UC Recruit

Case study

UC Recruit significantly streamlines the faculty recruitment and application process by automating a process that historically has been a very labor-intensive manual process. Prior to launching an online system, academic support staff compiled by hand thousands of applications, sent out thousands of confirmation notices to applicants, compiled and sorted tens of thousands of letters of reference, and made hundreds of thousands of paper copies for faculty search committees.

In 2006, UC Irvine facilitated collaboration across academic departments to expand a “school-grown” online faculty recruitment system into a campus-wide application. Late in 2009, UC Irvine and UC San Diego proactively collaborated on the delivery of two common academic systems. UCI hosted Recruit for both campuses but provided a campus-specific front-end; UCSD hosted a faculty review system, again with a local look and feel. Their collaboration grew and became a more robust operational framework – so much so that in June 2011, all ten campuses and the Office of the President committed to using UC Recruit as a common faculty recruitment system, hosted and maintained by UCI. The initiative now reports in to the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel (UCOP) and a Governance Board recommends priorities and enhancements.


By July 2013, all ten UC campuses will be using UC Recruit to hire Senate faculty and non-Senate academic appointees. This collaborative approach will achieve savings across the system in both systems development and maintenance. Additionally, for the first time, consistent data on successful outcomes from searches will be collected from a common UC system. Analyses of this data will help to identify best practices in recruiting a diverse faculty, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. A study based on a common set of search data from ten campuses provides an unparalleled opportunity to equip UC for the next phase of institutional transformation. A “Recruitment Data Analysis Project,” part of a systemwide NSF ADVANCE Program grant, will utilize UC Recruit data to analyze key stages of the search process to understand more about why women and under-represented minorities hired continues to lag behind Ph.D. availability in the natural and behavioral sciences as well as engineering and computer and information science.

The UCI and UCSD teams have been recognized with 2010 and 2011 UC Larry L. Sautter Awards for Innovation in Information Technology for their campus collaboration, which addressed the challenges in hosting a single system for multiple locations. As of June 2012, six UC campuses use a campus-branded UC Recruit tool for their campus faculty application system. To date Recruit has hosted over 800 faculty searches, with more than 43,000 faculty applying online. In 2011-12, over 15,000 applicants have applied to 274 faculty positions, with approximately 46,000 reference letters collected within UC Recruit. UC Recruit aids campus equal opportunity employment efforts and annual Affirmative Action reporting requirements by providing a consistent process to request, collect, and report demographic survey information (e.g., sex & ethnicity) on faculty applicant pools, resulting in more reliable and accurate data for analysis. When applicant data was collected manually or in a system outside of the Recruit online application process, applicant response rates at UC Irvine averaged below 55%. UCI realized a vast improvement in applicant response rates with UC Recruit—97% for the 2011-12 academic year. In addition, specialized queries built into the system download data for specific reporting and analytical purposes, eliminating much of the data collection and entry originally involved in producing demographic reports.


Despite the similarities that exist in academic hiring practices across the UC system, standardization may require some campuses to modify some long standing practices. This provides an opportunity for campuses to review and streamline their processes. A governance board of campuses will make recommendations on future enhancements to UC Recruit and the prioritization of requests. Strong partnerships and a commitment to collaborate are critical elements for success.

Initial investment
Initial year UC Recruit implementation costs were slightly under $500,000 and annual maintenance and general support costs are just under $300,000. The Provost seeded a portion of the initial campus implementation costs, and campuses provided additional funds. These costs for the UCI team to host, implement and maintain UC Recruit for the UC system are a small fraction of the financial and personnel resources required for each campus to develop and maintain individual systems. These initial investments support campus implementation and maintenance. However, this funding does not provide support for significant enhancements to UC Recruit.

Fiscal results, current and anticipated

While there is not a tangible systemwide direct savings realized thus far by implementing UC Recruit, a single system solution eliminated the need for each campus to design and develop an in-house faculty recruitment system. In addition to the savings in software development costs, campuses also realize savings in staff and faculty time by the efficiencies created by automating a manual system. While these costs have not yet been tabulated, UC Irvine estimates a savings of over $3 million in faculty and staff resources generated by managing searches in Recruit since 2006.

Current action and next steps

The initial focus of this initiative is to deploy UC Recruit on all remaining campuses, which will bring efficiency and standardization to our systemwide faculty recruitment process. Consistent data can then be generated across the system. This data is expected to inform our recruitment and hiring practices, particularly where we need to measure progress towards goals, such as creating an equitable and transparent process and improving diversity in hiring faculty across all disciplines and campuses. The Office of the President will be working with campuses and systemwide committees, such as the UC ADVANCE PAID steering and research scholars board, to assess and recommend additional data which might be collected to further shape and improve our faculty recruitment efforts. This will allow UC to be a national leader in much needed research in this area.

Concluding statement
Finding shared solutions to common administrative efforts is the defining principle behind the success of the UC Recruit systemwide collaboration. Not only do all participating campuses benefit from any system improvements and enhancements, but by participating in the “best practice” discussion, solutions benefit from the power and wisdom of the entire UC system.