Online center offers faculty another professional development tool

Iowa State faculty members, postdocs and graduate students – nearly 7,000 in sum -- are invited to activate an account with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, an independent, Detroit-based center that provides mentoring, networking and career development support, largely online, for its members.

The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost purchased a one-year institutional membership ($20,000) at the center. All faculty – fulltime, part-time, tenured, tenure-track, non-tenure eligible – as well as postdocs and grad students may activate an individual account. The instructions for doing so are listed at the end of this announcement.

Associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince encouraged faculty members to activate a membership and try some of the center's services, which include facilitated learning communities, workshops and discussion groups. Slides, audio recordings and transcripts of past activities are archived and available for a year. The center's expertise is in writing well and getting published, mentoring and developing faculty, and faculty advancement.

Check the ISU calendar

Fall workshops and discussion groups offered by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity are in Iowa State's online calendar. Iowa Staters may sign up for events via AccessPlus or by sending an email to

"This is another tool in the toolbox for our faculty. It's a resource each one can use. It supplements some of the provost-level and college-level things we're doing on campus in faculty mentoring and faculty development," she said.

Bratsch-Prince said she sees two strengths in the center. First, it provides a safe and professional but external network for ISU faculty.

"Sometimes you may not want to share something with a person in your department or even your institution," she noted. "And, it's good to have lots of people to bounce ideas off."

Second, she thinks the center deals well with issues that are relevant to faculty of color and to women faculty. Cinzia Cervato, faculty fellow for early career faculty development in the provost's office, concurred.

"The center emphasizes a diverse faculty and offers good role models. That's very helpful for a place like Iowa State, where we don't have large communities of ethnic faculty, for example, African-Americans," Cervato said.

Cervato said Iowa State faculty also will appreciate the scheduling flexibility the center offers.

"People are so busy. In one or one-and-a-half hours in their office, they can pick up a lot of really helpful ideas," she said.

Cervato said the center will keep track of how many Iowa State individuals activate memberships and the kinds of programs and services they request this year. That information will help the provost's office assess the usefulness of the center when the institutional membership is set to expire.

Questions about Iowa State's institutional membership may be directed to Cervato, 4-7583.

How to activate your membership account in the NCFDD

1. Go to the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity website
2. Select the "Become a Member" tab and choose "Individual Membership"
3. In the middle of the Individual Membership page, select "Click Here"
4. On the "Select Your Member Type" page, select the third option, "Institutional Sub-Account"
5. On the "Select a Username" page, enter your ISU-issued email address in the first "Username" box and complete the registration process
6. You will receive an email within 24 hours confirming that your account is active