Endowed positions help recruit and retain talent, making long-term impact on student success
One of the priorities of the Be So Bold campaign is Faculty Excellence through endowed faculty positions, deans, and department chairs. Terry Daugherty, Dean of the Scott College of Business, said there’s a common misperception about such endowments. Namely, that the money goes directly into the pocket of a professor as salary.
That is not the case.
The recipient has the discretion to use the money for research, hiring an assistant, purchasing data, attending a conference, or leading a study abroad program. The knowledge and research transfers to the classroom. “Endowed professorships are a way that the university can invest in student success,” Daugherty explains. “An outstanding faculty member will impact thousands of students over their career. They’ll contribute significant amounts of thought leadership and research that brings notoriety, increases the reputation and brand of the university, and engages with the community.”
There is also a prestige to occupying an endowed professorship. And it impacts how outsiders view an institution. “The prestige of a university, and especially a college, is often judged by the number of professorships you have,” Daugherty said. “Because what that says, indirectly, to the outside community is, you have high-quality professors who are supported by named endowments. It’s an indirect measure of quality.”
Daugherty said endowed professorships don’t always last in perpetuity. The recipient usually has an evaluation period during which they report on how the money was used.
Leading by example.
An example is the Dr. Robert and Carolyn Steinbaugh Endowed Professor of Business. The $1 million estate gift from Carolyn Steinbaugh honors her late husband, Dr. Robert Steinbaugh. Robert Steinbaugh taught management and finance at ISU and served as a department chair from 1957 to 1984. He retired in 1991 and passed away in 2014.
Daugherty said it’s understandable that many donors prefer to give money for scholarships. But he hopes the long-term vision of ensuring high-quality faculty isn’t overlooked.
“As a university, if we’re able to retain outstanding faculty members, reward and recognize those who are contributing in a way that makes a significant impact, it’s going to transform the lives of students for generations,” Daugherty said. “That’s something that’s oftentimes not understood.”