Key Capabilities: Faculty Excellence

Progress toward prominence will be paced by faculty excellence in scholarship, teaching and public, professional and community service. Investment in and cultivation of an exceptionally talented, dedicated and diverse faculty are vital to the University’s success.

In fall 2010, Richard F. Heck, the University’s Willis F. Harrington Professor Emeritus, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. It is a striking example of the University’s strong tradition of faculty excellence.

Against a backdrop of significant budget cuts, hiring freezes, salary reductions and furloughs across U.S. higher education over the last two years, the University of Delaware has moved aggressively within the limits of its resources to hire and retain strong faculty. New faculty hires have numbered approximately 40 in each of the last two years, and those hired represent a significant increase in first-choice candidates, reflecting the University’s growing stature in the overall market.

We have begun to conduct cluster searches and make cluster hires in areas of strategic importance identified in the Path to Prominence. We anticipate that targeted, cross-disciplinary recruiting will continue to increase substantially. With the greater breadth of such searches, it is essential that we recognize our opportunity and commit to making tangible progress with respect to faculty diversity.

The University has continued to provide merit-based salary increases to faculty and staff over the past two years and has committed to additional increases over the next two years through the Collective Bargaining Agreement with AAUP.

As noted in the Path to Prominence, continuing progress in building faculty excellence and recruiting and retaining interdisciplinary hires will require not only the kinds of changes in faculty recruiting that we have begun, but the alignment of workload policies and promotion and tenure processes, and the creation of significant faculty development programs to foster new faculty’s success. Strategic increases in faculty hiring will not only bring about a desirable decrease in the student/faculty ratio, but will enable us to address the critical knowledge needs of the 21st Century.