Supporting diversity and scholarship

July 31, 2016

As an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), UNT is helping graduate students, faculty and staff succeed professionally and strike the proper balance between work and home life.

This spring, UNT joined the center as a way to strengthen university resources supporting the work and research of faculty, staff and graduate students. The center — a more than 87,000-member external mentoring community —  is dedicated to helping university faculty, staff and graduate students enhance their productivity in areas such as research and writing while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. UNT now is in the company of prestigious institutions such as Purdue University, Stanford University and the University of Notre Dame, that also are members.

Finley Graves, provost and vice president for academic affairs, says UNT became a member after hearing from many in the UNT community about the need for greater access to resources that help faculty, staff and students advance professionally.

"We recognize that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, especially when it comes to supporting a diverse campus community such as ours, but this is a major step in the right direction," he says.

For UNT graduate students, the center is an excellent resource for helping launch their professional careers, says Jesus Valero (above), president of the UNT Graduate Student Council.

"I think NCFDD has the potential to fill a great need among graduate students at UNT," he says. "The Graduate Student Council and the Toulouse Graduate School have long advocated for career and academic related support services for graduate students."

Graduate students often go through academic programs without a mentor to help them search for jobs, finish their dissertation or balance parenting and productivity, Valero says.

"My hope is that more UNT graduate students will take advantage of this great resource to help manage these areas," he says.

Any UNT faculty, staff member or graduate student can benefit from NCFDD's helpful tools and resources, says Michael McPherson, associate vice provost for Faculty Success, whose office oversees UNT's membership.

"UNT has seen an increase in the number of faculty and staff who are using NCFDD's resources,” he says. “We’re continuing to spread the word about this important resource and grow our membership.”

Endia Lindo, assistant professor of educational psychology, is among UNT faculty members who are taking advantage of the center’s resources.

“It was recommended to me by a colleague as a wonderful resource to provide targeted guidance and support in navigating the tenure process,” says Lindo, who has used the center’s resources since 2012. 

The center has been a great resource for helping to manage her professional goals, Lindo says.

“I currently engage in various webinars to assist with managing and prioritizing my professional and personal activities,” she says. “I also participate in weekly planning meetings and accountability checks focusing on my research productivity. I find the accountability resources and boot-camp sessions especially helpful in keeping me focused on my research/writing goals.”

When UNT became an institutional member of the center, Chandra Carey, associate professor of disability and addiction rehabilitation, registered with the center to take advantage of its resources.

“I have participated in the on-line webinar workshops and I truly enjoy the Monday Motivator Newsletter to refocus my agenda for the week,” she says. “I also have browsed for other scholars who may have similar research interests. It is a critical resource and support network.”

UNT’s membership also is important in today’s workplace where traditional models of mentoring might not always provide sufficient support for the modern demands placed on faculty and doctoral students, Carey says.

“Joining NCFDD is one demonstration of UNT’s commitment to support the retention of faculty,” she says. “This additional source of support will help more faculty to effectively manage the demands of working in the university environment.”

Learn more about NCFDD, how it might benefit you and how to register at facultysuccess.unt.edu.