Elevate Leadership & Mentoring Among All Faculty Ranks

Elevate Leadership & Mentoring Among All Faculty Ranks

Faculty Leadership

Faculty are the heart of the university, and we must advance not only their research, teaching, and service, but also their personal development. Cultivating and nurturing talent is one of the best investments we can make for a thriving school. We must mentor faculty from their first days on campus so that they understand the value of excellence in research, teaching, and service. We must identify faculty and staff who have the potential for leadership, provide appropriate skills and tools needed for success, and nurture those in leadership to be intellectual ground breakers and examples for the next generation of scholars. Such professional development has both short and long-term consequences for the health and continuing advancement of TCA&S. In addition, it provides an effective form of preemptive retention to keep our best talent at Duke, particularly for those offered attractive opportunities elsewhere. Leadership and mentoring promulgate a strong culture of service back to the University and emphasize faculty are valued for their contributions to the Duke community.

Our Goals

  • Identify faculty with potential to become leaders 
  • Recruit and retain chairs who can effectively develop and manage departments 
  • Provide training for new chairs and ongoing development opportunities for all chairs 
  • Provide opportunities for all faculty to develop to their full potential 
  • Increase the communication between the deans’ offices, the TCA&S departments, and other constituents to promote a greater understanding of our shared values.

Faculty Mentoring

We are emphasizing talent development at all stages of faculty careers, and consistent mentoring is key to faculty – or any other type of – success. Mentorship is all about creating a caring, two-way relationship and setting high expectations. Whether it focuses on disciplinary assumptions, institutional navigation, professional networks, or work-life balance, mentoring facilitates expertise, connections, and success. It gives faculty the tools and insight to achieve to their full potential. Training and mentorship promulgate a strong culture of service, giving back to the university through leadership. It also supports the recruitment and retention of the very best faculty. That, in turn, enables the development of a sense of pride and belonging.

Our Goals

  • Develop mentoring plans for each department 
  • Develop orientation for new faculty 
  • Provide peer cohort mentoring for assistant professors 
  • Provide peer cohort mentoring for associate professors 
  • Provide peer cohort mentoring for professors of the practice
Chairs Discussion Group

Chairs Discussion Group

In the 2016/17 academic year, Trinity launched the Chairs Discussion Group (CDG). First-time and reappointed chairs are invited to meet monthly for confidential, peer-to-peer discussion in a supportive format. Participating reappointed chairs provide an additional mentoring component, in addition to benefiting from the shared experience of others. Conversations are strictly confidential and are for the sole purpose of allowing chairs a chance to share best practices, and to explore concerns and situations. The response to the program has been extremely positive, and we see this as an important component of providing support for these important administrative leaders.

Chair Meetings & Workshops

Launched in Trinity - Now Campus Wide

In 2015/16, we began a series of department chair working meetings, and workshops focused on topics or issues that typically are most challenging for chairs. Our working meetings allow Dean Ashby and the deans staff to brief chairs, and to address questions, issues or concerns in real time. This format allows allows for the school's entire departmental leadership cohort to hear each other's perspectives and to share experiences. Workshop topics were selected by department chairs, and represented their most pressing challenges. 

Starting in the fall of 2017, workshops are supported in part by the Office of Faculty Advancement (OFA). OFA now offers workshops on universal topics such as faculty recruitment best practices or conflict management to department chairs across the university. As a result, Trinity College chairs now get the added benefit of the campus-wide departmental leadership cohort as well. Trinity now focuses on school-specific topics for workshops, such as union faculty teaching evaluations, our budget process, or our process for negotiating faculty offers.

Mentoring by Rank Program

Central to our goal of developing our faculty, we have instituted a Mentoring-by-Rank program designed to prepare our faculty to succeed at their current rank and understand the path to promotion. Cohorts of faculty have several opportunities a year to focus on their issues and questions in meetings dedicated to helping them advance their careers. Faculty meet with the Dean, Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and the Divisional deans. We view this as an opportunity to advance our values for a culture of excellence in research, teaching and service.

  • Mentoring for Department Chairs and Assistant Professors - Launched in 2016
  • Mentoring for Associate Professors and Department Chairs of Small Departments - Launched in 2017
  • Mentoring for Professors of the Practice - Launched in 2018

Learn More

illustration concept for new faculty orientation

New Faculty Orientation

We launched a new, formalized faculty orientation program for new regular rank faculty in the summer of 2016, and it is now part of our normal procedure. The orientation provides an overview of teaching, research and service in Trinity College. Additionally, we offer faculty Implicit Bias Training. We see the new faculty orientation as vital to cultivating the kind of culture we want in the school.

In the fall of 2017, we began offering the same school-level orientation program to our new non-regular rank, union faculty members. And, departments and programs in Trinity College now offer a unit-specific orientation to our union faculty. 

2018 Faculty Success Program Fellowship Awardees

Faculty Success Program Fellows

Trinity College now annually sponsors faculty members for the Faculty Success Program administered by the National Center for Faculty Diversity & Development (NCFDD). The Faculty Success Program is a 12-week Bootcamp where faculty learn to: 
  • Understand the common time challenges scholars face in balancing research, teaching, and service with home life
  • Avoid the most common time management mistakes faculty make
  • Develop a consistent daily writing routine to increase research productivity
  • Learn why and how to align work time with institutional priorities, personal values, and long-term goals
  • Develop a network of support and accountability for academic writing
  • Create a local network of mentors for long-term success

Duke has become an Institutional Member of the NCFDD, and all faculty may access valuable mentoring, training and community through this organization.


Elika Bergelson

Elika Bergelson, assistant professor, psych & neuro

"The NCFDD Faculty Success Program provided a great framework for thinking through productivity, what my goals are, and how my time matches my goals. I learned how to honestly track my time and effort and create data to get feedback on my ability to attain my goals with the time allotted. I received guidance and support on the various psychological and work-life balance hurdles that arise for faculty. I regularly dole out advice and strategies from the sessions to my colleagues, husband, and students. For instance, everyone in my lab this spring had to make a 'strategic plan' where they plan out week by week what they plan to accomplish. We check in on whether they're on track or not, knowing full well that humans are terrible estimators of how long things take the first couple of times they try it."

Tyson Brown

Tyson Brown, assistant professor of sociology

“Participating in the Faculty Success Program was incredibly useful—it provided me with evidence-based approaches for achieving excellence in scholarship and thriving in academia. FSP gave me a roadmap for enhancing my research productivity and quality by helping me set and achieve ambitious goals for research. Specifically, the program provided guidance on developing a strategic plan for my research agenda, on building a consistent daily writing routine, as well as tools for strengthening my publication profile. FSP helped me identify time management strategies that best align with both institutional priorities and my career goals. In addition to enhancing my personal writing practices and productivity, I have been able to share the best-practices that I learned in the program with others in a weekly writing accountability group I lead. I enthusiastically recommend the FSP to anyone interested in increasing their writing and research productivity!”


Sarah Gaither

Sarah Gaither, assistant professor, psych & neuro

"The NCFDD Faculty Success Program helped highlight new ways to think about managing my time as a junior faculty member. The writing timers and accountability meetings were key in making me realize and adopt better plans for writing, and helped me learn to schedule my meetings throughout each day as well. It was great to have a soundboard outside of Duke and to get other views on new faculty experiences and goals. I think this program is great for faculty at any level, but particularly for new faculty who are trying to figure out what things to say no versus yes to. Additionally, the ability to get feedback from others in academia in an anonymous group setting each week is a space that I think made my fall semester much more manageable."

Ellen McLarney

Ellen McLarney, associate professor, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

"I found the consciousness raising about time and productivity invaluable. The NCFDD Faculty Success Program is so focused on research productivity it led to a real explosion in creativity with respect to my work. But also I really basked in the pleasures of research and writing and felt a re-awakening of that drive. I loved the careful philosophical focus on issues of meaning and balance with respect to work and life. I needed that so much. The community is largely of women and I found that to be a really empowering positive experience for me. My small group of women scholars and mothers became a rock for me."

Roxanne Springer, professor of physics

Roxanne Springer, professor of physics

"By far the best part of the NCFDD Faculty Success Program was the people I met in my so-called "small group."  We have remained in touch and have a meeting about once per month to go through the FSP modules again, to establish productive habits and extinguish bad habits. This is also helpful for establishing accountability -- an important part of the FSP program. I think for every Duke faculty member who participates in the FSP, we will be a little bit closer to growing a faculty of productive, mindful academics who are aware of their own actions as well as their impact on others."

Anita Layton, Lisa Keister, Kathy Franz

Leadership Training for Women in Higher Education

In 2016/17, we sponsored three women faculty members to participate in the HERS Institute, an immersive leadership development program designed specifically for women in higher education. Our faculty included Anita Layton, the Robert R. & Katherine B. Penn Professor of Mathematics, Lisa Keister, the Gilhuly Family Professor of Sociology, and Katherine Franz, the Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor of Chemistry. The HERS Institute leadershp development models focuses on self-knowledge, networking, and institutional awareness.