Opportunity Hire Program

Through the Opportunity Hire Program, the University of Maine is able to employ and retain highly qualified individuals who make a unique contribution to the university and its strategic plan. Such individuals include those with national or international stature; those who bring a unique or different perspective because of their professional or personal backgrounds, interests or expertise; and partners of current or prospective university faculty and staff who themselves have talents that match the needs of the organization.  These appointments often represent opportunities that require rapid response to exceptional persons with competing career options.

The Opportunity Hire Program includes a process for requesting a search waiver. The criteria for evaluating these requests include:

  • Qualifications of the individual proposed
  • Impact of the hire on the University’s Strategic Plan and institutional goals
  • Consensus within the hiring department for the requested appointment
  • Degree to which department/college funds support the position
  • Rationale for waiving the normal search requirement
  • Likelihood of future success (promotion and tenure, where applicable)

Search Waiver Request

University policy requires a national search for faculty and professional appointments (excluding promotions). The Director of Equal Opportunity may grant search waivers upon request for positions lasting up to one year. The Opportunity Hire process is designed for ongoing appointments that meet institutional priorities and require rapid university action.

Recruitment Expenses

A small portion of Opportunity Hire funds are designated annually for recruitment efforts related to the university’s Affirmative Action Plan.  A search committee may apply to the Director of Equal Opportunity for financial assistance with targeted recruitment efforts such as additional advertising or funds to bring an additional, highly ranked finalist to campus for an interview.  This process is outlined in EO’s information on professional and faculty searches.

Special Considerations Regarding Search Waivers

The Immigration and Naturalization Service usually insists that applicants for permanent residency (green card) status have participated in a national search before being appointed to an ongoing (such as tenure eligible faculty) position. A search waiver process will not suffice in such cases. Contact the Office of International Programs (1-2905) to initiate the paperwork for candidates who are not currently eligible to work here, or to discuss whether a national search will be required to support an application for permanent residency.

The University of Maine requires background checks and/or pre-employment physicals for individuals appointed to positions designated as financially sensitive, requiring driving as an essential duty, involving work with children, or in public safety. Contact Human Resources (1-1581) if you are seeking a waiver for such an appointment.


Requesting departments should contact the Director of Equal Opportunity to discuss the feasibility of a specific Opportunity Hire request before submitting the paperwork, which includes the vita of the individual under consideration, additional supporting documentation (peer committee letter), and a Request to Fill form.  The appropriate Dean or Director must sign the Opportunity Hire Request. The Director of Equal Opportunity will forward her recommendation to the appropriate Vice President or to the President, who approves the appointment.