February 15, 2018

To: UCSB Faculty
From: David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor
Re: Call for Pre-Proposals, Cluster IV, Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Academic Initiative Professorships


The Academic Initiative Professorships were established (through a series of very generous gifts from Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp) to support new academic program and faculty recruitment initiatives on campus. This cluster program was designed to create four endowed chairs for a coordinated group of faculty within a selected academic area that was identified as a major academic priority or a special opportunity. The goal is to support or develop new centers of excellence capable of generating additional support by leveraging campus strengths and/or generating external funding.

The terms of the gift stipulate that at the conclusion of a 15-year period, the campus will select a new area for a new cluster and reallocate the chairs. Three clusters have been established in the areas of Systems Biology (2003-2004), Global Civil Society (2008- 2009), and Sustainability (2013-2014). These clusters have been catalysts in many ways, leveraging existing strengths, encouraging collaboration and interdisciplinary partnerships, and inaugurating new research trajectories.

Since the first cluster was officially inaugurated in 2003-2004, and thus will end in 2018, I am now issuing a competitive call for new cluster proposals. The first step in this process is this call for pre-proposals from any faculty interested in developing a cluster of four endowed chairs in any area that will fulfill the academic vision of the Mellichamp initiative, which was designed to support an innovative campus continually remapping the academic landscape and reinvesting in faculty who are program builders as well as outstanding scholars, scientists, and engineers.

While this call is open to any faculty in any field, the campus has recently seen emerging interests in several areas. Consultations with the deans and the Committee on Planning and Budget have identified strengths, new interests, and potential initiatives in data science, immigration and ethnic identity, conservation and the environment, and structural biochemistry and biology. Proposals are not limited to these areas. Faculty or groups of faculty interested in pursuing a Mellichamp cluster proposal should work closely with relevant colleagues, department chairs, and deans as they engage in discussions.

Pre-proposals will be reviewed by a faculty selection committee, in consultation with appropriate offices on campus. Pre-proposals selected to move forward in the process will be invited to submit full proposals for campus review.

This call is based on recommendations of a review committee, chaired by Associate Vice Chancellor Alison Butler, that conducted a careful assessment of the first three clusters and made valuable suggestions about how to build on the best practices and results of the current clusters in order to better integrate them into campus programs, maximize their impact, and coordinate their activities through strategic planning and faculty leadership. I am grateful to the committee members, listed below.

The official call for pre-proposals is attached. Please contact Toby Lazarowitz, Executive Assistant to the EVC (toby.lazarowitz@ucsb.edu), if you have any questions about this call.

cc: Henry T. Yang
  Henning Bohn
  Joe Incandela
  Beverly Colgate
  Eric Sonquist
  Lisa Sedgwick
  Cindy Doherty
  Christian Villasenor



Alison Butler, Chair, Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel, Professor, Chemistry

Ann Jensen Adams, Professor, History of Art & Architecture and Chair, Council on Budget and Planning

Bruce Bimber, Professor and Chair, Political Science

Richard Duran, Professor, Education

Patricia Holden, Professor, The Bren School and Director, UC Natural Reserve System;

Tobias Hollerer, Professor, Computer Science/Media Arts & Technology and former Vice Chair, Council on Budget and Planning

Bishnupriya Ghosh, Professor, English

Tresa Pollock, Professor, Materials

Josh Schimel, Professor Environmental Studies and Former Chair, Council on Budget and Planning