Recruiting young talent for professorships is the last thing we would expect academic departments to presently be doing. The recent economic downturn has fueled major cost cuts, furloughs and layoffs, not hiring efforts.
However, thanks to another generous gift from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, the University is developing a program to help recruit and retain junior faculty members and graduate students for academic careers at UNC.
The University generates a great deal of intellectual capital. Efforts to harness this young talent before it leaves are vital to maintaining and improving the quality of academic departments.
Without a vigorous effort to encourage junior faculty members to pursue academic careers, the University will lose the Ph.D.’s needed to sustain UNC’s status as a competitive academic institution.
The latest gift from the Kenan Charitable Trust will help bolster that effort.
The gift, in the amount of amount of $5.5 million, will go toward supporting the hiring of young faculty members during a time when the job market is poor.
The donated funds are expendable, meaning that they can be used by the University immediately.
And the money will go toward supporting three-year packages for 18 junior faculty members, including 14 in the College of Arts and Sciences, two in the Kenan-Flagler Business School and one in each of the schools of nursing and education.
In addition to improving academic quality, these new packages will cut down on the costly process of recruiting professors and ensure that individuals already rooted in the UNC community stay here.
Hopefully, due to generous efforts like the recent Kenan Charitable Trust donation, UNC can avoid a long-term faculty brain drain.
The future success of higher education lies in the University’s ability to hire promising young faculty members. And these new incentive packages are a small step in the right direction.