ISU working group establishes policy for P&S search committees

One recommendation from the state Board of Regents' Transparent, Inclusive Efficiency Review (TIER) is that Iowa State, Northern Iowa and Iowa establish standards, services and support for professional and scientific staff searches while also improving search efficiency and effectiveness. The project is identified as TIER business case HR-10, and the universities have until March 1 to deliver their action plans to the board.

"Our charge is to establish a clear policy for professional and scientific search committee size and structure," said Julie Nuter, associate vice president for university human resources. "Additionally, ISU is to simplify the search process by reducing the amount of administrative time dedicated to searches, decreasing time-to-fill metrics (the time between the job being posted/advertised and the offer accepted by the finalist), and creating more efficient and effective recruiting processes."

Iowa State currently has no policy for P&S search committees. The new policy's focus will be to establish guideposts for P&S staff recruitment and for director-level and above search committees.

Iowa State's HR-10 working group

Nuter and a small group of employees from ISU's key administrative areas, called the HR-10 working group, have been tasked with establishing Iowa State's policy for P&S search committee size and structure. The group has met weekly since December, gathering information about other universities' recruiting practices, training, services and resources.

The group also is seeking input from across campus. The survey, which was emailed to top administrators and some hiring managers earlier this week, will help the working group better understand Iowa State's current P&S hiring practices. Human resources liaisons will participate in future focus groups and, as a policy is finalized, leaders from the colleges and units will have a chance to offer feedback.

"The policy will likely provide flexibility for colleges and units to decide on using search committees for non-director level searches, based on their unique needs," Nuter said.

A positive step

Recognizing the significant time commitment required of search committee members, Nuter says the new policy will help make the university's hiring process more efficient.

"We can likely reduce the burden on individuals and units by identifying when search committees have the greatest impact and supporting all hiring managers, both faculty and staff supervisors, with the resources and training to be effective," she said.

What's next

Nuter says the HR-10 working group will provide the following to the regents by March 1:

  • A draft P&S recruitment and selection policy for review by the Policy Library Advisory Committee and the P&S Council's policies and procedures committee
  • An action plan to support the policy's recommendations, including training priorities, web-based resources, applicant tracking system technology and enhanced recruiting services
  • A rollout plan for tracking and monitoring the new policy's success and impact

Though the regents' three public universities all are creating P&S search committee policies, that doesn't mean Iowa State's policy will mirror Iowa's or Northern Iowa's.

"The effort at ISU to establish standards will be specific to our university," Nuter said. "There was recognition by the board of regents that we need to make it work for us, our environment and our priorities."