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Team Grants 2008 - 2009

African-American Studies Faculty Cluster

To support and retain new faculty hired as part of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (CHFA) Africana unit, the chair of the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro-American Studies Department held several sessions to bring together new hires across departments in CHFA, orient them to the rich history of Afro-American Studies, and discuss issues of shared interest and concern. The team also provided travel stipends so faculty could attend the National Council for Black Studies, and co-organized an inter-institutional, Five College Black Diaspora Studies networking event.

Chemical Biology Group
In an effort to build a supportive professional network for pre-tenure faculty across disciplines in the Colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Natural Resources and the Environment, and Engineering, the Chemical Biology Group held monthly luncheon meetings focused on tenure preparation, lab management, team building, and cutting edge technologies. These highly successful events resulted in informal mentoring partnerships between pre-tenure and senior faculty. In addition, all team members received a travel stipend to attend the annual American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meeting.

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
This grant team supported the careers of pre-tenure faculty by planning a range of large- and small-group networking activities. All new faculty in the College attended a Mutual Mentoring dinner at the beginning of the year, as well as another reception in the spring. In addition, mentoring pairs were established and met regularly throughout the year to discuss individual progress on research, teaching, and tenure.

Economics Department
In order to increase faculty mentoring across career stages as well as beyond the campus, the Economics Department hosted research workshops for pre-tenure and senior faculty; regular teaching and research luncheon seminars for pre-tenure faculty; “research sharing” mentoring groups comprised of pre-tenure faculty members and their selected mentors; as well as eight external speakers from other research institutions.

Isenberg School of Management
The Isenberg School of Management (ISOM) Team used their mentoring grant to organize a New Faculty Orientation that familiarized six new hires with ISOM’s vision and expectations; hosted monthly lunches in which assistant professors discussed teaching, research, and work/life balance; programmed weekly coffee hours in which all faculty met informally; and provided travel stipends so pre-tenure faculty could visit and network with a leading scholar in their field.

Microbiology Department
With their grant, the pre-tenure faculty in the Microbiology Department addressed three specific areas of career-development: grant writing, the tenure process, and work/life balance. To support grant writing the team hosted regular “Chalk Talk” forums, recruited senior faculty and outside scientists to review and critique grant proposals, and paid for team members to attend grant-writing workshops. To help clarify the tenure process the team hosted dinners with newly-tenured faculty and members of the personnel committee and asked senior faculty to provide anonymous evaluations of draft tenure files. Finally, to promote a work/life balance, they encouraged faculty to invite spouses/partners to attend the tenure process dinners and provided funds for childcare.

Music and Dance Department
To give their Music and Dance Department pre-tenure faculty access to advice from mid-career faculty – a cohort not currently present in their department – this mentoring team invited mid-career visiting scholars to campus for lectures, colloquia, and receptions during which they consulted on topics such as career planning, promotion, and tenure. The team also established a “teaching group” composed of pre-tenure and senior faculty that met twice a semester. The project concluded with a final team debriefing session at the end of the academic year.

School of Education – SCOPE Project
The Supporting Communities of Practice in Education (SCOPE) Project supported the research, teaching, networking, and work/life balance goals of faculty in the School of Education through a number of departmental and school-wide activities. The team held a day-long retreat during which pre-tenure and tenured faculty formed small, cross-departmental groups focused on teaching and research. The team also sponsored regular brownbag mentoring lunches on tenure and promotion, and concluded the year with an assessment and planning retreat.

Sociology Department
This grant supported the Mutual Mentoring and off-campus networking efforts of eight pre-tenure faculty in the Sociology Department. Participants organized a mentoring dinner that focused on peer mentoring, tenure anxiety and preparation, and navigating early-career pitfalls. In addition, all participants identified and met with an off-campus mentor and received a book allowance to support their research and professional development.

UMass Amherst/Five College Asian Pacific American Studies
To develop a Mutual Mentoring network among under-represented working in the field of Asian Pacific American Studies, this team organized five formal “Dinner and Discussion” meetings bringing together faculty from across the Five College Consortium and graduate students going onto the academic job market. Each dinner took place at one of the five campuses, was organized by a faculty member from the host institution, and included discussions on research, teaching, and tenure.

Work-Life Network
This group of cross-career stage faculty and administrators researched work/life policies on other campuses, met regularly with the University’s Work/Life Committee to coordinate policies and programs at UMass Amherst, and plans to distribute the results of their research to the various constituencies on campus. In addition, a joint Massachusetts Society of Professors/Administration team held a series of seven focus groups on campus to gather the work/life concerns of librarians, contract faculty, associate faculty, and pre-tenure faculty.


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