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Chairs’ Workshop JSM 2007

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  1. Chairs’ Workshop JSM 2007 Vijay Nair University of Michigan July 28, 2007

  2. Topics • Teaching & Education (SP &VN) • Keeping graduate programs healthy • Undergraduate majors • Service teaching • Interdisciplinary programs? • Faculty Reviews (VN & SP) • Mentoring junior faculty • Conducting faculty reviews

  3. UM Background • UM ~ 38,000 students (28 + 10) • Full service university • Stat, Biostat, ISR, B-school, Eng., … • LSA (18K + grad students) • Stat part of Nat Sc (collaborations with Soc Sc) • One Dean, 3 area assoc deans, for budget + finance, & for ugrad + grad education (Rackham) • ~ 30 chairs and directors • Dean “controls” budget, etc. • Governance –elected ExCo – hiring, promotions, policy, … • Two meetings a semester – Deans + all C + D; • monthly meetings with Dean, Assoc Dean and NS chairs + directors

  4. Dept Background • Started in 1969 • About 16 FTE + 5-6 lecturers/teaching faculty • 3 grad programs (Ph D, Applied Master’s, Dual degree masters) ~100 grad students ~ 40 TA positions • Ugrad major (~15 grad per year) + 2 minors • Large service teaching (ugrad and grad) • Joint courses with Biostat, Econ, IOE, Math • New interdisciplinary ugrad concentration in Informatics • VN  chair for 8+ years.

  5. Junior Faculty Mentoring • College/University view and environment • Mentoring programs and documentation req’d • Why do we need it? Large depts, failed tenure cases • Dept  mentoring document  process • New junior faculty assigned mentor in first semester – review and modify as appropriate • Mostly based on chemistry, not nece same area • Scope of mentoring activities  • Annual discussion with mentor  not part of evaluation • Encourage discussion with others (get many views) • Mentoring by senior, junior faculty

  6. Scope of Mentoring Activities • Format and approaches for mentoring defined by menor-menteer • Should involve discussion of the expectations for research, teaching, and service to Department, University, and academic community. • Provide constructive feedback in timely and ongoing way. • Help to become a strong contributing member quickly Teaching: • Offer advice on course outlines, HW assignments, mid-term and final exams, how to handle difficult situations, etc. • Observe classes occasionally (not evaluative), esp first few courses, provide informal suggestions on classroom teaching, help to develop teaching skills; how to engage in other educational activies, how to balance teaching and research … • Suggest other available resources as appropriate (e.g. visits to the classrooms of established teachers or interactions with the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching).

  7. Scope of Mentoring Activities Research and Service • Mentors need not be a match in research interests. • Advise and help with • connections for collaborations and networking inside & outside • writing grants, making research presentations, which journals to submit papers, how to prepare papers for submission and revision • other ways to further development of a research career. • Orientation and introduction to university and profession, • Advise on service and administrative duties. • General resource person

  8. Junior Faculty Mentoring • Challenges • How to formalize an informal process? How to ensure that “good” mentoring happens? • Inherent variability in mentees’ needs and mentors’ skills • Need to get multiple opinions • Inherent conflicts in mentoring vs evaluation • Depts with large number of junior faculty and few senior faculty • Special needs: women and under-represented groups • Rely on faculty outside the dept and advisors. • Role of dept chair in mentoring • Mentee’s responsibilities

  9. Faculty Review Process at UM Statistics • Annual reviews and discussion with chair and mentor • 3-year review and feedback • End of 5th year, P&T committee set up – chair and committee works with candidate to develop a casebook – includes CV, research teaching and service documentation -- names of external letter writers (number)? • Dept selects from candidates list and own list – some in your area, others a bit more general, usually full prof’s – college committees looks for big names from top universities; Some internal letters • P&T committee writes up evaluation. Candidate has opportunity to respond. • Department level discussions and recommendation. Variation in exact process. • To college-level review -- divisional review committee looks at research case -- college ExCo makes decision based on this review and overall case – Dean vs College ExCo • Provost (usually pro forma) • Negative decisions – dept vs college level; appeal?

  10. Research • Quality of research is key – how to measure? this is the problem! • Journals, funding, external letters, invited seminars, … • Quantity? • Moving beyond thesis research and establishing your own niche and name recognition • Need not be a completely new area; but need to put some distance between yourself and your advisor’s work – cut the umbilical cord • Single vs multi-authored; order of authorship, … • Interdisciplinary research – how much does it counts – how does your dept assess the quality of the work? • Ph. D. student supervision? Mixed bag. Joint supervision

  11. Junior Faculty Responsibilities:Understand your own process • Process: Within department, college, and higher … • Multiunit appointments; wet vs dry appointment • Understand key steps of the process – documents, players, … and plan ahead • Components of the P&T casebook – how many external letters, internal letters, emphasis on funding, teaching vs research, service … • Annual and 3-year reviews – make sure to get feedback; talk to senior faculty informally; listen to what they say but use your best judgment • Personal issues – talk to chair, senior mentor, associate deans; don’t be hesitant to raise important issues early on.

  12. Ultimately, your research has to do the talking …But how can you help yourself? • External letters are KEY • Plan ahead • Exposure in the profession – invited seminars (get senior faculty and advisor to help) • Networking – very important – nurture relationships with potential letter writes – invite people to seminars; try to get invited, write to them, send copies of your preprints and ask for advice/input – don’t be shy; be selective; not everyone will respond, don’t get discouraged by non-response; talk to people at conferences – smaller conferences are better – send e-mail before and introduce yourself. • Be assertive but not pushy • Importance of grants? • Choice of journals  major issue

  13. Teaching and Service • Good teaching is necessary but outstanding teaching alone in not sufficient • Quality of teaching – classroom teaching (student evaluations) key component; But mentoring, curriculum development and other initiatives also help • Keep a teaching portfolio – all teaching, mentoring, and curriculum related activities, current e-mails of students who can write letters • Consult with colleagues and use university resources on improving your teaching and organizational skills • Do not over-spend time on teaching; • Service – usually not key -- keep service within the department to minimum; outside service (editorial; giving talks; organizing sessions) carries more weight – but be wary of committee work that does not help case for research and visibility

  14. Mentoring and “Politicking” … • Quality and extent varies; experience at UM … • Outside the dept and outside university mentoring • Advice: Feedback on research areas, writing papers, choice of journals, grant writing, getting invitations to conferences and colloquia, editorial boards, … • Senior vs peer mentors • Get to know all senior faculty -- Make sure people know of your work and you are good, but do it in a subtle way – use appropriate occasions – like seminars to ask questions; be active in the department, keep a high-profile, find out how things work; make useful, constructive suggestions with new ideas, things like informal seminars, brown bag discussions, etc.