North Star Faculty Opportunity Hires Initiative

A man standing in front of classroom.

About the Initiative

In July 2021, the Office of the Provost launched a pilot program designed to catalyze the hiring of faculty members committed to diversity at CWRU. The initiative entertains proposals from the dean of each of the university’s eight schools/college to help hire faculty who both meet a scholarly need, and have a strong commitment to diversifying their departments and programs. This includes new disciplinary fields that cross traditional boundaries, as well as activities that engage directly in community engagement and translation.  

Support Opportunities

The initiative seeks to increase support in the following areas: To attract new faculty, the initiative will invest in new faculty startup support (up to 50%) and/or salary support (up to 50%); and mentorship, community engagement, and other support.  Additionally, as part of recruitment activities, the initiative will support bringing outside scholars to campus to share their research, as well as potential ideas around diversifying the campus community and culture. 

Accessing Support

Deans from each of the eight schools/college must submit a recruitment plan to the Office of the Provost, and receive approval to proceed with the plan. For more information, please contact the dean of the appropriate school or college, or contact the Office of the Provost.

To access these dollars for a North Star Faculty position, the Dean’s Office must submit a two-to-three-page plan to the Provost’s Office and receive formal approval. These proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. Submissions to the Provost should include the following:

  • A description of how the hire will contribute to diversifying our campus community. 
  • A description of how the department will provide and facilitate personal and professional mentoring and sponsorship.  
  • A description for why this hire is important to the scholarly direction of the university. 
  • An explanation of community-building opportunities for the recruited scholar, both within the department, across disciplines, and across the institution.
  • A written demonstration of how the Department/Unit/College has been using its existing budget, resources, hiring strategies and programming to promote diversity in its faculty, staff and students as well as its culture, curriculum and climate.

This plan does not need to be part of the regular faculty recruitment timeline, but can be submitted at any point as opportunities arise. A breakdown of how funding will be applied and matched is necessary. A school/college must demonstrate its ability to carry each hire within its budget, particularly after the North Star funding is expended.

Once proposals are reviewed, discussed, and approved, an MOU will be developed to set up CASE accounts for the funding.

Learn About the Hires

 John Bickers Headshot

Dr. John Bickers, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. John Bickers researches early American history and is a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. His first book project, “The Miami Nation: A Middle Path for Indigenous Nationhood” is an exploration of the political history of the Miami Tribe through the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Bickers received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.


Angela Dixon Headshot

Dr. Angela Dixon, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Dixon brings new, innovative and state-of-the-art research that will expand and extend the neurobiology and behavior group in the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She will contribute to new courses offered in the recently-established undergraduate neuroscience major and develop research collaborations with faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She has substantial experience in community outreach and teaching and, because of her interest in afrofuturism, is also in conversation with Africana studies and the humanities.


Christopher Pulliam headshot

Dr. Christopher Pulliam, Case School of Engineering

Dr. Pulliam brings a wealth of medical device industry experience to complement existing strengths in neural engineering and rehabilitation in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Case School of Engineering. His career has been spent at the interface between technology development and the early clinical studies to validate these technologies, with a specific emphasis on machine learning algorithms and physiological sensing. His research at Case Western Reserve will investigate strategies for improving function after neurological injury and develop novel methods for quantifying recovery.


Brian Taylor headshot

Dr. Brian Taylor, Case School of Engineering

Dr. Brian Taylor is a triple-alumnus of the Case School of Engineering, having received his Bachelor’s in 2005, his Master’s in 2009, and his PhD in 2012. Given his knowledge in the fields of quantitative biology and engineering sciences, he is positioned to be a significant contributor in the School of Engineering. His current work at UNC Chapel Hill uses computational and robotic simulations to study how animals use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate. Case Western Reserve University is pleased to welcome him back to Cleveland in August 2022.