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Hiring initiative unveiled

President Lois B. DeFleur has announced a major faculty hiring initiative, allocating $3 million dollars over three years for hiring new faculty.

These hires are in addition to those the University usually makes when faculty retire or leave for other reasons.

Funding for the hires comes from Binghamton’s portion of the $50 million in additional financial support from New York state that SUNY Chancellor Robert L. King and other SUNY leaders, including DeFleur, advocated for earlier this year.

“I am committing these additional funds to academic excellence,” said DeFleur. “Faculty are critical to all of our initiatives, and this opportunity dovetails with goals outlined in our strategic plan. This commitment of funds will allow us to bring the strategic plan to life by taking an integrated approach to faculty hiring.

“While we are dedicating these new state funds to faculty hiring, we will also continue to assess priorities and look for additional resources to support these needs,” she said.

According to Mary Ann Swain, provost and vice president for academic affiars, objectives for the faculty hiring plan are to:

• create synergistic groups of faculty large enough to gain national and international visibility for their contributions, sustain intellectually rich and challenging doctoral programs and foster development of assistant professors;

• foster effective planning for intersections of graduate and undergraduate education; and,

• optimize use of resources.

The University already has a strong reputation as an undergraduate institution, said Mary Ann Swain, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“A significant part of that reputation is a direct result of our faculty — world-class researchers and scholars — who also enjoy teaching students,” she said. “This initiative will allow us to hire in such a way that faculty have colleagues here to work with to advance their intellectual career”.

Academic units can consider several options under the plan. They can select a limited number of sub-fields within their discipline in which to offer doctoral programs and limit tenure and tenure-track hiring to those fields.

Such an approach has been undertaken successfully by several units already, said Swain, including engineering, mathematics, nursing, political science, psychology and sociology.

A second option would be to select a limited number of themes that unify the intellectual work of individual faculty and doctoral education.

“Tenure and tenure-track hiring under this scenario could involve a more comprehensive coverage of sub-fields, as long as the faculty hired can advance the themes,” said Swain. “Examples of these might be the role of religion in history, the portrayal of power in literature, entrepreneurship and leadership.” A third option would be for faculty across existing academic units to define a multidisciplinary agenda best advanced by working together. The agenda may be compatible with existing doctoral programs, or may lead to the development of new doctoral programs, said Swain.

“We will strongly encourage such collaborations between academic units and established organized research centers in hiring faculty,” Swain said, citing existing examples of Binghamton’s materials science and material engineering, small-scale systems, evolutionary studies, CEMERS, Asian and Asian American studies and women’s studies programs.

“This approach also provides an opportunity for faculty in academic units without a doctoral program to participate in doctoral education,” she added.

Academic units seeking to hire faculty will continue to submit requests to the appropriate dean, providing rationale on how the proposed hire or hires will advance the University’s hiring objectives.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08