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  • Kristin Luciani

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  • Kristin Luciani

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UC San Diego Launches Chancellor’s Endowed Chair and Faculty Fellowship Challenge

Philanthropic support will help with recruitment and retention of ladder-rank and junior faculty

Universities have used endowed faculty chairs for more than 500 years to recognize, recruit and retain the world’s top scholars. Faculty fellowships, similarly, honor junior faculty who show capacity for great distinction in their research. Both honors provide a perpetual source of funds to support scholarly work, and they can play an important role in attracting and retaining academic leaders. To help the campus stay competitive, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla recently launched the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Endowed Chair and Faculty Fellowship Challenge.

Image: Martin Yanofsky

Martin Yanofsky. Photos by Brennan Romeril, Triton Magazine

“Endowed chairs and fellowships help us to recruit and retain exceptional faculty in a variety of fields and bridge funding gaps in state support,” said Khosla. “They are vital to our teaching and research mission. Donors who contribute to this initiative will be creating a lasting legacy at our campus.”

The goal of the challenge is twofold: to create 40 new endowed chairs to support distinguished ladder-rank faculty, and to establish 40 endowed faculty fellowships to support newly tenured, ladder-rank faculty, newly promoted Lecturers with Security of Employment (LSOE), and to retain key faculty at the associate professor level. The new chairs and fellowships will be allocated across the campus’ three academic units: General Campus, Health Sciences and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

During the challenge, which began this month and will continue through December 2017, new chairs and fellowships will be augmented by the Chancellor. For chairs—which require a philanthropic investment of $1 million for the general campus and $2 million for Health Sciences and Scripps Oceanography—the campus will contribute an additional $500,000 to the new chair’s endowment.

For endowed faculty fellowships, the Chancellor is offering a match. The minimum to create an endowed faculty fellowship is $500,000. Donors who give $250,000 will be matched with $250,000 from the Chancellor to fully fund the fellowship.

Donors who endow chairs are not only ensuring excellence at the university today, but also contributing to UC San Diego’s future growth, innovation and success. The chair positions provide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, for the chair holders’ scholarly activities, including research and teaching as well as graduate student fellowships.

Image: UC San Diego Associate Professor of History Denise Demetriou

Denise Demetriou

For Martin Yanofsky, distinguished professor of cell and developmental biology and holder of the Paul D. Saltman Chair in Science Education, the chair provides freedom to pursue the most interesting research questions.

“Funding from the endowed chair allows my team to take chances and explore high-risk projects that otherwise would likely go unfunded,” he said. “For example, these funds helped us to develop a project on plant embryonic stem cells that allowed us to make a major contribution to the stem cell field.”

Chair positions can also support scholarly work outside of the classroom. Associate Professor of History Denise Demetriou, who holds the Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas Chair in Ancient Greek History, explained that the chair allows her to host academic events that help position the campus as a leader in the arts and humanities.

“Funds from the chair enable me to sponsor lectures and hold conferences on cutting-edge topics to raise the visibility of the department and enhance UC San Diego’s reputation not only as a leading STEM university, but also a university committed to the humanities,” she said.

While chairs play an important role in recruiting and retaining ladder-rank faculty, endowed faculty fellowships provide critical support for promising junior faculty. Fellowships offer early-career funding that helps young faculty to build momentum for their research and scholarly activities as they advance toward tenure. The Hellman Fellowship Program, for example, has supported some 275 junior faculty members over the last two decades.

To learn more about faculty chairs at UC San Diego, including a list of current chairs, visit the endowed chairs webpage.

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