Elevating Excellence & Transforming
Institutional Culture.

The Vanderbilt Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (V-FIRST) Program will leverage substantial new institutional commitments to diversity and inclusion and will build on prior success to optimize recruitment and retention of Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Pacific Islander faculty. 

Our vision is for Vanderbilt to have a thriving, diverse scientific faculty and a sustainable culture of inclusive excellence that enables high-impact scientific discoveries. Our approach to V-FIRST embeds equity and inclusivity into our operational principles by leveraging existing institutional roles to implement an organizational structure to address systemic barriers to achieving diversity in our scientific faculty.

V-FIRST will focus on the hiring of faculty from minoritized racial and ethnic groups. Per NIH’s Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-20-031), V-FIRST will also recruit candidates from other groups underrepresented in science including individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged groups and individuals with disabilities. To facilitate this, four research themes were chosen based on national strategic priorities for funding, areas of current scientific institutional strength, and demonstrated faculty commitment to inclusive excellence. Learn more about these thematic cores here.


This application came together with a tremendous amount of help from people all across the institution, including the Provost’s Office as well as Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the School of Peabody, and the School of Medicine who have all provided sustainable commitment to our recruiting and mentoring efforts, and to the over 50 faculty members who have agreed to participate in V-FIRST’s programming.

A special thank you to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Dr. Catalin Cristoloveanu, and VUMC and VU Administrators Alicia Davis and Shanti Venkatraman for their expert and tireless assistance in the submission of this grant application. Thank you to Dr. Wonder Drake, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who provided creative ideas around faculty development, to Dr. Sarah Suiter for her expertise in evaluation of career development, and for the invaluable support of emeritus Dean Marnett.

Everything that went into applying for this award, receiving funding, and the future recruiting and activities it will support, demonstrate “One Vanderbilt” in its truest and best form.