Professional development resource offered to campus community

A longtime resource for Iowa State faculty development has been extended to staff, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) is an independent faculty development center dedicated to supporting higher education professionals make successful transitions throughout their careers. Effective Wednesday, Dec. 2, all faculty, staff, graduate students and post docs will be automatically enrolled in the program and receive weekly emails and notices of seminars and other programming. Those who don't wish to receive the communications will be able to opt out using a link provided in the emails.

Tera Jordan, associate professor of human development and family studies and assistant provost for faculty development, said the program is designed to enhance critical areas such as writing productivity and work-life balance, while also providing access to a broader community of peers and scholars across the nation.

"So much of academic life is focused on individual work that we sometimes forget the importance of professional networks, mentoring and other supports that are the 'secret ingredients' of success," Jordan said.

Array of benefits

Through Iowa State's institutional membership, the center offers numerous benefits at no charge to the campus community, including monthly webinars, weekly email messages with productivity tips and reminders, web-based resources and workshops, monthly writing challenges and a discussion forum that allows students and employees to network with peers across the nation.

"The Monday Motivator," for example, is a weekly email that offers readers positive energy, ideas and action steps to address the challenges of day-to-day work.

Casting a wider net

Jordan said that while the center's resources initially were geared toward faculty, users of the programming spanned the university community. Opting in staff, graduate students and post docs will help more people take advantage of the membership to meet their professional development needs.

The change has been received well by campus leaders.

"So much has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, not only in terms of completing our degrees, but also navigating teaching and research assistantships, and maintaining the same levels of engagement with mentors and colleagues," said Ellie Field, doctoral student in entomology and current president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. "Having access to these resources provides an extra measure of support during a very challenging time."

"Increasing development opportunities for staff has long been a goal of the Professional and Scientific Council," said P&S Council president Sara Parris. "The center's virtual resources fill a critical need, and formally expanding the program to P&S staff is greatly appreciated."

More information about resources and programming is available on the NCFDD website.