Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative (SPFI)

2023-2024 Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative Call for Proposals

  • SPFI is suspended for the 23-24 academic year


Hiring Fund

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 track academic professionals who will enhance UArizona's Purpose, Mission and Values. The SPFI program provides funding to hire faculty who were not recruited through a search with designated funding.

Funding for Recruitment

The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, has also committed funds to help departments’ costs of recruitment of promising candidates for the Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative (SPFI) recruitments. The funds will help support departments in the vetting of future SPFI candidates, however a subsequent submission of a SPFI Hiring Fund application is not required. 

Candidates to receive recruitment and/or hiring funds will be considered whose work will

  1. Fostering 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. Developing 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. Expanding collaborations with community and business partnerships, including those involving traditionally underserved groups.

Information Session 

SPFI Information Session for 2023/2024 was held on October 24. The recording of the session can be accessed at the link below.

2023 SPFI Information Session


2008-2020 Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative (SPFI) Report

The first ever survey of active faculty hired through the SPFI program was conducted in Fall 2020. For more information, access the 2008-2020 Strategic Priorities Faculty Initiative (SPFI) Report in the Faculty Affairs Reports and Data website

Questions and comments

Questions can be directed to Jennifer Martin, Interim Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development at

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.  For information on the content of the submission, refer to the Hiring Fund Application Guidelines.

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: HSIs, HBCUs, Tribal, or women’s colleges.

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, page 4). 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. What is the expected application and approval schedule for SPFI hiring funds?

Applications are due the last Friday of the month, opening in October 2021, and ending in March 2022. Reviews will occur monthly and conclude with the final decision from the Provost.

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

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

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.

2. 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.

3. 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 October 2023 thru May 2024 during the regular academic year. Letters of approval/denial are issued by the end of the month in which the application was submitted.