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University takes results of ADVANCE Faculty Climate Survey seriously

A forum was held Sept. 20 to discuss the survey results

Results from the University of Delaware’s 2016 ADVANCE Faculty Climate Survey have led to several efforts to improve the campus environment for faculty, Provost Domenico Grasso said at a recent forum organized by ADVANCE to discuss the topic.

“The administration at all levels is very concerned about faculty climate on this campus,” he said at the forum Sept. 20 in Smith Hall. “We are taking these results very seriously.”

The survey showed a need to increase faculty mentoring, enhance communication of promotion and tenure policies and improve departmental climates for faculty with special attention to the experiences of underrepresented faculty members.

Grasso pointed to several examples of work to address these issues. Among them is the establishment of the Promotion & Tenure Commission, which is designed to support the Faculty Senate in working to modify and clarify promotion and tenure policies and procedures. That committee’s report is expected this fall.

The provost said the University also has worked diligently to retain faculty members, managing to keep nearly 90 percent of faculty members who were at risk of being recruited away last year.

The Provost’s Office and other campus groups, such as UD-ADVANCE and the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning (CTAL), are working various aspects of mentoring. In addition, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Matt Kinservik is working to unify mentoring for new faculty. And Vice Provost for Diversity Carol Henderson supports peer mentoring efforts in several different ways, including her work with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

The five panelists at the Sept. 20 forum were American Association of University Professors President (UD Chapter) Calvin Keeler, Vice Provost Henderson, Faculty Senate President Martha Buell, Deputy Provost Lynn Okagaki, and UD ADVANCE Co-Principal Investigator Robin Andreasen. ADVANCE Director Shawna Vican kicked off the event  with an overview of the survey results, followed by remarks from Grasso. ADVANCE Principal Investigator Pam Cook then opened the forum to questions from the audience for the panelists.

Andreasen mentioned several activities ADVANCE is undertaking to improve faculty recruitment, mentoring, retention, advancement to leadership, networking and community building. Examples include formal faculty mentoring protocols, development of “mentoring the mentors” workshops, better interpretation and dissemination of family friendly policies including dual career, family leave, and stop the clock.   

Faculty members are encouraged to participate in the next faculty climate survey, which will be available in the spring.

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