August 26, 2019
Dear faculty colleagues,
Welcome back. I hope you were able to enjoy your summer break. Like many of you, we have been busy preparing for students to return and classes to begin. I’m energized by the beginning of what I’m sure will be a productive and exciting academic year.
Last fall, we announced the Cluster and Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative in an effort to accelerate our broader interdisciplinary research and scholarship efforts. As an institution, we’ve made considerable progress in this regard during recent years through Bridging Barriers and other efforts. The intention of these clusters is to build upon the strength and impact of current faculty and energize these areas of research excellence.
The call for proposals generated great interest from the faculty body, and we received 80 competitive submissions representing faculty members spanning all colleges and schools. To review the proposals, a faculty committee was convened representing a broad array of disciplinary expertise. The role of the committee in this effort was critical, and we relied heavily on members’ insights throughout the proposal process. These were difficult decisions to make. The submitted proposals were very strong and I wish we had the resources to fund them all. For the proposals that were not selected, we have offered access to one-time funding to encourage continued collaboration among the faculty team members.
We have selected the following eight proposals to move forward.
- Bridging the Gaps in Resilience Research
- Diversity in Cognitive Functioning in Late Life
- Global Internet, Media, and (Dis)Information
- Good Systems: Building Technology Ethics Expertise
- Growing Basic and Translational Biomedical Imaging Science
- Maya Archaeology, Environment, and Religion
- Reducing Health Disparities: Innovative Biosocial Approaches
- Whole Communities—Whole Health
You can learn more about these clusters and the faculty members involved here.
We also invited four additional proposals to work with academic leadership to further refine their proposals for future consideration.
- Basic, Translational and Clinical Infectious Diseases and Immunology
- Exploration of Life and Planetary Habitability
- Interdisciplinary and Distributed Artificial Intelligence
- Texas Quantum Science and Engineering Institute
Hiring new faculty members is one of the most important decisions that we, as an institution, make each year. These new faculty lines are no exception. My office will work closely with the search committees to ensure we are conducting thorough and comprehensive searches to recruit a diverse pool of talent.
The energy and attention that has been invested in this process represents a strong desire for broader collaboration across our disciplinary silos. We learned a great deal from the faculty through all the proposals. The connections we build will provide greater opportunities for faculty members and our students, as well, and broaden the institution’s collective impact.
Executive Vice President and Provost
The University of Texas at Austin