Target of Opportunity (TOP) Faculty Hiring

Initiative is Under Review.

Guiding Principles

As the flagship research university in New Mexico, UNM has particular goals, opportunities, and commitments that guide our mission. Prominent among these are:

  • We best contribute to well‐being in New Mexico by achieving and sustaining deep excellence in our research mission; that commitment lies at the center of our institutional identity
  • Society at the state, national, and global levels must urgently diversify the pipelines to institutional leadership roles of both academic and other institutions. As a research university in a highly diverse state, UNM is uniquely positioned to contribute to forming that future leadership. Truly delivering on that promise is both the ethically right and the academically strategic thing to do
  • If we deliver on both these priorities, we will be a leader on this terrain among institutions of higher education in the United States and globally

UNM usually pursues these priorities via competitive searches for excellent scholars from all backgrounds. This will continue to be the case. In some circumstances, however, and as recognized in UNM’s longstanding sole source alternative hiring policy, the University’s strategic needs justify faculty recruitment focused on individuals whose expertise and background make them uniquely qualified to advance the academic mission in a diverse state such as New Mexico. Such circumstances involve a combination of at least some of the following:

  • An identified candidate who brings demonstrated academic excellence appropriate to a leading research university
  • An academic unit (typically a department) whose strategic intellectual direction includes this candidate’s core academic interests and expertise
  • The candidate comes from a social background that will add diversity to the hiring academic unit (including but not limited to women in the STEM disciplines, underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities, groups historically marginalized in American life, individuals with disabilities, and those from rural origins, first‐generation college experience, and veteran status); the burden is on the hiring unit to demonstrate that a given background will diversity it in ways supportive of UNM’s academic mission Effective: October 15, 2018
  • Dimensions of diversity that will receive priority for TOP hiring include those which, in the judgment of review and hiring authorities, are most relevant to the Department’s and the University’s academic mission of research, teaching, service, and community engagement in New Mexico, the United States, and the world
  • A strongly demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success, as well as experience working with broadly diverse communities (e.g. demonstrated by previous experience, diversity statement, etc.)
  • Evidence of likelihood that the candidate wishes to devote years to serving in New Mexico, in terms of stage of career, affinity for the state and its population, overlap with identified teaching and research needs, interest in engaging with New Mexico communities, and other relevant factors


Target of Opportunity Hiring timeline

Spring 2019 and Fall 2019


Spring 2019

Fall 2019

Best consideration date

March 8, 2019

October 17, 2019

ToP committee meets

Week of March 18, 2019

Week of October 28, 2019

Deans informed of Provost’s decision

Week of April 1, 2019

Week of November 11, 2019


The university-level TOP review committee was selected for their outstanding research profiles, leadership, diversity across disaplines fields and units of the university, and their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in university life: 

Barbara Rodriguez, Senior Vice Provost 
Pamela Cheek, Associate Provost 
Alex Lubin, Associate Provost 
Gabriel Lopez, Vice President for Research
Cathy Huaqing Qi, Professor
Jennifer Rose Denetdale, Director
Yemane Asmerom, Professor
Robert Miller, Professor
Julia Fulghum, ADVANCE
Tim Castillo, Special Advisor to the Provost


Click here to access the Interim Provost's guiding principles in pursuing TOP hiring

Click here for details on the TOP  process 

For additional information, contact