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Investing in Innovation, Collaboration: UC Announces $3.5M in Cluster Hire Funding

Clusters of new hires in analytics, cancer and water will build on UC's existing research strengths, while a Digital Media Collaborative will build on the university's potential for growth through innovative collaborations.

Date: 10/13/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Elissa Yancey
Phone: (513) 556-6415

UC ingot   In the next three years, more than a dozen new faculty positions will be added across disciplines that span ten colleges and related organizations at the University of Cincinnati, targeting previously identified high-impact, high-demand areas in which the university is poised to become a global leader.

After a competitive proposal and review process, cluster hiring plans have been approved for
  • Analytics (lead faculty in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business)
  • Cancer (lead faculty in the College of Medicine)
  • Water (lead faculty in the College of Engineering and Applied Science).
Half of the funds needed for the new positions will come from the Office of the Provost, which launched the cluster hiring initiative earlier this year in partnership with the Vice President for Research.

“Cluster hiring builds on UC’s existing expertise in innovative ways,” said Provost Beverly Davenport, who witnessed the power of cluster hiring during her tenure at Purdue University. “It’s a strategic use of funding and a strategic way to attract more top talent to our faculty and to support the growth and success of existing collaborations.”

Providing focused support for new hires and cross-disciplinary partnerships illustrates UC’s dedication to growing both its reputation and impact. Building signature programs and centers of excellence sharpens UC’s competitive edge as it continues to climb in national rankings, including a 27-spot jump in just four years in U.S. News & World Report rankings.

“Bringing in new talent to our university will significantly enhance existing faculty efforts and build on established strengths to achieve our goals of excellence in scholarship” said Bill Ball, UC’s vice president for research. “The competitive process clearly illustrates just how many strengths we have as a top-tier research institution, and that this is just the beginning.”

Approved first-round cluster hires will focus on:

Industry and government demands for analytics experts far exceed the current supply, and UC already has several well-respected analytics programs that are poised for expansion. Analytics is an existing area of distributed expertise in the university that naturally cuts across multiple disciplines, acting as a catalyst for collaboration in engineering, healthcare, the sciences, business and education. UC’s analytics cluster includes the Carl H. Lindner College of Business; the College of Education, Criminal Justice & Human Services (CECH); the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS); the College of Medicine; UC Information Technologies; and UC Libraries.
Lead faculty member: Jeffrey Camm, Lindner College of Business

Today, precision medicine for cancer care has expanded to encompass multiple cancer care fields including medicine, nursing, psychology, spirituality, social services, nutrition, epidemiology and molecular disciplines. UC’s prominence in both cancer care and cancer research provides a solid base for expansion, and the addition of multi-discipline faculty will help foster collaborations, create innovative treatments and address holistic and individualistic approaches to cancer care. UC’s cancer cluster includes the College of Medicine; College of Allied Health Sciences; College of Nursing; James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy; and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Lead faculty: Shuk-Mei Ho, College of Medicine

Short- and long-term threats to our water endanger every aspect of our lives, while water management is extremely complex, often requiring physical, chemical, and biological treatment, and spanning spatial scales from neighborhoods to entire river basins and time scales from days to centuries. Current leadership at UC in water research across disciplines will be integrated and expanded, allowing for education and outreach centered on water resources management within and across natural and engineered systems. UC’s water cluster includes the College of Engineering and Applied Science; the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences; and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).
Lead faculty: Dominic Boccelli, College of Engineering and Applied Science

In addition, UC is making an initial investment in a Digital Media Collaborative with joint support from the Cluster Hiring initiative and the Office of the President’s “Reinvigorating the Liberal Arts” program. This exciting initiative includes the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences; the College-Conservatory of Music; and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.
The Digital Media Collaborative proposal’s lead author was Jeff Blevins, McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

The Cluster Hiring Initiative is a part of UC’s Third Century, which the Office of the Provost oversees. UC’s Third Century involves investments—in faculty, in staff, in alumni, and thereby, in students - as our university positions itself as a global higher educational leader in the 21st Century.

The Office of the Provost oversees UC’s academic planning and implementation, its faculty and staff across campuses as well as issues related to diversity and student affairs.