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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Faculty Senate starts mentorship program

By Anjali LeGrand

Western’s Faculty Senate has begun a new mentorship program focused on pairing incoming faculty with experienced faculty on campus.

A new initiative focused on providing mentorship for new tenure-track faculty members, by pairing them with more experienced faculty, has been launched by Western’s Faculty Senate.

A main goal of the mentoring initiative is to provide new faculty members with connections as well as helping them fit and settle in at Western in all aspects, Deylami said.

Political science associate professor Shirin Deylami is the director of the Faculty Mentoring Initiative.

The creation of the program is timely. The university will welcome 40 new tenure-track faculty members this year, a number that has increased significantly from 27 last year. The number is expected to rise further to 50 members next year, Deylami said.

“The university and administration have been really interested in diversifying the faculty so that it reflects the student population,” Deylami said. “The next thing is, you’ve got to get those faculty to stay.”

While the program initially had a focus on underrepresented minority faculty, the program is being used for all new faculty. Deylami said she eventually hopes to make the program available to non-tenure track faculty.

“There’s lots of studies that have shown that when new faculty are mentored they’re more likely to stay at their institution, retain tenure and become leaders,” Deylami said. “My short-term goal is to help people feel like they fit, long-term goal is to see those people become leaders at the university.”

Deylami, who was appointed to the position of director after applying and being selected by the faculty senate, now has the New Faculty Mentoring Initiative Advisory Group to work with as well.

The advisory group is a five-member committee of faculty who were appointed at the Faculty Senate meeting on Oct. 22.

Deylami said the group will be assisting her in the construction of the program itself and in the matching of mentors and mentees.

Western’s faculty members who make up the advisory group include Johann Neem, Jackie Rose, Cat Armstrong Soule, Veronica Velez and Jason Kanov, all of whom are faculty members in different departments.

The advisory group will have its first meeting on Nov. 6.

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