Two people in the Ramaly GreenhouseRecruiting top faculty is a key to the University of Colorado Boulder achieving its strategic imperatives of shaping tomorrow’s leaders, being the top university for innovation and positively impacting humanity.

As a tier-I research, Carnegie-class institution, CU Boulder is committed to building and maintaining faculty excellence in scholarship, teaching and service. While most faculty searches follow a fairly regular path, from approval of a position to the final agreement for a faculty member to join our ranks, there are a number of occasions where the campus can adapt its processes to make a strategic hire of an outstanding individual who can build on our baseline of excellence and contribute immediately to our community. In such cases, CU Boulder is able to adapt its hiring processes.

The STAR program is a special set of processes that covers a number of different situations where the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Faculty Affairs can help academic units complete successful recruitments in a strategic and timely fashion.

Two Types of Special Recruitment

It is in the university’s best interest to recruit applicants whose creative work and research, teaching and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity in higher education. Likewise, there are cases in which retaining an existing faculty member or recruiting a new faculty member to the Boulder campus requires cooperation and collaboration from other campus units when the appointment or retention of one person is contingent upon the employment of another.

This program is particularly interested in scholars with the potential to bring to their academic careers the critical perspective that comes from their non-traditional educational background or understanding of the experiences of groups historically underrepresented in higher education.

If a unit wishes to pursue such a hire, it will submit through its dean to the provost a request to open such a search. The request will include:

  1. A description of the position and how it will contribute to diversity and inclusive excellence. The description should include a listing of recommended salary and any other financial commitments being made to potential recruits, including start-up funds and space.
  2. A departmental plan for welcoming and mentoring the new faculty member.
  3. A copy of the planned advertisement for the position. The advertisement must include in its mandatory requirements for the position an appropriate statement on the kinds of contributions to diversity and inclusive excellence to be made by the candidate.

The provost, through the Office of Faculty Affairs, will create a three-person review committee to make recommendations to the provost on which new positions should be authorized. The provost’s decision on which positions are approved is final.

The provost agrees that s/he will commit 50 percent of the salary of any successful search under this program. For untenured tenure-track faculty, the funding will be provided throughout the probationary period (up to the award of tenure). For faculty hired with tenure, the provost will provide up to seven years of funding.

Once approved, the unit will advertise the position and conduct its search appropriately as defined by the unit’s bylaws and the policies and procedures of the school or college, the campus, and the university system.

Once the search is completed, the unit will submit through the dean to the provost the files for the finalists including the individual selected to be offered the position. If the provost approves the hire, an offer will then be made.

In some cases, a regular search will yield two qualified candidates who both contribute to diversity. In such a case, the unit should consult with the dean and the provost about the possibility of hiring both candidates.

In the course of hiring, a department may find a preferred candidate requests that her/his spouse or partner also be considered for a hire. Spousal/partner hiring can be a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining first-rate faculty. Done right, it can bring two great faculty members to CU Boulder.

In order to make a dual career program work, the provost’s wffice will provide initial partial funding for an academic couple hire and will authorize a search waiver when an appropriate case is brought forward through Faculty Affairs and approved by the provost.

Except in rare circumstances, financial support and waivers are not available through this program if a candidate is identified as a finalist through a “normal” search that has been approved, funded and initiated at the school or college level, as these situations fall outside of the spirit of the joint-partner placement problem addressed here. Simply put, if two departments independently decide to hire people through approved searches that we then discover are an academic couple, then we would not usually use this program as part of the hiring process.

A unit being asked to consider hiring a spousal candidate should evaluate the request with three key questions in mind:

  1. Does this person meet the standards of the unit; that is, does the individual under consideration have the profile of someone who can succeed in the reappointment and tenure/review process?
  2. Would the candidate strengthen the unit?
  3. Would this hire serve the interests of the campus; that is, can the unit make the accommodation in order to strengthen a fellow unit?

Decisions on requests for financial support and/or waivers of search under this policy are made by the provost in the best interest of the university. Decisions of the provost are final.

Process Guidelines

  1. This program, by definition, almost always involves two academic departments. The deans of these two academic units should be consulted early in the dual recruiting efforts to improve the flow of communication. If during a search or retention, a unit finds that a candidate is requesting a position for a spouse/partner within the same unit, the unit should follow its own guidelines on hiring. If the unit has special guidelines for spousal/partner hiring, those should, of course, be followed; if no specific guidelines are in place, the department should follow its general rules for hiring, with the understanding that there will not be an initial open search (a search waiver should be requested).
  2. This program applies only to cases where excellence is advanced in both the requesting and receiving units. The essence of how excellence is advanced in both cases is an important element the provost will consider in either supporting or denying such requests.
  3. Dual career academic couple nominations are accepted where the partner headed to a receiving unit might be eligible for employment at any academic level (including tenure and non-tenure track appointments) or in a staff role.
  4. Unless otherwise approved by the provost, cases involving retention should involve evidence of active recruiting efforts by another institution. Pre-emptive retention can be a valuable tool, but if this procedure is to be used in a pre-emptive retention, the provost needs to approve it.
  5. The chair, director, or dean of the requesting unit (i.e. the unit that is recruiting a faculty member through a regular search process or engaged in an active retention situation with a current faculty member) is responsible for contacting the appropriate receiving unit for possible employment of the partner.
  6. The requesting unit acknowledges that the receiving unit retains independence and control over the evaluation of the academic partner’s performance and personnel decisions at reappointment, tenure and promotion.
  7. Requests from units considering the dual spousal program should be handled through the deans offices of both the requesting and receiving units prior to advanced conversation with prospective recruiting targets.
  8. The general model of financial support for the partner will be that the provost’s office contributes one-third, the requesting unit one-third, and the receiving unit one-third to the partner’s proposed salary for an initial period of five years. In years six and beyond, the salary would be borne by the receiving unit.
  9. This policy relates only to the funding of a partner hire’s base salary. Unless otherwise agreed to, the accommodations of start-up funds or other research or teaching support is provided by the receiving unit.
  10. It needs to be clear to all parties that a decision by the campus to support a dual academic career hire has no bearing on personnel reviews for reappointment, tenure and promotion. Both members of the dual career hire will need to meet the standards and criteria of their home units and of the campus.
  11. Visiting appointments or appointments into non-tenure track faculty positions may be entertained by the provost, but are not generally the central focus or application of this program.

Approval Process

  • Upon agreement between the two departments and the relevant dean(s), the units should make a joint request to be forwarded by the requesting unit (seeking funding and a search waiver) to the orovost through the dean(s)’ office(s) and the Office of Faculty Affairs. The requesting unit is generally charged with managing the flow of this process to assure job waivers and funding agreements are secured.
  • The requesting unit will file a Dual Academic Career Hiring form (to be designed by OFA).
  • Unless tenure is involved, the provost’s office will respond within two weeks of filing.
  • If the granting of tenure to the partner is involved, the hiring decision should follow the appropriate review process, depending upon whether the partner already holds tenure or not. Tenure is, of course, subject to review by all levels up to and including the Board of Regents. Hire with tenure cases will, as always, be expedited by Faculty Affairs where needed and appropriate.


  • The program will be managed by the provost such that executed agreements will be honored.
  • Upon the resignation, termination, or retirement of the faculty member from the requesting unit within the five-year commitment, the funds allocated by the campus and the requesting unit to the receiving unit will continue until the expiration of the five-year plan.
  • Upon the resignation, termination, or retirement of the faculty member from the receiving unit within the five-year commitment, the funds allocated by the Campus and the requesting unit to the receiving unit will terminate.
  • The continued existence of the Dual Career Academic Program is subject to the availability of funds and thus may be limited or suspended at any time by the provost.

Partner Hires for Staff Positions

On occasions the partner in a dual career couple will be looking for a job that does not involve an appointment to the faculty. In such cases, the unit will work with the Office of Faculty Affairs and CU Boulder Human Resources to try to accommodate the partner hire. (HR will need additional resources from the campus to ensure the success of this process.)

In some cases, HR will be able to match a partner with a position that is currently open. In that case, HR and the requesting unit should consult with the unit doing the hiring to see if the partner is an appropriate hire.

In other cases, where the partner has skills or experiences that could add to the capacity of the campus but where no current position is open, HR and the requesting unit will work with a potential hiring unit to see if a new position might be created. If a new position is created, the receiving unit is responsible for following all HR procedures for the creation of this position and must also obtain a search waiver.

If such a new position is created, the salary for that position will be covered for the first year on the following basis: one-third by the provost, one-third by the requesting unit and one-third for the receiving unit. After the first year, the salary will be paid in its entirety by the receiving unit.

Where no position on campus that is appropriate can be found, HR will work with the partner to look at opportunities beyond the university. No financial commitment can be made by university for any such positions.

Additional Scenarios

In a targeted hire, a unit may be able to identify an individual who uniquely meets the unit’s needs, and there is an opportunity to recruit this individual outside the normal search process. In such a case, a unit may file a request with the provost to waive the search and proceed to hire that individual.

In an accelerated hire, particularly when a hire with tenure is involved, the campus may need to speed up its processes. Such situations arise when, say, we are recruiting a senior person whose home institution is making a retention counter-offer or where an individual has competing offers from a number of institutions. When a unit is in such a situation, it should inform the Office of Faculty Affairs, which will aid the unit in moving the recruitment process forward quickly.