We all know that a prospective faculty member’s credentials and scholarly achievements are important. But the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, UCCS, insists upon knowing more. How well can the candidate motivate, engage with and support others? Is she able to collaborate well with faculty peers?

UCCS has 11,000 students. Among them, 30% identify as belonging to a minority group, 20% are affiliated with the military and 40% are the first in their families to attend college. To meet the needs of these very diverse groups, UCCS seeks teachers who can understand their unique challenges as well as mentor, teach and advise.

For example, UCCS needs professors who can understand the first-generation students’ pressing job and family obligations while encouraging them to complete their education, says Dr. Venkat Reddy, Dean, College of Business, & Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Programs.

“We’re potentially picking a colleague for the next 20-30 years. So, we really do need to make sure that person is the right fit,” adds Dr. Patrick McGuire, Assistant Professor, Teaching & Learning and Co-Director, UCCS Teach Program, College of Education.

A different kind of reference checking helps

To hire the best, UCCS relies on SkillSurvey’s Pre-Hire 360®, the automated reference-checking tool which gives references the ability to go online to quickly and provide feedback on a job candidate’s skills. The tool uses scientifically-valid, job-specific surveys that include the range of competencies found to be most relevant to success. For example, a few of the questions from the faculty candidate survey ask references:

  • How well a candidate has used a variety of instructional methods to accommodate diverse student populations
  • How well the candidate conveys information in a variety of formats, and
  • If the candidate encourages students helping them rise to challenging tasks.

UCCS, which requires five references to comment on each candidate, appreciates consolidated reference feedback data in an online Pre-Hire 360® Candidate Comparison Report. The better to easily and objectively compare candidate feedback … and then make a hiring decision. The university also uses the reports to quickly spot potential red flags, such as references who choose not to respond.

Better, faster decision-making

Data from Pre-Hire 360® helps search committees make decisions when candidates are “neck-and-neck” with others, adds Mary Hurless, Business & HR Professional at UCCS’ College of Engineering. “It was the SkillSurvey report…it made their decision.”

While UCCS is benefiting from good data on candidates, Pre-Hire 360® has also enabled the university to streamline its entire referencing process. Previously, UCCS made phone calls to references, which sometimes took as long as a month to complete. Now, online reference checking is completed in two days.

See the video and full case study on how UCCS is using Pre-Hire 360® to find great faculty members who thrive in a diverse environment.

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