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NCFDD Newsletter - December 2014
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Advice for Under-Represented Faculty



A Note from Kerry Ann


As we close out 2014, I am so excited to share with you the growth that we've experienced here at NCFDD over the last year, along with what we've been able to provide to our members. In 2014, we:

  • Served more than 68,000 members, including graduate students, post-docs and faculty members (compared to just over 30,000 in 2013).
  • Graduated 410 Faculty Success Program participants and served 460 alumni in our rapidly expanding FSP Alumni Community.
  • Visited 35 campuses to facilitate workshops, deliver keynotes and connect with our members face-to-face (just like the picture above at Dartmouth College).
  • Delivered 10 core curriculum webinars, hosted 12 guest expert webinars and offered five multi-week courses.
  • Added several new members to our core team!
    • Mason Anthony, Director of Operations
    • Michelle Rivera-Clonch, PhD, Faculty Success Program Administrator
    • Allison Van Buren, Member Relations Coordinator
    • Mark Alpert, Webmaster
  • Expanded our Institutional Membership to 37 institutions
  • Provided supportive space for 52 weeks of Writing Challenges on our discussion forums.
  • Delivered electronic support and encouragement through 48 weeks of Monday Motivators, 12 monthly newsletters, and a new column series in Inside Higher Ed.
  • Co-created our own unique writing accountability software with our FSP Alumni
  • Hosted 975 participants in our popular 14-Day Writing Challenges!

The NCFDD team is grateful for all of your support. In our final Newsletter of the year, we encourage you to check out our Faculty Success Program spotlight (registration for the January session ends December 19th), start planning now for our 2015 workshops, and enjoy the first edition of my new column series for Inside Higher Ed: Dear Kerry Ann (an advice column for under-represented faculty).


2014 has been a wonderful year of expansion at the NCFDD and we hope our resources have helped in your personal and professional growth!




Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
President, National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity




Registration is OPEN for Spring Session

January 18 - May 2, 2015

Visit the pages below to learn more! 

If you have any questions about registering, please contact us at





 Photo credit: University of Delaware

Learning to make thoughtful, intentional choices about how to invest my time has led me, not only to explosive productivity, but to a new mindset on how to continue to grow my career.  At the same time, tending to these goals on a daily basis has generated continuous progress that allows me to enjoy my free time with friends and loved ones.”


Dana Veron

Associate Professor

University of Delaware



"FSP has been a truly empowering experience for me. I came into the program with many fears – fear of failure, fear of being an imposter, fear of my upcoming P&T deadline, and fear of writing. FSP has provided support in so many ways – the sheer diversity of the resources lends itself to all personality types.  The FSP structure and tools allowed me to prioritize the demands on my time to be most effective.  


At the end of this term, I will have completed three first-author manuscripts, three grant proposals, three research abstracts, and one speaking engagement.  I was more productive in the last 14 weeks than I was in the last year. I’m even healthier – I’ve lost weight and have made self-care a priority in my life. I paid for FSP out of my own pocket.  It was worth it and I would do it again. I wish I had found this program earlier in my career."


Jackie Wypij
Assistant Professor (Oncology)

Dept. of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign





The NCFDD Welcomes Our Newest 
Institutional Member:

 University of Washington

Do you want additional information about how your college or university can join a rapidly growing list NCFDD Institutional Members? Please contact William Haupricht, Vice President of Institutional Relations, at 313-647-4035 or





Facilitator: Kerry Ann Rockquemore 

Date: 1/15/2015

2:00-3:30 pm ET


Core Workshop:

Every Semester Needs a Plan

  • Do you often start the semester with high hopes for your writing projects, but end disappointed by your actual productivity?

  • Do you desperately want (or need) to write a lot this semester?

  • Do you want to figure out how to be more productive AND enjoy your life this semester? 

Then join us for a hands-on workshop! We offer this planning workshop at the beginning of each semester so that you can take time out of your schedule to identify your personal and professional goals, create a strategic plan to accomplish them, and identify the types of community, support, and accountability you need to make this your most productive and balanced semester ever!



Facilitator: Stephanie L. Kerschbaum

Date: 1/22/2015

3:00-4:30 pm ET

 Guest Expert Workshop:

Disability and Living/Working in the Academy


Living and working with a disability in academia is a common occurrence, particularly given the ways that academia itself is an environment that can exacerbate or bring out disabling conditions in many people.

In this workshop, Stephanie L. Kerschbaum will suggest ways that academic environments can become more hospitable towards disability as well as how academics can work interdependently to enact accessible moves and procedures.







Margarita Mooney, PhD


We have great guest expert workshops to look forward to in 2015! Check out the list below. If you have ideas for future guest expert workshops or multi-week courses, we would love to hear your suggestions. Email

To view our full workshop calendar, click here.


October 31 - Nov. 2

 In it's 21st year now, the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring brings together scholars from all across the country to provide a community environment for minority doctoral scholars to engage in networking and mentoring sessions while attending various sessions to promote both personal and professional growth. The Institute has become the largest gathering of minority faculty in the nation, and aims to provide its attendees with strategies and skills to succeed in their graduate studies, ultimately preparing them for success in positions at colleges and universities.
The NCFDD was a sponsor of the Institute this year, and a few of our team members were able to attend. Sponsoring the Institute allowed us the opportunity to meet many of the young scholars who will one day change the face of the Academy. Our President and CEO, Kerry Ann Rockquemore gave a presentation titled "Solo Success: How to Thrive in Graduate School When You're the Only ___ in Your Department," and our Vice President of Institutional Relations William Haupricht presented on building professional connections via The Institute on Teaching and Mentoring.


Each Institute attendee received a one-year membership in NCFDD and many of the scholars have already begun utilizing our resources. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars Program and look forward to next year's Institute on Teaching and Mentoring! For more information on the Institute, click here.





University of Wisconsin, Madison
Vice Provost for Diversity

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, established in 1848 and considered one of the world's outstanding public research universities, invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice Provost for Diversity (official title: Associate Vice Chancellor) reporting to the Provost / Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Vice Provost for Diversity will serve as a member of the provost's senior leadership team; provide guidance and recommendations to the chancellor, provost, and other campus and UW System leadership in matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


See the full posting


University of California, Irvine
Provost And Executive Vice Chancellor


The University of California, Irvine invites nominations and applications for the position of Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. UC Irvine seeks in its new Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor an ambitious and visionary leader, dedicated to accelerating the university’s ascendency among globally preeminent research universities, whose commitment to research and teaching excellence, vision for enhancing the university’s stature and impact across all fields of inquiry, creative expression, and professional practice will align well with the aspirations of this institution. 


See the full posting


Advice for Under-Represented Faculty


Six years ago, I wrote The Black Academic’s Guide to Winning Tenure Without Losing Your Soul with Tracey Laszloffy because I wanted to give something to new faculty members. It was everything I wish someone had told me when I started out in my academic career. Since then, I created the National Center for Facult
Development & Diversity to open up mentoring to a larger group of academics. To make this work even more transparent, I’ll be writing a "Dear Kerry Ann" column for Inside Higher Ed so you can get your burning questions answered.


To kick off this series, I’ll start with the single most common question I receive: What advice do you have for under-represented faculty starting out the tenure track?


There is a particular reality to being the only ___________  in your department. And the same can be true if you are one of only a few in a large department. It means that you will have all the pressures to meet your university’s expectations for research, teaching and service that everyone on the tenure-track experiences, and you will have some unique obstacles and structural challenges that emerge from racism, sexism, classism, etc. That said, let me offer a few suggestions:


Be Highly Productive

First and foremost, your ability to get a tenure-track job, win tenure, and have options for mobility will be defined by your scholarly productivity. That means that early in your career, you want to get clear on what habits and skills you need to develop for extraordinary productivity. Those include: developing a daily writing practice; strategically planning your semester; aligning your time with your evaluation criteria; learning when and how to say “no”; overcoming perfectionism; and managing the inevitable rejections that come with academic writing.

Let’s be clear: I’m not suggesting that you work all the time. Having work-life balance is possible, but it doesn’t just happen. If you want to be highly productive and have a life off campus, you’ll need to become a master of time management. Specifically, you will have to recognize that there is a structural challenge in faculty life where the activities that matter the least to your success on the tenure track have the greatest built-in accountability, while the things that matter the most have very little built-in accountability. In other words, teaching and service have seemingly urgent demands every day. And as an under-represented faculty member, you will inevitably receive a disproportionately high number of service requests. Your research and writing, however, operate on a different time frame, and they have a long-term logic. You will therefore have to create accountability structures that rival the demands of students and colleagues to make sure that your work gets done and you get to have some fun.


Forget the Guru -- Build a Network

The mentoring model common among graduate education is the guru-adviser model. However, to be successful as a faculty member you need to throw that idea out the window. Instead, start thinking about what a fully supportive network would look like for you. Typically, assistant professors need some combination of professional development, emotional support, intellectual community, safe space, role models, sponsorship, access to opportunities and substantive feedback. One person cannot meet all these needs for you, so stop asking, “Who will be my mentor?” and start asking, “What do I need and who is the best person to help me get that need met?” This will keep you from over-relying on any one person and help you to start building a thriving network of mentors, sponsors, and collaborators.


Your Money or Your Life

Possibly the single best advice I received was to start managing my personal finances in such a way that I could always choose to leave a position. That sounded like a wildly impossible idea when I was living on a graduate stipend and had nothing but student loan debt. But someone gave me a great little book,Your Money or Your Life, that enabled me to develop sound financial practices and make decisions that were oriented to financial health (instead of shackling myself to unnecessary commitments). While it may seem like a personal issue, financial well-being has a powerful way of keeping you focused on possibilities instead of feeling trapped.


Racism Exists and You Have to Succeed Anyway

One thing you can count on as a minority faculty member is that in addition to the general stressors of faculty life, you will experience various forms of racism and/or sexism on campus. This will most frequently occur in the form of daily micro-aggressions. As such, it’s important to not only become masterful in the skills of healthy conflict but to also create explicit and intentional daily practices for stress management and validation. Personally, I experience microaggressions on a daily basis. Yes, it sucks and I wish I lived in a world where this didn’t occur. But knowing that this is part of my daily reality means identifying what I need to build into my schedule so that the daily invalidations don’t penetrate my inner peace. That requires me to have lots of low-level healthy conflicts every day. It also means that I need to walk outside, laugh, and connect with people who love, respect, and validate me daily. And I have a punching bag and I hit it every day (to discharge residual frustration and anger). You may develop different practices, but the key is to figure out: 1) how to manage microaggressions in the moment, 2) how to discharge any residual bad feelings from your body so they don’t build up over time, and 3) how to be reminded regularly of what truly matters.

It's a Job, Not Your Life

Sometimes faculty members get confused and imagine that their career IS their life. This is dangerous because not only does it make your existence one-dimensional but it also doesn’t lead to optimal productivity, creativity or innovation. When you are under-represented, over-work can be toxic and can lead to a sense of self-worth that is predicated on factors that are outside your control (such as whether you win tenure). It is critical to your health and well being that you cultivate a full life off campus, that you have friends who are NOT academics, that you connect to communities that sustain you, that you socialize with people who are creating positive change in the world, that you reproduce if/when you choose, and that you realize that the academy is one (not the only) venue to do work you love.


I hope this general advice is a helpful starting point, but I would love to get into the nitty-gritty of faculty life by answering specific questions from you. So let me know what questions you have about academic life by leaving questions on my Facebook page. I’ll draw from your questions to craft future columns.


Peace and Productivity,

Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
President, National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity

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