A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

New Initiatives Aim to Support Faculty Members

March 18, 2014

UC Merced recently launched two new programs for faculty members to support and encourage their professional development.

The initiatives, the UC Merced Faculty Mentoring Program and the Faculty Professional Development Series, coordinated by the Academic Personnel Office, will continue through the 2014-2015 academic year.

The Faculty Mentoring Program, an initiative of the provost and executive vice chancellor and vice provost for Academic Personnel, pairs junior faculty members who are not yet at the tenure stage with senior faculty members. The senior faculty members offer guidance in areas that include grantsmanship, academic personnel processes, supervising graduate students and networking.

The Faculty Professional Development Series is a workshop series geared toward Academic Senate faculty members and is an initiative of the Senate’s committee on Faculty Welfare, Diversity and Academic Freedom. Workshops are held monthly and until now, have covered topics that affect professional and personal lives of faculty members, including balancing work and life, and publishing results from research.

The Faculty Mentoring Program was launched last month with a luncheon that featured Susan Carlson, vice provost for Academic Personnel at the Office of the President, as guest speaker. Another event was held this week -- a panel discussion in which professors Valerie Leppert, Kathleen Hull and Jinah Choi shared their advice, experiences and best practices on starting and managing labs and research fieldwork.

Professor Rudy Ortiz with the School of Natural Sciences and chair of the Faculty Welfare, Diversity and Academic Freedom committee, said the goals of these faculty-focused initiatives are to support career development, improve recruitment and retention and increase faculty members' overall satisfaction with their experiences at UC Merced.

Programs such as these are particularly important at UC Merced because the campus has a higher percentage of junior faculty members than its sister UC campuses.

Other upcoming events include a grant writing workshop, led by Research and Development Services unit, to be held March 31 through April 4.

On May 9, at an event titled “The Road to Promotion and Tenure” offers Academic Senate faculty members an opportunity to meet with Raymond Gibbs, chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP) and other CAP members. Attendees can participate in a discussion about the promotion and tenure process and ask questions. The event takes place from 12-1:30 p.m. in KL 360.

A Faculty Life website is also in development with an expected launch in Fall 2014.

To attend any of the events, RSVP by sending emails to facultylife@ucmerced.edu.

For more information about the mentoring and professional development programs, contact Kahil Morales in the Academic Personnel Office at ext. 4615.