Reference Checks

Pilot Program - Reference Checks for Academic Senate Ladder Rank Faculty Hires with Tenure or Lecturers/Senior Lecturers with Security of Employment
Effective July 1, 2018


The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community dedicated to the advancement, application, and transmission of knowledge and creative endeavors through academic excellence, where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in a safe and secure environment, free of violence, harassment, discrimination, exploitation, or intimidation. To support this commitment, UC Davis will conduct a pilot program for the 2018-19 hiring year to conduct reference checks on final candidates for academic appointments with tenure or security of employment. The current faculty hiring process solicits information regarding candidates’ qualifications through outside letters. The pilot reference check program will enable UC Davis to obtain and review information about candidates’ conduct in their previous appointments that may be important to the appointment decision. The reference checks do not involve any process for criminal background checks, which are covered by other University policies.

The pilot program will follow these steps to conduct reference checks for candidates who are the final choice for hiring into tenured or security of employment positions.

  1. The campus shall include the following statement in the posting of Senate ladder rank faculty positions with tenure or lecturer/senior lecturer with security of employment providing notice to applicants that UCD will conduct reference checks on final candidates prior to hiring.

    The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community dedicated to the advancement, application, and transmission of knowledge and creative endeavors through academic excellence, where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in a safe and secure environment, free of violence, harassment, discrimination, exploitation, or intimidation. With this commitment, UC Davis requires all candidates of ladder rank faculty tenured or security of employment searches to complete, sign, and upload the form entitled “Authorization to Release Information” into RECRUIT as part of their application. If the candidate does not include the signed authorization with the application materials, the application will be considered incomplete, and as with any incomplete application, will not receive further consideration. Although all applicants for faculty recruitments must complete the entire application, only finalists considered for positions with tenure or security of employment will be subject to reference checks.
     
  2. All applicants for these searches will be asked to sign and upload an “Authorization to Release Information” form into UC Recruit (available here). If the candidate does not include the signed authorization with the application materials in RECRUIT, the application will be incomplete and, as with any incomplete application, will not receive further consideration.  
     
  3. When the selection of the first choice candidate has been made, the Dean and/or Department Chair should contact Academic Affairs, specifically, Danny Gray – Director of Academic Employment and Labor Relations (dgray@ucdavis.edu), to initiate the Reference Check process. Academic Affairs shall contact the academic personnel office (or equivalent) in one or more of the previous institutions where the candidate has been employed. This may occur concurrently with the negotiation of the terms in the Temporary Offer Letter (TOL), or after the TOL has been issued. The candidate shall be notified before the contact is initiated. Academic Affairs will provide the signed release to the previous institution(s) and ask for information about misconduct related to teaching, research, service, and (if applicable) clinical care. Academic Affairs will not contact the candidate’s department or search chair, unless there is no other office of record for faculty misconduct at the institution.
     
  4. Academic Affairs will ask a consistent set of questions to each institution, and may ask follow up questions relevant to the information received. Academic Affairs will limit its inquiry to substantiated findings of misconduct and associated discipline related to teaching, research, service and (if applicable) clinical care. In accordance with the signed authorization, the campus is entitled this information, even if confidential, including any materials that have been sealed or agreed to be withheld pursuant to a prior agreement or court proceeding.
     
  5. Academic Affairs, in consultation with the dean and department chair, will conduct an individualized assessment of any information received including the nature of the conduct, the length of time passed, any corrective action taken, and any explanation offered by the candidate. After reviewing the information, Academic Affairs, in consultation with the dean and department chair will determine whether the candidate is still eligible to be considered for the position. If it is determined that the candidate is not eligible, the candidate shall be notified and a second choice candidate may be considered, subject to the reference check process. 
     
  6. This pilot reference check program applies to final candidates selected for appointment with no previous UC appointment as well as candidates with current or prior UC appointments.
     
  7. In order to protect a candidate’s privacy, all information received in connection with the reference check process will be treated as confidential and retained in accordance with UC policy. Should the candidate be offered and accept the position, any information received shall be securely maintained and held in the campus Academic Affairs Office.

Instructions for completing this process in the UC Davis Recruit system are outlined and available here.

Any questions regarding this pilot program may be directed to Binnie Singh, Assistant Vice Provost, Academic Affairs (binsingh@ucdavis.edu, 530-752-5726).