Amy LaViers will bring a distinctive approach to engineering education when she joins our faculty as an assistant professor of systems and information engineering this fall. Ms. LaViers develops choreographic abstractions and animations that are applied to the study of robotic motion. She has uniquely relevant experience for this work: Ms. LaViers holds a certificate in dance from Princeton University, and uses her expertise in dance to design and optimize the smooth motion of robots.

University President Teresa Sullivan
Ms. LaViers is one example of the many creative, innovative faculty members who are coming to UVA this fall. The timing of their arrival is critical. Like many American universities, UVA is facing a generational turning point over the next few years, as hundreds of the professors who led UVA’s rise to eminence in recent decades now face retirement. The scale of the hiring will be massive; for example, the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences anticipates hiring 50 new faculty members in the next year alone, and we will be replacing roughly half of our entire faculty over the next seven years. If we want to continue to attract top students from across the nation, we must successfully recruit world-class faculty to teach and mentor them.

While many of our new faculty are promising young stars who come to us directly from doctoral programs, many others are already acknowledged leaders in their field. Alan Taylor, who joins us as a professor in the Corcoran Department of History, has won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize for his books about the early American republic. Dr. Richard Westphal (Grad ’04) who joins our School of Nursing, previously managed the Navy and Marine Corps’ psychological health and traumatic brain injury programs, and has been recognized with the Legion of Merit and the Navy Commendation Medal. Randall Lutter, who joins the Batten School as a senior lecturer in public policy, has more than 20 years of experience in senior management positions in three government agencies and in four different presidents’ administrations.

Our faculty come to UVA to solve real-world problems and to improve every facet of the human condition, as the following examples illustrate. Jonathan Goodall (Engr ’01), who joins us as an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, conducts research in the emerging field of hydroinformatics, in which researchers integrate massive data sets, or Big Data, with complex models to design water resource systems. Dan Murphy, who joins the Darden School as an assistant professor of business administration, studies international trade and how “catalyst goods” increase demand for other products—for example, how the provision of electricity boosts consumer demand for appliances. Benjamin Castleman, who joins the Curry School as an assistant professor in education policy, studies the need for interventions aimed at low-income students to increase access to higher education. Andrew Mondschein, who joins the Architecture School’s faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Environ-mental Planning, conducts research focusing on how transportation systems facilitate urban-planning goals such as sustainability, community building and economic development. Ruth Mason, an expert in international and comparative taxation, joins the Law faculty this fall. She has written extensively on state taxation in the United States and member-state taxation in the European Union. New and recently hired faculty in the School of Medicine are leaders in the fields of neurology, ophthalmology, microbiology, immunology and other specializations that are essential to human health.

In a highly competitive market, faculty recruitment and hiring entails considerable costs, and private donors and other partners sometimes provide the resources we need to make competitive offers. For example, Kieran O’Connor, who joins the McIntire School of Commerce as an assistant professor of management this fall, was hired using funds from the Blue Ridge Leadership Fellows Program, supported by Board of Visitors member John Griffin (Com ’85) and his wife, Amy (Col ’98). Dr. Ken White, who joins us as the School of Nursing’s first associate dean for strategic partnerships and innovation, was hired with funds from a $5 million gift from Bill and Joanne Conway. Willis Jenkins (Grad ’06), who joins us as the Margaret Farley Associate Professor of Social Ethics in the College, was hired with support of the Mellon Foundation. We are grateful to these and the many other donors and foundation and corporate partners who help us bring top scholars and teachers to UVA.

The new additions to our faculty that I have described here are just a few examples of the broad faculty excellence we are building at UVA, one person at a time, as we recruit the University’s next generation of teachers, scholars and researchers. Faculty excellence is a founding tradition here. It was Mr. Jefferson who said that he was “anxious to receive none but of the highest grade” when he was recruiting the University’s first faculty nearly 200 years ago. Now, as we recruit and retain the faculty for UVA’s third century, we do so with our standards and expectations set as high as Mr. Jefferson’s.