HRM-034: Faculty Background Checks

Date: 03/21/2012 Status: Final
Last Revised: 06/17/2015
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To: Academic Division and the College at Wise.* [*HR coordinates procedures in consultation with the provost and human resources officer at Wise. There is an established process via JOBS@ for all hiring, including those at the College at Wise.]
Reason for Policy:

The University’s commitment to the highest standards of conduct is an integral part of its mission of excellence in teaching, research, public service, and healthcare. This policy facilitates a safe and secure environment and assists in protecting University assets, property and information.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Background Check:

    A review of confidential and public information to confirm identity and credentials, and to investigate employment and criminal history.

  • Designated Hiring Official:

    An individual who is authorized to extend a conditional offer of employment to individuals on behalf of the University. The president, vice presidents, academic deans of the University’s schools, and the University librarian are designated hiring officials. Hiring authority may be delegated in writing by one of these individuals with the approval of the president or the appropriate vice president.

Policy Statement:

The University performs background checks on all new faculty hires prior to making a final offer of employment. The following background check requirements and procedures are intended to provide consistent administration of the background check process:

  1. Applicability:
    All new faculty appointments/hires are contingent upon the satisfactory outcome of a background check as designated herein. A release form must be signed by the candidate in order to conduct a background check. A final offer of employment may not be extended prior to the completion of the background check review and approval.

    The results of a background check are normally valid for 90 days following the completion of the background check, however the executive vice president and provost (Provost) reserves the option to extend the time period or require an additional background check within that time period prior to making an employment decision.

Faculty rehired after a break in service of one year or more from the University must undergo a background check. Current faculty applying for a new position at the University are subject to this policy and the background check process. Current faculty applying for a senior administrative position (typically a direct report to a vice president) are subject to background checks unless hired within the 90 day time-frame and the Provost exercises the option not to obtain another background check during the 90-day period. Faculty without a break in service who are being promoted, tenured, or reappointed in the same position, do not require background checks.

Current faculty appointed to senior administrative positions within their school may not undergo a new background check unless the school dean requires background checks for the relevant administrative level.

This policy should be referenced in all University faculty position announcements or job advertisements.

  1. Contingent Hires:
    If the duration of a particular background check is expected to exceed six weeks, the designated hiring official may allow the candidate to begin work contingent on the successful completion of the background check, provided the criminal background, sexual offender registry, and professional license verification components of the background check process have been completed and evaluated in accordance with the terms of this policy before the faculty member begins work at the University. In the event of a contingent hire, the conditional offer must state that the final offer is contingent upon the satisfactory outcome of the background check process and reference this policy.

  1. Types of Background Checks:
    The background check completed for all potential faculty hires will include, at a minimum:
    • Social Security Report
    • Examination of Federal Debarment Lists
    • Criminal History (domestic and international, if applicable)
    • Employment Verification
    • Degree Validation
    • Sexual Offender Registry

In addition, other appropriate checks will be conducted for certain individuals (such as an international background check for persons who have resided outside the United States) or certain positions (such as a professional license check for an architect or engineer). The Background Check Chart provides a list of the various types of background checks and the responsible party.

  1. Hiring Process:
    Background checks are conducted by University Human Resources only on the final candidate.

Disclosing a conviction is not an automatic bar to employment. Convictions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the following factors and any other relevant information:

  1. The nature and gravity of the offense or offenses;
  2. The time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence;
  3. The nature of the job held or sought; and
  4. The honesty of the candidate in disclosing and fully completing the application materials.

Candidates who provide inaccurate, incomplete, or falsified information in employment applications,will be given the opportunity to explain the discrepancy or omission to University Human Resources prior to the evaluation of their completed background check and a final hiring decision. Providing inaccurate, incomplete, or falsified information on the employment application may result in the candidate being ineligible for hire. Final hiring approval will be given by the responsible dean and Provost in consultation with the Office of University Counsel.


Background Check Chart

Required or Contingent Types of
Background Checks
Responsible Party
Required Criminal History background check Applicant Insight
Required Employment Verification Applicant Insight
Required Degree validation is typically only for the highest degree.

National Student Clearinghouse (United States)
Applicant Insight (international)

Required Sexual Offender Registry Applicant Insight
Contingent International Search as necessary. Applicant Insight
Contingent Credit Report for positions with significant financial responsibility. Applicant Insight
Contingent DMV Record Check as necessary (Note: typically done only for positions that routinely drive University vehicles or those that require a commercial driver’s license). Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VA)
Applicant Insight (All Other States)
Contingent Professional License verification as necessary (Note: typically done for positions such as architect, engineers, health care providers, etc.). Applicant Insight

 

Procedures:
  1. Initiating the Background Check:
    Before an offer of employment is extended, the candidate will be contacted by the designated hiring official or his/her designee and will be required to complete consent forms to initiate the background check. All background reviews or checks (other than those undertaken by the hiring department as shown in the chart) will be undertaken by University Human Resources or its vendor/designee, unless otherwise authorized by the Provost. The hiring department is responsible for all costs related to background checks.

Individual schools may have more restrictive guidelines for conducting and responding to background checks for faculty who will be interacting with vulnerable populations such as children or patients.

  1. Criminal History Check:
    The “Central Criminal Records Exchange” maintained by the Virginia State Police (VSP) is checked for all candidates recommended for hire. In addition, those candidates who have resided outside the Commonwealth of Virginia are subject to a background check of conviction records in those states and countries where they resided.

The results are maintained as confidential personnel files and are not publicly disseminated except pursuant to subpoena or otherwise as required by applicable law.

  1. Evaluation Process:
    After University Human Resources receives the background check report it will compare the information in the report with the information disclosed by the candidate. If there are no convictions or no convictions that the responsible dean in consultation with the Provost determines to be disqualifying, the designated hiring official is informed that the candidate passed the background check process.

If a criminal conviction is revealed as part of the background check, the vice president and chief human resources officer (or designee) will consult with the Provost and the dean on the nature and circumstances of the conviction. The candidate will be given the opportunity to explain or discuss the conviction with the Provost (or designee). The final decision regarding the status of the candidate will be made by the responsible dean and the Provost in consultation with the Office of University Counsel.

  1. Amendments:
    These procedures may be amended only by the Provost in consultation with the president of the University, and nothing herein shall be interpreted as creating any vested or contract rights.
Related Information:

A1 Authorization Form
Virginia State Police Background Check Form (SP167)

PROV-006, Extending Offers of Employment to Faculty in Academic Areas

Major Category: Human Resource Management
Category Cross Reference: Academic Administration
Next Scheduled Review: 05/01/2018
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Provost (as President's Designee), 03/10/2012
Revision History: Updated 6/17/15, 5/1/15.