Giving Priorities: Faculty

Rogers Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science

Fostering Faculty Excellence

The success of Penn Arts and Sciences—in everything that it does—rests unquestionably on its ability to attract and retain faculty of the highest caliber.

The School’s new Strategic Plan, Foundations and Frontiers, includes strategies to ensure that we take advantage of every opportunity to strengthen our faculty, from maximizing the impact of each new faculty hire to providing appropriate support, incentives, and mentorship at every stage of their careers, to inviting scholars and leaders from outside the University into our classrooms.

The endowment gift opportunities described below will support the eminent teacher-scholars who carry out the work that is the School’s true raison d’être: the creation and dissemination of new knowledge that deepens our understanding and ultimately transforms our society and our world.

Endowed Professorship, $3 million

For faculty members who have achieved great distinction, there is no higher honor Penn Arts and Sciences can bestow than an endowed professorship. This recognition universally validates the work of accomplished scholars, teachers, mentors, and thought leaders. It lifts them to new levels of renown and effectiveness, and extends their influence far beyond the Penn campus to shape our society and our world.

An endowed professorship is an indispensable tool for both recruiting distinguished faculty and retaining and rewarding current faculty who are among the best in their fields. Appointment to such a position does more than elevate a professor’s reputation; it provides assured support that moves their current research forward, which enhances the ability to secure future funding. In addition, the affirmation inherent in this honor often empowers the faculty member to take the risks necessary to produce groundbreaking work. Endowing a professorship in perpetuity ensures that, for generations to come, a succession of academic pioneers will hold this named position, advance knowledge in their fields, and leave their marks on the most pressing issues of their times.

Practice Professorship, $1.5 million

Practice Professorships enable departments to bring eminently qualified leaders from business, government or the arts into our classrooms. The perspectives these practitioners bring to bear on discourse with undergraduate and graduate students is invaluable.

Visiting Professorship, $1.5 million

Visiting professors are prominent scholars from other universities invited to join Penn Arts and Sciences for a semester or academic year in order to engage in research and interact with students and faculty. The presence of visiting professors not only enhances academic scholarship, but also benefits students by increasing their exposure to new ideas and new scholars.

Artists-in-Residence, $1 million

Artists-in-Residency programs allow the faculty of departments like English, History of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts to invite outstanding actors, artists, musicians, writers, and other creative practitioners to teach, work with students and faculty, engage in dialogues and critiques, as well as develop new and collaborative projects to impact the Penn community and beyond.

Term Professorship, $500,000

Term professorships accomplish the same goal as an endowed professorship but on a temporary basis. Term funds provide support for one of the School’s exceptional scholars for a period of five years, and are important in rewarding faculty who are in early or mid-career.

Faculty Research Fund, $125,000 - $500,000

Dedicated faculty research funds enable scholars to begin innovative projects that are not yet ready for external funding; to support needs such as research assistants, equipment, and supplies; or to travel to professional conferences. In today’s funding climate, which is challenging even for established scholars, such flexible and assured support is highly valued. These funds therefore enhance the School’s ability to recruit and retain faculty by providing a dedicated source of research support. Gifts may be endowed or term.

Penn Compact 2020 Presidential Challenges Initiative

In support of her Penn Compact 2020 initiative to create up to 50 endowed professorships over the next four years, Penn President Amy Gutmann has made University matching funds available to encourage donors to support three different types of professorships. These professorships are based in specific Schools, but are departmentally unrestricted in order to best meet the priority needs of the University and each School for faculty recruitment and retention.

Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professors hold joint appointments in two schools and exemplify excellence in multidisciplinary scholarship and learning. A gift of $3.75 million will be matched with $1.25 million to create an endowed PIK University Professorship fund.

Inaugural appointees to Distinguished Professorships will advance Penn Compact 2020 priorities; future presidents and deans will use these positions to realize their own strategic visions. A gift of $2.25 million will be matched with $750,000 to create an endowed Distinguished Professorship fund.

Presidential Professorships will be held by distinguished faculty members for a five-year term, allowing for a constant infusion of new talent and fresh perspectives. A gift of $1 million will be matched with $500,000 to create an endowed Presidential Professorship fund.