Kimberly Espy, provost and vice president for academic affairs, announced on Jan. 29 that UTSA will have a new Strategic Hiring Initiative for 2020. This plan aims to make UTSA a center for student success and future research.

The university hopes to accomplish these goals through five programs: the Clustered and Connected Hiring Programs, the Advancing Academic Excellence through Accelerating Faculty Diversity Hiring Program (FDP), the Dual Career Academic Partners Hiring Program (DCP), the Advancing Academic Excellence through Accelerated Hiring of Nationally Recognized Faculty Program (NRP) and the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP).

The Clustered and Connect Hiring Program calls for more active faculty participation in proposing ways to hire workers for UTSA.

The FDP helps hire faculty who are diverse and demonstrate experience developing innovative curriculums. It will use Special Opportunity Hiring, where persons outside of the hiring process are able to be considered to add diversity to the atmosphere of UTSA.

The DCP will help partners of tenure-stream faculty in identifying and pursuing job opportunities at UTSA.

The NRP will use the Special Opportunity Hiring technique. The hires will be evaluated on their ability to encourage collaboration with all the other networks.

The VISP supports tenured professors or professors eligible for tenure as they transition to a new career field.

“The goal of this Initiative is to support and accelerate our progress toward the strategic hiring of promising, accomplished and diverse faculty in key areas – which is fundamental to UTSA’s future as an urban serving, multicultural, discovery enterprise focused on student success and research excellence,” Espy said.

Espy explained how this plan has worked on other college campuses and hopes it challenges the university to think creatively about how it can attract diverse and transdisciplinary scholars.

“Top universities plan to recruit scholars who will advance their particular research and teaching missions,” Espy said. “This plan builds on the success of UTSA’s cluster hiring initiative, which over the past several years has resulted in the hiring of both high-profile and exceptionally promising faculty in key cross-disciplinary areas such as brain health, cybersecurity, analytics and data sciences.”

The programs will be implemented soon and information sessions will be held on the topic as well.

“Beginning at the start of our next fiscal year, this initiative will allow college deans and department chairs to be more flexible and seek the funding to act quickly to hire key scholars, just as NFL teams hire highly sought-after players once they become free agents,” Espy said.

According to Espy, this program will not cost much for students.

“A portion of the Strategic Investment Fund created under the university’s new Incentivized Resource Management budget model will help academic colleges strategically recruit and hire the right scholars to help UTSA reach its destinations,” Espy said. “The cost will vary from year-to-year based on hiring priorities and opportunities.”

Espy believes that many can benefit from the program, but expects challenges.

“Today’s grand challenges cut across disciplines, so having coordinated team hires enables us to foster innovation that better prepares our students.” Espy said. “Also, new ideas come from having diverse perspectives — not only by discipline, but by background and experiences.  Diverse faculty, like our diverse students, bring new thinking and drive innovation to advance student learning and provide mentorship and successful role models. All of these contribute to academic excellence at UTSA.”

The program is coming together and there will be info sessions at a later date at the Main and Downtown Campuses as well.

“[The session] will allow faculty, academic administrators and the staff who support faculty hiring — as well as the general campus community — to ask questions and obtain clarification about the initiative and its components,” Espy said. “ We will also encourage faculty to submit proposals for the Clustered and Connected Hiring Program, due March 8.”

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