Albion Makes Institutional Commitment to Faculty Mentorship

The College has officially become a member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

June 8, 2022

By Jake Weber

Dr. Betty Okwako-Riekkola, assistant professor of education, Albion College

Dr. Betty Okwako-Riekkola, assistant professor of education, talks with a student on the Quad.

In strong support of its faculty as it continuously strives for excellence in teaching, Albion College has joined the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) as an institutional member.

Dr. Thom Wilch, dean of faculty and professor of earth and environment, noted that Albion’s decision to join the NCFDD was inspired in part by several current faculty who are enthusiastic individual members of the organization. They reported using NCFDD resources as graduate students, as junior faculty and as fully tenured professors, gaining support in course preparation, research and writing productivity, and effective teaching.

In addition, the NCFDD has programs in place that allow individuals to develop a variety of mentoring relationships, from “writing buddies” who hold each other accountable for goals to forums on specialized professional topics.

“Our institutional membership in the NCFDD will greatly enhance the mentoring we offer faculty,” Wilch says. “Currently, our Newell Center for Teaching and Learning provides a lot of opportunities and support for faculty to talk about and develop their teaching. The NCFDD focuses on overall faculty productivity, with a particular emphasis on scholarship and career advancement.

While Albion faculty often develop informal mentoring and support systems, “We currently offer no formal scholarship mentoring,” Wilch says. “This membership will be really beneficial for increasing faculty productivity and morale.”

Dr. Ron Mourad, provost and professor of religious studies, says the faculty’s passion for teaching is at the heart of the decision to join the organization. “Albion has a long history of supporting the professional and scholarly development of our faculty members,” he says. “Our faculty and staff work here because they’re passionate about the topics they study and about undergraduate education. Albion’s NCFDD membership connects us with a community of peers who understand that passion and know how to encourage it. I believe that will have a powerful effect on our students’ experiences.”

Over the past 12 years, the NCFDD has provided support and training to some 71,000 educators and administrators, including graduate students at many of the country’s largest universities. “Institutional membership signals to faculty job candidates that we value faculty mentoring and growth,” Wilch says, noting that beyond supporting research and teaching, the NCFDD recognizes the importance of strategic planning, time management and work/life balance.

“The institutional membership means we can offer these resources to all of our faculty and staff, not just the new hires or the senior members,” Wilch says. “Ultimately, this makes for a better Albion.”