A Note from Provost Kim A. Wilcox, Principal Investigator
As many of you know, the University recently announced a new University-wide Faculty Mentoring Policy. Implementation of this policy sends the clear message that Michigan State University is committed to the success of all tenure-stream faculty members – and to the role of formal mentoring in their career trajectories. You may not know that the new policy was initially conceptualized and developed by core members of the ADAPP-ADVANCE team, as a way to help ensure the achievement of a primary project goal: increasing the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers. The University-wide Faculty Mentoring Policy expands that project goal beyond disciplinary boundaries and extends it across the entire campus.
The new policy states that each college will be responsible for having a formal mentoring program available for all tenure-stream faculty by August 16, 2011. Colleges may elect to have programs designed and administered at the department or unit level. The policy is intentionally flexible, to encourage programs that most appropriately meet the specific needs of individual units and disciplines. ADAPP-ADVANCE staff, as well as the Office of Faculty and Organizational Development, are available to provide support and advising as colleges and units establish or build on existing mentor programs. The following link to questions and answers may be helpful for initial inquiries about the policy. Feel free to contact the ADAPP-ADVANCE team for additional information.
Online Mentoring Resource Center Under Development
The ADAPP-ADVANCE team is leading an effort to coordinate and build on existing resources to support colleges and units as they implement the new, University-wide faculty mentoring policy. A comprehensive web-based Mentor Resource Center is planned and will provide a central site for information about all University mentoring initiatives; resources for administrators, mentors, and mentees; and practical tools that can be easily accessed and downloaded. One such resource is the Mentor Toolkit that will be available in hardcopy by early spring. The toolkit will serve as a user-friendly repository for "how to" materials, e.g. checklists, sample documents, best practices, useful instruments, tip sheets, and more. All tenure-stream faculty will receive a copy of the inaugural mentoring toolkit and will be asked to provide the ADAPP team with feedback so that the next edition can be improved. The University is committed to making sure that all faculty have access to positive, formal mentoring experiences that will lead to career success.
Mentoring Models and Faculty Excellence: Mary Deane Sorcinelli Discusses the Mellon Mutual Mentoring Initiative
Faculty mentoring and the then-pending faculty mentoring policy were the primary topics of the Faculty Excellence Advocate (FEA) Consortium's most recent meeting. Mary Deane Sorcinelli, Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Research Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (and member of the ADAPP-ADVANCE external advisory board) facilitate the discussion. She emphasized the importance of mentoring and reviewed traditional and cutting-edge models for mentoring programs. Among them, Dr. Sorcinelli highlighted a university-wide model created and instituted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Mellon Mutual Mentoring Initiative, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation---the first program of its kind funded by the Foundation.
The FEAs learned of strategies for helping their respective colleges implement the new policy. A primary role of the FEA, a signature resource initiated by the ADAPP-ADVANCE team, is to ensure that policies and practices are consistently and objectively applied, clearly communicated to all faculty, and oriented to maximize quality and inclusiveness. These are senior faculty members who serve as "key conduits" between their colleagues and college-level administrators. They meet regularly as part of an FEA consortium. We encourage you to contact your FEA to learn more about faculty mentoring initiatives in your college.
A Conversation with Neena Schwartz: An Outstanding Scientist, Leader, and Mentor
The ADAPP-ADVANCE Initiative is proud to invite Dr. Neena Schwartz to Michigan State University to visit with faculty and students and discuss her recent book, "A Lab of My Own."
What was it like to be a woman scientist battling the "old boy's" network during the 1960s and 1970s? Neena Schwartz, a prominent neuroendocrinologist at Northwestern University, tells all. She became a successful scientist and administrator at a time when few women entered science and fewer succeeded in establishing independent laboratories. She describes her personal career struggles, and those of others in academia, as well as the events which lead to the formation of the Association of Women in Science, and Women in Endocrinology, two national organizations, which have been successful in increasing the numbers of women scientists and their influence in their fields. The book intersperses this socio-political story with an account of Schwartz's personal life as a lesbian and a description of her research on the role of hormones in regulating reproductive cycles. In a chapter titled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," she examines the "evidence" from a scientist's point of view for the hormonal and genetic theories for homosexuality. Other chapters provide advice on mentoring young scientists and a discourse on why it matters to all of us to have more women doing and teaching science. She also describes the process of putting together an interdisciplinary Center on Reproductive Science at Northwestern, which brought together basic and clinical scientists in an internationally recognized program of research and practice (from http://scienceinsociety.northwestern.edu).
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