Through the Institutional Reference Check program, the UW‒Madison Office of Human Resources conducts Institutional Reference Checks on the final candidate in a given search for academic appointments conferring tenure. The program enables UW‒Madison to gather information about candidates’ conduct in their previous appointments that may be important to appointment decisions.
The purpose of the Institutional Reference Check is to determine whether the candidate has engaged in any misconduct, or whether the candidate left employment during an active investigation into allegations that the candidate engaged in misconduct, at their current or most recent employer.
Applicants for academic appointments conferring tenure are required to upload a signed “Authorization to Release Information” form, available on this web page, as part of the online application process. The resources on this page provide additional information.
Frequently Asked Questions
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When should the Authorization to Release Information form be completed and submitted?
If the academic appointment you are applying for is one in which tenure is conferred, the job application will require you to complete and upload the “Authorization to Release Information” form. If you do not complete and upload this form at the time of application, your application will be considered incomplete and will not receive further consideration.
Do I have an opportunity to self-disclose misconduct as defined under UW‒Madison’s Institutional Reference Check program?
Yes. All final candidates for faculty appointments that confer tenure will have an opportunity to self-disclose misconduct by answering the following questions:
- Have you been found to have engaged in misconduct? For the purposes of these questions, “misconduct” is defined as:
- Any violation of employer policy addressing misconduct. Such policies may address, but are not limited to, discrimination, harassment, assault, bullying, inappropriate relationships with subordinates or students, violation of ethical duties, theft, financial mismanagement, research misconduct, insubordination, or absenteeism not protected by laws relating to medical leave or disability accommodations.
- Did you leave employment during an active investigation into allegations that you engaged in misconduct, as defined in question one?
I have a current or prior UW‒Madison appointment. Is an Institutional Reference Check required if I am a final candidate for a faculty appointment that confers tenure?
Yes. The Institutional Reference Check program applies to final candidates for any appointment conferring tenure, regardless of current or prior UW‒Madison appointments.
However, the program does not apply to an individual who currently holds an academic appointment at UW‒Madison that confers tenure and who becomes a final candidate for another academic appointment at UW‒Madison that confers tenure.
What happens if an appointment offer is made before the Institutional Reference Check is complete?
If the Institutional Reference Check is not completed before an offer is made, the offer letter will state that the offer will be withdrawn or the employment terminated if the individual’s Institutional Reference Check results are unacceptable.
How is my privacy protected under UW‒Madison’s Institutional Reference Check program?
All information received in connection with the Institutional Reference Check process will be treated as confidential and retained in accordance with UW‒Madison policy but may be subject to disclosure pursuant to applicable state and federal law. Should the candidate be offered and accept a position, any Institutional Reference Check information received will be securely maintained and held by the UW‒Madison Office of Human Resources.