Thanks to generous gifts to the University and a trustee-supported decision to invest in endowed professorships, Fordham was able to fund several endowed faculty positions this academic year, including four endowed chairs and six distinguished service professorships. In addition, the University raised five named professorships at Fordham’s School of Law to full funding.
The University has also created a $2 million endowment to support the Magis Faculty Fellows Program, which will celebrate and encourage recently tenured faculty.
“These newly created endowed chairs will enable Fordham both to build on its existing strengths and to make significant progress in its drive to achieve ever-greater national prominence in the world of American higher education,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham University.
As a result of this new funding, the University was able to more than double the number of fully endowed chairs and professorships that it has from 11 at the beginning of the 2003-2004 academic year to 26 at the beginning of the 2004-2005 academic year.
During an Oct. 28 open forum on strategic planning, Father McShane emphasized the importance of continuing to raise money for endowed chairs and distinguished professorships, each of which cost $2 million to fully fund. The funds assist faculty in the development of research initiatives and the creation of national conferences, among other scholarly activities that help raise the academic cache of the University.
“Increasing the number of endowed chairs and professorships helps to attract world-class faculty and enhances the academic prestige and excellence associated with the University,” said John Hollwitz, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. “This also reinforces Fordham's deep commitment to develop and retain the talented professors that are already here.”
The academic deans are currently developing the qualifications and parameters for the distinguished and Magis professorships, a process that will continue through mid-December, after which the University will begin recruiting candidates. The hope is to have all of the positions filled by next year, according to Hollwitz.
“People often see these chairs as something that is an individual award and honor. While it certainly is, it’s also a celebration of faculty achievements as a whole,” said Nancy Busch, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, which will receive two of the distinguished service professorships. “It says that we are mature enough as a faculty to be deserving of this level of accomplishment.”
The Graduate School of Business will receive two distinguished service professorships, and the Graduate School of Education and the Graduate School of Social Service will each receive one.
Dean Busch said that increasing the endowed chairs “will have an enormous impact on graduate and undergraduate education at Fordham.” With 26 of these prestigious professors, “there’s a great deal of attention [for Fordham], both for students and faculty. We’re poised and ready to take achievement to a whole new level.”