Provost Dennis N. Assanis promoted the Cluster Hiring Initiative that was put in place by the NYSUNY 2020 legislation. (PHOTO CREDIT: SBU)

New teachers will join the Stony Brook University faculty through the Cluster Hiring Initiative. Put in place by NYSUNY 2020 legislation, this initiative allows for the hiring of interdisciplinary clusters of faculty members.

The goal of these hires is to put “Stony Brook University on the emerging frontiers of research and knowledge and to enhance our ability to shape new fields of discovery, learning, and engagement,” according to the cluster hire website.

The second round of cluster hiring to take place since the passage of NYSUNY 2020 was just completed, leading to the hiring of 25 new faculty members across five different fields of study.

“President Stanley and I look forward to the contributions these new interdisciplinary hires will make in expanding Stony Brook University,” Provost Dennis N. Assanis said in a recent press release. “I am very grateful to all faculty members who embraced this initiative for their innovative ideas and considerable efforts.”


A cluster proposal is a list of five to six new potential faculty members. Each proposal details which area of research would be expanded and what each new faculty member would bring to the SBU community through research and teaching.

Every school and department within Stony Brook University is eligible to submit as many cluster proposals as they desire to the 2013 Interdisciplinary Cluster Proposal Review Committee for consideration of employment.

That committee follows a set of certain criteria when considering the proposals. According to the Cluster Hiring Initiative website, the committee considers questions—such as “Is the cluster a new entity for knowledge or an emerging field that makes sense to bring to Stony Brook?”, “Does the proposed field have national and/or international relevance?” and “What will be the impact on the academic world, the state of New York, and the larger community?”—before accepting any of the proposals.

Out of 18 proposals submitted in the second round of hiring, five were selected for hire—that translates to 25 faculty members in the areas of Big Data for the Social Sciences, Center for Finance, Clinical Affective Neuroscience of Anxiety and Depression, Genomics and National Security Institute.


Last year, The Statesman reported that several faculty members were upset with the amount of hires in science fields versus ones in humanities.

NYSUNY 2020, the legislation that the Cluster Hiring Initiative falls under, was implemented in the summer of 2011. The 2012–2013 update on Stony Brook University’s NYSUNY 2020 webpage states increased tuition due to the NYSUNY 2020 legislation’s allowance for 267 new faculty members, with the University at Albany, Binghamton University, the University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University being the four primary schools to be affected by the NYSUNY 2020 passage.

The legislation also was put in place to standardize tuition increases for five years, maintain funding and increase the number of students receiving financial aid, as stated on Stony Brook University’s website.

Stony Brook University’s plan under the NYSUNY 2020 passage allows for the creation of new buildings, the Cluster Hire Initiative, economic development through partnerships with Long Island industries and more financial aid, according to a press release from June 1, 2011.


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