Duke Faculty Applicants May Have to Consent to Background Checks

By Michael Klazema on 4/5/2013

Currently, only some Duke faculty members have to undergo background checks. Right now though, there are talks in which policy makers are deciding whether or not to make that a universal policy across the entire campus. In other words, every single faculty member would be required to consent to a background check before being eligible for employment at Duke University.

The Academic Council is in charge of the decision, and more talks are planned for this Thursday. The policy change is meant to be similar to similar regulations at institutions across the nation. Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President for Administration says that implement universal background checks for all university hires has become a sort of best practice, not only in the academic world, but in all industries. Thus, it is only natural that Duke follows suit.

Of course, though he supports the new policy, he wants to make sure everyone knows how it will work. He believes it should be an objective, thorough, and confidential process. He says it’s also up to the university to make sure every check is done in the same way.

Ph. D. student, Tripp Young, may soon have to undergo the background check himself, and he is fine with it. He said he’s had background checks for all of his other jobs, and doesn’t see why he wouldn’t need to for the university. His background is in the military, specifically in intelligence operations, where background information can be crucial to the job. While he says that information might not be as important in the university setting, it can provide beneficial information when making hiring decisions.

There is also a possibility that the checks may be required of current faculty members, but this has not yet been discussed. If the policy does go to that extent though, Cavanaugh stressed that it would not be to weed out any particular members. Instead, it would be to create a “protected atmosphere for those involved with the university.” In other words, they want to make sure they perform their due diligence when it comes to providing a safe and secure place of learning and employment.

When it comes to vetting potential professions, the most useful background tool would likely be Education Verification. At, companies can invest in this type of check to find out for sure whether or not someone holds the degrees they claim on their application. For universities interested in criminal behavior though, they will likely want to invest in an additional US One SEARCH, which searches more than 450 million records nationwide. Of course, educational facilities may go with an entire package of screening tools, including drug screening, reference verifications, registered offender searches, or even ongoing criminal monitoring. As long as each tool is used objectively, they can learn a lot about both potential and current employees.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and cofounder of the Expungement Clearinghouse - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit



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