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UT News

‘Year of AI’ Faculty Recruitment Initiative Aims to Bring More World-Class Professors to UT

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AUSTIN, Texas — In stride with the rapid rise of artificial intelligence systems and The University of Texas at Austin’s recently announced “Year of AI” initiative, the University is launching a bold new faculty recruitment program to help bring more of the world’s best and brightest AI professors to the Forty Acres.

Aimed specifically at strengthening research capabilities, expertise and academic programs in AI and data analytics, the program will provide financial support from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost for the addition of new tenured and tenure-track and professional-track faculty positions.

The new multimillion-dollar investment will create hiring opportunities available to all UT’s colleges and schools, with the majority of positions in four schools: the McCombs School of Business, Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and College of Natural Sciences.

“At UT, we are committed to providing our students with access to the world’s top professors, offering them the very best educational experience and inspiring their future success,” said Sharon L. Wood, executive vice president and provost. “Through our University’s 10-year strategic plan and this innovative faculty-hiring investment — and by leveraging the excitement and energy of the Year of AI on campus — we have the opportunity to strengthen our research expertise in AI while making a big impact on our students’ AI literacy and career preparedness.”

The recruitment initiative encompasses hiring and educational support through a three-tiered approach. The first tier focuses on bolstering AI and data analysis expertise among the faculty. The second tier aims to invest in the development and expansion of AI-related interdisciplinary educational opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students, with all newly hired tenured and tenure-track faculty members expected to create and teach a portion of the new educational offerings.

The third tier includes allocation of seed funding for new, innovative AI research activities, such as funding for graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, research staffers and visiting faculty members; research support for undergraduate students; and new technologies and equipment.

For at least five decades, Longhorns have been at the forefront of AI technologies, and UT has been home to some of the biggest pioneers in the field. During the 1960s, Woody Bledsoe, who developed the first version of facial recognition technology, and Bob Simmons, an innovator in natural language processing, joined the faculty at UT. Bledsoe and Simmons stayed at UT for the remainder of their careers and jump-started AI research on the Forty Acres.

Since then, the University has opened dozens of labs, research centers and initiatives, and brought hundreds of faculty members, staffers and students to campus to advance AI and related fields. UT has become known as a global leader in AI — from our sought-after thought leaders; to our collaborative, cross-disciplinary projects and breakthroughs in research; to our new degree and learning opportunities; to our understanding of the ethical and societal impacts; to how we’re approaching AI in the classroom.

Learn more about UT’s “Year of AI” initiative and other AI news and campus events at yearofai.utexas.edu.