New hiring process eliminates administrative hurdles

Media Credit: Anne McBride | Hatchet Photographer

Dale McLeod, interim vice president of human resources, unveiled a new model for hiring student research staff at Friday's Faculty Senate meeting. The new hiring model is one of the formal changes a task force created to eliminate bureaucracy.

Updated: April 11, 2016 at 11:34 a.m.

Administrators are cutting the red tape for researchers.

Human resources staffers presented a more automated process for hiring research assistants and tracking grant dollars at Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting. These are the first two formal changes to come out of a group designed to eliminate bureaucracy at GW.

University President Steven Knapp created a council of deans and vice presidents in November to identify areas for the University to cut bureaucracy and trim costs.

Dale McLeod, the interim vice president for human resources, said on Friday that a new model for hiring research staff will create specific hiring steps for jobs instead of an overarching system for all hires.

For example, some postdoctoral researchers would be able to skip over certain employment processes because their positions have been specifically created for them. Student staff will also only have to complete an extensive background check if their position involves security or financial information.

“First we noticed that the process is very paper and labor intensive,” McLeod said at the Faculty Senate meeting. “There were some redundant steps.”

He said the new system cuts down on the time between when a grant is awarded and when research staff can be hired. Previously, documents were passed between staffers multiple times and involved paper instead of automated forms, he said.

McLeod also said the changes will make it easier to monitor where a researcher is in the process and keep hiring to a strict timeline.

The new system has been implemented at the School of Engineering, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Milken Institute School of Public Health. These hiring changes will be effective University-wide on July 1, McLeod said.

Marie Price, a professor of geography and international affairs, said at the meeting that streamlining the process was important because it could eliminate some issues her department has experienced, like research assistants who continued to be paid even after they graduate.

Researchers have complained of administrative issues in GW’s research office, including high rates of turnover of employees. The office also placed staffers into individual schools to work more closely with researchers.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that hiring has been simplified for student research staff. It is simplified for all research staff. We regret this error.

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