When Brianne Dávila was new to teaching, she got an early education on how to be a professor through a National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) program boot camp.
That 2012 experience helped the associate professor of sociology connect with a coach and fellow professors for weekly meetings and to this day, she still has an accountability buddy from that group who makes sure Dávila is on track with her goals.
When she heard the university had become a member of the online community that provides professional development, training and mentoring for faculty members, post-doctorate candidates and graduate students, Dávila, who has been at Cal Poly Pomona since 2014, said she was thrilled.
“NCFDD helps you understand what you need to be successful and how to access those mechanisms of support,” she said. “You learn to build a mentorship network because one mentor cannot meet all of your needs. It’s having someone to review your writing, advocate for you, give you teaching feedback.”
Cal Poly Pomona’s membership in the NCFDD is part of a broader initiative to provide guidance and professional development for professors at every stage of their career that organizers have dubbed the Lifecycle of the Professoriate.
Anthony Ocampo, an associate professor of sociology, serves as the NCFDD’s director of campus workshops and is a staunch advocate of the online community’s programs.
As a new professor getting started on the tenure track at Cal Poly Pomona in 2011, he read an Inside Higher Ed column written by Kerry Ann Rockquemore, an author and speaker in the field of faculty development and leadership.
Ocampo discovered that Rockquemore had a faculty success program through NCFDD and decided to enroll. She covered topics that ranged from how to build a network of mentors to how to make a semester plan to how to get published.
Eight years after he took Rockquemore’s course, Ocampo is authoring the Inside Higher Ed column she once wrote, often teaming up with professors at universities across the country to continue Rockquemore’s push to “demystify the unwritten rules of the academy” and give professors the tools to be their best inside and outside of the classroom.
Ocampo, author of the book “The Latinos of Asia,” calls NCFDD “a godsend” and credits his involvement with NCFDD with helping him to develop a daily writing practice and to see himself as a successful member of the larger community of scholars in his field and beyond. His book has been featured on NPR several times.
“I think that I always wanted to write, and I’ve always wanted to teach,” he said. “But it wasn’t until I started working with the NCFDD that I learned how big of a platform I could actually have. A lot of the tools and resources at the NCFFDD are there to help you think a little bit bigger about what you really can do with your career, not just in your discipline but in the larger public as well.”
Lara Killick, a new assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotions, had a NCFDD membership at her previous institution, the University of the Pacific in Stockton, and said participation in the programs helped her to get tenure.
“I did a boot camp and that was revolutionary,” she said. “It changed my life at the time. I found it really insightful, and I learned a whole host of skills.”
Erica Morales, an assistant professor of sociology who in her sixth year at CPP, said her involvement with NCFDD’s faculty success program has helped her time-management skills, taught her how to balance teaching, service and research, and provided a support network of mentors and colleagues.
“I was really excited,” Morales said about Cal Poly Pomona’s NCFDD membership. “I’ve been wanting this here for the past several years. Every year to keep the membership current, I would have to pay out of my professional development funds.”