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Eight New Clusters Selected in Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program


Memo from the Provost

TO: University Community

FROM: Warwick A. Arden, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

SUBJECT: Update on Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program

DATE: April 20, 2015

I am very pleased to announce that eight proposals have been selected for funding through the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program in the following cluster areas:

  1. Carbon Electronics
  2. Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security
  3. Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  4. Leadership in Public Science
  5. Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities
  6. Modeling the Living Embryo
  7. Sustainable Energy Systems and Policy
  8. Visual Narrative

Details regarding the proposals and cluster areas (proposing faculty, colleges involved, number of positions funded, cluster descriptions) are available in this document.

The Office of the Provost received 49 Faculty Excellence pre-proposals in December 2014 from faculty in all 10 colleges. Thirteen potential clusters were then invited to submit full proposals. Proposals selected to receive funding were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to achieve national eminence in proposed topic
  • Alignment with university strategic priorities and/or cross-cutting platforms
  • Demonstration of real interdisciplinarity
  • Potential to build on an existing university strength (or strength of the existing assets)
  • Opportunity for faculty to engage in both research and teaching of proposed topic
  • Ability to attract funding
  • Commitment to share resources and physical infrastructure
  • Inclusion of multiple colleges
  • Demonstration of a balanced hiring plan with clear leadership
  • Potential to attract diverse faculty

This second cohort of clusters will bring the total number of Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program clusters to 20.

My sincerest thanks to the Proposal Selection Committee, who spent many hours meeting and reviewing all of the submitted pre-proposals and proposals: Duane Larick (chair, senior vice provost for academic strategy and resource management); Anthony Blikslager, College of Veterinary Medicine; Margo Daub, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Susan Faircloth, College of Education; Jon Horowitz, Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development; Cathrine Hoyo, College of Sciences; Warren Jasper, College of Textiles; Haig Khachatoorian, Professor, College of Design; Brad Kirkman, Poole College of Management; Fran Ligler, College of Engineering; Marian McCord, College of Natural Resources; Veena Misra, NSF Nanosystems ERC for ASSIST; Jorge Piedrahita, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research; David Shafer, Graduate School; Kathleen Vogel, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Liana Fryer, ex officio, previously of the Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development; and Laura Severin, ex officio, Office of the Provost.

Proud of Our Progress

Chancellor Woodson and I are extremely proud of the progress which has been made since the first twelve clusters were announced in February, 2012. Thirty-eight new faculty lines were originally created for the first cohort of clusters (expanded to 43 lines with opportunity hires and a position added by a college) and to date, 37 hires have been made, with hiring completed for nine of the twelve clusters. In addition to bringing outstanding new faculty to campus and moving NC State toward national eminence in the twelve cluster areas, the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program has seeded and nurtured an expanding culture of interdisciplinarity on campus.

As the newest cohort of clusters develops, we will look for more ways to ensure that all of our faculty who wish to participate in interdisciplinary efforts on campus find it easy and rewarding to do so. And, while focus is often on the tremendous strides that we have made through our interdisciplinary hiring initiatives, the chancellor and I also pay close attention to the University’s disciplinary faculty hires and continue to support and encourage such efforts through strategic college and departmental investments.

Finally, I would like to offer special thanks to Laura Severin as she prepares to return full-time to the English faculty in July. Laura, together with Duane Larick, has shepherded the CFEP program over the last three years and I’m certain that our success to date is due in large part to her stewardship. Going forward, Margery Overton, vice provost for academic strategy, will work with Duane to continue the strong development of the clusters.

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