University Park, Pa. – Penn State has launched an initiative to encourage support for faculty in the critical first decade of their academic careers, University President Graham B. Spanier announced at the Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 11. Through the Faculty Endowment Challenge, donors can leverage a 1:2 match from the University for gifts creating new Early Career Professorships in any of Penn State's academic units.
“Students choose Penn State for the opportunity to work with educators, scholars, and scientists who can help them to succeed, and our reputation as an institution depends upon the achievements and dedication of our faculty,” said Spanier. “The Faculty Endowment Challenge will help to ensure that we can compete for rising academic stars, and it will create important momentum toward the goals of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.”
For the Future, the University-wide capital campaign scheduled for a formal kickoff in April 2010, includes faculty support as a featured objective.
According to University Executive Vice President and Provost Rodney A. Erickson, Early Career Professorships can be a vital tool in recruiting new faculty and jump-starting their professional achievements. These professorships, which rotate every three years to new recipients who are in the first decade of their academic careers, provide seed money for innovative research projects and flexible funding for new approaches to teaching.
“There is intense competition for the most talented teachers and researchers across every discipline,” Erickson noted. “If Penn State is to maintain the strength and vibrancy of our academic community, we must be able to offer our top faculty the kind of support that has become the standard at institutions nationwide.”
The endowments typically require a minimum commitment of $500,000; but effective immediately, donors may establish new Early Career Professorships for any of the University’s colleges or campuses with a commitment of $334,000, equivalent to approximately two-thirds of the minimum level required. Penn State will commit the remaining one-third of the necessary funds, approximately $166,000, from a $5 million pool of unrestricted endowment resources. The program will end on June 30, 2014, or when the full pool of matching funds has been designated to specific endowments.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for the University’s donors to increase the impact of their support for faculty,” said Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Rodney P. Kirsch. “Many Penn Staters feel that their lives were changed by the extraordinary professors they met here, and the Faculty Endowment Challenge is a way to give back and ensure that new generations of our students can work with the finest teachers and scholars.”
For more information about the Faculty Endowment Challenge, please contact the office of the Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, (814) 863-4826.