Auburn’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity to sponsor eight faculty members in innovative Faculty Success Program beginning spring 2022

Underrepresented faculty to participate in 12-week professional development program

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Auburn University’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity, or OID, will sponsor eight faculty members in the Faculty Success Program beginning spring semester 2022.

The Faculty Success Program is offered through Auburn’s institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Diversity and Development, or NCFDD. The 12-week online program—which will run from Jan. 23 to April 16—is designed to equip tenure-track and tenured faculty with the skills needed to increase research and writing productivity while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Faculty will receive weekly training from coaches certified by the NCFDD and will be invited to participate in a trio of advisory sessions with Ana Franco-Watkins, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and an Inclusive Excellence Fellow in OID.

OID was inspired to offer this experience to advance the Exceptional and Engaged Faculty and Staff goal of the Auburn University Strategic Plan. The Faculty Success Program aligns with the university’s ongoing efforts to support the development and mentoring of faculty.

“This is a unique opportunity to expand the resources for our faculty and to support their ongoing success,” Provost Bill Hardgrave said. “Working with the NCFDD, our efforts to strengthen faculty mentoring will enhance the work-life for our faculty and build a stronger university community.”

The program’s data-supported and research-informed strategies include accountability, mentorship and peer support, and the program fulfills a need expressed by faculty members for expanded mentoring options. Auburn also has seen promising results from the previous 23 faculty who have participated in the program.

“We are excited to work with these talented faculty toward their career goals,” said Taffye Benson Clayton, associate provost and vice president for Inclusion and Diversity. “This is one element of OID’s investment into the success of underrepresented communities at Auburn University. I am grateful for the support and collaboration on this effort from the academic deans, Dr. Ana Franco-Watkins and JuWan Robinson, special assistant for inclusion and diversity in OID.”

The group of faculty sponsored for the signature program in spring 2022 are:

Katrina Akande, assistant professor and Alabama Extension specialist, Human Development and Family Science, College of Human Sciences
Taneshia West Albert, assistant professor, Consumer and Design Sciences, College of Human Sciences
Onikia Brown, associate professor, Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management, College of Human Sciences
Adrienne Duke, associate professor and Alabama Extension specialist, Human Development and Family Science, College of Human Sciences
Lindsey Hohmann, assistant professor, Clinical Pharmacy Practice, Harrison School of Pharmacy
Natalie Hohmann, assistant professor, Clinical Pharmacy Practice, Harrison School of Pharmacy
Courtney Leisner, assistant professor, Biological Sciences, College of Sciences and Mathematics
Jakita Thomas, Philpott WestPoint Stevens Associate Professor, Computer Science and Software Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Thomas is excited to participate in the professional development program.

“I am incredibly excited to join other Auburn faculty in the cohort of the Faculty Success Program here at Auburn,” said Thomas, recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. “I am looking forward to the support and professional development that this program will provide through coaching, peer support and materials developed by the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, as well as the community that will evolve and emerge among the cohort. I am grateful for the leadership of Dr. Clayton and her team in ensuring this valuable experience is available to faculty at Auburn University.”

The inaugural group of scholars represent four of Auburn’s colleges, and OID has plans to expand the program’s reach in the future.

“The College of Human Sciences has long supported DEI efforts across all of our disciplines and units,” College of Human Sciences Dean Susan Hubbard said. “Our mission is to create a better future through the science of quality life, and that certainly includes investing in our faculty. We have a diverse and engaged faculty base and are excited about the investment and opportunity this program provides.”

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.