To maintain its stature as a great research institution, the University must to be able to compete effectively for top faculty. In part, this depends on agility in the hiring process. Current faculty hiring procedures permit Schools and Colleges and their Departments to begin verbal negotiations with a preferred candidate as soon as the interview process is concluded. Through verbal negotiations, a unit can communicate quickly to reach tentative agreement with the candidate before a formal offer letter is prepared.
The goal of verbal negotiation is to reach agreement about proposed terms and conditions of employment. Units and their candidates must understand, however, that the only binding terms are those established in the offer letter and the AAUP contract. The appointment letter and the AAUP collective bargaining agreement constitute the complete and entire agreement between the University and the candidate and supersede any prior written or verbal assurances or representations related to the appointment.
This guidance is intended to help units conduct verbal negotiations appropriately. It identifies those terms that may be discussed with the candidate and offers qualifying language to help units communicate clearly. This guidance governs only negotiations with prospective tenured and tenure track faculty members identified as candidates through an approved search.
Terms and Conditions
In all verbal negotiations, units must adhere to the approved terms and conditions for the position. Units should not offer benefits, resources, or conditions that do not have the explicit support of the Dean and the Provost, as appropriate. If a candidate asks for terms or resources that are not already approved, the unit should discuss these with the Dean or Provost before reaching a tentative verbal agreement with the candidate about them.
Within those boundaries, units may wish to discuss the following employment terms and conditions with candidates:
- Job Title and Rank.
- Effective Date of Appointment (start date).
- Appointment Term (9, 10, or 11 month appointment).
- Tenure at hire or tenure “clock” (semester when consideration for tenure would occur).
- Proposed starting salary.
- Eligibility for salary increases (merit and across-the-board raises).
- Benefits package, including access to State of Connecticut sponsored retirement and health insurance plans.
- Research expectations (in accordance with University and Departmental policies).
- Teaching load expectations (in accordance with University and Departmental policies).
- Service expectations (in accordance with University and Departmental policies).
- One-time “start-up” discretionary funds for research, travel, or professional development.
- Opportunities for summer salary or summer teaching.
- Office and/or laboratory space.
- Graduate students support.
- Moving expenses.
- For international (non-resident) faculty, potential eligibility for support from the Department of International Services and Programs (DISP) to obtain work authorization and/or sponsorship for permanent residency.
- Other issues of concern to the candidate.
The candidate should be informed that the employment offer is be conditioned on the following, as appropriate:
- Reference checks (on and off list).
- Sanctions check, pre-employment criminal background check, and any other required background investigations.
- Verification of employment history.
- Verification of education, credentials, and any required licenses or certifications.
- Successful completion of terminal degree.
- Proof of eligibility to work in U.S. (I-9).
The search committee may have conducted some of these checks prior to verbal negotiation, in which case they need not be communicated to the candidate.
It is important that candidates understand that any agreements made verbally are not official commitments and are not binding. To that end, the official conducting the negotiation should include language similar to the following in discussions with candidates:
I’m pleased to offer you the position of ____________. Please understand that, at this stage, this is a tentative offer.
Once we reach a general understanding on the basic terms of this appointment, I will get final approval, and will summarize the terms in a formal offer letter signed by the Department Head and the Dean.
The official letter, together with the AAUP contract, then constitutes the complete agreement between you and the University.
If the candidate is willing to accept the conditional offer as proposed, the official conducting the negotiation will then arrange for a formal written offer using the standard appointment letter format.
If there are unresolved issues or the candidate demands terms that exceed the authorized scope of negotiation, the unit may take one of the following steps:
- Seek additional authority from the Dean, Provost and/or other relevant officials to adjust or improve the proposed terms; or
- Seek authority from the Dean to begin discussions with another qualified candidate from the original interview pool approved by ODE; or
- Seek authority from the Dean to identify additional “A” candidates from the pool and submit another request to interview to ODE; or
- Seek authority from the Dean to re-advertise the position.
If the negotiations are unsuccessful, the candidate should be notified in writing immediately that they are no longer considered a candidate for the position.