Targets of Opportunity
To: Department Chairs
From: David Kertzer, Provost
Date: September 18, 2008
Most new faculty appointments at the University are made through the standard approved search process. However, the University needs flexibility to respond to outstanding opportunities that arise when no relevant search is underway. The target of opportunity program is designed to address this need, and the purpose of this memo is to clarify the criteria and processes for appointing faculty under this program.
Proposed target appointments need to satisfy two criteria. First, they must add extraordinary value to the University, where value is in the context of our multiple institutional goals. These include bringing to campus scholars of unusual depth, originality, and impact, diversifying the faculty and thereby better fulfilling our academic mission, and ensuring growth in the depth and breadth of our educational offerings. Second, we must feel confident that the achievements and potential contribution to the University are so high, evident, and singular that the candidate would certainly emerge as the top choice from any relevant search that would have been undertaken. The target program enables us to bring such faculty to Brown without a traditional search.
We seek an environment rich in varied cultural and intellectual perspectives, and diversifying the faculty can contribute significantly to this goal. As indicated above, one important goal of the target of opportunity program is to diversify the faculty and in particular to address the longstanding difficulty in recruiting minority faculty. I strongly encourage you to talk to Brenda Allen, Associate Provost and Director of Institutional Diversity, to help think through issues and opportunities related to this goal.
While faculty appointed under this program will not be appointed through a regular search, it is important to understand how they fit with the regular roster of faculty. The rules governing this question are designed to allow the University the ongoing flexibility it needs over time, and not to allow each such appointment to tie up resources permanently and ultimately decrease our flexibility. The basic principle is that a target of opportunity is not a means of permanently increasing the size of a department. Generally, if there is a search in which a candidate fits, even if the candidate has the individual qualities of a potential target of opportunity, the candidate would not be considered outside the search process as a target of opportunity. Most often, when a department recommendation for a target of opportunity is successfully appointed, it will entail the department’s agreement to forego a future appointment when another faculty member retires or leaves. The details will depend upon the particular situation. In those infrequent cases in which there is agreement not to forego a future appointment, the appointment line for the target of opportunity position returns to the target of opportunity pool when the person filling the target appointment leaves the University.
The target of opportunity program provides a pool of 25 faculty positions. We currently have 17 FTEs occupied as targets, making it possible for us to pursue a number of proposals. As more of these positions revert to the pool over the next several years we should be able to continue using this program to strengthen our academic goals.
When considering candidates for proposed target of opportunity appointments, please have a discussion with the relevant dean (either the Dean of Faculty or the Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences) and with Brenda Allen. Formal submissions of proposals for target of opportunity appointments should be sent both to Associate Provost Brenda Allen and directly to me, with a copy to the relevant Dean. Proposals will be reviewed by the Provost’s office and relevant Dean’s Office, with final decisions on proceeding being made by the President and Provost. Because of the necessity for flexibility and timeliness, proposals will be considered as they are received.
Office of the Provost
Providence, RI 02912
(401) 863-2706 fax - 1928