OFD Announces Mutual Mentoring Awards for 2021-22

OFD mutual mentoring wordmark

The UMass Amherst Office of Faculty Development (OFD) is pleased to award Mutual Mentoring Grants to nine teams and five individual faculty for 2021-22.

OFD’s Mutual Mentoring Program provides funding to individuals or groups of faculty for the purpose of developing mentoring networks. The Mutual Mentoring Team 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. Applications are accepted in February and announced in April for projects which take place from June 1 through May 31. The Office of Faculty Development works in collaboration with UMass ADVANCE, who also funds a number of team Mutual Mentoring grants.

Michelle Budig, vice provost for faculty development commented: “Over the last three 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. 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.”

2021-2022 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 Leader: Kathryn Schwartz, 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 and Behavioral Sciencesand School of Public Health and Health Sciences
Team Leader: Achsah Dorsey, assistant professor, anthropology
“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 and Behavioral Sciences
Team Leader: Leda Cooks, professor, communication
“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 and Fine Arts
Team Leader: Christopher White, assistant professor, music and dance, music theory
“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 and Computer Sciences
Team Leader: Frank Sup, associate professor, mechanical and industrial engineering
“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 Leader: Patrick Flaherty, assistant professor, mathematics and statistics
“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 and Health Sciences
Team Leader: Katherine Reeves, associate dean of graduate and professional studies, associate professor, biostatistics and epidemiology
“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 Anti-Racist Pedagogies: Cross-disciplinary Teaching Support in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences
School of Public Health and Health Sciences
Team Leader: Gloria DiFulvio, senior lecturer and undergraduate program director, health promotion and policy
“We aim to develop or deepen our respective anti-racist teaching practices. Our professional development goals as teachers are to learn from each other, experts in the area of anti-racist pedagogy, and students.”

UMass Prison Education Initiative Mentoring Community
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Team Leader: Laura Ciolkowski, senior lecturer, women, gender, sexuality studies
“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.”

2020-21 Mutual Mentoring Micro Grant Recipients:

Judyie Al-Bilali – associate professor, performance and theater for social change
College of Humanities and 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 and 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 and 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.”

For more information, visit: https://www.umass.edu/faculty-development/thrive/mutual-mentoring