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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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UB schools preparing to hire 70 more faculty than average

The university looks to use the new positions to increase research and faculty diversity

<p>The university is preparing to hire 70 more faculty than average over the next 18 months.</p>

The university is preparing to hire 70 more faculty than average over the next 18 months.

UB will be hiring 70 new faculty members — in addition to regular hiring — over the next 18 months, putting to use a $12 million investment from New York State, according to UB spokesperson John Della Contrada. 

Faculty will be hired in all schools and many departments, but hiring will be concentrated in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Jacobs School of Medicine and the School of Engineering because “the potential for increasing UB’s research expenditures is the greatest,” Della Contrada said. Deans of each school have already created hiring plans. 

“This provides UB with an unprecedented opportunity to significantly increase our faculty ranks and hire additional scholars to produce groundbreaking research that will positively impact our region, state and world, and who will provide our students with transformational experiences in the classroom, in labs and in our community,” Della Contrada said in an email. 

The $12 million from the state will be an annual investment and has been added to UB’s operating budget. The funding is part of a SUNY investment package, announced last July, that will distribute $53 million to over 30 of the 64 SUNY colleges and universities to hire full-time faculty, according to a press release from the governor’s office. 

UB is “firmly committed” to using the money from SUNY to hire a diverse cohort of faculty, Della Contrada said, with the goal of doubling the number of faculty from “historically underrepresented backgrounds,” which UB defines as “African American/Black, Native American, Pacific Islander, Alaskan Native and Hispanic/Latino people.” That definition can also include Asian Americans and women in some fields. 

The percentage of new UB faculty hires from historically underrepresented backgrounds increased from under 10% in 2019 to almost 35% this year, according to Della Contrada. In 2022, 9.5% of all faculty came from “underrepresented backgrounds,” compared to the 73.6% of faculty who were white, according to the university factbook. 8.9% of tenure-track faculty came from underrepresented backgrounds in 2022. 

“The university is proud of the progress we have made in faculty diversity, and we are committed to building on this progress,” Della Contrada said.   

The state funding can only be used to pay for faculty salaries, and not the startup costs — typically associated with hiring some new faculty — for things like lab space, travel, administrative support, research equipment and more. UB will follow “its regular internal process for consideration of startup costs,” Della Contrada said, which includes “discussion between deans, chairs and faculty candidates” during the recruitment process. 

Grant Ashley is the managing editor and can be reached at grant.ashley@ubspectrum.com


GRANT ASHLEY
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Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for NPR, WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley. 

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