Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Higher Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Lori A. Wolff

Second Advisor

Susan McClelland

Third Advisor

Phillis George

Relational Format



Criminal background checks as a requisite for employment is not a new idea, specifically when recruiting for security sensitive job positions. In recent years, this practice has become increasingly widespread within the workforce, not only with businesses, but also with institutions of higher education. Four institutions of higher education within the state of Mississippi were randomly selected for this qualitative, phenomenological study. The researcher sought an answer to the following question: how has the use of criminal background checks transformed the nature of recruitment and hiring on university campuses? To answer this question, the researcher explored historical practices at each institution as well as the current practices. One-on-one personal interviews were conducted with administrators at each of the four institutions selected for this study to explore the perceptions of leaders regarding their use of criminal background checks in higher education. The researcher developed a questionnaire consisting of eighteen questions designed to answer the research question. Administrators were asked to respond to questions about whom the background check policy covers, the benefits of the policy, the obstacles of implementing the policy, and their perceptions of using social networking sites as a method of conducting background checks. Results were consistent with the research conducted. In addition the researcher found varying perceptions on the use of social networking sites and found that cost is a significant obstacle in conducting background checks.



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