Dean Appointment Policy and Procedures


These policy and the related procedures apply to staff members and all other persons (eg recruiters) dealing with the appointment of deans at the University.


To outline the principles and the procedures to be followed to appoint to a dean within the University


1. The Vice-Chancellor must determine:

  • the need to appoint a new dean
  • advisory panel membership
  • terms and conditions of any appointment, including total remuneration to be offered

2. Vacancies are to be advertised as required under the State Sector Act 1998, any exceptions to this require approval of the HR Director.

Note - Often an external search agency will be used in the appointment of a dean to ensure international coverage of the vacancy.

3. Confidentiality of all information must be maintained at all times by persons throughout the selection process in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020.

4. Application documents and resumes of short listed candidates may be made available to selected University staff members as deemed necessary by the HR Director.

5. All appointments are to be based on merit, using objective evidence and criteria.

Advisory panel

6. The Vice-Chancellor is to approve the membership of an advisory panel typically comprising:

  • Vice-Chancellor as chair
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellors (Academic and Research)
  • HR Director
  • 2 deans from other relevant faculties
  • the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori)
  • the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity)
  • 1 member from the faculty executive team (nominated by the executive team)
  • 1 professorial member (nominated by faculty professors)
  • 1 or more sub-professorial staff members from faculty (nominated by faculty sub- professorial staff)
  • professional staff member (nominated by faculty professional staff)
  • other members as determined by the Vice-Chancellor

7. The advisory panel is to be chosen or elected with experience, expertise and diversity in mind whilst striving for gender balance and ethnic diversity.

8. Panel members must attend the interviews of all the candidates.

9. Where a member meets with one candidate eg to facilitate a staff meeting, they must meet with every candidate in this capacity.

10. Members must not consult or discuss the recruitment process with any other person except as authorised by the Vice-Chancellor

11. Communications to the faculty staff and other stakeholders are to be determined by the Vice-Chancellor in consultation with the panel.

12. In the first instance referee reports are to be made available only to the Vice-Chancellor and the HR Director who will decide if it is appropriate for the rest of the advisory panel to be privy to these reports.

Note - The normal expectation is that they will be made available to the panel.

13. Appointment decisions are to be made by the Vice-Chancellor after considering the suitability of the applicants according to the criteria and conditions of appointment as outlined in the original advertised position description.

14. The HR Director or a nominated HR representative is responsible for overseeing the overall process and for arranging all administrative support.


15. The following procedures may only be varied with approval from the Vice-Chancellor or the HR Director.

Search procedures

16. The search procedures are to be managed by Human Resources, normally in conjunction with an external search agency.

17. The search agency is to actively liaise with the HR Director with regards to advertising and timelines.

18. The search agency is to be the point of contact for applicants until such time as a shortlist and dates for interview have been finalised at which point the University HR Representative (HRR) is to liaise with the short listed candidates directly.


Approves “position details” including:

  • selection criteria
  • qualifications; fields of expertise; experience; duties
  • material for the candidate information booklet
  • defines search & advertising strategy
  • decides on closing date and if external search agency will be used
  • establishes timeline recruitment
  • ensures HRR is aware of proposed timeline
HR Director
  • puts forward proposals from external search agencies and
    advises Vice-Chancellor on preferred agency if position is to be managed
HRR/external search agency
  •  advertises position

Shortlisting procedures

19. The short listing meeting must be attended by all members of the advisory panel and the search agency consultant where appropriate

HRR/search agency
  • makes applications and CV available to advisory panel
Advisory panel/agency Rep  
  • convenes and advises Vice-Chancellor on final short list of candidates
HR Director/search agency  
  • confirms timeline for candidates’ visits

Interview process and logistics

20. Each of the short listed candidates is to be subject to the same process, usually over the course of three days.

21. Each candidate is to meet with the Vice-Chancellor and deputy vice-chancellors informally.

22. The candidate is to undertake two focus groups:

  • one focus group is to be based in the faculty with faculty representation
  • the other is to be a group of representatives from the University Executive Committee  
Search agency/HRR
  • confirms availability of candidates to attend at least 4 weeks prior to scheduled visit
  • confirms interview dates for each candidate to advisory panel members      
  • organises flights, accommodation and cars to collect candidates from outside Auckland      
  • sends invitations to each focus group outlining dates, times and objectives for each meeting:
  • University Executive Committee (All deans, all pro vice- chancellors, director of administration, CEO of UniServices)
  • faculty group  (All academic heads, deputy deans, director of faculty operations, director of faculty finance, staff representatives and student representatives)
  • industry/community representatives (list previously approved by Vice-Chancellor)
  • offers candidates (& partners) from outside Auckland the opportunity to go on a half day orientation of the city
  • obtains overview of candidates' resumes
  • organises dinners for candidates and their partners
  • organises tours of main campus, including faculty and research facilities, and other campuses as appropriate
  • prepares schedule for candidates’ visits. Allowing 15 minutes at start of each meeting for group to discuss structure of the meeting
  • liaises with candidates re travel arrangements and any additional information that they request
  • forwards finalised schedules to candidates          
  • prepares welcome pack to be placed in hotel for candidate’s arrival and provides support for the candidates throughout their visit      


23. The questions must be based on the “position details” and “key criteria” of the position as initially advertised and must be consistent with the Impartiality of Decision Making Policy

24. The HR Director must remind members of the requirements of the Privacy Act and Human Rights Act 1993 and ensure that there are no questions which might exclude qualified people from consideration on the basis of prohibited ground

Note - Any exception must comply with the law and have the support of the Pro-VC (EO)

Focus group chairs
  • provide consolidated feedback to the advisory panel  
Vice-Chancellor and HR Director  
  • formulate interview questions
Advisory panel (chaired by the Vice- Chancellor)
  • conducts interviews
Advisory panel
  • undertakes final deliberations – considering interviews and feedback from focus groups on each candidate
Advisory panel
  • ranks candidates by preference and advises VC on their preferred candidate

Offer of appointment

25. The Vice-Chancellor is to make the final decision and must approve proceeding with the appointment and the remuneration and terms and conditions of employment to be offered

  • approves appointment
  • makes verbal offer to preferred candidate subject to employment agreement
Vice-Chancellor/HR Director
  • negotiates the terms and conditions of appointment as necessary
  • accepts appointment
HRR/Search agency
  • initiates procedure for unsuccessful candidates
Communications Director
  • arranges for an announcement to be published in the University News and other relevant publications

Interviews involving whānau

Note - Interview candidates may bring a whānau or support group to the interview refer to the Interviews with Whānau Procedures for further information


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head includes the various positions that provide academic and administrative leadership within the faculty, and who report directly or indirectly to the Dean. In this policy, academic head includes head of department, head of school, head of centre, etc.

Advisory panel is advisory to the Vice-Chancellor who makes the final appointment decision. Members are not considered to be representatives of a constituency, but are expert contributors to the deliberations of the panel and the provision of advice to the Vice-Chancellor

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full time or part time basis

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Content manager: Associate Director, Talent and Recruitment
Owner: Director, Human Resources
Approver: Vice-Chancellor
Date reviewed: 01 October 2015
Review date: 01 October 2018