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Meet your next mentor at the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence
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In fall 2022, the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE) fostered a record number of new mentee-mentor relationships, pairing more than 30 faculty across the university for professional development and support. While mentorship was not one of the original focuses of the center — which was established in 2008 to support Emory faculty in their teaching and scholarship — the Faculty Mentorship Network is today at the core of the center’s offerings, testifying to years of investment by Eric Weeks (the center’s director and associate vice provost for faculty affairs), his CFDE colleagues and Emory faculty.

Eric Weeks

Eric Weeks and others within the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence foster faculty mentee-mentor relationships across campus.

Results from the 2020 COACHE faculty satisfaction survey, in which 3,514 faculty members participated, indicate that in all of Emory’s participating schools and the library, the importance and effectiveness of mentorship are rated positively. In nearly every instance, Emory’s score met or exceeded those at five peer institutions.

Weeks, who is also the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Physics, is quick to credit the success of the mentorship program to faculty colleagues. When pairing mentees and mentors, Weeks consults a database of faculty who have signed up to participate in the CFDE program. The database now stands at more than 200 faculty who have volunteered to share their expertise and experience. If a particular mentor is unavailable at the time of a request, Weeks uses his extensive network to find another. Sometimes he even makes cold calls in his searches. 

“Most people are willing if you ask,” Weeks says. He’s comfortable hearing “no,” too, his optimism bolstered by the generosity he’s seen Emory faculty show to one another. “Even if some [volunteers] are not getting called upon to be mentors very frequently,” Weeks says, “I am still grateful that so many people at Emory are willing to offer their time to helping other faculty.”   

In prioritizing faculty needs in all their forms and combinations, Weeks is unencumbered by the traditional notion of pairing junior and senior faculty in the same department. Guidance on certain universal questions — the amount of time tenure-track faculty should devote to service or ways to engage undergraduates in research — can come from a mentor outside of the mentee’s program, department or even school, he has found. Cross-school matches are regular occurrences, and in some cases, more desirable, says Weeks, who also notes the “gratifyingly large” number of matches between Atlanta campus faculty and their Oxford College counterparts.

As an example of cross-school mentorship, Weeks suggests the case of a faculty member in a humanities discipline interested in learning more about grant writing. Because the humanities rely far less on extramural funding than the sciences, a humanities scholar may benefit from connecting with a scientist with much more grant writing experience.

If that same mentee is also interested in learning which journals are the best fit for their research, Weeks may connect him or her with a second mentor within their home department.

While the CFDE program represents the university’s formal commitment to mentorship, Weeks understands it as part of a greater whole: Emory’s innate appreciation of faculty and dedication to their success. 

“During the hiring process, there’s excitement on both sides,” Weeks says. “New faculty’s desire to succeed at Emory is matched by the university’s commitment to help them reach their full potential. The CFDE helps the university fulfill a commitment that is happily made.”

Get involved

Be a mentor, find a mentor

Visit the CFDE website or connect with Eric Weeks to seek or be a mentor. 

Share your perspectives

Eligible full-time faculty will be able to confidentially share their thoughts on mentorship at Emory in mid-February when they will receive a personalized email link to take the 2023 faculty satisfaction survey administered in partnership with the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE).  

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