In the Fall of 2017, the Tickle College of Engineering began a new focus on the mentoring and development of tenure-line faculty through the creation of several discussion groups for faculty at various career stages. The objective of these discussion groups is to enhance faculty success as productive researchers and effective instructors, with engagement in meaningful service. These discussion groups identify challenges faced by mid-career, junior, and/or female TCE faculty, and provide a venue for discussing strategies to address these challenges. They also encourage TCE faculty to be proactive in their career development, toward the ultimate goal of ensuring that all TCE faculty become productive full professors.
For AY2017-2018, the TCE discussion groups are organized into three cohorts of faculty:
- Assistant Professors
- Associate Professors who have been hired or promoted within the last five (5) years
- Female tenure-line faculty at the Assistant and Associate Professor ranks
These discussion groups operate as follows:
- Each cohort meets monthly for 1-hour meetings (4 per semester), with two meeting options per month for Assistant and Associate Professors.
- Faculty cohorts have the opportunity to prioritize potential topics of discussion, with meetings focusing on high-priority topics.
- Prior to each meeting, the topic is announced and short “homework” assignments are given, such as short readings or questions to consider in advance of the meetings.
- Meetings are discussion-oriented (led by TCE Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs), with faculty encouraged to engage and contribute to the conversation.
- Guest experts and administrative leaders are invited to lead relevant discussions.
- Smaller peer sub-groups may spin off to further develop and discuss topics of interest.
Each cohort participates in monthly discussion sessions together, covering topics such as:
- Developing 5-year career plans
- Understanding university and college processes/expectations for promotion and/or tenure
- Finding/recruiting quality students and/or postdocs
- Becoming a quality mentor to students and/or postdocs
- Setting up research collaborations
- Developing larger-scale collaborative funding
- Discovering interdisciplinary research opportunities
- Becoming a research leader
- Discovering opportunities for fellowships, sabbaticals, etc.
- Becoming a more productive writer
- Becoming a more effective teacher
- Dealing with disruptive students and cheating
- Dealing with conflict
- Developing individual networks of mentors, sponsors, collaborators
- Setting priorities and managing time
- Dealing with work-life balance
Faculty Development Resources
Faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of other existing university, college, and national resources for faculty development in research and teaching as appropriate, including:
- Engineering Research Office
- UT Office of Research and Engagement
- UT Teaching and Learning Center
- National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development