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Research Development Academy

The UTK Research Development Academy (RDA) is designed to support tenure-track faculty from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, sex, gender, and LGBTQ+ populations, who have the potential to contribute to the University of Tennessee’s discovery mission and advance the University Tennessee’s values of diversity and inclusion.

The Research Development Academy focuses on empowering diverse tenure-track faculty to advance their own scholarly agenda in research, scholarship, and/or creative activities in a collegial environment with supportive guidance. The Research Development Academy provides a positive environment for faculty to network with each other, and resources they need to move their research agenda forward in a focused way.

RDA is a collaboration between the Office of the Provost, Division of Diversity and Engagement, and the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development. RDA Fellows come from across the university and have a wide range of interests and goals.


  • Tenure-track faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; must be pre-tenured and must not have yet submitted a tenure dossier;
  • At time of application to the Research Development Academy, at least one full year of tenure-track service at UTK or another institute of higher education;
  • Self-identification as a racial or ethnic minority, a woman, as part of the LGBTQ+ community, as a member of an underrepresented group within your discipline, or as otherwise aligned with the goals of the program;
  • Commitment to participate fully in the program and a willingness to regularly report progress and updates to the Division of Diversity and Engagement until they are promoted and tenured.

Program Components

The Research Development Academy is designed to engage participants in a variety of personal and professional development opportunities including but not limited to coaching sessions; a research project; mentoring; community building; access to senior level administrators; professional development; and a research presentation. The major program components are as follows:

  1. Monthly group sessions that take place face-to-face on-campus and typically last for about 2.5-3 hours.  A variety of topics are discussed in these sessions and sessions typically include a panel of speakers from across the university who serve in different roles and who are at different stages of their careers.  These sessions are also designed to provide an opportunities for fellowship, networking, and community building.
  2. Participation in the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity’s Faculty Success Program, which is an intense, 12-week, online-based program where participants learn strategies to increase their research productivity, gain control of their time, and live a full and healthy life beyond campus. The program is designed to transform the personal and professional life of participants. RDA faculty are asked to complete the fall program which runs August to October. Participants should anticipate spending 1.5 – 2 hours each week watching the weekly training videos and completing the homework assignments. Additionally, FSP participants will meet with their small group and coach for a 75-minute call every week at a recurring time.
  3. One-on-one discussion and coaching with representatives from the Office of the Provost, Division of Diversity and Engagement, and Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development.
  4. A stipend of $4,000 to support participants’ research, scholarship, and/or creative activities.
  5. A final session in August following participation in the program to present progress made on research, scholarship, and/or creative activities, and next steps.


Faculty who meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in applying to the program should complete an online application by May 5th.

Due Date and Notifications

Submissions are due by May 5th. Notifications will be sent by May 15th.


Please submit questions to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs team at  You may also email Associate Vice Chancellor Javiette Samuel ( or Vice Provost Diane Kelly (