UMaine Faculty Cluster Hires: Request for Proposals

Deadline: August 20, 2021 EXTENDED to Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Strategic Vision and Values (SVV) framework is a living document that will serve to guide the university over the next several years.  The vision, values, and goals outlined in the SVV serve as a foundation for strategic decision making within the university’s formal structure.  The SVV also provides for a parallel process to support new ideas, strategies, and actions that respond to changing contexts and positions the university to capitalize on new opportunities.  To this end, we are inviting proposals for cluster hires made of up to three to five faculty positions to start in the 2022-23 and/or 2023-24 academic years.  Thematic or cohort-based cluster hiring can quickly increase diversity, equity, and inclusion across the university, advance expertise in a specific area, allow a university to tackle emerging Grand Challenges, and boost research output through supported collaborations.  

Collaborative work across academic units has long been a defining strength of our university.  It is part of our teaching and research identity, and a cultural advantage we can use to compete nationally and advance solutions for our state and world.  Interdisciplinary research centers and academic programs on campus are already leaders in the environment, policy, engineering, human health sectors, among many more.  Proposals for new cluster hires are welcomed that weave together our distributed expertise to build on any existing strength.  In addition, proposals that create new ways for UMaine to advance for the benefit of all are also encouraged, such as cluster hires advancing inclusive excellence and enhancing research and teaching capacities in social determinants of inequality. 

Cluster hire proposals must include faculty from multiple academic units, and priority will be given to proposals that span multiple colleges, centers, or institutes.  The essential aim of the cluster hire should be to expand UMaine’s research and research learning capacity, but contributions to teaching and service should also be addressed in the proposal.  All proposals should be approved by the relevant College Dean(s) & Center or Institute Director(s) prior to submission (colleges and centers may support multiple proposals for submission), and can be submitted via email to with the subject line “Cluster Hire Proposal” by August 20th September 7th.  Proposals are limited to seven pages (single spaced, one-inch margins, no smaller than 12-point font) and should address the following key areas:

I. Define cluster theme

Describe the types of research problems to be addressed.

II. Describe faculty composition

Explain the academic units, teaching/research/service allotments, and faculty ranks of the lines requested. Proposals may include joint appointments with centers and institutes, with industry, non-profit organizations, government, and other UMS universities. Tenure track faculty, research faculty, clinical faculty, and professors of practice will be considered, as will term appointments where appropriate.

III. Increase capacity

Describe how this cluster will increase UMaine’s capacity to address current or emerging issues or challenges to Maine, the country, or the planet.  In your response, you may want to consider questions such as the following: What current teaching and research gaps would this cluster fill?  What internal and external partners would be served that are currently not served or not served adequately?   How does this cluster address anticipated challenges and opportunities, or capacity for as yet undefined problems? How does this cluster hire promote innovation and/or commercialization? For what major funding opportunities would a collaborative group in this area be competitive?  How would this cluster hire improve the recruitment and retention of students (undergraduate and graduate)?  How will the cluster yield advantages that are greater than the sum of its individual faculty members?  How will the cluster attract more faculty or help UMaine gain national and international prominence?

IV. Make Diversity, Equity and Inclusion central

Explain how this cluster requires DEI to be successful. Connect explicitly to the Findings and Recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. How would this cluster hire advance and support UMaine’s DEI goals for students, staff, faculty, and our broader community?

V. Ensure cluster efficacy

Describe in detail plans that ensure that the members of this cluster will work collaboratively together from the beginning of their careers at UMaine.  How will the cluster be supported and encouraged to work collaboratively and achieve these advantages? How will faculty in the cluster be mentored, individually and as a group? What new performance expectations and guidelines will need to be developed?

VI. Build on existing strengths

Why is UMaine the best place for a cluster like this to exist?  What current UMaine strengths or emerging areas of strength would benefit from this cluster?  What current UMaine resources—including geography, faculty, staff, equipment, facilities, and existing external partners—would support a cluster in this theme and assist in its success? How would this cluster open up access to new resources?

VII. Encourage strategic convergence

Now is a time of unprecedented opportunity for UMaine, the University of Maine at Machias, and the entire University of Maine System. The work of weaving together the many exciting initiatives is already underway, and will accelerate as we come back together this fall. Unified Accreditation, UMS TRANSFORMS, UMaine’s Strategic Vision and Values, UMaine 2025, and the Machias Regional Campus Task Force are all moving ahead in synergistic and intersectional ways. Explain how your cluster hire will facilitate and enhance this convergence, not only on our campus but across the System.

VIII. Define additional resources

What other resource needs would be required for this cluster to achieve the gains described above? If sources have been identified for salary, startup, space, or other needs, please explain.