Provost’s office invests in faculty development

October 25, 2012 2:00 PM

Fran Simon

To advance and succeed in a university career, faculty members need support and mentoring along the way. Provost Michael Bernstein and the Office of Academic Affairs have stepped in with a new initiative to provide that kind of help.

Faculty members at a grant-writing seminar.

Faculty members attend a grant-writing workshop offered by the Office of Academic Affairs. (Photo by Sabree Hill)

The Faculty Development and Mentoring Initiative is designed to encourage faculty accomplishments and to foster professional development and advancement, says Dr. M. A. “Tonette” Krousel-Wood, an associate provost spearheading the efforts in conjunction with academic units, departments and schools at Tulane.

To start off, the office convened 17 focus groups that asked 143 junior and senior faculty members from throughout the university what they needed to advance their academic careers.

“From this effort, we identified a prioritized list of initiatives,” Krousel-Wood says. “Grant-writing support was a top priority.”

Changes in the federal funding environment have raised the bar for successful grant submissions, she says, so sessions were developed to help faculty expand their skills and gain a competitive edge in preparing grant applications. 

When grant-writing seminars were offered in May 2011, 135 Tulane faculty members attended, and 92 took part in academic “survival skills” workshops in May 2012.

To build on mentoring initiatives, the office has established a fund this year to enable tenure-track faculty, especially junior faculty, to launch more robust national and international mentoring networks.

“This fund will support campus visits by accomplished senior faculty from top-tier programs and institutions to present their academic work to the community as well as participate in state-of-the-discipline discussions with Tulane faculty,” says Krousel-Wood. “The visiting colleagues will also spend time with the sponsoring faculty members, reviewing their work and academic trajectory.”

The Office of Academic Affairs website includes links to guidelines, resources, references, tools and best practices to support efforts by departments, units and schools to advance mentoring and faculty development. A searchable database of faculty research interests is available online to foster interdisciplinary collaborations.

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