UT Task Force Affirms Hiring Procedures

KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee hiring procedures are sound and adequately adhered to but could be improved by standardization across various UT campuses and units, a UT task force reports.

The six-member task force, appointed in June by UT Acting President Eli Fly to examine UT-s hiring practices, reported “hiring practices throughout the university are quite good and are typically being followed.”

“I am pleased with the task force’s findings and their recommendations for improvement,” Fly said. “I thought that our policies were sound. We just need to follow them every time we hire someone.”

The report recommends development continue on a standard employment application form for staff at all UT campuses. It also says all applicants should be informed of state laws on open records, disclosure of criminal convictions for educational positions and background and credit checks.

The report also suggests a standardized form to more stringently document reference checks and verify degrees, certifications, licenses and other applicant data.

Reference checks and verification already are performed at all UT units, but should include who was contacted, dates, and a signature of who conducted the check, the report says.

The report also calls for a standard policy on all UT positions that require credit checks or criminal background checks. Each UT unit now performs credit and criminal background checks, but criteria are not uniform across campus units, the report says.

The new policy should determine whether checks be local, state or national and assure that they are conducted through appropriate agencies. It would consider new hires and promotions of top administrators and employees who have access to cash or large financial transactions, the report says.

The report says new UT employees should receive information about UT policies on fraud and theft and acknowledge that they have read them.

UT’s internal audit, human resources and general counsel offices will implement the recommendations, the report says.

“The task force has gathered significant information and knowledge in the process of developing these recommendations. Therefore, (its) members would like the opportunity share this information and knowledge with the groups charged with implementation,” the report says in its conclusion.

“Task force members would also like to share these recommendations with the University community and encourage comments and ideas as to the best way to implement the recommendations.”

Task force members are: Sara Phillips, who chairs the group and is UT assistant vice president for human resources; Richard Brown, vice chancellor for administration and finance at UT-Chattanooga; Katherine Greenberg, professor of educational psychology and incoming president of the faculty senate in Knoxville; Charles Norman, dean and professor in the agricultural extension service; Amy Paganelli, director of the business office at the Graduate School of Medicine; and Richard Washington, director of personnel services at the UT Health Science Center, Memphis.