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Policy: Faculty Background Checks 

Date: 03/21/12 Policy ID: HRM-034 Status: Final

Policy Type: University
Contact Office: Executive Vice President and Provost (Office of the)
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To: 

Academic Division and the College at Wise*
[*HR would coordinate procedures in consultation with the Provost at Wise and their HR officer. There is an established process via JOBS@ for all hiring, including those at WISE. This policy is specific to new academic hires.]

Table of Contents:  Policy Statement
  1. Applicability
  2. Types of Background Checks
  3. Hiring Process
  1. Initiating the Background Check
  2. Criminal History Check
  3. Evaluation Process
  4. Amendments
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.
Policy Summary: 
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: Persons designated to extend offers of employment on behalf of the University. The president, vice presidents and academic deans 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 will perform 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. While a conditional offer of employment may be extended by a designated hiring official in writing, the conditional offer must state that the final offer is contingent upon the satisfactory outcome of the background check process and reference this policy.

The results of a background check are normally valid for 90 days from the date of offer, 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 members offered employment may not begin work at the University of Virginia or the College at Wise until after the designated hiring official is notified that the candidate successfully completed the background check process and all employment references have been properly validated.

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 in a vice presidential area) are subject to background checks unless hired within the 90 day timeframe 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, will 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 shall be referenced in all University and College at Wise faculty position announcements or job advertisements as appropriate.

  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. The electronic employment application process for faculty positions requires a candidate to disclose information concerning all convictions for violations of law.

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. 

If a candidate provides inaccurate, incomplete or falsified information in employment applications, the candidate will not be hired pending an opportunity for the candidate to explain the discrepancy or omission to University Human Resources. 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 the General Counsel.

Background Check Chart:

Required or Contingent

Types of
Background Checks

Responsible Party




Social Security Report provides last 10 addresses. This check is used to validate addresses to better identify districts to consider for criminal history checks


Applicant Insight




Criminal History background check


Applicant Insight




Employment Verification


Applicant Insight




Degree validation Degree validation is typically only for the highest degree, or most relevant degree.


Applicant Insight




Sexual Offender Registry

Virginia State Police (VA checks) or Applicant Insight (all other states or districts)




International Search as necessary.


Applicant Insight




Credit Report for positions with significant financial responsibility


Applicant Insight




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)






Professional License verification as necessary (Note: typically done for positions such as architect, engineers, health care providers, etc.)


Applicant Insight



  1. Initiating the Background Check:
    Before an offer of employment is extended, the candidate will be contacted by the designated hiring official 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. The Provost will consult with the Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) 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 General Counsel.
If the duration of a particular background check is expected to significantly exceed the expected timeline, the hiring official may request permission from the Provost to hire the candidate who may begin work contingent on the successful completion of the background check.

  1. Amendments:
    These procedures may be amended only by the executive vice president and 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


Policy Background: 
Major Category: Human Resource Management
Category Cross Reference: Academic Administration
Next Scheduled Review: 03/21/15
Approved By, Date: Executive Vice President and Provost (as President's Designee), 03/10/12
Revision History: This is the first version of this policy.
Supersedes (previous policy):