Assistant Professor Excellence Program

This program is a joint effort between the colleges and Faculty Excellence, designed to provide professional development and coaching for tenure-earning assistant professors in their early years in academia, specifically years one through three.

Goals

  • Provide assistant professors with a supportive coaching relationship that will support the research, scholarly and classroom success
  • Support assistant professors in engaging with other areas of the university that can enhance career development
  • Help assistant professors adjust to the university and department culture and values
  • Provide additional faculty development opportunities through sessions provided by Faculty Excellence and other faculty serving offices
  • Provide support to help balance personal and professional responsibilities

Structure

The program consists of two main components: coaching and development. Each tenure-earning assistant professor receives either individual or group mentoring from a seasoned faculty member in their college. Each month, there is an ‘optional conversation starter’ to facilitate discussion on the monthly topic. Then, professional development opportunities sponsored by the colleges, Faculty Excellence, and other faculty-serving offices (such as the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, Office of Research and Commercialization, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion) are offered throughout the academic year. Other workshops and learning opportunities are found on the Faculty Excellence event calendar. All assistant professors are encouraged to regularly view the event calendars of other resources on campus (ORC, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning etc.), for varied topics and resources. Individuals’ department chair/director and coach can determine the faculty development sessions that will be of most benefit.

Coach’s Expectations

The coach, who is assigned by the college, is expected to make contact (e.g., face-to-face or phone call) with their assigned assistant professor(s) at least once per month, and assistant professors are also encouraged to make contact. It is recommended that at the beginning of the year, the coach and assistant professor identify goals for the year and identify which of the optional workshops from the schedule below and/or college level programming might benefit the faculty member. Since each college is different, the coach and assistant professor may tailor these Early Career Excellence Program topics as they relate to their respective programs and college goals. The important component to this program is that the monthly topics and the following questions are discussed early in the relationship:

  • What are the goals of the faculty member and the coach for the mentoring relationship?
  • What does the Assistant Professor need to be successful at UCF?
  • When will meetings take place?
  • Are there other senior faculty members that can also serve as an additional resource to the faculty member?
  • During the period that the coach and the faculty member are not meeting, what is the best way to communicate for questions and information sharing?

At the end of each semester or at least at the end of the year, both the faculty member and the coach should evaluate and discuss if they have met the goals for the academic year. This may also include a discussion of changes necessary to strengthen the continued ‘coaching’ relationship.

Assistant Professors’ Expectations

Assistant professors will meet with their coach at least once a month and attend programs that will benefit their development. For the sessions offered through Faculty Excellence, assistant professors will receive documentation of participation via PeopleSoft (MyUCF > employee self service > learning and development > training summary) that may be used for their annual evaluation.

Where else should Assistant Professors search for faculty development opportunities that complement their college coaching?

Our campus is rich in workshops, training, book clubs, conferences, discussions and other events. It is important that you regularly check the websites and calendars of some of the major faculty resources available to you and work with your chair/director and coach to determine the faculty development that will be of greatest benefit. These include:

Evaluation

Evaluation is an integral part of the Assistant Professor Excellence Program. Coaches and assistant professors will be asked to provide information on the program experience. For formative purposes, results will be helpful in making changes over the course of the year and for summative purposes, the data will help to make program revisions for future years. Results obtained will not be used to evaluate the assistant professors nor the coaches, and they will only be aggregated across the university (not by individual programs, departments, colleges, or schools). The aggregate results will be shared with appropriate offices on campus (e.g., Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning or Office of Research and Commercialization) allowing them to consider offering additional resources or professional development opportunities.

Questions

Questions can be directed to Faculty Excellence at facultyexcellence@ucf.edu or 407-823-1113. You may also direct questions to your college’s representative.


Monthly Topic Schedule:

Events listed below will be scheduled and announced by each individual college. University-wide sessions can be accessed here and by clicking on the calendar button above.

Welcome to UCF

  • Date/Time: August
  • Location: TBD by colleges
  • Sponsor: College (please check with the Dean’s office in your college for details on this program)
  • Goal of the program: To welcome faculty to their academic college and allow introductions to the college, resources, and colleagues
  • Target Audience: Tenure earning assistant professors new to UCF

Conversation starters: Coaches share tips on beginning an academic career; assistant professors develop two-minute scholarship presentation (i.e., elevator talk) understandable to a layperson and share elevator talk and get feedback from coach

Tips for Funding Your Research and Creative Activities

  • Date/Time: September
  • Location: TBD by colleges
  • Sponsor: College (please check with the Dean’s office in your college for details on this program)
  • Goal of the program: To introduce faculty to funding resources within their college and throughout UCF
  • Target Audience: Tenure earning assistant professors unfamiliar with PIVOT and/or new to securing external funding

Conversation starters: Conduct a funding search in PIVOT; identify at least one upcoming funding opportunity that matches your interests; share results and get feedback from coach on the funding opportunities identified.

Achieving Success: College Promotion and Tenure

  • Date/Time: October
  • Location: TBD by colleges
  • Sponsor: College (please check with the Dean’s office in your college for details on this program)
  • Goal of the program: To acquaint faculty with the promotion and tenure process and steps to consider to assist in a successful journey to promotion and tenure
  • Target Audience: All tenure earning assistant professors

Conversation starters: Develop action plan for two measurable items related to successful tenure and promotion; share with coach for feedback

So how is it going? Managing work/life balance while on the tenure and/or promotion track

  • Date/Time: February
  • Location: TBD by colleges
  • Sponsor: College (please check with the Dean’s office in your college for details on this program)
  • Goal of the program: To help faculty discuss their challenges, develop strategies and find resources for managing work/life balance
  • Target Audience: All tenure earning assistant professors

Conversation starters: Discuss with your coach the types of supports and resources you need to feel you have a supportive climate at work; and for yourself develop a list of strategies to help you manage challenges in your personal life. It is optional to share information on your personal life with your coach.

Preparing Your Annual Report

  • Date/Time: April
  • Location: TBD by colleges
  • Sponsor: College (please check with the Dean’s office in your college for details on this program)
  • Presenter: TBD
  • Goal of the program: To provide information on the required faculty annual report, including details on process as well as tips for presenting your accomplishments
  • Target Audience: All tenure earning assistant professors

Conversation starters: Draft your annual report and share with your coach for feedback.  Take time with your coach to review and evaluate your goals for this year and to consider what you may want out of coaching next academic year.


Other professional development opportunities are offered throughout the year. Click on the calendars below for more details.

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