February 27, 2012

Weill Medical College Creates Office for Faculty Development

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Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City recently established an Office for Faculty Development, which will help professors at WCMC forge connections with their peers, the college announced on Jan. 26. Dr. Laurie Glimcher, dean of WCMC, said that the Office of Faculty Development will increase professors’ potential by providing them with mentoring and support services.“I’ve found that many people can go further than they ever thought they could simply because someone else thought they could,” Glimcher said in the Jan. 26 press release. “This office will ensure that all our faculty receive the mentoring, guidance and support that will help them succeed.” Dr. Barbara Hempstead, associate dean for faculty development at WCMC, said she shares Gilmcher’s passion for mentoring individuals within her own division.“Being a mentor within this division has been one of the aspects of my job that I have enjoyed the most,” she said. “In many cases, this reaches across conventional departmental boundaries.” In the month since its creation, Hempstead said the new office has increased the efficacy of WCMC’s existing mentoring programs.“This is an important opportunity for Weill to formalize what had been being done already, but makes it far more cohesive, transparent and, hopefully, better,” Hempstead said. In particular, she said, the office will help new faculty form relationships with clinicians and researchers who are in similar fields, learn to effectively apply for funding and write clinical trials. New faculty will also have access to a large mentoring network, Hempstead said. Faculty already at the school will also benefit from opportunities to increase productivity by forming new collaborations, she said. Additionally, the office will help faculty understand what is expected of them, Hempstead said. “Unlike professionals in other fields, faculty in academic medicine, both scientists and clinicians, must excel in multiple areas to achieve professional success,” said Stephen Cohen, executive vice provost of WCMC, in an email. “Given those complexities and tensions, it is increasingly difficult for even the most talented faculty to know what is expected of him or her, evaluate priorities, and to be able to balance their workload.” Cohen emphasized that the Office of Faculty Development will assuage some of the difficulties WCMC faculty face. “For the first time, under Dr. Hempstead’s leadership, Weill will have a senior faculty member and the dedicated resources to mentor faculty and work with their departments to ensure that individuals advance in their career, contribute to the college and maintain some balance with their personal lives,” Cohen said.  Hempstead said she believes that the office will be particularly successful for WCMC’s “extremely interactive and collaborative faculty.”“All these partnerships that can be made [through the Office of Faculty Development] will help a faculty member be a more creative scientist, a more creative clinical researcher and a better clinician,” she said.

Original Author: Rebekah Foster