Bridge Funding

The University of Minnesota recognizes that a faculty reflecting the diversity of our society is important in facilitating the development of world-class scholars and artists. To enhance opportunities to recruit and retain diverse and highly qualified faculty, the University has established the following two bridge funding opportunities: the Bridge Fund for Faculty of Color Hires, and the Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. These Bridge Funds are administered by the Office for Equity and Diversity.

Bridge Fund for Faculty of Color Hires

The primary purpose of the Bridge Fund for Faculty of Color Hires is to provide financial support to academic departments that have identified (either through a national search or a target of opportunity procedure) highly desirable candidates of color to fill full-time tenured or tenure-track positions, but do not immediately have adequate funding available to extend an offer of employment.

The Bridge Fund for Faculty of Color Hires is an auxiliary resource designed to complement, not replace, money regularly available to a unit. The fund can be used to supplement the unit's existing resources for a maximum of three years. The maximum bridge funding allowable is 50 percent of salary and fringe the first year, 50 percent of salary and fringe the second year, and 25 percent of salary and fringe the third year. All salary and fringe increases are the responsibility of the hiring unit, and the hiring unit will assume full financial responsibility for the hire no later than the third year.

Due to the limited funding available for this account, requests are carefully reviewed for their relevance to the unit's specific academic and budgetary situation as well as applicable collegiate and University policies.

We highly recommend that those interested in the Bridge Fund for Faculty of Color Hires to first reference the Faculty of Color Bridge Fund Policy Guidelines (.docx). After reviewing the guidelines, a letter of inquiry is the first step (.docx) in applying for this funding.

Bridge Fund for Spousal/Domestic Partner Hires

As of July 2013 Bridge funds for spousal/domestic hires is overseen by the office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Any inquiries regarding these funds or how to apply should be made to Deb Cran.

Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

In accordance with the belief that diversity drives discovery, this fellowship is designed to increase faculty diversity by attracting highly qualified emerging scholars to tenure and tenure track positions at the University by providing a one-year postdoctoral appointment prior to transitioning into faculty positions in a host department under the aegis of the Bridge Fund for Faculty of Color Hires program.  This Fellowship program does not have an open application process. Utilization of this diversity hiring incentive program is arranged between the Office for Equity and Diversity and a specific department seeking a TT hire, with pre-approval for this hire by the host college or school.

We are particularly interested in collaborating with colleges and departments that have strong interest in hiring faculty of color (defined as members of ethnic minority groups: African American, Asian or Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaskan Native and Chicano/Latino), who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents) who are underrepresented on the faculty of the University of Minnesota. The Office for Equity and Diversity welcomes collaborations with departments on the recruitment and selection processes in order to attract a competitive applicant pool.

To meet the new objectives of the program, participating departments and colleges must demonstrate intention to hire fellows into faculty positions upon completion of the fellowship year, with the necessary stipulations that the fellows’ teaching record and projection for scholarly excellence are strong during their time at the University of Minnesota.

Depending on available funding, two to three fellowships will be awarded every year. Fellows will receive a stipend of $45,000 plus benefits provided by the Office for Equity and Diversity. Departments and colleges will be responsible for research and travel support for a minimum of $5,000, office space, technical support (computer, printer, etc.), and faculty mentors.

To facilitate transition to the tenure-track position, faculty mentors will assist fellows to establish an independent research agenda and become acclimated to the departmental culture. To support professional development and build community, the Office for Equity and Diversity will coordinate a series of monthly seminars on securing grants, getting published, and networking. The Office for Diversity in Graduate Education (ODGE) and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) will host a series of professional development workshops for this cohort on best teaching and research practices. The fellows will also showcase their research to the University community through a research symposium held each spring.

In addition to conducting research, fellows will teach one course. We recommend that fellows teach a course in the fall semester so the department has an evaluation from the Center for Teaching and Learning and a peer or faculty mentor evaluation from which to draw on as to assess the long-term fit of the candidate.

To facilitate the initial hire of fellows into faculty positions, departments will have guaranteed access to funding from the Bridge Fund for Faculty of Color Hires program to support salary and fringe over a three-year period (50% first year, 50% second year and 25% third year). Hiring departments assume full financial responsibility for the hire no later than the fourth year. Each year, the hiring units will determine the disciplines for which postdoctoral fellowships will be made available.

If you are interested in any of the above programs, please contact:

Michael Goh
Associate Vice Provost
Office for Equity and Diversity