Faculty Inclusive Excellence Fund (FIEF)

The Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE) and the Office of the Provost are pleased to be able to provide funding to help academic units address their diversity hiring needs. This policy is one of many initiatives for integrating diversity (in all its dimensions) throughout the university. The primary purpose of the Faculty Inclusion and Excellence Fund (FIEF) is to provide incentive funding for colleges and departments to actively recruit, support and retain the most highly qualified and diverse pool of tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Funding Proposal Process

IDE and the Provost’s Office will jointly respond to proposals for FIEF funding on the basis of strategic efforts to increase faculty diversity. The academic unit may justify a funding request based on:

  • an established comparison-driven disparity between expected and actual numbers of women or minority faculty (i.e., an “affirmative action” goal) and/or
  • an established mission-driven diversity priority (i.e., related to curriculum, advising, etc.)

To assist units in making a case for funding based on under-representation, IDE will make every effort to annually provide each division with a comparative faculty demographics report by department. This and the university’s most current official affirmative action plan will be used to determine whether a unit has an established diversity need based on demographic comparisons.

Mission-driven priorities ideally flow from the academic unit’s strategic plan and will be documented in faculty meeting minutes, Inclusive Excellence plans, or annual diversity progress reports. Lacking that, a department or division may explain in the proposal how diversity (in general or in particular aspects) contributes to its teaching/research/service/economic development mission and how the skills and abilities of the candidate would further those diversity goals.

The dean or their designee may submit a proposal for FIEF funding after one or more suitable candidates have been included among the list of finalists. Proposals may be provisionally approved prior to on-campus interviews, but funding will be contingent on the successful hiring of the identified candidate(s). No commitment is final until a request is submitted and approval is received in writing.

The unit must obtain approval to search (and hire) from the provost/provost designee prior to the request for FIEF funding. Approval for FIEF funding in no way alters the unit’s responsibilities to obtain permission to hire and to comply with the university’s hiring procedures. This is especially true when abridged hiring processes are used; under the Recruitment and Selection Guidelines, abridged hiring is to be used rarely. Similarly, when the unit identifies more than one potential hire from a single job posting, the unit may make multiple FIEF requests provided the Provost’s Office approves the multiple hiring lines.

Funding Types

The following funding types are designed to address specific best practices in faculty recruitment and retention. Funding categories 1–4 are mutually exclusive and may not be combined into a single offer. Funding categories 5-7 are discretionary and may be requested separately or together with categories 1-4. New category 8 is a stand-alone provision and cannot be combined.

1. Permanent salary support: This category of support provides 50 percent of the starting salary (up to $50,000) for as long as the faculty member is employed in the department. Priorities for this funding are tenured/tenure-track faculty positions. In most cases, non-tenure-track faculty will not be funded under this category; however, ranked faculty may be considered when the hiring of such faculty would clearly further the unit’s diversity mission.

2. Established scholar: This form of funding may be granted when a department has been successful in recruiting highly qualified established scholars from groups representative of current campus-level priorities (i.e., American Indian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx or STEM women) into applicant pools.

“Previously tenured faculty” have achieved at least the rank of associate professor at a comparable institution and may be hired with tenure or significant credit towards tenure. “Eminent scholars” (signature hires) are nationally and internationally renowned for their significant contributions to their field.

This funding category is limited to tenured/tenure-track faculty positions; non-tenure stream faculty will not be funded under this category.

  • Transitional salary support: FIEF will provide 100 percent of the starting salary (up to $100,000) for the first three years of employment.
  • Permanent salary support: FIEF will provide 50 percent of the starting salary (up to $50,000) after transitional salary support has ended for as long as the faculty member is on the tenure track in the department.

3. Salary adjustment: This form of support may be granted when a department seeks to increase the salary of a new or incumbent faculty member. Amounts of funding will vary but will not exceed the existing salary/original offer by more than 10 percent or $10,000 (whichever is lower). The funding in this category is awarded for the duration of employment in the department. Salary adjustments will only be awarded once per faculty member. Salary adjustment can be used under the following circumstances:

  • The salary offer to an applicant is insufficient to complete the recruitment process and the department has not been awarded funding under other FIEF categories.
  • An existing faculty member has received an offer from another institution that exceeds the resources available in the department to provide a successful counter-offer.
  • An existing faculty member has demonstrated through a formal process of review that there is a salary inequity in comparison to other faculty of similar (or lower) rank and/or record of accomplishment. Funding in this category is provided on a bridging basis only, and will step-down by 20 percent each year for five years (in five equal steps).

4. Discretionary bridge funding: This form of support may be granted when a department is in need of funding to:

  • make a hire that has the potential to result in a future tenure track hire,
  • increase the quality of an offer or counter-offer, or
  • leverage funding to support broad-based diversity hiring goals

Variable amounts will be provided for up to three years. Funding in this area is used infrequently as a means to leverage unique opportunities to accomplish diversity-related hiring goals. Discretionary bridge funding may require a match in funding (sequential or simultaneous) from the college or department.

5. Benefits: An award of salary does not automatically include benefits. Funding to cover the associated cost of benefits may be granted with “permanent” forms of funding but only to the extent that the maximum amount of salary funding ($50,000 or $100,000, as the case may be) has not been awarded.

6. Summer salary: This form of support may be granted when a department is in need of funding to increase the quality of an offer or counter-offer. One month of summer salary will be provided for up to two years, or two months’ salary may be provided in one year (with match). A month’s salary may not exceed one-ninth of the base, 9-month salary. A grant of summer salary requires a match in funding (sequential or simultaneous) from the college or department.

7. Research (creative achievement) expense: This form of support may be granted when a department is in need of funding to increase the quality of an offer or counter-offer. Research expense may include various elements of a start-up package, including equipment, software, and other research/creative-related costs. It may not include salary. Variable amounts up to $7,500 per year will be provided for one or two years (not cumulative to $15,000 in a single year). A research expense award requires a match in funding (sequential or simultaneous) from the college or department.

Sequential match funding” refers to cases in which the department or college matches funding in subsequent fiscal years. “Simultaneous match funding” refers to cases in which the amount provided by FIEF is matched during the same fiscal year.

8. Hiring incentive: This is a new category of funding and cannot be used with any other option. Subject to the terms of policy HR-104, FIEF funds may be used as an up-front payment to a new faculty member when the university is competing for highly qualified candidates. As per the policy, requests may be submitted for sums of up to one-half the faculty member’s annual salary, payable in one or more installments. The policy requires approval by the chancellor (or designee); and payment will be conditioned on an agreement with the employee to forego or refund monies should the employee not remain at MU for an agreed-upon term (two to four years). The funding request should explain both the need for a hiring incentive and the amount being requested (i.e., why a lower sum would not be effective for acceptance of the offer).

Content of Proposals

Proposals must be submitted via online form. The form will guide you in providing the following information:

  • Name of the department/division and department/division chair name and contact information (or other designee)
  • Confirmation of provost/provost designee approval to hire
  • Name and Curriculum Vita for the candidate, position title, tenure-track status and rank
  • Brief statement of how the candidate was recruited, including whether new means of identifying potential applicants were utilized in the search phase
  • Expected salary (once hired, the unit will need to forward a copy of the final letter of offer)
  • Dollar amounts and sources of all other funding
  • Links to documents specifying the unit’s diversity priorities and paragraph about how they fit the mission and priorities of the college/department with respect to inclusion, diversity and equity.
  • Type and amount of funding requested and a rationale that connects the diversity needs of the department/division/college to the requested funding type and amount.
  • Paragraph concerning specific efforts planned and/or in place to retain this individual once hired (including but not limited to mentoring). Provide details, including the names of designated mentors.

Annual Progress Reports

As it pertains to the retention of FIEF-funded faculty members, IDE is requiring department chairs (or if none, deans) to submit annual progress reports. Our objective is to create a partnership for the retention of your faculty member, with IDE providing resources and assistance as needed.

We are seeking:

  • An update on the retention measures the department is taking to foster the faculty member’s personal and professional success within the department culture. For example, reports might discuss how satisfied (or unsatisfied) the faculty member or the mentors are with mentoring efforts; whether major issues arose in the third-year review; or successful efforts to invite the faculty member to attend informal social gatherings and networking opportunities.
  • An assessment of the department’s progress and barriers toward creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for diverse faculty members. For example, reports might discuss the response to student evaluations which show differential expectations because of a faculty member’s race or sex; or the efforts made to ensure that all faculty members have the opportunity to contribute during department faculty meetings.

For “permanently” funded positions (where FIEF funds are, generally speaking, committed for as long as the person is in the position), reports are due in June of the first seven years of employment or until the faculty member is awarded tenure. Thereafter, reports become optional but chairs are encouraged to seek assistance as needed from IDE. For positions receiving funding for lesser periods (e.g., three years of bridge funding; five years of salary adjustment), reports are due in June of every academic year in which funds are received and become optional thereafter. Noncompliance with this section may result in reduction or termination of funding.

A Final Note

As a general rule, a FIEF grant is attached to a person. As is stated in the commitment email, the grant is only for so long as the person is employed in the department in that particular capacity (tenure stream, clinical, etc.). While there is no guarantee, funds may be allowed to follow the faculty member should they transfer departments or go from non-tenure track to tenure track. In such a case, a new FIEF proposal would need to be submitted. We will not continue funding a person who moves from tenure track to non-tenure track.

Should the faculty member move out of their faculty role and into a primarily administrative position (and despite the fact that this represents a successful FIEF hire) funding will be terminated for the expected term of the administrative appointment, permanent or temporary, allowing IDE to reinvest the funds in our stated mission of increasing the diversity of the faculty.

When the faculty member is no longer funded due to termination or disqualifying change of status, FIEF funds will be reclaimed from the department and returned to the funding pool.

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