Strategic Faculty Hiring in Critical Areas


DATE:           January 4, 2023

TO:               Provost’s Council
                     Associate Deans for Faculty/Academic Personnel

FROM:         Dawn Bratsch-Prince, Associate Provost for Faculty
                     Peter Dorhout, Vice President for Research 

RE:               Strategic Faculty Hiring in Critical Areas

Iowa State is investing in several Jump Start Initiatives that are aligned with the new ISU Strategic Plan.  A major initiative will accelerate the hiring of tenure-eligible and tenured faculty in critical areas of strategic importance to Iowa State University, the state, and beyond.

An institutional investment by President Wintersteen of $3.5 million in strategic jump start funds aims to build faculty capacity and to leverage institutional strengths and resources.  This hiring initiative will focus firmly on critical areas that track with Iowa State’s research strengths and emerging degree programs. These critical areas are: climate science and sustainability, cybersecurity, critical materials, human health initiatives, and the associated societal impacts of these areas.  

Funding support

Jump start funds will be provided centrally to cover 50% of the base salary and fringe benefits of each faculty hire through June 30, 2025.  The hiring college(s) or unit(s) will cover the remaining 50% during the same period.  Beginning in FY26, the entire cost of base salary and fringe benefits will be borne by the college(s) or unit(s).  Start-up costs will be funded separately through the standard institutional process. 


College deans, in consultation with their units, will develop hiring concepts and discuss them with the Associate Provost for Faculty and Vice President for Research prior to submitting a formal proposal. This process is intended to be thoughtful but not burdensome and such that the span of proposals received is only modestly greater than the resources available.

Following this initial consultation and in consideration of feedback received, college deans will prepare concise proposals and submit them to Kati Gorman (, administrative assistant in the Provost’s Office, by March 1, 2023.  Multiple proposals from the same college should be ranked by the dean in order of strategic priority. 

The format of the proposal includes a cover page using the template provided which asks for basic information about the proposed hire and a narrative justification that is no more than two pages in length.

Proposal Review Criteria

The proposals will be reviewed by the Associate Provost for Faculty and Vice President for Research and evaluated competitively based on the case made relative to the following criteria.  Please note that a proposal does not need to address all five criteria:

  • Strategic research areas critical to Iowa and to the nation’s economic future
  • Experience and expertise brought to Iowa State and proposed responsibilities in areas of curricular innovation and degrees of the future
  • Interdisciplinary reach (e.g., cybersecurity or the intersection of the humanities and social sciences with climate science)
  • Collaboration and joint hires with appointments across departments, colleges, and Extension and Outreach.
  • Research, teaching, extension and outreach, and service that contribute to the university’s land-grant mission of accessibility, including expanding access to education among underrepresented groups and scholarship focusing on underserved populations.

Funding decisions will be based on the criteria described above as addressed in the deans’ proposals.  All proposals must provide (1) an articulation of how the proposed hire contributes to one or more of the strategic areas being targeted in this hiring initiative and (2) a justification of how the proposed hire will add, both numerically and synergistically, to faculty strength in the strategic disciplines. 


Proposals due to Provost’s Office:  March 1, 2023
Funding decisions announced:  May 1, 2023

Proposal Form