Z Society donates $30,000 to Faculty Forward initiative

Secret society emphasizes University student leadership, faculty mentorship


The Z Society announced a $30,000 donation to the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Faculty Forward initiative in a letter addressed to faculty Friday. The donation itself was made in September.

According to the letter, faculty are an essential part of student development — as effective self-governance cannot be achieved without a strong bond between students and faculty.

“The sentiment of student self-governance is too often flattened out to mean student

leadership of flagship organizations, yet here, self-governance is best understood to mean the literal governance of the self — a journey of personal cultivation,” the letter said.

The Z Society’s gift to the Faculty Forward initiative aims to preserve student self-governance through its support of the faculty.

The three main objectives of Faculty Forward are the promotion of exceptional teaching, engaged learning and strategic research. These pillars guide decisions in hiring professors, increasing student-faculty interaction, increasing use of technology in instruction and encouraging innovative research.

College Dean Ian Baucom said the Faculty Forward campaign has allowed the College to move forward with a new round of hiring.

“The Legacy of Distinction Fund within the campaign allows us to move ahead with that round of hiring in advance of the retirement of some faculty so that we have a period of overlap with the new faculty coming in,” Baucom said. “The younger faculty can learn from and be mentored by the previous generation.”

Faculty Forward hopes to add $100 million for faculty support to the College’s endowment in addition to $30 million in spendable gifts. They hope to accomplish this fundraising goal by June 2016.

“I am enormously grateful for the Z Society for this gift and the long history of philanthropic support that it represents,” Baucom said. “There is a very distinguished legacy of that support, generosity and commitment to the teaching and learning of the College and the University.”

Baucom said donations, including the Z Society’s gift, enable efforts to hire the best faculty available. In addition to faculty improvement, donations also support specific undergraduate initiatives, departments or research.

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