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Faculty Development

Liz Klarich teaching in the classroom

The provost’s office strives to enable faculty to thrive at every career stage through faculty development offerings that provide mentoring and support, foster equity and inclusion, and build community. The interactive map below highlights the variety of ways that the college offers ongoing professional development for faculty.

Faculty Development Series—Fall 2023

Toward Equity: The Syllabus at the Cornerstone of Equity-Minded Practices
Tuesday, August 22, 1:30–3 p.m. 
Conference Center Lower Level

Facilitated by Patty DiBartolo, Interim Director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching & Learning, and Hélène Visentin, Associate Dean of the Faculty & Dean for Academic Development

Register by Sunday, August 20

This workshop begins from the premise that a thoughtfully constructed syllabus can serve as an essential foundation for an equity-minded and accessible pedagogy and classroom experience. This workshop will discuss equity-minded teaching best practices and help faculty to reflect on their own and their colleagues’ syllabi before the beginning of the new academic year. Discussion topics will include the essential elements of a learning-focused syllabus; the ways a well-designed syllabus can help set clear, high expectations and build a culture of intellectual habits and care, while acknowledging student diversity; and the resources available to enable students to thrive during their years at Smith. In partnership with the Sherrerd Center.

Toward Equity: Mentoring Across Identities
Thursday, August 24, 9:30–11 a.m. 
Dewey Hall Common Room

Facilitated by Toby Davis, Inclusion Education Trainer/Facilitator, Marjorie Valdivia, Action Planning Project Coordinator/Facilitator, and Hélène Visentin, Associate Dean of the Faculty & Dean for Academic Development

Register by Monday, August 21

This workshop will provide resources to help mentors develop a meaningful and effective mentor-mentee relationship. We will address social identities and how they apply to mentorship; how we can help junior faculty identify their needs and have these met by developing a strong mentoring network; and help them navigate the institution and find a community of support so they feel empowered and can thrive. Participants will be led through a self-reflection activity, complete a mentoring map, and engage in small group discussion. Faculty serving in a formal mentoring role are strongly encouraged to attend. All faculty are welcome. In partnership with the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Authentic Power for Faculty: Discover Your Unique Genius 
Wednesday, September 13, 4:15–5:45 p.m. 

Facilitated by Cristi Cooke, creator of the Pillars of Genius method

Register by Wednesday, September 6

Faculty in higher education are feeling the impact of a high pressure workload, being pulled in many directions, and being influenced away from their preferences toward what they “should do” or “must do” for their career success. Often, their own career fulfillment seems to take the back seat. In this session, faculty will discover that clarity in their own unique genius provides the most profound and practical access to a level of power they didn’t realize they had to design a personally meaningful and fulfilling career  of impact - without having to change others, or waiting to realize systemic transformation. This session uses guided exercises, practical case examples and discussion.

Hiking and Writing with Friends: Community Building at MacLeish Field Station
Tuesday, September 26, 1–5 p.m.
Ada & Archibald MacLeish Field Station 

Register by Tuesday, September 19

Do you want to spend time on your writing and have a change of scenery? Come find inspiration in a place of natural beauty! We will write in the company of others at the MacLeish Field Station, in the hills of West Whately. Participants may take a break to enjoy a loop trail in the woods (weather permitting) or keep writing. Feel welcome to join anytime. 

Authentic Power for Faculty, Part 2: (In the Face of Constraints) Tapping into Power
Wednesday, October 11, 4:15-5:45 p.m. 
Dewey Common Room

Co-facilitated by Benita Jackson, Professor of Psychology and health scholar and practitioner, and Mirjam Paninski, Clinical EFT Practitioner, Brown University 

Register by Wednesday, October 4

For the 2022–23 and 2023–24 academic years, Benita is serving as Faculty Wellness Fellow as part of a pilot program. This session builds upon the September presentation on faculty identifying their unique genius for guiding meaningful work and will be a hands-on introduction to an energy management tool called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). A joy of the faculty experience is that it centers a life of the mind. However, because of this many of us come to unintentionally neglect our fuller well-being–including caring mindfully for our bodies and emotions. EFT is a research-supported self-care technique that has been likened to “emotional acupressure.” Participants will learn practical strategies for metabolizing daily stress to enhance personal and collective well-being. (Attendance at the 9/13 session is not required.)

Friday, October 13, 1–4:30 p.m. - Register by Friday, October 6
Friday, November 10, 1–4:30 p.m. - Register by Friday, November 3
Friday, December 8, 1–4:30 p.m. - Register by Friday, December 1
Mary Maples Dunn Conference Room 

Have writing to get done but finding it hard to get started? Find that your writing is easier when done with good colleagues? Earmark your calendar, grab your laptop, and come to this write-on-site opportunity! These sessions will support you in making progress, increasing productivity, and building a community of scholars writing together. Refreshments will be provided. Feel welcome to join anytime.

Student Mental Health Support 
Tuesday, October 24, 12:15–1:15 p.m.
Dewey Hall Common Room

Facilitated by Kris Evans, Director, Schacht Center for Health & Wellness, and Julie Ohotnicky, Dean of Students and Associate Vice President for Campus Life

Register by Tuesday, October 17

Since the pandemic, student mental health wellbeing has become a bigger priority. Come learn how the institution can help both instructors and advisers recognize and support students experiencing mental health issues. This session specifically aims at connecting instructors and advisers with resources on campus. Offered in partnership with the Schacht Center for Health & Wellness and the Office of Student Affairs.

First Steps Toward Seeking Grants and Fellowships
Tuesday, November 7, 12:15–1:15 p.m.
Dewey Hall Common Room

Register by Tuesday, October 31

Thinking about applying for a fellowship or research grant, but not sure where to start? The Grants and Sponsored Research team will introduce ourselves and the tools and resources we offer to faculty seeking outside funding. We will provide an overview of the initial steps involved in grant seeking: determining how grants best fit into your long-term research plans, identifying potential funding opportunities, and framing your project in a way that is clear and compelling to non-specialists, including funders. We’ll also provide a quick overview of the typical application process. Offered in partnership with Grants and Sponsored Research. 

Toward Equity: Many Ways to Blaze a Trail—Neurodivergent Faculty in the Academy
Tuesday, November 28, 12:15–1:15 p.m.
Dewey Hall Common Room

Facilitated by EJ Siebert, Associate Director of Disability Services

Register by Tuesday, November 21

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, a neurodivergent faculty member refers to herself and others as "trailblazers." Are you curious what this means at Smith? Would you like to learn more about neurodivergence, are you wondering if you are neurodivergent, and/or do you hope to be a better ally to those in our community who are neurodivergent? We would like to create a space to mindfully explore these and other questions together. Please join us for a conversational open dialogue moderated by EJ Seibert, Associate Director of Disability Services. All faculty are welcome!

Authentic Power for Faculty, Part 3: (In the Face of Constraints) Resting into Power
Wednesday, November 29, 12:15–1:15 p.m. 
Bodman Lounge, Helen Hills Hills Chapel

Facilitated by Benita Jackson, Professor of Psychology and health scholar and practitioner

Register by Wednesday, November 22

For the 2022–23 and 2023–24 academic years, Benita is serving as Faculty Wellness Fellow as part of a pilot program. In follow-up to the September session on faculty identifying their unique genius for guiding meaningful work and the October session on metabolizing stress, this gathering on faculty wellness in the face of structural and personal constraints will begin with casual conversation over lunch followed by a "rest-shop" where participants are gently guided to practice deliberately slowing down. For scholars, this is a boon toward tapping into creativity that fuels our most satisfying contributions. (Attendance at the 9/13 and 10/11 sessions are not required.)

Faculty Mentoring

The Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty supports the mentoring of junior faculty members in myriad ways.

New Faculty Orientation

Each year, the associate dean of the faculty and dean for academic development welcomes all new members of the faculty to a new faculty orientation. The primary purpose of the orientation is to provide advice, information, and inspiration while welcoming faculty to the Smith community. Items reviewed include essential college policies and additional resources to complement on-boarding materials included with the hiring letter. The new faculty orientation is an opportunity for new faculty to re-connect with junior and senior members of their department, ask key questions from affiliates across campus, and serves as a medium to engage fellow colleagues as they each embark on a new journey at Smith.

Board of Counselors

The associate dean of the faculty and dean for academic development oversees the Faculty Board of Counselors. The board includes senior faculty members who provide individual and collective extra departmental mentoring to tenure-track faculty members in their first and second years. The counselors are also willing to meet with any recently appointed faculty members who seek advice. Additionally, the board advises senior faculty members and administrators on their work with newer colleagues.

Departmental and Program Mentoring

Departmental mentoring introduces tenure-track faculty and renewable lecturers and laboratory instructors to the culture of the department, college, Five College community, and profession. Departmental mentors support their mentees through regular meetings regarding strategies for prioritizing and performing scholarship, teaching, and service. Mentors address questions and concerns, and assist mentees in building connections and accessing resources.

Non-Tenure-Track Mentoring Team

A team of four Non-Tenure Track Mentors are available to support all non-tenure-track faculty in navigating and being successful during their time at Smith. The mentors meet regularly with the associate dean of the faculty and dean for academic development to discuss their mentoring meetings and to address questions and issues that arise.

Faculty Wellness Fellow

For the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years, Benita Jackson, professor of psychology and health scholar and practitioner, is serving as a Faculty Wellness Fellow as part of a pilot program. In this role, she develops programming to provide faculty with tools to support their pursuit of work-life integration and imagine forms of cultural and structural change in support of those goals.

Faculty Development Map

To explore the interactive map, please click on the image below.


Resources for Faculty Development