Hiring under the LAS Signature Themes Second Round of Focus Area Proposals
The LAS Signature Themes define broad priority areas for research and scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Focus areas, first proposed and funded in 2014-15, establish more sharply defined and targeted hiring priorities for the college. A focus area will align with one or more of the signature themes and address complex research challenges through highly collaborative, interdisciplinary ventures. Focus areas will provide an opportunity to build or strengthen research areas with a clearly defined focus, and to do so much more quickly than under the regular hiring process.
A focus area under a signature theme consists of up to six new faculty hires in an interdisciplinary research field which shows promise for international prominence. One or more of the new faculty can be hired at senior levels, if leadership of the focus area is not already available on campus. We expect that the new hires will be recruited into two or more departments over a period of typically two to three years. The new faculty will be mentored carefully, and LAS will provide some support for networking and team building, in addition to competitive salaries and startup packages.
Last year, the college launched the first round of this new hiring initiative. Four areas were selected for funding, and the first faculty searches under this program are currently underway. Hiring in these four areas will continue through the next two years until each area is fully staffed.
With this call, we are launching a second round. We invite faculty to submit collaborative proposals for new focus areas, in consultation with their colleagues and department chairs. We expect to select two proposals for funding.
Proposals must contain the following information: • A description of the targeted research area and how it addresses one or more signature themes. Explain how this focus area builds on existing strengths: Are there ISU faculty already working in this area? What specific new expertise would provide a significant boost to existing efforts?
• A detailed hiring plan. Explain how each of the requested hires will contribute to the focus area. How will they combine with existing expertise to substantially increase the international prominence of the area? What are the projected salaries, startup packages, and space needs? Who will mentor the new faculty?
• A description of expected “return on investment.” What will we be able to do with the new faculty in place that we were not able to do previously? What new funding/awards are expected to result from these hires? Are there new academic programs that could be started?
• A description of partnering units. A focus area must involve at least two LAS departments, and proposals must be accompanied by a letter of support from each chair. The chair’s letter should address whether the departmental faculty is supportive of the proposal and outline concerns, if any, with departmental governance processes, should the proposal be selected. If a chair wishes to support multiple proposals, the ranking of each proposal must be clearly stated.
• Proposals involving departments from other colleges will be considered but will require more extensive negotiations with the affected department chair(s) and dean(s). For such proposals to be successful, the investment of the partner college must be commensurate with the LAS contribution. We strongly encourage teams planning such proposals to let the college know as soon as possible to allow time for detailed discussions between the LAS Dean’s Office and the partner college(s).
Deadlines: March 15: Letter of intent with the following information: (1) Title of focus area, (2) short abstract (250 words or less), (3) list of team members and departments. April 1: Full proposal (5 pages max), addressing the information requested above. April 15: Regular hiring proposals due in LAS.