To meet our federal and state regulations, foster diversity, and promote inclusive excellence, Colorado State University requires all searches to be open, competitive, free from unlawful discrimination, and reflective of equal opportunity and equal access principles. 

Under extraordinary circumstances, the goals of the University may be served by utilizing alternative processes. For instance, a department may submit a request to waive the open, competitive search requirement and reappoint or direct appoint a candidate to a vacant position through an Alternative Appointment request (AAR). As an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, AARs are significant exceptions to the search process. They should be used sparingly as they are highly scrutinized by the Department of Labor and potentially lead to violations of federal and state regulations.  

AAR Requirements 

If requesting to hire an internal or external candidate for a vacant position without conducting an open and competitive search process, please reach out to OEO at 

After consulting with OEO, the department will need to submit an AAR posting using the approved position description in TMS. 

Additionally, per the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA), all AARs must be posted on the internal job board for at least one day before making a hiring decision. Any applications meeting the minimum qualifications received during this period must be reviewed and considered. 

Examples of when an AAR may be appropriate 

  • Dual career hires: CSU is committed to recruiting and advancing outstanding academic faculty by facilitating the career success of accompanying spouses and partners. In such circumstances, an AAR may be a tool to hire the accompanying spouse or partner into a faculty or staff appointment for which there is no current or active recruitment. For more information regarding the dual career program at CSU, please reach out to the Provost’s Office.  
  • Interim appointments: An AAR may be considered for interim faculty or staff appointments in cases of urgent and short-term departmental needs. However, an open and competitive search will be necessary if the position extends beyond 12 months or if the department intends to make the position permanent.  
  • Externally funded grant/contract appointments: In cases where an individual is specifically identified in an externally funded grant award or contract, and their entire salary is covered by an auxiliary source, an AAR may be submitted to hire them. Additionally, AARs may be considered for members of the research groups of newly hired faculty. 
  • Other unique or special appointments: In exceptional circumstances, an AAR may also be requested based on a candidate’s possession of unique, specialized skills, focus area, knowledge and/or qualifications, and the specific needs of the department. However, these requests are strictly reviewed and often declined if the rationale does not rise to the level of warranting an exception to the search process. An AAR may also be used for occasional special appointments and changes recommended by the Provost and Executive Vice President or the President. 

AAR Review  

Each request is thoroughly reviewed by OEO, considering factors such as the candidate’s qualifications, the nature of the position, and the department’s needs. The rationale for the AAR request should include the following: 

  • Role, Project, or Research Description: Provide an overview of the nature, scope, objectives, and any relevant deliverables. 
  • Specialized Knowledge and Skills: Describe the specialized background necessary to perform the duties. 
  • Uniquely Qualified Candidate: Explain how the candidate possesses unique qualifications and experiences that align with the specialized requirements. Highlight relevant familiarity with the work, prior research in the field, publications, or other notable accomplishments that make the candidate uniquely qualified. 
  • Alternative Process Required: Share why a competitive search process is not feasible in this unique situation. 
  • Past Unit History: Describe the outcome of previous searches in the unit related to this position. 

Additional information can be found in the CSU Search Manual. If you are unsure of the best way to proceed with your vacancy, please reach out to OEO, your HR department, or your Senior HR Business Partner to discuss options. 

Internal Promotions 

When considering the promotion of an internal employee, please refer to the Table of System Requirements for Promotions under the EPEWA to determine whether an AAR or a promotional announcement is necessary.  

  • Promotional announcement: If a current internal employee’s duties and responsibilities are expanding and they are not moving to a new position, an AAR is not required. Instead, after the position modification is finalized, the department will need to submit a promotional announcement posting. 
  • AAR: If requesting to promote an internal employee to a new position and backfill their current position, an AAR is required. Please reach out to OEO for guidance via 

Tenure-Track AARs 

In extraordinary circumstances, an AAR may be used to hire tenure-track faculty. When considering this option, please note the Office of the Provost’s additional requirements for hiring tenure-track faculty without a search. 

  • Per the EPEWA, the AAR must be listed on the internal job board for a day before a hiring decision can be made.  

AAR Guides and Resources