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

Contacts

Beth Meyerand
Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
Office of the Provost
vpfsa@provost.wisc.edu
608-263-1685

LaVar Charleston
Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Inclusion
Office of the Provost
chiefdiversityofficer@cdo.wisc.edu
608-265-5228

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 central administration.

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 simply 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

Proposals will be evaluated on:

  1. The above 8 criteria
  2. Whether use of the TOP program furthers the campus’s commitment to diversity
  3. The school, college, or division’s record of successful TOP recruitments
  4. The number of faculty FTE in the school, college, or division

Application Procedures

  1. Create a single PDF file that includes:
    • Dean’s cover memo stating support for the proposal at the school or college 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.

Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship

Used as part of the faculty recruitment package, the Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship provides a one-year period free from teaching in which the person hired can set up their research and build a research network prior to the beginning of their probationary period as assistant professors. The post-doc fellowship accompanies the offer of a tenure-track assistant professor position as part of faculty hires authorized by schools/colleges. The post-doc fellowship provides 90 percent of the first-year assistant professor salary for one year.

Application Process

A preliminary request for an AJC Post-Doctoral Fellowship, as part of the package for assistant professor positions, must be made by the department chair, with the approval of the school/college dean or associate dean. Requests must be made via email or phone. The vice provost for faculty and staff will follow up with provisional approval via email. Following provisional approval, and once the offer of employment has been accepted, the dean or associate dean will send a copy of the signed acceptance letter to the Vice Provost Meyerand no later than June 30 of the year in which the request was provisionally approved.

Nellie McKay Fellowship

Nellie McKay was a highly respected and beloved colleague in English and African-American Studies.

The Nellie McKay Fellowship provides full release from teaching for one academic year so that faculty may devote the year to scholarly research. The fellowship is normally used in the fourth year of the appointment and is contingent on a successful performance review after three years. The McKay Fellowship is an investment in faculty development and obligates the recipient to provide a minimum of one academic year of service upon conclusion of the fellowship year. Preference will be given to candidates whose normal instructional load is 2-2. The total value of the fellowship is up to $80,000.

Transfer of funds

Release of these funds is contingent upon successful performance review after three years in the appointment. Schools/colleges/divisions must notify Vice Provost Meyerand 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/division’s annual budget planning allocation or transferred immediately.

Flexible Research Funds

In order to support the professional success of UW-Madison faculty who enhance the diversity of our institution, departments and deans may request Flexible Research Funds to supplement a start-up package. Release of these funds is contingent upon successful performance review after three years in the appointment.

Flexible Research Funds also are available to support the retention of tenured professors whose work and whose presence adds to the diversity of the campus and its culture. Flexible research funds will only be used as retention cases when the department can document that no other university or outside resources are available for support.

Application Process for Flexible Research Funds

Step 1: Consult with Vice Provost Beth Meyerand (263-1685, vpfsa@provost.wisc.edu)

Step 2: The department chair or dean submits a preliminary request to Vice Provost Meyerand by email. The request should:

  • Identify the search field
  • Provide the name of the candidate (along with a C.V.)
  • Describe the candidate’s promise and accomplishments
  • Describe how the candidate brings diversity to the unit and/or field
  • Identify the amount requested
  • Outline the unit’s activities to develop best practices for pipeline development and effective search, and its participation in discussions of research on unconscious bias.

A follow-up will be made to understand the request and the diversity/pipeline strategy of the search, and to agree on expectations.

Step 3: Before funds are approved, the department must summarize, in writing, its activity to develop best-practices for pipeline development and effective searches, and to participate in discussion of research on unconscious bias.

Step 4: Departments must notify Vice Provost Meyerand about the status of the recruitment effort for our budgeting purposes.

Transfer of funds

Release of these funds is contingent upon successful performance review after three years in the appointment. Schools/colleges/divisions must notify Vice Provost Meyerand 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/division’s annual budget planning allocation or transferred immediately.