Strategic Planning

Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Development

We are about to hire a large cadre of faculty over the next ten years as the University undergoes a generational change in its scholars and teachers. How do we enhance the ability of our schools to recruit the best faculty to UVA, especially faculty members who embrace our emphasis on student-faculty interaction? How do we assure that we build the University’s scholarly and research capacity? Do we have the best programs to develop faculty talent throughout their careers at UVA and empower them to innovate and advance scholarship and education?  How can peer review of performance enhance faculty development and creativity?  What do we need to improve in order to retain our faculty?

  Emergent Ideas of the Faculty Recruitment, Renention and Development Working Group

Email the Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Development working group or add a comment below.

Dorrie Fontaine Chair
Joan Fry Working Group Staff Lead
Virginia Carter Working Group Staff Member
Zeke Crater  IT Manager, University Library
Cliff Cutchins     Graduate Student, Medicine
Melissa Henriksen Asst. Professor, Biology 
Rebecca Horner Alumna, College, Darden
Michael Levenson Faculty, College, English
Lincoln Lewis Alumnus
Mathias Paco Alumnus, College
Elizabeth (Lili) Powell Asst. Professor / Darden
Peggy Shupnik Faculty, Medicine
William Simpson Undergraduate Student, A&S
Anda Webb Vice Provost for Administration and Chief of Staff



Submitted by Michael McCabe,... (not verified) on

All faculty should have, as a part of their performance reviews, reviews by students.  The student review form should require, in part, the student to compare the instructor being rated to some number (e.g., at least 2) of other instructors the student has had - by name, in a narrative format, and by describing three characteristics.  For example,

(Perhaps after some intro words, the student might write...)

This is my 4th semester at UVa and I now have had 20 classes taught by 15 different professors.  This is my first class with Dr. Ramachandra.  I think he was the funniest prof I have had.  It's amazing how anyone can make Mechanical Engineering actually funny but in every session Professor Ramachandra used several humorous examples or remarks to help us see the point he was making or remember the information he was teaching.  He was always very prepared.  Of the professors I have had, I think perhaps only Dr. Joan Flowers (English) might have been more prepared than Professor Ramachandra.  I really liked the class.  My only complaint was that I found the Prof's accent sometimes difficult to understand.  I would have to ask other students after every class about 2 or 3 points that I didn't quite understand because of his accent.  This was the first professor I have had here at UVa with whom I have had that problem.


You can see that with several narrative evaluations from students in the manner above, one will get more of a vivid picture of Professor Ramachandra as a teacher than one would from evaluations that require the student merely to check a few boxes or mark points on a number line.  Collections of these narratives also would enable comparisons between and among faculty members that would help Department Heads/Deans improve the teaching of some of their faculty.

Such evaluations would be used for teaching improvement, not for promotion/advancement (perhaps unless teaching didn't improve over a period of time, say 4-5 years).


Submitted by Claire Cameron (not verified) on


Research especially internationally has shown that more hours worked does not necessarily lead to better performance. Long work hours are particularly bad for mental and physical health. Academic scholars are a key group known for work-a-holism whose creativity and overall productivity may improve with a shift away from more quantity to better quality. 

Could UVA reimagine salary and benefits packages reimagined to focus more broadly on quality of life indicators?

In addition to competitive salary these may include: 

- health benefits including access/coverage for alternative, research-supported health care strategies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and meditation 

- time benefits including greater communication about and encouragement to exercise the option to work as little as 80% time, that is, >32 hours per week 

- more comprehensive child care benefits for both male and female partners

- teaching or administrative release benefits for scholars (especially women and members of minority groups) who may do more than their share of service functions within departments

- continuing education benefits such as brief training modules in the nitty-gritty areas that PhD students are NOT trained: e.g., interactive teaching strategies, mentoring including teaching students to write, budget tracking and projections. To incentivize this training would have to be well done and to “count” toward tenure packages, or replace a committee responsibility, or otherwise ease the burden on faculty rather than add a burden.

Note that these strategies have costs which may be difficult to estimate without data from other similar universities. Salaries may have to come down which will be tricky to do as UVA tries to compete with universities that still operate on the “more-pay-for-more-work” model.

C’ville already attracts candidates who want a top-tier university that nonetheless provides a work-life balance in a family-friendly locale. UVA could do more to play this up, and we could do research to track faculty quality of life to examine whether overall health, well-being, and productivity increase with broader benefits; and whether intellectual contributions are comparable. 


Submitted by Marina Heiss (not verified) on

While I like ( and hope I'm not misunderstanding) many of the ideas Ms. Cameron has proposed above, I feel that some would be more helpful than others.  The extended childcare and alternative medical benefits options are universally popular, and would add to the attraction of a position at the University.  Perhaps we should see what our chief competitors are offering in these areas, as she suggests.

However, as a both a "Triple 'Hoo" and a former staff member with 20 years of experience, what I have seen of academic creativity and the methods that drive it vary so much between individual faculty members that I'm not sure how the time, teaching realease, and continuing education benefits could be consistently marketed.  For example, some faculty members actually seem to *like* putting in a 60-hour week before a deadline or during a hectic time of year because their adrenaline works that way.  Others, I'm sure, would much prefer the steadier 32 hour plan.

One thing, I'm afraid, that is *not* an option, is offering salaries that are any lower than they absolutely have to be.  Charlottesville is a wonderful place to live but it's *expensive*, certainly as expensive and Northern Virginia (where I believe the Commonwealth pays it's employees extra in compensation).

At a recent reunion, I was informed that many of our soon-to-be-retiring *tenured* faculty have been accepting the level of salaries they currently received out of loyalty to the University.  Also that many promising academics who wanted to stay in Charlottesville could not afford to, and left for other schools with higher pay in relation to the local cost of living.

Perhaps actively planning a staggered system of "hire/retire" every couple of years might make the financial burden necessary to acquiring quality faculty easier cope with?

Submitted by Barbara Kessler (not verified) on

Thank you for this opportunity to give input.  First, I am curious what the rationale is/was to not include someone in a hr role be included in this work group.  Second, I propose we think about answering the question - if we want an exceptional and quality student experience, then don't we need to have the quality staff and faculty to be actively involved in creating this experience?  If the answer is yes, then what competencies, skills and talents do we need to hire and recruit?  Should we rethink our strategies for how we hire that attracts the quality staff and faculty?  What do we expect of faculty?  What do we expect of staff? What quality experience needs to be created for retention of the staff and faculty?  What is the hiring/human capital plan?  This is not to imply we don't have quality staff and faculty, however, I think the group needs to first step back from charge questions and answer the bigger questions.  My sense is that there are strategies in place that support the answers to the questions above and more to be developed.  However, there are a lot of hands involved in the hiring and retention practices at UVa and somehow we need to establish a common philosophy and strategy so that hiring and the staff and faculty experience at UVa are (positively) consistent and results in the exceptional student experience UVA desires to achieve.

Submitted by GUO CHONGHUA (ALAN) (not verified) on


To build a unique Employment Value Proposition (EVP) is vital for UVA to attract and retain world-class "master" scholars who can attract and retain other top scholars in return, with UC Berkeley as a good benchmark (because for years UVA and UC Berkeley ranked closely but the latter goes up in recent years). The key question UVA should keep asking is: what exactly makes UVA famous for?  Here are some recommended steps for UVA to build and manage a strong Employment Branding:

Step #1: Identify the EVP attributes that matter most to attracting and retaining the talent segment(s) UVA care most about.

Step #2: Identify the EVP attributes that represent UVA's current strengths.

Step #3: Identify the EVP attributes that are currently not well delivered by UVA's talent competitors (other universities and/or institutions which attract the same segmental talents as in UVA).

Step #4: Identify the EVP attributes that are not actively promoted by UVA's talent competitors.

Step #5: Identify the EVP attributes that best support UVA’s strategic objectives and culture.

Step #6: Identify the EVP attributes where associated HR investments are cost-effective.

Step #7: Focus on the most competitive and strategically relevant EVP attributes. that is, measured by (1) Competitive differentiation (2) Strategic alignment and (3)Reasonable implementation costs

In my experience in company, EVP attributes could be best identified by leveraging the five perspectives of employee engagement survey if available, including but not limited: 

Boss quality & prestige, C&B, learning & development, collegial work environment, UVA culture.

Submitted by Frank Dukes (not verified) on

Members of the Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Development Working Group


The University & Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE) is pleased to be able to respond to the call by President Sullivan to “consider the issues we are facing and offer advice.”

In recent months there has been much publicity about generational faculty changes and the need for increased pay and other resources for faculty support. But there has been far less public attention to issues of race and equity. This is the case despite recent losses of African American faculty and a long-standing commitment in the recent past on the part of the University administration to address racial diversity.

We are deeply concerned that the University not move backwards. UVa’s racial history means that efforts at recruitment, retention and development of African American faculty need to be as high or even higher than before.

Ten years ago I co-chaired a diversity committee on faculty recruitment, retention and development. The resulting report included these words concerning the impacts to the University of inadequate efforts at recruitment, retention and development:

·       A reputation based upon a legacy of slavery and racial and other forms of discrimination that persists and is still visible, and that harms recruitment and retention of a diversified workforce;

·       Students, staff and faculty have insufficient exposure to minority issues and views, thereby depriving them of significant component of a modern educational experience;

·       A perception by visitors, students and staff/faculty that minorities work primarily in housekeeping, food service and facilities management;

·       Considerable skepticism that the University of Virginia is serious about fairness in racial and equity matters.

·       A self-perpetuating cycle that leads some hiring officials to believe that minority candidates are inherently inferior.

We find it deeply troubling that these issues remain a decade later. Some Schools have fewer, not more, African American faculty than they did a decade ago. That condition has many impacts, including a significant impact on student life for students of all races.

As documented in UCARE’s May 2012 Report and Call for Reflection and Action, UVa has made many strides in addressing its racial issues. But that same Report details harms that continue to occur.

We are attaching a copy of the UCARE Report and inviting each member of the Faculty Recruitment, Retention and Development Working Group to review its contents. We especially invite you to look carefully at the ideas for actions that have come from several years of interaction among the University and larger community.

We would be most pleased to speak with the group or individual members to explore common ground and to answer any questions.

Respectfully yours,

E. Franklin Dukes, Ph.D.

Steering Committee members:

Mr. John Alexander
Ms. Riana Anderson
Ms. Lawrie Balfour
Rev. Lehman Bates
Ms. Selena Cozart O'Shaughnessy
Ms. Holly Edwards
Ms. Ishraga Eltahir
Ms. Bonnie Gordon
Ms. Claudrena Harold
Mr. Walt Heinecke
Ms. Phyllis Leffler
Mr. Dion Lewis
Ms. Sarah Malpass
Ms. Leontyne Peck
Ms. Regina Pencile
Ms. Leah Puryear
Hon. Kristin Szakos
Mr. Sherman White
Rev. Erik Wikstrom


Submitted by Cynthia Miller,... (not verified) on

There is an inherent tension between teaching and research.  Good researchers are often very poor teachers and good teachers are often uninterested in the competitive research process.  The University would benefit from developing alternative tracks for faculty who wish to focus on teaching, not on research.  Whether you call them clinical faculty, teaching faculty, etc., the point would be to create a track that allows good teachers to focus on teaching and good researchers to focus on research.  Both tracks would be tenure eligible, but the criteria for promotion would be different.

The University also needs to continue to examine whether it is a friendly environment for women and minorities. 

Submitted by Nancy DelPresto (not verified) on

I could not agree more with Cynthia Miller.  My husband, who has 25 years experience in the business world and teaches part time at a local university, consistently has very high student ratings for his classes as he uses his work  experience to bring a practical, applicable (and therefore interesting) knowledge to each class session.  My daughter, who graduated from PSU in chemical engineering told us that her favorite and most interesting class was one where a former practicing chemical engineer was the professor.  Good teachers are prizes who can make a huge impact on their pupils, inspiring them for life sometimes.  Cynthia is correct in saying that professors who are excellent in research prefer this work over teaching and should be allowed to focus on their interests and talents, too.  Doubtful how this idea will hold any water with the current faculty as status quo is a favored position by most university faculty and the education profession in general.

Submitted by Raul Baragiola (not verified) on

January 15, 2013

UVa can't talk credibly about these topics until the salaries are defrosted.

Diversity: UVa has a lot of redundant diversity offices, all managed by African Americans, ignoring that Hispanics are the main underepresengted minority group.  The main physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and astronomy departments in the US have Hispanic faculty, but not UVa.  This stains UVa's reputation.

Eradicate cronyism: it is the #1 obstacle to fair representation of women and minorities in the higher ranks and non-conventional thinkers in committees. Have strict rules against conflicts of interest.


Submitted by Kristin (not verified) on


An idea keeps buzzing in my head - it's something that can happen now and have substantial impact.

I'll leave UVa because there are no jobs in Charlottesville.  My husband is a CTO at a local company and that doesn't have the lifespan of decades.  I LOVE my job (really love love love it) but it pays a fraction of my husband's (numerator is 1 and denominator is greater than 2) and that just isn't going to change.

I think it would be great if we would identify our top strengths as an institution and then in those targeted fields reach out to industry and propose that they set up shop in Charlottesville.  It's nothing for a Microsoft to start a 2 person office that could be a place where students could do free internships getting authentic experience that would prepare them for better jobs immediately out of school and it creates a potential to have these companies start to develop larger sites here that could employ spouses.  

Do that over 20 companies presenting them with an educated, experienced, inexpensive workforce and opportunities for plenty of internship and research student connections and I think we'd create a larger eco-system in Cville for industry and jobs.

It's just a thought. And it all starts with some targeted conversations.  We certainly have the connections.


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