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Faculty hiring initiative


Twenty-four faculty searches will soon get under way, including several chaired professorships, thanks to a special funding initiative announced by University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams in his 2010 State of the University address in January.

Jere Morehead, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, worked with the deans of UGA's 16 schools and colleges and the vice president for research to identify critical tenured and tenure-track positions to be funded or partially funded through a $2 million salary allocation, with an additional $2 million allotted for one-time startup costs, such as equipping laboratories for researchers in the sciences.

Adams announced last month that $4 million in central budget savings would be used to address some crucial needs in faculty hiring.

Among the positions to be filled are five chaired professorships:

· The Haines Family Distinguished Professorship in Field Botany, focused on below-ground plant ecology, in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences (established with a bequest from Bruce Haines, a faculty member in the department of plant biology for more than 30 years);

· The Daniel P. Amos Distinguished Professorship in Insurance in the Terry College of Business (established with a gift from the Amos Family Foundation and named for the chairman and CEO of AFLAC Inc.);

· The Mary Frances Early Professorship in Teacher Education in the College of Education (established with an endowment from Georgia Power and named for UGA's first African-American graduate, who earned a master's degree in 1962);

· The Donald L. Hollowell Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies in the School of Social Work (established by the school to honor the civil rights attorney who served as chief counsel in the landmark lawsuit that led to UGA's desegregation);

· Harbour Lights Chair of Small Animal Studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine (established with a gift from an anonymous donor to support graduate training programs).

"I am very excited about the opportunity President Adams has provided to move forward with several key faculty searches and appreciate the thoughtful input from the deans and the vice president for research in deciding on the particular areas to focus these funds," said Morehead. "The positions range from assistant professors to endowed chairs. In the latter case, it is vital when donors contribute funding that the university creates the faculty position."

In addition to the chaired professorships, the initiative includes salary and some start-up funding for a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Crop Genomics in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Other positions are in the following disciplines: biological sciences, bioimaging, physics and astronomy, computer science, chemistry, English, linguistics, speech communication, Romance languages, ecology, environmental planning and design, child and family development, forestry, international affairs, public administration and policy, health policy and management, and epidemiology and biostatistics. A pharmacy educator position will be shared between the College of Education and the College of Pharmacy.

"I hope that this initiative will be a clear indicator to the university community that faculty hiring is our top priority," said Morehead. "This initiative provides a special opportunity to attract some very fine talent to the University of Georgia as we begin to replenish the ranks of tenure-track faculty in a sustained effort over the next few years."

Morehead said he expects several of the positions funded through the initiative to be filled as early as fall semester 2010.

Besides the $4 million initiative, the administration is providing support from central funds for some additional faculty salaries and start-up costs. These include the department head in genetics and assistant professors in the Institute of the Faculty of Engineering, as well as chaired professorships: the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism, the Zell Miller Distinguished Professorship in the Institute of Higher Education, and the Philip H. Alston Jr. Chair in the School of Public and International Affairs.

Other searches also are being undertaken by several schools and colleges to replace recently retired faculty.