Communication #7:
Targets of Opportunity Program (TOP)

View or Download Provost’s Communication #7 and Attachments

Temporary Modifications to Targets of Opportunity Program

To accelerate our efforts to recruit faculty of color to campus, the University is investing additional funds to support as many as 15 additional TOP-eligible hires through 2022-23 academic year. To distribute these funds, the campus will employ a modified search waiver process, based on the procedures outlined in the Targets of Opportunity (TOP) Program. Under this process, the department of a successfully recruited candidate receives up to $85,000 in salary support from the Office of the Provost for three years.

The modified process includes two different opportunities to apply for the search waivers.

  1. Colleges may submit proposals for “stand alone” or individual unit hires by March 22, 2021. We anticipate between eight and ten search waivers will be approved by this method.
  2. Colleges may choose to submit proposals for a multi-unit, themed cluster strategy that connect with one of the campus priorities identified in the strategic plan. Proposals around a theme must include the participation of at least two different academic units. Cross-college partnerships and participation of the research institutes and centers in the development of the proposals are strongly encouraged. We anticipate approval of between six and nine waivers by this method. Applications for themed cluster hires are due by May 1, 2021.

Proposals should be submitted through HireTouch using the TOP Stage 1 Form for TOP Search Waiver transmittal. The required components of proposals are the same for both deadlines. Each proposal must:

  1. Identify specific candidate(s) for consideration and, if possible, include a CV. Candidates may be at any rank, including assistant professor, and must have a demonstrated record of excellence. Please do not indicate to a candidate that there is a recruitment process prior to approval of the search waiver.
  2. Identify how the candidate will affect the unit’s diversity goals, intellectual priorities, and ability to address student needs.
  3. Detail how the proposed candidates contribute to the research and scholarly priorities identified in the campus strategic plan.
  4. Provide a plan for supporting and retaining the recruited faculty. This should include strategies for mentoring and building support networks.
  5. Identify additional costs associated with faculty recruitment (e.g., expected salary beyond $85K, start-up packages, etc.) and demonstrate the unit’s ability to fund those costs.
  6. Demonstrate that the unit can sustain the salary cost after the initial three years of matching support from the Office of the Provost expires.

Applications will first be evaluated by a committee composed of select faculty and college-level diversity officers, with final approval resting jointly with the Offices of the Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

Please note that the process for the TOP Traditional Search remains unchanged. TOP candidates identified through existing approved searches remain eligible for campus support as outlined in Provost Communication #7. All units are encouraged and expected to develop the most diverse pool of candidates for their searches, and to leverage all opportunities to accelerate and increase their success in recruiting faculty of color.

Attachments

Assistance

Questions regarding Communication #7, the TOP program, or the process, should be addressed to Bill Bernhard, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, in the Office of the Provost (217-333-6677).