ADVANCE provided funding to support newly hired Faculty Fellows for up to 3 years in departments that had been approved by the Provost for an appointment. Our goal was to develop high-potential candidates who would then transition into tenure-track faculty positions. Selected Fellows were hired with the understanding that, following satisfactory evaluations, their Fellow position would transition to a tenure-track position, without further search required. We emphasized hire-terms terms that provided Fellows an attractive opportunity to implement a solid research program immediately.
Past experience indicates that research opportunities are slowed or derailed when new faculty hires are assigned heavy teaching loads, which subsequently affects their retention rates. Conversely, retention is high for new faculty who become involved in building strong, high quality research programs. Thus, Faculty Fellows were asked to teach one course during their first year and up to 2 courses in subsequent years of their Fellows appointment. They had no additional service expectations. These hire-terms enabled departments to secure valuable candidates prior to an actual opening of a tenure-track faculty position, allowed candidates to develop as independent researchers, all the while strengthening the university’s overall research program.
The Fellowships were for candidates with an earned doctorate in a scientific, technology, engineering, or mathematics discipline, or for those in their final phase of doctoral work. Fellowships could be held up to 3 years, and transitioned to faculty rank at any time during that period, contingent upon the availability of a designated tenure-track position. Performance evaluations occurred at the time of transition, and if satisfactory, a letter offering the conversion of status was presented. The Fellow was offered the option of counting up to 3 years of her Fellowship, after PhD, towards tenure.
Up to four Fellows were funded during the first year (maximum of one per college). After the first year, we funded two to three Fellows per year in high priority areas that were identified by the Provost.
Fellows were offered professional and personal development opportunities beyond the scope of the traditional faculty development, such as educational opportunities through seminars, training, and professional continuing education, including the ADVANCE workshops for existing faculty. We assigned each Fellow two trained mentors – one inside the department, and one outside – for advice and assistance. Efforts to develop social networks and partner career assistance were also offered.