Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Philo Hutcheson

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Esposito

Third Advisor

Dr. Terry Blum

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Baez


In the higher education environment today, lack of agreement about background checks between campus community members, fueled by unresolved tensions between security and privacy, has led many universities to adopt a patchwork of fragmented background check policies. Many of these policies have been created and accepted without careful consideration of the wide array of risks and complexities involved with background checks. This policy analysis examined the experiences and history behind Georgia Institute of Technology’s adoption of background check policy. This was achieved through interviewing relevant constituents and analyzing of all available/related official policy documents associated with Georgia Tech’s Pre-employment Background Check Policy and Program. This dissertation presents a chronological account of the events and influences associated with Georgia Tech’s adoption and revision of background check policy. Results of this study offer valuable insights and recommendations for further study in order to assist higher education policy makers and HR professionals at other universities in making more informed decisions regarding the challenges involved with background check, and similar, policy. Some of these insights include an awareness of societal tensions that exist between privacy and security policy; the importance of understanding how national, local, and organizational level triggering events have shaped and contributed to higher education background check policy that is based on a general concern for security; and my recommendation for further study into background check policy as it will relate to the higher matriculation process.