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A Playbook for Effective Cluster Hiring

Despite growing interest, too many cluster hiring initiatives fail due to a lack of appropriate planning. This white paper walks through the six stages of cluster hiring and recommended imperatives to execute and avoid common pitfalls.

Executive Summary

Administrators agree that cluster hiring can serve as a valuable strategy for growing the research enterprise and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration. But despite growing interest in cluster initiatives, far too many fail due to a lack of appropriate planning. To increase effectiveness, administrators should proactively prepare for each of the six stages of the cluster hiring process:

More on this topic

This resource is part of the Hire Faculty in Clusters to Cultivate Interdisciplinary Research Roadmap. Access the Roadmap for stepwise guidance with additional tools and research.

First, institutions should plan for the significant financial investment that cluster hiring initiatives require. Administrators can ensure internal support by linking cluster hiring to their institutional strategic plans and generate external support by embedding cluster hiring in a capital campaign. While clusters may attract some external funding, they will never pay for themselves. Institutions should expect that there will always be ongoing costs associated with these initiatives. As a result, administrators should diversify their funding sources to prevent overreliance on a single source and ensure that cluster hiring does not detract from traditional departmental hiring.

Getting buy-in from stakeholders is challenging, but clear communication and transparent policies can garner greater support. Administrators should clearly articulate the value of cluster hiring to faculty, departments and schools, and the institution as a whole. When doing so, they should emphasize that cluster hiring is…

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