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Valuing Inclusion to Attain Excellence (VITAE)

As part of a continuing commitment to provide students with a thriving and intellectually stimulating educational environment, a gifted and diverse faculty is essential. That is why the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a VITAE Hiring Program.

VITAE funds are designed to hire accomplished and talented new faculty into tenure-track or tenured appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. These funds contribute to the recruitment of faculty whose research, teaching, mentoring, service, and/or outreach expands or enriches disciplinary boundaries. In some disciplines the emphasis may be on historically underrepresented and/or underserved communities, while in others it may be on broadening methodological approaches to address questions of special relevance to communities that have been understudied or underserved. Starting Spring 2023, VITAE Hiring Program funds are requested annually, as part of the academic planning process.  However, units may make out-of-cycle requests for funds in extraordinary circumstances.

VITAE funding may be applied to faculty hires resulting from a search or, in limited applicable circumstances, a search waiver. The goal of the funding is to help units recruit faculty who can advance priority mission-driven goals. See the university’s EHRA Recruitment and Selection Procedures for more information about special circumstances waivers of recruitment.

It is the university’s practice to recruit applicants whose creative work and research, teaching, and service will contribute to the depth and breadth of diversity at Carolina across a variety of dimensions. It is important to note that the focus of the VITAE Hiring Program is not based solely on the demographic background of faculty candidates but on the intellectual contributions of their scholarship, the expansion of curriculum offering in a department, and their proven or potential contributions to the campus community or society.

A department may seek funds from the VITAE Hiring Program if at least two of the three guidelines below are met:

  • The candidate is engaged in scholarship or teaching that is inclusive and involves populations from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds. This may include individuals with substantial professional experience working with historically marginalized or underserved populations.
  • Candidates whose teaching or research specialty is in a field that is currently underrepresented in the University faculty and would offer contributions to the campus community and society.
  • Candidates with evidence of advocating or dismantling barriers for colleagues or students from traditionally underrepresented populations or marginalized backgrounds. This includes a demonstrated commitment to working, teaching, mentoring, partnering, or learning with colleagues or students from traditionally underrepresented populations.

The VITAE Hiring Program provides up to $100,000 in annual salary plus benefits for up to four years, at the discretion of the provost and based on the availability of funds, at the time of application. It is expected that after the initial four years, the hiring unit will assume the full support of any faculty member hired using VITAE funds. Questions about the VITAE Hiring Program should be directed to Executive Vice Provost Amy Locklear Hertel at amy_hertel@unc.edu.

Annual Allocations of VITAE Hiring Program funds:

Beginning with appointments for fall 2023, deans should submit their request for VITAE Hiring Program funds to the Office of the Provost annually. A committee comprising of the executive vice provost, the vice provost for equity and inclusion, the assistant vice provost for faculty affairs, and assistant provost for finance will review each request and recommend to the provost the allocation of funding. Final funding decisions remain in the purview of the provost. Upon final determinations, the executive vice provost will notify the deans of VITAE Hiring Program funds available to their departments or school for hires during the specified fiscal year.

It is expected that VITAE faculty candidates will be identified through an open search unless a waiver of recruitment is obtained. Note that the use of VITAE Hiring Program funds does not intrinsically constitute a justifiable waiver reason. If a department or program would like to learn more about best practices for structuring and conducting an inclusive search, please contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion to be connected with a search advocate.

More information about the annual allocation process will be provided early spring 2023.

Out-of-Cycle Requests for VITAE Hiring Program funds:

Schools should engage the executive vice provost early in the recruitment process when a candidate is identified to explore the potential availability of VITAE Hiring Program funds. This should be initiated by email to the executive vice provost before inviting a candidate to campus. In general, out-of-cycle requests will apply to candidates identified outside the usual faculty search mechanism (use of EOC waivers). See the university’s EHRA Recruitment and Selection Procedures or more information about search waivers.

In special cases, a candidate may be identified through an ongoing search that was not previously identified for VITAE funding. In that situation a letter to the executive vice provost should explain why the faculty candidate was not recommended to the appointing authority by the search committee and why they are the school is seeking VITAE funds to move forward with the extension of an offer.

To Apply

To apply for VITAE Hiring Program funds, the department or school should submit the VITAE Hiring Program Pre-Authorization Form to the executive vice provost for consideration. The worksheet must be filled out in its entirety and requires the upload of the candidate’s CV. If preliminary feedback is positive from the Office of the Provost, the school or department will be notified to initiate the appropriate recruitment process.

A tentative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be drafted for initial approval and Final MOU’s will be executed as part of the offer process after the on-campus visit and the vote of the departmental full professors.

If in the process of making a job offer, the salary negotiated is larger than the MOU states, please contact the executive vice provost to assure that funds are available for a larger salary on the final MOU. Only minor increases in salary will be considered.

The VITAE hiring program was formerly referred to as the Targeted Hire or Target of Opportunity program.