Transformative Excellence Program

The Transformative Excellence Program (TEP) aims to allow the University to build faculty strength in strategic interdisciplinary areas through cluster hiring. The goal is to identify areas within the University in which a small number of strategic additions to our faculty in different academic units will enhance our preeminence. Areas of emphasis that have societal relevance within Utah and across the nation will be prioritized. Examples of thematic clusters selected in the first three phases of the TEP include:
  • Families and Health Research*
  • Society, Water, Climate
  • Statistical Science and Big Data
  • Digital Humanities
  • Biophysics*
  • Sustaining Biodiversity
  • Health Economics and Health Policy*
  • Resilient Spaces (Aging)
  • Science and Math Education
  • Neuroscience*
    *clusters that include main campus and health science units

We are now inviting applications for new TEP proposals. The number of proposals approved will depend on the amount of funding that is available once the legislative session concludes and other resource decisions are finalized.

Because resources are likely to be limited, we are implementing a two-phase proposal process this year. Brief proposals (2-3 pages, content outlined below) plus short memos of support will be reviewed in Phase 1. The top proposals from Phase 1 will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal in Phase 2.

Proposals – both Phase 1 and Phase 2 – will be reviewed by a committee of senior campus leaders. The committee’s review will evaluate the current level of strength in the target area, cross-department/cross-college support for the cluster effort, the strategic importance of the focus area for Utah and beyond, and the likely impact of the cluster hire on enhancing the existing strength and prominence of the area. The aim of the program is to support new/emerging areas of excellence, rather than areas that are already well supported through interdisciplinary centers and institutes. This year’s program will not accept proposals for additional hiring from those TEPs that were funded.

As with all faculty appointments at the University of Utah, all faculty recruited as part of this program will be full contributors to all aspects of the educational mission of this institution and will be appointed in existing academic units.

Anticipated Timeline

Phase 1 Proposals Due: Friday, March 10, 2017
Phase 2 Proposals Invited: Friday, March 31, 2017
Phase 2 Proposals Due: Friday, April 14, 2017
Phase 2 Proposals Selected: Friday, April 28, 2017

TEP Proposal Template – Phase 1

  1. Describe the area of focus and provide a brief summary of why the area is important for the University of Utah at this time. Indicators of existing or emerging strength should be included (e.g., scholars on campus who are leaders in related areas, external grant support in the area, existing scholarly and pedagogical collaborations), as well as why the focus area will enhance our national reputation and contribute to the state of Utah.
  2. Outline specific areas for faculty hiring that would advance impact and visibility. Also indicate the potential departments where recruited faculty would most likely hold primary appointments.
  3. Summarize the ideal make-up of the new cluster, recognizing that this will need to be dynamic as scholars are recruited. Faculty recruited through the TEP mechanism may be at the assistant, associate, or full professor level. If assistant professors are recruited, appointments will be made to a single academic unit. Tenured associate or full professors may be jointly appointed.
  4. For the cluster hires requested, please provide an estimate of the salary and start-up requirements for each hire. Note that at least half of the base salary for new hires will be provided by the home academic department or departments, and at least half of the start-up costs will provided by the home academic unit.
  5. Proposals should be reviewed and endorsed at both the department and college levels, and support should be reflected in a brief memo from the cognizant chair(s) and dean(s).


Phase 1 TEP proposals are due Friday, March 10, 2017, for the initial round of consideration. Proposals should be submitted to Senior Vice President Ruth Watkins through Bonnie Wiese (