Faculty & Academic Staff Hiring


CANR Guidelines for Academic Staff and Faculty Hiring

May 2020


To follow a consistent and timely process for hiring faculty and academic staff (FAS), the following guidelines have been developed by the College Leadership Team of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), AgBioResearch (MABR) and MSU Extension (MSUE). MSU Extension Educators, Extension Specialists, etc. will continue to follow the process established by MSU Extension Human Resources. https://www.canr.msu.edu/od/human_resources/  

  1. Tenure system (TS) FAS position requests will occur on an annual basis; refer to the Position Management Policy. Fixed-term (FT) (non-recurring funds) and continuing system positions will be considered throughout the year as necessary.
  2. Requests for all FAS (faculty or academic staff positions see #3), should be made by completing and submitting the CANR/MABR/MSUE Academic Position Request form.
  3. Faculty or Academic Staff (FAS) Positions include:
    1. All tenure system positions
    2. All continuing system positions
    3. Newly appointed fixed-term positions, which are: 
      1. Any FTE (full-time or part-time) for those positions of research or outreach.
      2. Appointed for at least one academic year in a full-time appointment (>=90% FTE) for positions of teaching or advising, or any FTE (full-time or part-time) if requesting funds from the college.
      3. With the titles of: fixed-term Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor; Instructor; and Specialist.
  4. The Academic Position Request form should be submitted to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs (Human Resources) and the CANR/MABR/MSUE Budget Officers. Suggested: Search Committee members should be identified on this form. Units should be cognizant that Search Committee representation should include relevant parties depending on position description and duties (e.g., MSUE Institutes, external partners, undergraduate and graduate students).
  5. The Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs will inform the CANR/MABR/MSUE Budget Officers of approval of Academic Position Request form. The appropriate budget officer sends the approved form to the Unit Administrator and Fiscal Officer with a copy to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs. The Position Request Form will have an assigned internal position number and should be attached to the SAP/HR posting.
  6. The Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion should be be contacted to schedule the first meeting of the Search Committee to coordinate the affirmative action charge to the Search Committee. When scheduling this meeting, every effort should be made to schedule the meeting when all search committee members are able to attend.
  7. For proposed faculty positions with MSU Extension appointments, after the position is approved and before recruiting begins, MSU Extension must be included in discussions regarding the recruitment and evaluation of candidates. This is particularly true for positions with a 20% or greater MSU Extension appointment. The point of contact that the department should communicate with is the MSUE Institute Director affiliated with that position. The department must communicate with the Institute Director to assure adequate representation on the Search Committee and inclusion of the Institute Director (or designee) in the search process. The Institute Director (or designee) must meet with each candidate and recruiting visits must include meeting with other MSUE faculty and staff, including field staff, where appropriate. Feedback from the Institute Director and all MSUE participants must be solicited and included in the deliberations of the search committee before recommendations are made to the department or unit leader.
  8. The Search Committee will be charged with creating the position description based on the approved Academic Position Request form. The draft position description should be reviewed by the unit faculty.
  9. All position descriptions should include a request for the candidate's experience and/or philosophy on working with under-represented groups, as well as the College statement in support of diversity, equity and inclusion. For this statement please visit https://www.canr.msu.edu/facultystaff/faculty-academic-staff-hr/Inclusion_Statement_memo.pdf 
  10. Draft position descriptions should be forwarded to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs, who will be responsible for circulating the draft position description to the Leadership Team and collate recommendation, and suggestions that will be forwarded to the Unit Administrator and the Chair of Search Committee.
  11. Once the position description is fully approved, an academic position request (APR) needs to be initiated in EBS. Please attach the approved CANR/MABR/MSUE position request form to the APR form. Once submitted, this will follow the HR workflow approval process in order for posting on the Careers@MSU job posting site. It takes approximately two weeks for an FAS position to be posted once the APR reaches MSU Human Resources.
  12. The Search Committee will request and contact applicant job references and have these responses as part of the candidate evaluations before a determination of the on-campus interview list of candidates. Review of all named references are required prior to inviting candidates for a campus interview. Review of references will be verified with the search committee chairperson prior to approval of the ACADEMIC FINAL INTERVIEW LIST APPROVAL FORM.
  13. When the applications have been screened and the Search Committee has identified the candidates to be invited to campus, the Academic Final Interview List Approval Form and Department EEO Summary should be completed and sent to Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs for review by the College Leadership Team and the Dean's Approval. The preferred number of candidates to be invited for on-campus interviews should be no larger than three. Only under special circumstances of an incredibly strong applicant pool will a fourth candidate be approved to be invited for an on-campus interview. Two individuals who are strong candidates, but that are not included in the list of the top three candidates, may be listed as "alternates" on the Academic Final Interview List Approval Form. Once approval by signature by the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs is indicated, the approved interview list needs to be attached to the job card in the applicant tracking system , and sent to the compliance panel for final approval. Full instructions for this may be found in the staffing coordinator guide on HR's website at https://www.hr.msu.edu/ua/pageuphelp/role-based-guides.html (see also link below). The interview list must be fully approved prior to scheduling and conducting final interviews. 
  14. A meeting with the College Leadership Team should be scheduled for each candidate who participates in an on-campus interview. The administrative assistants for the College Leadership Team should be consulted for availability prior to finalizing the dates for on-campus visits. Each candidate should have face-to-face meetings with the College Leadership Team or their designee.
  15. The report from the Search Committee should be addressed and reviewed by the unit faculty and Unit Administrator. The Unit Administrator/Chair of Search Committee should forward the Search Committee report and a summary of the faculty discussion to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs with an indication of which candidates were found to be acceptable or unacceptable. The Dean does not support a ranking of the acceptable candidates, but rather favors a comprehensive summary of strengths and weaknesses for each acceptable candidate. The Unit Administrator/Chair of the Search Committee may be asked to discuss the summaries of acceptable candidates with the College Leadership Team. A search committee report can be generated through the documents tab for the position in the applicant tracking system.
  16. If an acceptable candidate is found based on the discussion among the Unit Administrator/Chair of the Search Committee and the College Leadership Team, the Unit Administrator will be asked to make a verbal offer to the candidate found to have the greatest strengths.  Note: Any changes from the original position request, should be discussed and approved at this time.
  17. The AHR policies for Essential Components for All Letters of Offer - Affirmative Action Searches ; the AHR template for tenure system faculty should be followed. Sample Offer Letter
  18. Units should send the draft letter of offer to the Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs, who will share with the College Leadership Team for review and approval.

    1. Associate Dean for Research will serve as the point person for startup package funding deliberations.
    2. Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs will serve as the point person for review of all letters of offer
  19. The Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs will inform the unit of approved letter of offer.
  20. Once candidate accepts the letter of offer, Unit Administrator forwards signed letter of offer to Associate Dean for Faculty and Administrative Affairs.
  21. The hiring process will need to be completed in the applicant tracking system, which includes extending the official offer online to the candidate, and dispositioning the rest of the applicant pool, in preparation of completing the appointment in EBS. A background check will need to be initiated through HireRight, an I-9 completed, along with required offer letter attachments A-E. Please refer to the staffing coordinator guide for full details regarding extending the offer online and closing out the job posting.

Additional resources:

Handbook for Faculty Searches with Special Reference to Affirmative Action

Guide for Hiring International Faculty and Staff

Faculty & Academic Staff Hiring Forms

Staffing Coordinator Guide for Faculty & Academic Staff Positions

Position Management Policy and CANR/MABR/MSUE Academic Position Request Form


 General Posting Guidelines

All employment openings at Michigan State University must be posted for a minimum of two weeks.

Exceptions to the posting process at MSU are permissible in the following circumstances (and must include written justification): 

  • Positions for executive and senior management (applies to University level only)
  • Positions filled internally
    • Positions filled internally at MSU including:
      • retirees (rehired within two years of retirement)
      • appointment category shifts such as fixed-term to continuing system or fixed-term to tenure system
  • Positions lasting three days or less.
  • Recruitment/retention contingent hire (spousal/partner or faculty/academic staff hired as part of the team of a recruited individual)
  • Emergency hire (for example, if a faculty member needs a medical leave which results in a teaching gap that needs to be filled immediately)


Faculty and Academic Staff Additional Resources:


Academic Specialist Specific Additional Resources: