Exceptions

In the past, search waivers were sought in situations that simply should not have required the effort to prepare the request and the administrative time spent in review. In the following cases, a full, open search is not required, and a waiver from the search procedure need not be sought. (That said, nothing precludes a department from undertaking a search in these cases - it is simply not a requirement).

  1. Appointments of six months or less.
  2. Appointments of 50% obligation or less, regardless of duration.
  3. Internal promotion. (However, collective bargaining arrangements may require an on-campus posting).
  4. Upward reclassification/retitling of a filled position, generally as a result of an increase in professional responsibilities, where no actual vacancy exists.
  5. Post doctoral appointments.
  6. Non-renewable Visiting faculty appointments of two years duration or less.
  7. Transfer of filled positions.
  8. A new president's exercise of their prerogatives in the initial organization of the office. That prerogative may, on occasion, be extended by the president to a new vice president.

Search Waivers

In unusual circumstances, it may be argued that the Institution's interests are best served in foregoing the standard posting and search procedures before making an appointment. Waiver of all or part of the regular search process is appropriate in situations where it can be amply demonstrated that the investment of time and effort in a search is simply not in the Institution's best interests. These may involve critical workload situations involving a high cost of breakdown or failure, or emergencies necessitating immediate hiring.

In these circumstances, the department or unit should prepare a written request for a waiver of the search requirements, which must include:

  1. A justification for the request, presented in an institutional context, demonstrating the imperative for departing from a full, affirmative search.
  2. A description of the position, including minimum (and if appropriate) preferred qualifications.
  3. The vitae of candidates who may already have been identified, with a description of the process used to locate them.

The documentation should be submitted to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). Along with the supporting documentation, the department's history with respect to hiring from underrepresented groups will be included for consideration. A written determination will be rendered and transmitted to the requesting department.

Alternative

Assembling a compelling waiver request can, in itself, be a time consuming effort with no guarantee of approval. In cases of an emergency, the department might consider an immediate, temporary appointment of up to six months.

As noted above, no prior ODI approval is required, and a hire can proceed with dispatch. In the ensuing weeks or months, a search can then be mounted for a permanent appointment. In the alternative, a waiver request may be compiled. However, the presence of a temporary appointee will not serve as justification for the waiver - those conditions precedent, as noted above, must remain the basis.