MizzouForward Process

As you all know, MizzouForward is an ambitious 10-year plan we have embarked on that aims to strengthen our outcomes in the areas of research productivity and student success.  Faculty support, through merit raises and recruitment, is also a big part of the plan.  The plan allows us to make investments in faculty and support infrastructure at a scale that is unlikely to happen at the unit/department or college level.

Many have asked, how is such recruitment (let’s call it MizzouForward Recruitment or MFR) different from the traditional faculty recruitment (TFR) process, which is typically initiated by an individual academic department? One key point to keep in mind is that there are more similarities than differences between MFR and TFR.  Whether it’s MFR or TFR, the goal is to recruit excellent researchers and teachers, who are committed to the pursuit of excellence through discovery. In this blog, I aim to lay out the details of the MFR process.

Individuals can apply to be considered for a position at MU via MFR (click here for link to the site) or they can be nominated and invited to apply. Either way, candidates for MizzouForward submit an application.  The information we ask of candidates is similar to what we request under TFR and includes a cover letter, CV, and a diversity statement.  Depending on the area of interest, one of three advisory groups reviews the application and makes a recommendation to invite them to campus.  The advisory groups are comprised of Mizzou’s faculty scholars in the following three priority areas:

  • Next Gen Precision Health
  • New Frontiers in Science, Engineering, and Technologies
  • Innovations in Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts

Upon a positive recommendation from the appropriate group, the candidate is next reviewed by an administrator team comprised of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Senior Vice Provost, and the Associate Vice Chancellor. The administrator team consults with the chair/s and dean/s of the areas where the candidate is most likely to fit into before making the decision to invite the candidate to campus. 

Candidates invited to campus meet with faculty in the areas/departments of best fit, and they make a presentation on their area of research.  During this time, information on the candidate is shared with the department/s, dean/s and college/s where the candidate is most likely to reside.  Joint appointments are considered where appropriate. 

This vetting process results in a candidate visit that allows faculty, chairs, and deans in areas of best fit to evaluate the candidate.  Faculty in these areas are invited to the candidate presentation, and to meet with the candidate.  After the visit, and as with traditional recruitment, faculty provide input in a manner consistent with their typical department/college processes.  After considering all input, chairs and deans provide their recommendation on an offer.  The offer negotiations are handled by the administrator team mentioned above (VCR, SVP and AVC), with final approval by the Provost and President. Chairs and deans continue to be consulted throughout the negotiation process, and in many cases engage with candidates on specific offer requests (e.g., discussing details of space needs, discussing typical teaching expectations in the department, etc.)

All faculty recruited via MFR are subject to the same expectations, policies, and CRRs as any other faculty member.  In other words, there are no “special” rules or considerations for faculty hired under MFR.

Differences between the two hiring processes are briefly summarized below:

Screening of Applicants: Under TFR, the committee that screens applicants is made up primarily of individuals from a single hiring unit. Under MFR, the committees screening applicants are made up of faculty from an array of disciplines, as reflected in the three priority areas.

Decisions for On-Campus Interviews: Under TFR, department committees’ recommendations move to a chair and/or dean who then makes the decision to approve on-campus interviews. Under MFR, the recommendation to invite a candidate to campus is made via the advisory committee. The final decision for an interview is made by the MizzouForward administrative team, and occurs in consultation with the chair and dean of the unit where the candidate will likely reside. Before the on-campus interview is finalized, the MizzouForward team also works with the candidate to identify the department/college that they believe would be the best fit.

Negotiations/Offers: Under TFR, the offer is often handled by the department chair and approved by the dean, with final approval from the Provost. Under MFR, the administrator team works directly with the units (i.e., the chair and dean) on the parameters of the offer, and the offers are approved by the Chancellor and Provost.

We are happy to share that to date, under MFR we have:

  • Received 296 applications
  • Recruited and have acceptances from 9 faculty
  • Have 12 offers pending and 32 in the pipeline.

This note tries to explain the process of MFR.  I realize that there will be unanswered questions and invite you to email me at ramchandl@missouri.edu  so I can better respond.