Advancing Academic Excellence: Accelerated Hiring of Nationally Recognized Faculty Program (NRP)

The purpose of the Advancing Academic Excellence through Accelerated Hiring of Nationally Recognized Faculty Program (NRP) is to provide enabling University financial resources from Academic Affairs to academic colleges/schools/departments to support the hiring of additional nationally/internationally-recognized, highly accomplished full-time, tenured faculty who will advance research excellence at UTSA through enhancing academic distinction and student success outlined in President’s Vision and Strategic Plan for UTSA.

Through the Special Opportunity Hiring mechanism, NRP provides designated funding to hire nationally/internationally recognized faculty who are not recruited through a traditional search whose work will advance academic excellence through:

  • Advancing research capacity, reputation and progress towards the outcomes described in President Eighmy’s Vision and Strategic Plan for UTSA.
  • Encouraging and fostering collaboration among our strong, existing faculty within, or across, the identified cross-cutting areas.
  • Enabling collaborative opportunities with external partners that broaden and deepen existing, recognized expertise and create new links among them to enhance UTSA’s national profile.
  • Bringing diverse backgrounds and perspectives together to increase and enrich collaborations across traditional disciplinary and ideological divides
  • Strengthening existing curricular offerings on the undergraduate and graduate levels, and create opportunities for new offerings, which link to identified opportunities and needs.
  • Advancing the impact of UTSA programs by addressing society's needs, connecting with industry, government and institutional partners, and/or engagement with our communities.
  • Deepening and broadening our reputation for quality capacities in “big data / cyber” approaches, i.e., analytics/digital/computational/cloud approaches

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Ability to enhance national/international pre-eminence and campus leadership in a priority area
  • Concretely link outstanding departments/disciplinary capacity across colleges to advance excellence to realize the goals articulated in President Eighmy’s Vision and Strategic Plan for UTSA.
  • Ability to increase sponsored, foundation and/or industry funding to meet UT System/Statewide goals
  • Diversity in backgrounds and perspectives that will increase and enrich collaborations across traditional disciplinary and ideological divides
  • Demonstration of a clear inclusive hiring plan, and attendant 3-5 year research and teaching plan, collaboratively developed by deans that meets the programmatic goals and addresses institutional priorities to advance academic excellence.

Preference will be given to nominees who 1) demonstrate transdisciplinary collaboration and convergent approaches, and /or 2) utilize “cyber-intensive” digital, analytic and/or computational approaches that broadens our capabilities and leverages local, state and national partnerships.

The NRP utilizes the Special Opportunity Hiring mechanism, a more flexible approach towards identifying potential candidates, which should give departments/schools/colleges the capacity to act quickly and capitalize on unique opportunities without a long screening process. Under this mechanism, the college/department that wishes to conduct a NRP hire will initiate inquiries about prospective candidates through professional networks and other information sources for a position that has not been advertised. Typically, nationally/internationally prominent prospects are accomplished at a level that typically comes at the Full Professor with tenure rank, however, extraordinary candidates at other ranks will be considered with a strong justification.

The NRP does not take the place of our efforts to increase research excellence through faculty hired under traditional search processes. Rather, it is a complementary tactical program designed to accelerate our success in recruitment of nationally recognized tenured faculty in accordance with our institutional goals. Candidates suitable for consideration under NRP are required to meet the highest AAU/Carnegie R1 standards for academic accomplishment, as well as to contribute to the college’s programmatic needs. Although U.S. Department of Labor regulations require an open search for most regularly authorized academic appointments, because the hiring of nationally prominent faculty advances and supports academic excellence as outlined above, it is recognized as a justification for a search waiver that is authorized under the Special Opportunity Hiring mechanism.

Funding Model:

NRP is funded by the Strategic Priorities Fund under UTSA’s Incentivized Resource Management (IRM) budget model and process and is administered by Academic Affairs. Funding of no more than $150,000 per hire (including benefits) is available for up to three years based on the formula below. The total amount of funding available each year depends on the hires that have been made in the previous two years. In some cases, lesser levels of funding may be offered to maximize the number of hires under this program. The typical FDP funding model employed is:

  Initiative Contribution College/School/Department Contribution
Year One 75% 25%
Year Two 50% 50%
Year Three 25% 75%
Year Four 0% 100%

Start-up and transition costs for potential NRP candidates are individually tailored and must be discussed with the VPR and Provost prior to initiation of NRP prospect development. Departments/Schools/ Colleges are expected to seek STARS and/or GURI funding to partially support these costs.

NRP will be reviewed annually to ensure that it is being implemented in a manner that meets the strategic priorities outlined above.

Recruitment Incentives

In order to “prime the pump” and initiate productive relationships with particularly promising candidates, funds are available from Academic Affairs to supplement those from the College/School/Department to enable a campus visit to showcase UTSA programs in support of eventual NRP recruitment. Up to $1000 in matching funds (1:1 match with College/School/Department) per candidate ($3000 matching fund maximum if a group of candidates is recruited through speaker series or special topics colloquium for example). To be eligible for these recruitment funds, candidates are required to give a scholarly lecture to college faculty and must have at least one organized engagement with relevant student groups. Development of a recruitment plan through discussion with the Provost and VPR is required before initiating recruitment.

Application Process:

The Special Opportunity Hiring Mechanism is used to accomplish NRP hires, and the general procedure to accomplish NRP hiring is described on: http://provost.utsa.edu/VPAFS/documents/Special-Opportunity-Hires.pdf. NRP Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis during the academic year.

Once promising, eligible individuals have been identified by faculty and nominated to the Chair, the Dean submits a written NRP proposal describing how the candidate’s background, experience and other qualifications will advance academic excellence and strategic priorities, as outlined in this Initiative and in President Eighmy’s Vision and Strategic Plan for UTSA.

Please include a funding plan that describes how the college will meet the NRP financial requirements. The Vice Provost for Academic Finance and Administration is available to provide assistance to colleges/ schools/departments in developing the IRM funding plan.

Also describe the candidate vetting process, including how the candidate will be reviewed by faculty and others prior to hire, and attach the preliminary offer letter, Source of Funds form, draft start-up support list and the individual’s CV. If more than one NRP proposal is submitted by a dean, provide the priority order of request in relation to other requests that have been submitted by the school or college.

Review:

NRP reviews are ongoing under the Special Opportunity Hiring mechanism, and will be completed as soon as is practicable. The Provost reviews the Dean’s written candidate nomination proposal, funding plan and required materials. If the proposal and funding plan are approved after discussion with the Dean, the nominated individual is approved as a candidate and the hiring process is then authorized to proceed per established Academic Affairs guidance. The Dean, in consultation with the relevant Department Chair, initiates the process of candidate review to hire in accordance with established guidelines prior to final negotiations.


Contact

Please feel free to submit questions or input to provost@utsa.edu.