Hiring All But Dissertation (ABD) Faculty Candidates

Unless the requisition specifically mentions Ph.D., it is understood that the degree listed under minimum academic preparation should be in hand when the individual applies. If, however, the intent is to accept applications from persons who may not actually meet the minimum degree requirement at the time of application, use of alternative language is an option in the requisition and advertising. The option then exists to consider All but dissertation (ABD) applicants during the search process and to hire them, specifying that the appointment is contingent upon completion of all doctoral requirements by the beginning date of appointment.

Difficulties have occasionally arisen when, contrary to expectations, the ABD person does not complete the doctorate by the beginning date of the appointment. In such cases, units may either (1) delay the starting date of the appointment until the candidate has met the minimum degree requirements and process the appointment in HRMS with the later effective date, or (2) in cases of necessity, hire the individual as a teaching specialist for a temporary period not to exceed one year. Appointment as an assistant professor would then follow upon completion of the Ph.D. as specified in the requisition. A new search is not required in this situation.

The documentation subsequently prepared to implement the initial appointment as assistant professor should be accompanied by one of the following: (1) certification from an authorized University official such as the Registrar or Graduate School Dean that all degree requirements have been met as of a specific date, (2) a copy of the transcript showing the date of the degree, or (3) a photo of the degree certificate. Please note that notification indicating the applicant has successfully defended the dissertation is not the equivalent of official confirmation that all degree requirements have been met. This information is to be kept in the employee's personnel file.

Under exceptional circumstances, a unit may wish to entertain the possibility of employing an ABD applicant in a probationary faculty position that ultimately requires a Ph.D. The requisition and the advertising should specify that the hire will be at the rank of assistant professor if the successful candidate has the doctorate and at the rank of instructor for an ABD. The assumption here is that if an ABD individual is considered, one really is looking for a Ph.D. but is willing to make a certain accommodation. However, such arrangements should be defined in the letter of offer. The letter would normally specify a date for completion of the Ph.D. and notice that employment will be terminated if the Ph.D. is not completed by that time. Non-reappointment in such cases must follow the notice provisions specified in Board of Regents Policy: Faculty Tenure. Probationary instructors earning degrees at institutions other than the University of Minnesota need to be informed that their service as probationary instructor is credited under the tenure regulations toward the maximum six-year probationary period.

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