In the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, faculty are both the repositories and engines of knowledge. Through their research and scholarly work, they educate students, preserve the past and create the future. Their achievements have a far-reaching impact on the wider world beyond the Grounds, and their successes pay dividends to the University by helping to build its reputation and by drawing additional resources and talented individuals to its faculty and student body.
Endowed faculty positions are universally recognized as among the most influential and meaningful gifts that can be made to an academic institution. By attaching resources to eminent individuals, faculty endowments not only honor truly outstanding faculty members, but also support their work and make the academic department, and the University, stronger. Endowed positions are of critical importance for attracting and retaining nationally or internationally renowned scholars or researchers. Donors who fund or support endowed faculty positions are making a permanent investment in the future of the University of Virginia.
Arts & Sciences is embarking on an initiative to strengthen its faculty. This initiative will both protect and enhance the core of our mission: the excellence and rigor of our undergraduate educational experience and the eminence and research productivity of our faculty. To this end, we must focus on several critical needs. First and foremost of these is additional support to hire faculty in targeted areas. We seek support of four types:
Endowed professorships and chairs have long been recognized as both a hallmark of academic quality and a means by which a university honors its most esteemed scholars and teachers. Professorships are reserved for scholars of international stature, with highly distinguished records of teaching, research and publication. Chaired professorships provide funds to recruit senior-level eminent faculty from outside U.Va. as well as to recognize and retain our own most accomplished faculty.
The boundaries between traditional disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred. The directions of faculty research and student curricular interests continue to strengthen and create exciting intersections among the disciplinary fields. Recognizing these important opportunities, we seek to establish Discovery Professorships, a new form of professorship for Arts & Sciences. Unlike traditional endowed chairs, these will rotate among faculty members on three-year terms and are intended to recognize excellence in scholarship and teaching for faculty regardless of rank. They will focus on the rising stars of our faculty, particularly those working at the boundaries between or among disciplines.
Recognizing that faculty positions are our highest priority but that only a few donors have the capacity to endow a professorship individually, we have established a $17.5 million goal for a new fund to broaden donor participation in this critical initiative. Naming opportunities in the pooled fund will begin at $100,000.
The Legacy of Distinction Fund addresses the fundamental challenge presented by the large number of impending faculty retirements. Arts & Sciences must secure the flexibility through private support to make hires now in anticipation of retiring eminent faculty in high priority fields. Such a “bridging” strategy will allow for overlap as the senior faculty member transitions to retirement. The active presence of the senior faculty member will aid considerably in the recruitment of his or her replacement. Given the nature of this strategy, the need is for spendable gifts rather than permanent endowment. We envision three-year overlaps for 10 to 12 key retirements. Learn more about the Legacy of Distinction Fund here. (.pdf, 167KB)
In addition to these faculty hiring initiatives, we also need to ensure adequate funding to support these faculty after hire.
This fund will support recruitment and relocation expenses, spousal accommodation, and other incentives to ensure that we attract the best scholars and teachers possible. The current hiring market for faculty presents a distinct opportunity for Arts & Sciences to recruit stellar junior and senior faculty.
Given the stagnation in salaries and potential for other universities to attract our most promising rising faculty members, we seek to build an endowment to retain such faculty. The fund will provide the Dean flexibility to respond immediately and aggressively to retain high priority faculty.
Please contact a member of the Arts & Sciences development staff for more information on supporting faculty in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Read about recent Arts & Sciences Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowship recipients. (.pdf, 711KB)