Through the Opportunity Hire Program, The University of Maine is able to employ and retain highly qualified individuals who make a unique contribution to The University and its strategic plan. Such individuals include those with national or international stature; those who bring a unique or different perspective because of their professional or personal backgrounds, interests or expertise; and partners of current or prospective University faculty and staff who themselves have talents that match the needs of the organization. These appointments often represent opportunities that require rapid response to exceptional persons with competing career options.
The Opportunity Hire Program includes a process for requesting a search waiver and/or single or multi-year financial support. The criteria for evaluating these requests include:
- Qualifications of the individual proposed
- Impact of the hire on The University’s Strategic Plan and institutional goals
- Consensus within the hiring department for the requested appointment
- Degree to which department/college funds support the position over time
- Rationale for waiving the normal search requirement
- Likelihood of future success (promotion and tenure, where applicable)
Search Waiver Request
University policy requires a national search for faculty and professional appointments of more than five months (excluding promotions). The Director of Equal Opportunity may grant search waivers upon request for positions lasting up to one year. The Opportunity Hire process is designed for ongoing or longer appointments that meet institutional priorities and require rapid University action.
Opportunity Hire funds are available to “seed” or phase in appointments, which are eventually supported through department/college base budgets. Funding may be requested for one to three years. A favored model is multi-year assistance where the share of Opportunity Hire funding decreases as the base budget funding for the position increases. If the individual so supported leaves the University, any future Opportunity Hire funds committed revert to the pool maintained by the Office of Equal Opportunity.
Occasionally, funds may be used to support a one-year appointment, such as a Teaching Fellow or a Visiting Professor, if the appointment meets relevant criteria of the Opportunity Hire program.
A small portion of Opportunity Hire funds are designated annually for recruitment efforts related to the University’s Affirmative Action Plan. A search committee may apply to the Director of Equal Opportunity for funds to bring an additional, highly ranked finalist to campus for an interview. This process is outlined in OEO’s information on professional and faculty searches. In addition, departments may contact the Director of the Graduate School for assistance in bringing minority doctoral candidates (or women in disciplines where they are underrepresented at UMaine) to campus for recruitment purposes.
Special Considerations Regarding Search Waivers
The Immigration and Naturalization Service usually insists that applicants for permanent residency (green card) status have participated in a national search before being appointed to an ongoing (such as tenure eligible faculty) position. A search waiver process will not suffice in such cases. Contact the Office of International Programs (1-2905) to initiate the paperwork for candidates who are not currently eligible to work here, or to discuss whether a national search will be required to support an application for permanent residency.
The University of Maine requires background checks and/or pre-employment physicals for individuals appointed to positions designated as financially sensitive, requiring driving as an essential duty, involving work with children, or in public safety. Contact Human Resources (1-1581) if you are seeking a waiver for such an appointment.
Requesting departments should contact the Director of Equal Opportunity to discuss the feasibility of a specific Opportunity Hire request before submitting the paperwork, which includes the Opportunity Hire Request form, the vita of the individual under consideration, additional supporting documentation (peer committee letter), and a Request to Fill form. A PAF may be included or may be sent once the waiver or funding is approved. The appropriate Dean or Director must sign the Opportunity Hire Request. The Director of Equal Opportunity will forward her recommendation to the appropriate Vice President or to the President, who approves the appointment.