Faculty Diversity Initiative

Diversity, broadly defined, is a compelling university interest because it is integral to fulfilling our mission as a public university that makes its teaching and research available to all citizens of the state, that recognizes excellence and a commitment to the promotion of diversity as inextricably linked, and that allows it to serve the public good.

To support this compelling interest and to fulfill its public mission, UW-Madison is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background – people who as students, faculty and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.

It is the university’s practice to recruit applicants whose creative work and research, teaching, and service will contribute to the diversity of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  To help departments diversify their faculty (and student) populations, the Faculty Diversity Initiative provides support in the form of funds for hiring, outreach, and faculty support, from the recruitment process to the initial hire and throughout the career.

Goals

  • Provide salary support
  • Supplement recruitment packages for new faculty
  • Encourage retention of faculty by supporting their research and teaching

Funding Areas

TOP Program

The TOP program enables academic departments to hire exceptional faculty members who would greatly enhance the quality and diversity of the department. Deans, department chairs, and center directors are encouraged to engage with their colleagues and seek out exceptional prospective faculty who would add diversity to our campus community.

Departments can hire TOP candidates via a PVL waiver or as part of an established recruitment.

PVL Waiver

TOP candidates may be hired on a PVL waiver without a job posting. The candidate must still be interviewed and the department, school, or college must approve the hire. Please note that UW–Madison cannot file an EB-2 Special Handling Labor Certification permanent residency petition for TOP candidates hired on a PVL waiver.

Proposals are accepted September 15 until February 15.

Established Recruitment

TOP candidates may be hired as part of an already-authorized faculty recruitment. For example, when selecting finalists, a department may identify a candidate who would enhance the academic strength and diversity of the department, but their research area doesn’t match that which is defined on the PVL. The additional candidate may be hired through the TOP program instead. Keep in mind that if the candidate matches the requirements of the PVL, they must be hired on the PVL, not through TOP.

Proposals are accepted September 15 until April 15.

Funding

Central administration provides 100% salary support (up to $90,000) for six years for assistant professors and five years for tenured professors. Thereafter, central administration provides 50% salary support (up to $45,000), with the department, school, or college responsible for the remaining costs. Schools or colleges must notify the Office of the Provost of successful hires in order for salary support to be included in their annual budget planning allocation.

Individuals hired on a PVL waiver are eligible to receive a Nellie McKay Fellowship and flexible research funds of up to $50,000. Individuals hired as part of an established recruitment are eligible to receive a Nellie McKay Fellowship.

Start-up packages are handled similarly to traditional faculty searches, with participation of the department, the school or college, and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

If a person hired under the TOP program leaves the university, the funds revert back to the Office of the Provost.

Proposal Criteria

Strong proposals will address:

  1. The candidate’s excellence in teaching, research, and service
  2. How the candidate would increase the diversity of the department
  3. How hiring the candidate aligns with the goals of the department
  4. A detailed mentorship plan (for assistant professors) that goes beyond stating that a mentoring committee will be assigned
  5. A retention plan for the candidate
  6. How the candidate was identified and how their relationship with the department has been cultivated
  7. Why TOP resources are being requested
  8. Whether the proposal is for a PVL waiver or part of an established recruitment

Application Process

  1. Create a single PDF file that includes:
    • Dean’s cover memo stating support for the proposal at the school, college, or division level
    • The proposal
    • The candidate’s curriculum vitae
  2. Name the PDF file “CandidateLastName-SchoolCollegeDivision-DateSubmitted” (for example, Smith-Education-2022-09-13.pdf).
  3. Upload the file to Box
  4. Approximately every two weeks during the academic year, representatives from the Office of the Provost and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement review proposals. If an urgent response is needed, upload the file to Box and request an expedited review by emailing vpfsa@provost.wisc.edu.

Transfer of Funds

Signed offer letters must be uploaded to the Recruitment and Retention Tool before the Office of the Provost can release any funds. Depending on the timing of the hire, funds may be added to the school, college, or division’s annual budget planning allocation or transferred immediately.

Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship provides one academic year free from teaching in which the person hired can set up their research before beginning their probationary period as an assistant professor. The fellowship accompanies the offer of a tenure-track assistant professor position and provides one academic year of salary at 90 percent of the assistant professor starting rate. The fellowship is an investment in faculty development and obligates the recipient to remain employed at UW–Madison for a minimum of one academic year upon conclusion of the fellowship.

Application Process

Complete the Faculty Diversity Initiative Funding Request Form to apply for an Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship. The Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs reviews requests regularly and will notify you of their decision by email.

Offer Letter Language

The Anna Julia Cooper Fellowship must be included in the candidate’s offer letter. Sample offer letter language is below and may be modified as needed.

The Office of the Provost is pleased to offer you an Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship for academic year 20XX-20XX, beginning August X, 20XX and ending May X, 20XX, at a nine-month salary rate of $XX,XXX. This fellowship will provide you with one academic year of salary with no formal instructional responsibilities so that you may devote the academic year to your scholarly research. The Anna Julia Cooper Fellowship is an investment in faculty development and obligates you to remain employed at UW–Madison for a minimum of one academic year upon conclusion of the fellowship. Because this fellowship is separate from your tenure-track appointment as an assistant professor, it is not considered probationary service and will not count on your tenure clock.

Transfer of Funds

Signed offer letters must be uploaded to the Recruitment and Retention Tool before the Office of the Provost can release any funds. Depending on the timing of the hire, funds may be added to the school, college, or division’s annual budget planning allocation or transferred immediately.

Nellie McKay Fellowship

The Nellie McKay Fellowship provides one academic year free from teaching so that faculty may devote the year to their research and service. The fellowship is normally used in the fourth year of an assistant professor appointment and is contingent on a successful performance review after three years. It provides $80,000 for the department to hire an instructor. Preference will be given to candidates whose normal instructional load is 2-2. The fellowship may be requested for recruitment or retention of faculty. The fellowship is an investment in faculty development and obligates the recipient to remain employed at UW–Madison for a minimum of one academic year upon conclusion of the fellowship.

Application Process

Complete the Faculty Diversity Initiative Funding Request Form to apply for a Nellie McKay Fellowship. The Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs reviews requests regularly and will notify you of their decision by email.

Offer Letter Language

The Nellie McKay Fellowship must be included in the candidate’s offer or retention letter. Sample language is below and may be modified as needed.

The Office of the Provost is pleased to offer you a Nellie McKay Fellowship which provides full release from teaching for one academic year so that you may devote the year to your research and service. The Nellie McKay Fellowship may be used during the 20XX-20XX academic year, contingent upon satisfactory performance during the first three years of your appointment. The Nellie McKay Fellowship is an investment in faculty development and obligates you to remain employed at UW–Madison for a minimum of one academic year upon conclusion of the fellowship. Nellie McKay was a highly respected and beloved colleague in English and African-American Studies.

Transfer of Funds

Signed offer letters must be uploaded to the Recruitment and Retention Tool before the Office of the Provost can release any funds. Release of funds is contingent upon successful performance review after three years in the appointment. Schools, colleges, or divisions must notify us at vpfsa@provost.wisc.edu that the faculty member has had a successful performance review and ask for the funds to be transferred. Depending on the timing of the request, funds may be added to the school, college, or division’s annual budget planning allocation or transferred immediately.

Flexible Research Funds

Flexible Research Funds support the research-related activities of faculty. The funds are normally transferred in the fourth year of an assistant professor appointment and are contingent on a successful performance review after three years. Flexible Research Funds may also be used for faculty retention if the department can document that no other university or outside resources are available for support.

Application Process

Complete the Faculty Diversity Initiative Funding Request Form to apply for Flexible Research Funds. The Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs reviews requests regularly and will notify you of their decision by email.

Offer Letter Language

The Flexible Research Funds must be included in the candidate’s offer or retention letter. Sample language is below and may be modified as needed.

The Office of the Provost is pleased to offer you Flexible Research Funds in the amount of $XX,000 to be used for research-related activities. These funds will become available to you during the 20XX-20XX academic year, contingent upon satisfactory performance during the first three years of your appointment.

Transfer of Funds

Signed offer letters must be uploaded to the Recruitment and Retention Tool before the Office of the Provost can release any funds. Release of funds is contingent upon successful performance review after three years in the appointment. Schools, colleges, or divisions must notify us at vpfsa@provost.wisc.edu that the faculty member has had a successful performance review and ask for the funds to be transferred. Depending on the timing of the request, funds may be added to the school, college, or division’s annual budget planning allocation or transferred immediately.

If funds remain after an employee leaves the university, those funds must be returned to the Office of the Provost.