Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative

The Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative (SPFI) provides temporary University financial support to academic departments enabling them to hire additional full-time, tenure- track faculty or continuing-eligible academic professionals who will enhance UA’s distinctive strengths in advancing Inclusive Excellence via equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion as outlined in the University of Arizona’s Purpose and Values. The SPFI program provides funding to hire faculty who were not recruited through a search with designated funding. Candidates will be considered whose work will

  1. foster new and creative ways of involving our diverse student body in an accessible and engaging educational experience that is aimed at producing highly capable graduates who will meet our state’s critical workforce needs,
  2. develop new approaches to discoveries and cutting-edge interdisciplinary research, scholarship or creative work that benefits our diverse communities and addresses complex global problems, and
  3. expand collaborations with community and business partnerships, including those involving traditionally underserved groups.

2020-2021 Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative

  1. Call for Proposals
  2. Program Guidelines for Hiring Fund and Funding for Recruitment.
  3. Online Applications for SPFI Hiring and Campus Visits:

Frequently Asked Questions

Hiring Fund

1. Can SPFI funds be used to hire a candidate identified in a current open search?

No. SPFI funds cannot be used to support a candidate who has applied to an open position. If there are candidates in an open search, they must be considered equally within that applicant pool.

SPFI applications are submitted at the end of every month from September thru March. This will allow departments time to make an early offer to competitive candidates. This may be off the typical hiring cycle.

2. Should a SPFI candidate be identified prior to applying for SPFI funds?

​Yes.  Candidates must be identified prior to submitting a SPFI hiring application. However, they cannot be a candidate in a current open search. The application requires details about the candidate. See here for information on the content of the submission.

3. How could departments find top candidates that satisfy SPFI criteria?   

​We recommend identifying and reaching out to possible candidates. Often, the best candidates are high performing post-docs or early career faculty. You may invite them to give a talk in your department in order to learn more about their work and to actively recruit them. Departments/colleges can connect with special interest groups or national organizations that focus on research and teaching for underrepresented groups.

4. Does a SPFI candidate approval involve both the faculty line and the startup funds?

SPFI funds only partially cover the salary for a faculty line (see the sample table of faculty salary in the SPFI guidelines). The college/department will need to identify additional funds to support the remaining part of the salary, startup funds, and other expenses needed to support the faculty hire. In year 4, the college/department is responsible for 100% for salary support. 

5. Will temporary Faculty and Staff Hiring Slowdown affect SPFI applications?

​ No. Faculty and Staff Hiring Slowdown will not be a barrier for approved SPFI hires. 

6. Must a hiring wavier be obtained before a SPFI application can be submitted?

No. A hiring waiver is not required before submitting a SPFI application. A waiver will have to be requested after SPFI funding is confirmed but will be fast-tracked upon confirmation that the SPFI funding has been approved by the SPFI review committee and the Provost. 

7. What is the expected application and approval schedule for SPFI hiring funds?

Applications are due the last Friday of the month, opening in September 2020 and ending in March 2021. Reviews will occur monthly and conclude with the final decision from the Provost.

8. Can SPFI funds be used to hire Career-track faculty?

No, SPFI hiring funds are only for tenure-track and continuing status track faculty because it is a multi-year commitment and investment in the long-term.


Funding for Recruitment

  1. Can departments use SPFI recruitment funds to reach out to recruit candidates?

Yes.  There is a separate fund for SPFI recruitment. Recruitment funds are available to cover costs associated with recruitment, which may include honorarium for a virtual lecture, on-campus visit costs, or participation in special interest groups with national organizations, or activities to develop relationships with Tribal Colleges, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), or women’s colleges. The support funding commitment for the expenses may not exceed $1,500.

  1. Can recruitment SPFI funds be requested before identifying a specific candidate?

​Yes. Recruitment funds may be used to develop relationships with Tribal Colleges, HSIs, HBCUs, or women’s colleges without having a specific candidate identified. They can be used to connect with special interest groups or national organizations that focus on under-represented groups. This may include buying an advertisement in a journal or at a conference that is aimed at the target group.

  1. What is the expected application and approval schedule for SPFI recruitment funds?

Applications for funding recruitment may be submitted by the 15th of the month, between the months of September 2020 thru March 2021 during the regular academic year. Letters of approval/denial are issued by the end of the month in which the application was submitted.