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New Mentoring Program For New University of Cincinnati Faculty Will Be Studied On Its Successes

The New Faculty Institute Impact Study will follow the entire tenure process for pre-tenured new faculty, as well as follow their success in teaching, research and service.

Date: 12/3/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Other Contact: Center for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-3053
Photos By: Provided by CET&L

UC ingot   UC’s first-year students aren’t the only campus population adapting to a new campus, new classrooms, new people and new policies. That’s why a three-year pilot program was launched this fall to support the university’s newest pre-tenured faculty.

The New Faculty Institute was created by the UC Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CET&L) to support and build on the talent of new faculty. The program is supported by a $215,000 grant from the Faculty Development Council. The New Faculty Institute aims to:

  • Build support systems for new faculty in the areas of teaching, research and service
  • Help new faculty achieve tenure with greater efficiency
  • Build a community that builds retention and talent of new faculty, as well as their understanding of UC’s reappointment, promotion and tenure (RPT) process.
Pamela Baker, director of the CET&L, says mentoring programs are becoming a national trend at research institutions, as new faculty balance work-life issues with their responsibilities of teaching, research and service. “Some of our pre-tenured new faculty may be very new at teaching or are setting up a lab for the first time – something that’s fairly routine for our long-tenured faculty.

“As part of preparing the mentors for the institute, we wanted them to guide new faculty not just in avoiding mistakes, but also advise new faculty on how to professionally and productively address mistakes if they’re made,” says Baker.

The CET&L not only recruited new faculty for the institute, but also recruited a tenured faculty member from the new faculty member’s department, as well as a tenured faculty member from outside the department, to build connections across the university and promote interdisciplinary partnerships. The institute has 45 new faculty participants as well as 88 senior faculty. The participants represent nine colleges and 53 different academic departments.

The institute requires two years of participation. Upon completion, the new faculty are awarded a stipend for professional development. The mentors also receive an honorarium for their participation.

“I’m very happy that I signed up for the institute,” says new faculty member Sarah Mayorga-Gallo, an assistant professor of sociology. “I’ve found the internal and external mentor idea to be very helpful in terms of what it’s like to be in academia, how the department works and what it takes to be successful. I’m feeling much more at ease in my role as assistant professor and navigating the tenure process,” says Mayorga-Gallo, whose internal mentor is Jeffrey Timberlake, an associate professor of sociology.

“Just inside the department, it’s good to have a person ‘on the inside’ to answer your questions, and that’s especially valuable for people who are shy or reticent,” says Timberlake.

Amy Lind, Mary Ellen Heintz endowed chair and associate professor of women’s gender and sexuality studies, is Mayorga Gallo’s external mentor.  “It’s helpful to be able to seek out advice about research, teaching, or simply surviving in the academy from someone who isn’t directly involved in faculty reviews or department affairs,” says Lind.

The New Faculty Institute Impact Study

The CET&L will be conducting a cross-sectional and longitudinal study on the impact of the New Faculty Institute, inviting all new faculty to take part in the study. The CET&L will also be publishing how the findings address the goals of the UC 2019 Academic Master Plan in making excellence in teaching, research, service and faculty retention a priority, and breaking down barriers to cross-college collaborations. Laurah Turner, assistant director for the CET&L, says the study will not only focus on a sample of the new faculty who are participating in the institute, but also on a sample of the new faculty who were not participating into the mentoring program.

“We’ll be examining whether new faculty in the institute are reporting that they reached tenure more quickly, whether they’re more published, more successful in the classroom and feel stronger job satisfaction than their peers who were not part of the institute. We will also be measuring issues such as job stress and perception of organizational climate between both groups.

“It’s our expectation that with a stronger support system, new faculty will be more successful in all of these areas – at a higher rate – than those who are not part of the institute,” says Turner.

The study will follow the new faculty through the entire tenure process. The institute will recruit another round of new faculty, internal and external mentors for pre-tenure faculty starting at UC in fall 2013.

Laura Nabors and LaTrice Montgomery
Laura Nabors and LaTrice Montgomery

“As a new faculty member, I was seeking out a mentor, and having a mentoring opportunity that’s more structured really helps,” says LaTrice Montgomery, an assistant professor of human services for the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). Montgomery says internal mentor Laura Nabors, an associate professor of human services, has advised her about joining committees, networking and showcasing research at conferences.

“Working with LaTrice has left me re-energized as far as approaching my own research,” says Nabors. “I feel that I have gained more from this mentoring program than I have given.”

Since Montgomery’s research background is in studying drug and alcohol abuse, she adds that her external mentor, Theresa Winhusen, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience and director of the Cincinnati Addiction Research Center (CinARC), will be a great resource to help Montgomery launch her career.

Colleges Participating in The New Faculty Institute

  • College of Allied Health Sciences
  • UC Blue Ash College
  • UC Clermont College
  • College-Conservatory of Music (CCM)
  • College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH)
  • College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP)
  • College of Law
  • McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S)

About the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning

The CET&L, which was launched at UC in 2002, provides professional development opportunities for faculty and supports university-wide initiatives that contribute to improved student retention and graduation rates, as identified in the University of Cincinnati’s Academic Master Plan.

Faculty taking part in the institute, as well as new and tenured faculty who are not part of the New Faculty Institute, can find a number of resources online and in the center, located in Room 480 of Langsam Library.

Members of the 2012-2013 New Faculty Institute