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The Gift of Academic Writing Support Available to Faculty

Faculty development resources ranging from an intensive academic writing accountability program to one-hour webinars on such topics as work/life balance are available free and confidentially to members of the DePaul community.

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
Nearly 200 faculty, graduate students and others from DePaul have already benefitted from support offered online by the
 National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, which also hosts multi-week courses and guest experts to help professors manage their academic careers.

Hiring and retaining an outstanding, diverse faculty and empowering them to realize their potential as teacher-scholars is an objective in the Vision 2018 strategic plan. That's why DePaul was among the first universities to secure an institutional membership at NCFDD in 2012.

Individual webinars sharing 10 skills that lead to success in academia are among the center's most popular programs, according to Amy Jin Johnson, the NCFDD's institutional membership program administrator.

She says the organization's President and CEO, Kerry Ann Rockquemore, reminds participants that every term needs a plan. Webinar training topics designed to make each term a success include academic time management, the art of saying "no," and dealing with stress and rejection.

More demanding opportunities, such as the Faculty Success Program have an associated cost, but DePaul offers grants to participants, making the program free.

Johnson describes the program as a 12-week productivity and accountability boot camp in which faculty have access to software that tracks their research and writing efforts, daily and weekly accountability check-ins, and individual coaching. "While about seventy percent of FSP participants are junior faculty, we've seen an increase in the numbers of mid-career and full professors who registered over the last year," she notes.

Jacqueline Kelly-McHale, associate professor and director of music education in the School of Music, received a grant to enroll in the program in summer 2015. "I loved it. I miss it," says Kelly-McHale. "It's like giving yourself the gift of unlimited support."
During her stint in the program, she completed invited chapters to four books and the research for an auto-ethnographic project. Motivation for these accomplishments came in the form of a mentor and three faculty of the same rank from other universities who also sought a rigorous writing schedule.  "We had concrete steps on how to manage our time and had to submit a work plan every week," she says.

The experience helped her feel more engaged and gave her the tools to help her graduate students better organize their research and writing projects.

Lawrence Hamer, associate provost for academic governance and integrity, says, "The success of DePaul is largely dependent upon the collective success of each of our faculty, and the ability of each faculty member to continuously grow and develop." Because the NCFDD provides a range of professional development opportunities, faculty members can tailor their choices to fit their situation.

"The fact that participation in particular programs is confidential allows faculty members to better focus on their personal development," Hamer adds.

NCFDD will be launching a new course titled "Rethinking Mentoring: How to Build Communities of Inclusion, Support, and Accountability" in the fall. It joins courses on "How Department Chairs Can Be Effective Allies to Faculty of Color" and "Micro-Aggressions, Micro-Resistance, and Ally Development in the Academy" that help underrepresented faculty flourish at their universities.

Hamer will be making presentations to groups throughout the university to generate more awareness about these opportunities for all faculty.

Faculty and graduate students interested in self-directed professional development can use this link to create an account with NCFDD. It takes 1-2 business days for the account to become activated, and notification will arrive in an email.