Ensuring Faculty Excellence - Giving to UVA

Faculty Excellence

Like many universities around the country, UVA is facing significant generational turnover as a large group of professors—many among the most prominent academics in their field—nears retirement.

Bicentennial Professors Fund

The Bicentennial Professors Fund was created in part to attract a new generation of the best and most accomplished faculty, ensuring that they can carry on the tradition of excellence established by their predecessors.

So far, the University has received commitments for 25 endowed faculty funds, ranging from $1 million to more than $10 million, across different disciplines, including seven schools and also entities such as The Fralin Museum of Art and the Center for Teaching Excellence. Endowed professorships can help fund salaries for emerging, midcareer, and distinguished scholars, as well as boost support for the recruitment of graduate students and laboratory space.

To sustain that momentum and replenish matching funds, the Board of Visitors has allocated an additional $75 million in matching funds. Eventually, the fund is expected to support nearly 150 endowed professorships, making it a powerful tool for building and sustaining the University’s faculty far into the future. You can ensure that UVA continues to attract and support outstanding professors by contributing to the Bicentennial Professors Fund. In return, UVA will amplify your generosity by matching your gift through its Strategic Investment Fund. Shape the UVA community through this unique opportunity to support professors who will challenge, educate, and inspire generations, perpetuating your legacy into the future.

Donor commitments of $1 million up to $3 million, which can be paid over five years, are matched 50 cents on the dollar. Commitments of $3 million or more are provided a “super match” of 66 cents on the dollar. For example, if an alumna were to make a commitment of $3 million to create a distinguished chair position in her undergraduate school, the University would match her commitment with $2 million in matching funds.

Center for Teaching Excellence

Most undergraduates consider the student-faculty bond one of the defining features of their time spent at UVA. It is a key measure of their student experience. With the University undergoing an extended period of faculty turnover, maintaining a cohort of first-rate teachers is critical to the success of UVA graduates and boosts the impact they will have on their communities.

Established in 1990, the pan-University Center for Teaching Excellence is a way to preserve UVA’s extraordinary culture of learning. By offering services designed to enhance the teaching abilities and professional development of faculty and graduate teaching assistants, CTE keeps alive the magic that occurs when committed, impassioned teachers challenge bright, eager students in the classroom and beyond. The center’s overall goal is to support the teaching culture at the University, helping professors improve the classroom experience through evidence-based teaching methods.

Recently, Board of Visitors member Barbara J. Fried provided a gift of $3 million to support UVA’s Center for Teaching Excellence. Combined with a match from the Bicentennial Professors Fund and supplemented by support from the President’s Office, the resulting $6 million gift fully endows the center’s director position, and will support the center’s mission of enhancing the teaching abilities and professional development of faculty and teaching assistants.

Research Professorships in Democracy and Equity

After the events of August 2017, the University formed a Deans Working Group to examine the underlying causes of the violent incidents. In response to the group’s request, and in recognition of the University’s commitment to expanding democracy-related scholarship and research, the Board of Visitors approved $20 million in funds to support professorships in democracy and equity. Matching funds for these rotating chairs will be allocated across all schools of the University, for a total of 20 new professorships.

A $1 million commitment, paid within five years, will create a Research Professorship in Democracy and Equity. Fully paid commitments will be matched one-for-one by the Strategic Investment Fund. The resulting endowment could fund leave for research time or a reduction in teaching for a specific number of years, and income from the endowment could provide departmental funding for hiring a replacement or cover incidental research expenses. The professorships, awarded for two- or three-year terms, will be under the administration of each school’s dean, with supervision by the executive vice president and provost.

By fostering research and teaching innovation in democracy and equity-related fields, the professorships will encourage new approaches, new courses, and a dedicated focus on the social, cultural, and political issues that affect democracy’s foundations. With private support, the University will equip a new generation of citizen-scholars to lead in the pursuit of a more democratic and equitable society.

For more information, contact Doug Mauney, director of development, Office of the Provost, at 434-924-1452, or by email at dmauney@virginia.edu.