OFD Announces Mutual Mentoring Awards for 2021-22

2021 Mutual Mentoring Awards Recipients

The Office of Faculty Development has announced that nine teams and five individual faculty have received Mutual Mentoring Awards.

The Office of Faculty Development’s Mutual Mentoring Program provides funding to individuals or groups of faculty for the purpose of developing mentoring networks. The Mutual Mentoring Team Grants and Micro Grants encourage faculty to develop robust professional networks that support their growth as researchers, teachers, and leaders in their fields.

Team Grants provide up to $6,000 for one year to support full-time faculty teams. Micro Grants provide up to $1,500 for one year to individual faculty. The Office of Faculty Development works in collaboration with UMass ADVANCE, which also funds a number of team Mutual Mentoring grants.

"Over the last 3 years, OFD's mutual mentoring grants program has expanded eligibility beyond early career tenure-track faculty to include senior faculty, non-tenure track faculty, and librarians," says Michelle Budig, Vice Provost for Faculty Development. "This year's highly competitive class of mutual mentoring grantees reflects this diversity with innovative and inclusive mentoring projects. Faculty- and librarian-driven mutual mentoring activities are key to their successful navigation of careers. In the wake of an extended period of remote work, mutual mentoring has never been more vital."

2021 Mutual Mentoring Team Grant Recipients:

The Book Bunch: Cross-Departmental Junior Scholars Supporting One Another in Writing Their First Historical Monographs
W.E.B. Du Bois Library and College of Humanities & Fine Arts
Team: Kate Freedman, Librarian for History and Graduate Student Services, W.E.B. DuBois Library; Anne Kerth, Assistant Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies; Kathryn Schwartz, Assistant Professor, History; Asheesh Siddique, Assistant Professor, History 
Our mentoring group is an interdepartmental collaboration between junior scholars in the humanities who will use mutual mentoring to tackle the professional goal of writing and publishing our first academic monographs.

Building a Collaborative Colony: Professional Networking for Human Microbiome Researchers
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and School of Public Health & Health Sciences
Team: Achsah Dorsey, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology; Sarah Gonzalez-Nahm, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition; David Sela, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Food Science; Zhenhua Liu, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition 
Our mutual mentoring team provides opportunities for continuing education about current human microbiome research and establishing substantive professional relationships between faculty seeking an enhanced understanding of this field as well as the development of innovative, cutting-edge research proposals addressing the relationships between the human microbiome and health outcomes.

Department of Communication Antiracist Teaching and Mentoring Community of Practice
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Team: Leda Cooks, Professor, Department of Communication;  Martha Fuentes-Bautista, Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication and SPP; Soo Young Bae, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication;  Ethan Zuckerman, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, SPP and CICS Our mutual mentoring project is designed to provide an underlying structure to build community around antiracist teaching. It further supports our department’s commitment to address white supremacy and racism in our teaching, among other areas of faculty activity, and departmental administration.

Expanding Cultural Pedagogies in Music
College of Humanities & Fine Arts
Team: Christopher White, Assistant Professor of Music and Dance; Miriam Piilonen, Assistant Professor of Music Theory; Shigefumi Tomita, Assistant Professor, String Bass (Jazz); Felipe Salles, Professor, Jazz Studies, Composition, Saxophone 
Our goals are to overcome our own disciplinary boundaries and share our expertise in different repertoires with one another, to identify conceptual and topical overlaps in our curricula and teach each other our different approaches in order to deepen our own understandings of these areas, and to become co-students in learning about new musical traditions.

Nurturing Robotics at UMass Amherst: Development of a Core Robotics Research Team
Colleges of Engineering and Information & Computer Sciences
Team Leader: Frank Sup, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering; Meghan Huber, Assistant Prof. (MIE); Donghyun Kim, Assistant Prof. (Computer Science);  Rod Grupen, Professor, Computer Science 
Our goal is to create a supportive and inclusive on-campus network for creative and interdisciplinary robotics research and teaching within the Center of Excellence in Robotics.

Quantitative Life Sciences Community
College of Natural Sciences
Team: Lauren Andrews, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering; Courtney Babbit, Associate Professor, Biology; Kristen DeAngelis , Associate Professor, Microbiology; Patrick Flaherty, Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Statistics; John Gibbons, Assistant Professor, Food Science; Lisa Komoroske, Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation; Li-Jun Ma, Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Zhengqing Ouyang, Associate Professor, Biostatistics and Epidemiology; Craig Martin, Professor, Chemistry; Deepak Ganesan, Professor, Computer Science; Joe Bergan, Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences; Joe Jerry, Professor, Veterinary and Animal Sciences 
Our goal is to form an inclusive community around quantitative life sciences research and teaching in order to address some of the challenges around handling large-scale data sets, finding near-peers, and identifying mentors and sponsors around quantitative life science research.

Supporting Mid-Career Female Leaders in SPHHS
School of Public Health & Health Sciences
Team: Sofiya Alhassan, Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director, Kinesiology; Jill Hoover, Associate Professor & Graduate Program Director, Communication Disorders; Sarah Poissant, Associate Professor & Interim Department Chair, Communication Disorders; Katherine Reeves, Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Studies, Biostatistics & Epidemiology; Susan Shaw, Associate Professor & Director of CCHER, Health Promotion & Policy; Laura Vandenberg, Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Environmental Health Sciences 
Our project will support a group of six female mid-career faculty in SPHHS who also are engaged in leadership positions as Chairs, Associate Deans, Center Directors, and Graduate Program Directors. We will use a mutual mentoring model to support one another and achieve critically important goals.

Towards Antiracist Pedagogies: Cross-disciplinary Teaching Support in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences
School of Public Health & Health Sciences
Team: Gloria DiFulvio, Senior Lecturer II, Health Promotion and Policy; Eliza Frechette, Senior Lecturer, Kinesiology; Christy Maxwell, Lecturer, Nutrition; Cassandra Spracklen, Assistant Professor, Biostatistics and Epidemiology Department; Tom St. Laurent, Senior Lecturer, Kinesiology Department; Laura Vandenberg, Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Environmental Health Sciences Department; Jennifer Whitehill, Associate Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Policy; Nathaniel Whitmal, Associate Professor, Communications Disorders 
We aim to develop or deepen our respective antiracist teaching practices. Our professional development goals as teachers are to learn from each other, experts in the area of antiracist pedagogy, and students.

UMass Prison Education Initiative Mentoring Community
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and College of Education
Team: Ian George Barron, Professor, College of Education; Laura Ciolkowski, Senior Lecturer, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Program; Paul Collins, Professor, Legal Studies and Political Science; Razvan Sibii, Senior Lecturer, Journalism; Jonathan Wynn, Associate Professor, Sociology 
We seek to prepare UMass faculty to teach effectively in jail and prison, to administer an expanded prison education program, and to provide a support network for faculty interested in teaching in jail or prison.

2021 Mutual Mentoring Micro Grant Recipients:

Judyie Al-Bilali – Associate Professor, Performance and Theater for Social Change
College of Humanities & Fine Arts
My grant’s focus is on the completion and publication of my new book project advocating theater as both a healing practice and unifying force for communities generally and particularly following the social upheaval of 2020, and on expanding my professional network in the fields of Applied Theater and the genre of Theatrical Jazz.

Sanjiv Gupta – Associate Professor, Sociology
College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
I will work with a writing coach and a small, international group of academic and non-academic book authors to identify and implement the best practices for writing academic books, with the aim of developing a systematic, sustainable process for writing and revising a book-length project.   

Rebecca Lorimer Leonard – Associate Professor, English
College of Humanities & Fine Arts
My grant supports working with mentors to design a four-year research plan that gears my existing research program toward addressing programmatic and curricular challenges that arise in a campus leadership role.

Jenny Vogel – Associate Professor, Art
College of Humanities & Fine Arts
I am working with 3D modeling software to process images for output as digital prints, videos and 3D prints, and will be attending a summer intensive class at RISD that will deepen my knowledge of the necessary software tools and build a network of artists working in a similar field.

Robert Williams – Assistant Professor, Architecture
College of Humanities & Fine Arts
I will set up a series of mentoring workshops to receive feedback and guidance on three current research projects focused on high-performance, low-energy, and low-carbon residential architecture and construction.