Affirmative Action Guidelines for Academic Appointments


In keeping with its affirmative action obligations, Rice University is committed to achieving its goals in employment for minority and female faculty and to facilitate the employment of veterans and individuals with disabilities. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide those charged with responsibility for recruiting, selecting and initiating the employment of faculty members at Rice University with information necessary to perform these functions within University policy and in conformance with federal and state employment law.


Faculty appointments at Rice University are divided into three categories, Professorial ranks, Faculty Fellow ranks and Non professorial ranks.

Professorial ranks: These describe positions for which tenure may be awarded after appointment or at promotion to the rank of Associate Professor or Professor. These positions are limited to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Professor.

Faculty Fellow ranks: These describe positions that closely parallel the professorial ranks with three important exceptions: Faculty Fellow positions (1) carry no tenure, (2) no financial support from the University (they are funded by contract or grant), and (3) no classroom teaching commitment. These appointments are made for a specific period of time, usually no less than three nor more than five years. Renewals of appointments are contingent upon satisfactory performance and external funding. These positions are limited to Faculty Fellow, Senior Faculty Fellow and Distinguished Faculty Fellow.

Non-professorial ranks: These describe positions that are primarily instructional and curricular and are not eligible for tenure. The positions may be part-time appointments and usually carry no implication of eligibility for promotion or candidacy for any other position. These positions include Instructor, Lecturer, Adjunct, Visiting, Artist Teacher, Critic, and other special appointments.


When recruiting for new or existing faculty positions, the recruiting department will be responsible for adherence to Rice's recruitment and affirmative action/equal employment opportunity policies and will ensure that the required procedures are implemented at each stage of the recruiting process. The EEO/AA compliance will be documented by means of an Affirmative Action Search Summary and Candidate Log. (These forms are available on the EEO/AA website, ""). The forms may be completed and printed directly on your computer.

The Affirmative Action Search Summary and Candidate Log are required for all faculty appointments with the exception of the following for which Affirmative Action procedures and forms are waived:

  • Appointments without salary
  • Visiting faculty (These positions are limited to persons who hold primary positions elsewhere, usually at another University/Institute etc., and who plan to be at Rice for a period not exceeding two years. Prior to appointment, the candidate must certify that he/she has a position elsewhere to resume at the end of the period).
  • Emergency (temporary) appointments for one semester or one year only.

In situations of unusual or exceptional circumstances, affirmative action requirements may be waived for other appointments. If a request for waiver is contemplated, contact the Director of Affirmative Action for discussion before the appointment is initiated. For exceptions to the definitions listed above for faculty, contact the Provost's Office for assistance.

Recruitment for Professorial ranks
After a position has been authorized by the Office of the Provost but before a formal search is undertaken, the department chair should appoint a search committee and prepare a search plan. When feasible, the search committee should include female and minority members. The plan should include:

1. Position: Identify the specific position or positions as described in the request for authorization for the search.

2. Priorities: Indicate how the filling of this position will advance departmental and divisional priorities. This needs to be considered in the context of a multiyear vision of the department chair and Dean. If the position for which authorization is requested is not the department's (or division's) highest priority, please explain. If more than one position is involved, please rank by priority.

3. Advertising : Indicate where the position is to be announced. Attach a copy of the advertisement to be placed. Be sure to include the statement "Rice University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, women and minorities are encouraged to apply" on all announcements. Describe other efforts such as e-mails, letters or phone calls to appropriate sources and any special efforts made to identify women or minority candidates. List the members of the search committee and designate one of these to be a liaison with the Affirmative Action Office.

Approvals: The search plan should be submitted to the appropriate Dean for approval prior to beginning the search. The Dean will review the plan and either approve it or suggest revisions. When the plan has been approved by the Dean, the Dean's Office should forward a copy to the Affirmative Action Office and the search committee's liaison with that office should get in touch with the Director. The Director may suggest additional sources for recruitment of minorities and women. There is no intention that the filing of these search plans should impede the progress of a search. A search plan can be written and approved by the relevant Dean while the authorization process for the position is still in progress, provided that the plan is in accord with the authorization at the time it is implemented.

5. Conducting the search: In conducting the search, the committee is urged to actively seek out applications from minority and female candidates in departments where they are underrepresented. All candidates for faculty positions who submit a CV are considered "applicants" for purposes of Affirmative Action record keeping and must be included on the candidate log. However, only the vitae of minority and female applicants and those actually interviewed, need be included in the package sent on for approval. All vitae must be held by the department for three years.

Selection for Professorial ranks

After the search is complete and a candidate is identified, the following paperwork will be completed by the department and forwarded to the appropriate Dean (check with your dean's office to be sure nothing additional is required):

a. Recommendation of Appointment for Faculty and Professional Personnel form.

b. Affirmative action search summary and accompanying candidate log.

c. Curriculum vitae.

d. Three or more letters of reference.

e. A letter of recommendation from the department chair addressing issues such as length of appointment, salary, startup, space, a summary of the evaluation and selection process, actual vote of the faculty and reservations if any, about the candidate.

Please note - If the appointment is recommended with tenure, a dossier must also be prepared and forwarded to the Dean.

The Dean will review all materials submitted in support of the faculty appointment. If approved, the Dean will add a letter of recommendation for the hire and forward the entire package to the Director of Affirmative Action for review and approval. The AA Director will review the material and if approved, forward the package to the Provost.

The Provost will review the appointment and if approved, forward the material to the President. If the appointment is with tenure, the Provost will convene the Promotion and Tenure Committee to review the dossier.

The President will review the appointment and if approved, the Dean will be notified

that an informal offer may be made to the candidate.

If the Dean's informal offer is accepted by the candidate, the appointment must still be approved by the Board of Trustees at its next regularly scheduled meeting. After Board approval, the President will write a formal offer letter to the new faculty appointee.

When the new faculty member has accepted the formal offer, the department will complete a Personnel Action form and a Personnel Data form and forward them to the Office of the Dean and the Provost for approval. The Provost's Office will send the forms to HR for processing.

If the Dean's informal offer is rejected, notify the Provost and the Director of Affirmative Action.

Recruitment for Faculty Fellow ranks

The procedures for recruitment, selection and appointment of candidates for Faculty Fellow rank positions are the same as those for professorial ranks with the following exceptions:

  • There is no requirement for approval of the appointment by the Board of Trustees.
  • There is no necessity for an informal offer by the Dean. Once the President has approved the appointment, a formal offer letter will be sent to the candidate.

Recruitment for non-professorial ranks

The procedures for recruitment, selection and appointment of candidates for non-professorial rank positions are the same as those for professorial ranks with the following exceptions:

  • Approvals by the Provost, President and Board of Trustees are not required.
  • Once the appointment has been approved by the Dean and the Director of Affirmative Action, the Dean issues the one and only offer letter.

When the new faculty member has accepted the Dean's offer, the Dean's office will forward the following documents to:Human Resources: (1) the original recommendation of appointment form, (2) the completed affirmative action search summary and candidate log, (3) a copy of the acceptance letter, and (4) an original and one copy of the personnel action form. Provost's Office: (1) a copy of the recommendation of appointment form, (2) a copy of the completed affirmative action form and candidate log, (3) the new appointee's CV (4) the original of the acceptance letter and (5) a copy of the tenure policy (# 201-97) signed by the appointee.

If an offer is rejected, the Dean will notify the Department and the Affirmative Action Office of the rejection.


‚ÄčThe Office of Affirmative Action subscribes to several annual directories designed to aid in recruitment of minority, female and disabled faculty. Among these are:

  • The Directory of Minority Ph.D. Recipients, 1998
  • The 1998 CIC Directory of Women in Science and Engineering
  • The Minority and Women Doctoral Directory 1998-99
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science Resource Directory of Scientists and Engineers With Disabilities

In addition to advertisements in journals published for specific disciplines and The Chronicle of Higher Education, a search committee might consider placing advertisements for faculty in journals that targets specific groups. The Affirmative Action Office recommends:

Women in Higher Education
2325 West Lawn Avenue
Madison, WI 53711-1953
Contact: Mary Zenke

Black Issues in Higher Education
10520 Warwick Avenue, Suite B-8
Fairfax, VA 22030-3108

The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education
210 Route 4 East
Paramus, NJ 07652

Assistance in the identification and recruitment of minority candidates is also available from the office of Dr. Roland Smith, Associate Provost.

AA/EEO 5/99