Additional investments in hiring diverse faculty
February 24, 2021 10:02 AM

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

To accelerate our efforts to recruit faculty of color to campus, the University is investing additional funds to support as many as 15 new Targets of Opportunity Program (TOP)-eligible hires through the 2022-2023 academic year.

This expansion of the TOP program is part of our institutional commitment to increasing faculty diversity as highlighted in The Next 150 Strategic Plan. These additional funds for faculty hires will enhance the comprehensive impact of the Call to Action to Address Racism and Social Injustice initiative being led by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

To distribute these funds, the campus will employ a modified faculty search waiver process, based on the procedures outlined in the Targets of Opportunity Program found here. The modified process includes two different opportunities this year for academic units to apply for faculty search waivers.

  1. Colleges may submit proposals for “stand alone” or individual unit hires by March 22, 2021. We anticipate between eight and ten search waivers will be approved by this method.

  2. Colleges may choose to submit proposals for a multi-unit, themed cluster strategy that connect with one of the campus priorities identified in the strategic plan. Proposals around a theme must include the participation of at least two different academic units. Cross-college partnerships and participation of our University’s research institutes and centers in the development of the proposals are strongly encouraged. We anticipate approval of between six and nine waivers by this method. Applications for themed cluster hires are due by May 1, 2021.

Full details, eligibility information and application instructions are outlined in Provost Communication #7: Targets of Opportunity Program (TOP)

Please note that the process for the “TOP Traditional Search” remains unchanged. TOP candidates identified through existing approved searches remain eligible for campus support as outlined in Provost Communication #7. All units are encouraged and expected to develop the most diverse pool of candidates for their searches, and to leverage all opportunities to accelerate and increase their success in recruiting faculty of color.

This investment in the TOP program offers our academic units an additional tool in their efforts to recruit and retain faculty of color and further the diversity of excellence here at Illinois.


Andreas C. Cangellaris
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Provost

This mailing approved by:
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost

sent to:
Academic Professionals, Civil Service, Faculty, Graduate Students & Undergraduate Students
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