In January, The University of Toledo will join hundreds of colleges and universities across the country in becoming an institutional member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), a national organization that provides online career development, external networking and mentoring resources for all faculty ranks, post-doctoral scholars and graduate students.
Tenured, non-tenured and part-time UToledo faculty, post-doctoral scholars and graduate students can enroll in a free individual membership and access the variety of benefits linking them to broader faculty communities throughout the U.S. starting Tuesday, Jan. 18, when the University’s three-year membership begins.
“We are excited about the opportunities for professional growth and development that joining the NCFDD will bring to our campus,” Provost Karen Bjorkman said. “Membership will give online access to resources, webinars and guides to help them in all aspects of navigating and being successful in their academic environment.”
The Office of the Provost created a new website full of information about NCFDD membership benefits, including scheduled webinars, recommended reading, programs and resources.
“All three constituent groups will have the benefits of professional development training and support. This membership will offer an additional layer to the traditional models of mentorship already at UToledo with potential to reach more University community members,” said Dr. La Fleur Small, vice provost for academic administration and faculty affairs who joined UToledo in September. “Joining NCFDD aligns us with what peer institutions of our stature and size are doing nationwide.”
The programs and services are designed to help scholars increase their research productivity and work-life balance.
“This marks a big step in our diversity, equity and inclusion initiative aimed at developing and retaining all of our talented students and faculty,” Small said. “Embedded in NCFDD are supports for underrepresented minorities. This results in increased mechanisms of individualized support for underrepresented faculty, post-doctoral researchers and graduate students. The membership includes access to mentorship or buddy networks so individuals can talk to people outside of our institution about their experiences and navigating issues.”
While most of the programs are prerecorded, UToledo and NCFDD will be conducting a live workshop for campus from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21. This event signifies UToledo’s membership with NCFDD. The webinar is titled “Writing Procrastination and Resistance: How to Identify Your Writing Blocks and Move Through Them.” Registration for this synchronous webinar can be completed on the Office of the Provost website.
Members receive a weekly motivational email called the Monday Motivator and access to the full NCFDD Core Curriculum, guest expert webinars, intensive multi-week courses facilitated by national experts, a private discussion forum, monthly writing challenges and the opportunity to connect with a writing accountability partner.
The guest expert webinars are professional development sessions that last up to 90 minutes and focus on topics including wellness, the job market, rank-specific skill training and the “big questions” of purpose and passion.
“Having UToledo become a member of the NCFDD is one way that the University shows its commitment to ensuring all faculty, graduate students and post docs have equal access to professional development and support,” said Dr. Ally Day, associate professor of disability studies who serves on the faculty affairs committee that Small created about the initiative. “We often pay out of pocket for workshops and national memberships, which creates an unequal distribution of opportunity where only those with the least amount of student loans or dependents can access resources, disproportionately disadvantaging people of color, women and members of the LGBTQA+ community.
“We can now register for workshops and mentoring opportunities free of charge, which will only make us more supportive colleagues, stronger instructors and innovative thinkers in the long run.”
Dr. Ali Sajid Imami, president of the Graduate Students Association and a Ph.D. student in biomedical sciences, also served on the faculty affairs committee regarding this initiative.
“I believe that UToledo is essentially a hub of diversity in all respects for faculty and students,” Imami said. “Becoming a member of NCFDD highlights the University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging. NCFDD’s training opportunities will enhance the learning experience and the later career of graduate students.”
Participation with NCFDD materials is voluntary; however, all eligible campus members are encouraged to enroll.
To access free membership: