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Target of Opportunity Professorships Program (TOP)

The TOP program is for recruiting exceptional candidates at all levels with speed and flexibility not available in conventional searches. This initiative is intended to encourage schools and departments to search for extraordinary faculty at all levels on a continual basis, not just limited to normal defined searches (that will continue to constitute the vast majority of hiring). The aim is to create a culture of continuous recruitment of the best faculty and a means to bring them to the University of Richmond.

Desirable candidates would likely meet more than one of the following criteria:

  • Significantly influence the quality of teaching and scholarship within their fields and across the University
  • Add critical depth to underrepresented faculty
  • Enhance the strategic plan
  • Bring unusual pre-eminence to the University of Richmond

The program is not intended for cases in which strong faculty may be hired through a standard competitive search. Consideration of hires will be based on an assessment of their contribution to enriching academic units and university strategic goals, especially where the University can build comparative strength. Such candidates are generally not on the market or there is no defined search for which they are eligible. Sometimes they are found in other places than a traditional university setting (e.g., a think tank, business, etc.).

Procedure: Proposals for TOP hires will be submitted by the Dean and Department Chair where the faculty would be located based on strong support in the department/school for that candidate. Joint proposals between departments and/or schools are also welcome (with accompanying approval letters).  Proposals should articulate the reasons for the hire, funding required, and an outline of the specific recruitment plan.

Proposals will be reviewed by the Provost, who may consult with the Senate Faculty Development Committee. All TOP searches and appointments require approval of the Provost.

It is recommended that potential proposers inform the Dean and Provost early in the process of considering a potential candidate.

Funding: TOP hires could be funded by schools or those nominating could apply to the Provost for bridge funding up to full salary and benefits for a period no longer than three years. The hiring unit must cover full support of the faculty member hired at the end of the period of bridge funding. We anticipate a small number of hires that require bridge funding on an annual basis – existing funds allow 1-2 hires per year; additional hires will depend on outside funding.