Waivers and Exemptions

Search Waiver Guidelines for Academic Employees

A diverse academic employee workforce supports our academic mission of excellence in teaching, research, and service, and reflects our commitment to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. Moreover, as a federal contractor, UC Merced is required to provide equal employment opportunity and to identify and address underutilization of protected classes, including women, underrepresented minorities, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans in academic job groups. By conducting open searches to fill the majority of new or vacant academic positions, the University fulfills federal and state requirements, and simultaneously maintains its standing as a public university dedicated to serving the needs of an increasingly diverse state.

In rare circumstances, and on a case-by-case basis, the requirement of conducting an open search prior to review for appointment may be waived. At a minimum, individuals under consideration for appointment without conducting an open search must meet the high expectations for employment at UC Merced. In addition, contributions in all areas of achievement that promote equal opportunity and diversity are included as part of the consideration for approving a search waiver.


  • Search - A search is the competitive recruitment process used to identify the best qualified candidates for an academic position. A search is visible to potential applicants, provides equal opportunity to applicants, and meets federal and state job listing requirements. It is also referred to as an open recruitment.
  • Exception - The term “exception,” as used in the APM with regard to recruitments, is analogous to the definition of search waiver and search exemption as listed below.
  • Search Waiver - A search waiver, also referred to as a waiver of open recruitment, is formal approval to hire an individual directly into a specific academic appointment in lieu of a search or open recruitment. Defined criteria must be met to qualify for a search waiver, and the individual hired must meet the criteria for the appointment.
  • Search Exemption - A position is exempt from competitive recruitment when the University does not require a competitive recruitment. An exemption is based on the position and not the individual. Certain categories of appointments or transfers between academic title series may be exempt from open recruitment. When an exemption is in place, these appointments do not require formal approval for a search waiver because the appointment itself, or change in title series, is exempt from open recruitment. For all appointments exempt from open recruitment, the individual hired must meet the criteria for the appointment.
  • Waiver Duration - Search waivers are made for a specific duration. The duration may be a specific period of time (e.g., 12 months or one quarter/semester), or the duration can be tied to the attributes of a specific academic appointment and its renewals (e.g., title series or location/laboratory). The duration is dependent upon the circumstances and the category of search waiver, as described below. An appointment cannot continue beyond the end of the waiver duration; at that time, a search must be conducted.
  • Waiver of Indefinite Duration - In certain categories, the duration of a search waiver for an individual may be tied to the appointment title series or another specific attribute that may be continuous in nature. Such waivers are of indefinite duration in that there is no set, definite end date and no requirement to conduct a search at a later date. The waiver remains in effect as long as the individual meets the set criteria of the waiver and of the position held.

Search Waiver Categories

Search waiver categories include: Target of Excellence, Spousal/Partner Hire, President's and Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship Recipient, Emergency Hires, Continuation of Training, PI/Co-PI/Leadership Status, Research Team, Multiple Affiliated Employers.

Exemption Categories

Exemption categories include: Non-Salaried or Without Salary, True Visitor, Recall Appointments, Concurrent without salary appointments, Faculty Administrator at less than 100%, Interim/Acting Position, Internal Hire (change in series), and Other.

See complete guidelines here.

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