The Provost’s Office is committed to the success of faculty. As one of several efforts to support our faculty, we have developed and implemented The Mentoring Program for Diverse Faculty, a formal faculty mentoring program where full-time junior faculty are paired with senior faculty who have volunteered to offer mentorship and constructive support in navigating the university and addressing professional needs. Research and practice both support the importance of mentoring during the lifecycle of faculty. Faculty from historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups and those traditionally underrepresented in their field benefit from this additional opportunity to find mentorship and guidance from senior colleagues.
All junior faculty members are part of structured, formal mentoring and review processes already established by their department and school. The responsibility of regular performance reviews, guidance and feedback rests with department chairs and/or deans.
Participation in the program supplements departmental mentoring by offering a specific, university centered, culturally relevant model inclusive of topics most relevant to those who have been historically absent or silent in various fields.
Here at NYU, the Mentoring Program for Diverse Faculty facilitates a cross school community that affirms and supports academic cultural experiences; provides developmental tools and opportunities that support success at NYU and in their respective fields; and clarifies and demystifies processes that support and lead to reappointment, promotion and tenure. It is crucial to provide intentional efforts that support the unique needs of those who are historically or traditionally underrepresented in higher education to help recruit, retain and promote these faculty.
One-on-One: A junior faculty member and a senior faculty member are paired and encouraged to develop an individual relationship that involves goal setting, consistent and ongoing contact that supports the professional pursuits of the junior faculty member. This mutually beneficial relationship may result in academic collaborations.
Group Mentoring: A monthly group forum is provided, where all members of the program meet to discuss various topics over catered breakfast. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to attend even if their mentor or mentee cannot. This format facilitates cross school and cross department mentoring and provides the mentee with varying best practices.
Mentoring Support from an Experienced Team: Mentoring sponsored and supported by Bridget R. McCurtis, Assistant Vice Provost for Diversity.
I decided to participate in the faculty mentoring program for the community and support. Time spent with my mentor, and the group of mentors/mentees, is rich with valuable and non-judgemental conversations that have helped me navigate my role at NYU and empower me as new faculty. The funding has enabled me to conduct research in creative and powerful ways that engages NYU students through use of enhanced technology, diverse children's literature, and funding for pre-service teacher workshops that have immediate impact with public school students in the city.
As a historian of early modern South Asian art and architecture, with a strong commitment to the longue durée from the medieval to the modern period, my research and teaching interests have been shaped by my interdisciplinary training in art history, museum anthropology, architecture and conservation. Art history, compared to other fields in the humanities and social sciences, has particularly limited representation of international scholars who are junior faculty and women of color. I realized this stark difference as soon as I turned to peers and mentors in other disciplines. NYU’s University-wide mentoring program for diverse faculty has provided opportunities to interact with colleagues across departments and schools. I have also availed of the programs offered by the National Council for Faculty Development and Diversity. These conversations have expanded my understanding of my own formation as a scholar and disciplinary challenges at large. I have been able to plan where I would like to be in the next five years, both in terms of my research and writing and in creating forums for South Asian art, architecture and visual culture, a field often deemed marginal both within art history and South Asian studies. Equally, I have enjoyed mentoring undergraduate and graduate students at NYU, who have made their way into academia through circuitous, yet exciting paths like my own from across the globe and across disciplines.
The Mentoring Program for Diverse Faculty has increased my opportunities to conduct independent research. As the Business and Economics Librarian, my research focuses on how economics graduate students use open access and library-licensed data for their research. Through this program, I was able to fund a focus group study and participate in a 12-week intensive program designed to help junior faculty increase their writing productivity.
In addition, this type of program makes it possible for junior faculty in different disciplines to meet and discuss similar concerns regarding tenure and learn from experienced faculty and their strategies to successfully navigate the complex tenure process.
When I entered the Mentoring Program, I had just been appointed to a full-time music composition position after several years as an adjunct. The Mentoring Program provided funds that allowed me to attend conferences that significantly increased my professional visibility. It set me up with a senior composer from outside my small department who gave me practical, honest career advice from a perspective that was necessarily different from the people around me. And it introduced me to a community of faculty across the university who are dealing with many of the same issues as me. The Mentoring Program has been a boon to my career, my writing, and my sense of self. I’m a more committed and knowledgable member of the NYU community because of it, and I am so grateful to have taken part in this vitally important program.
I am an assistant professor in NYU's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service who studies racial inequality and segregation and a proud participant in the Faculty Mentoring Program. The program has been and will continue to be incredibly helpful for me as I transition from PhD student to tenure track faculty at NYU. Connecting junior faculty of color to senior mentors is a crucial tool for fostering diversity. The program has also made me feel part of a broad community of diverse scholars across the university, combating the isolation faculty of color commonly experience. I look forward to seeing this essential program grow and serving as a mentor after earning tenure.
After many years as a faculty member, I understand that younger faculty can benefit from the experience of those who have been around longer, and this is especially true for helping faculty whose own background might not give them much familiarity with what sort of expectations and demands they might face in the transition from student to faculty. It's not a one-way street, either. I have learned many things about what younger and diverse faculty face in the university as well as how things might have changed since I first began teaching. But more important, I have met many really interesting younger scholars who I might not have known, as they come from different departments and schools. It's very encouraging about the future for the university, for universities, to see the enthusiasm and commitment of younger scholars and their efforts to make higher education more inclusive. I believe faculty mentorship programs are essential, for bringing about exchange with as well as support for a more diverse faculty and community.
I decided to participate in the faculty mentoring program because I was interested in receiving additional guidance and support as a new, junior faculty member. As a faculty of color, it was particularly important to me to have a senior faculty of color on my mentoring team. In addition to receiving one-on-one mentorship, I was also interested in connecting with and building supportive relationships with other junior faculty members from across the university.
The mentoring program has been very helpful to me as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. One of the many benefits of this program is that it provides a safe space for mentors and mentees from across the university to come together to discuss a variety of topics that are central to faculty development and progression such as strategies for publishing and demystifying the tenure and promotion process. For me, these conversations have led to a number of positive outcomes including access to a variety of resources that support my academic success and collaborations with faculty members in other departments.
I believe the faculty mentorship program is important and necessary. Research continues to show that mentoring is a critical component of career development and advancement. Thus, sustaining faculty mentorship programs is central to the overall success of faculty.
The program is a unique opportunity to learn from other colleagues about the challenges and opportunities of teaching in a diverse university (and in a diverse city!) such as NYU. I teach an undergraduate course in Latin American politics to a very diverse crowd of students. Many of the students who take the course are latinos or hispanic, and I immediately noticed that many of them approached me for advise, because I was latino. My background clearly made a difference for many students.
In some respects it is reassuring to know that every single faculty member, irrespective of their field of study, goes (or went) through similar struggles associated with being a professor in a top university like NYU. Learning what different faculty members experience and how they deal with different challenges has been incredibly helpful. The different events organized by the mentoring program are also very relaxed and everyone feels comfortable talking openly about different issues.
In the end there is one unavoidable reality: only the quantity and quality of our research will matter when it comes to tenure. But this program is very important to take some perspective on what others go through. It makes the whole process a bit more human.