Seventy-three assistant professors will receive a course release to complete a research term, thanks to a pandemic relief program for junior faculty members announced by the president and provost last spring.
The faculty members will be able to dedicate the time to research for one academic term between winter term 2022 and spring term 2023, as agreed upon with their academic units. This investment in the success of early-career faculty members and the research mission of the University of Oregon was made possible through a philanthropic gift.
“Although we are beginning to move beyond the pandemic and back to a sense of normalcy, we have not lost sight of the impact it has had on our university community,” said President Michael H. Schill. “This program is an opportunity to support our tenure-related faculty who have experienced hardships attributable to COVID-19. It represents an investment in the university’s research mission and in the long-term success of our faculty, helping to ensure their strong candidacy for tenure.”
The relief program joins the UO’s other institutional support systems activated throughout the pandemic, including development of resources for remote teaching, the online course initiative, tenure-clock extensions, COVID-19 impact grants to assistant and recently promoted associate professors, and reduction of service commitments.
Research and surveys have shown that while all these measures are key in supporting faculty members, academic research has been particularly vulnerable to effects of the pandemic. That was shown to be especially true for caregivers, faculty of color and women. Specific criteria to receive the program’s benefits are outlined in the spring announcement.
“Data show that scholars have faced significant obstacles during the pandemic, including caregiving, COVID-related illness and travel restrictions, but those have not affected all scholars equally,” said Provost and Senior Vice President Patrick Phillips. “Through this relief program, we’re able to lighten the load on research faculty for whom it has been disproportionately heavy. This meaningful commitment stems from our values as a research institution, centered in the faculty who are building the vision for our future.”