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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - November 2019

By Mary Jane Chew

Focus on Faculty

Faculty liaisons provide assistance and support beyond academic units

left to right: Hong Z. Tan, Angelica Duran, Natasha Duncan, Jay McCann

Faculty now have four colleagues — called liaisons — to call on for career advice, help in finding resources, and guidance for navigating the Purdue system. 

The liaison program was created in response to results of the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey in 2015. Workgroups of faculty voiced a need for a program that would provide access to senior faculty from across Purdue who understand the institution’s processes and are well-informed about resources.

Jessica Huber, associate dean for research in the College of Health and Human Sciences, was associate vice provost for faculty affairs when the program was initiated. “The primary purpose of the faculty liaison program is to provide a support and information network for faculty outside of their department and college units,” says Huber.

Lisa Mauer, interim associate vice provost for faculty affairs, says the liaison selection process has been thoughtfully crafted.

“Calls will come out yearly for faculty to apply to serve as a liaison,” says Mauer. “We want to be careful to balance the distribution of liaisons to ensure diversity in all domains — college, expertise, gender, race, ethnicity, and other factors.”

Liaisons will serve a three-year term, with the potential to be reappointed. The terms will be staggered to avoid having mass reappointments within any one year. Mauer adds that the Office of the Provost will provide education and training to liaisons on a variety of topics including dealing with conflict, the grievance process, confidentiality, climate, bias, promotion and tenure, and other areas that are arising as areas of need for faculty.

Faculty liaisons are asked to:

  1. discuss issues related to career or climate with faculty,
  2. help faculty in finding resources to address issues they encounter,
  3. support faculty as they work through the Purdue system on issues, and
  4. communicate with the Provost’s Office to identify and address issues related to career and climate proactively.

The first cohort of liaisons were nominated by their college leadership, vetted by Faculty Affairs and the Office of Institutional Equity, and then invited to become a liaison.

The first group of liaisons are: 

  • Hong Z. Tan, professor of electrical and computer and (by courtesy) mechanical engineering, College of Engineering
  • Angelica Duran, professor of English, comparative literature, and religious studies, College of Liberal Arts
  • Natasha Duncan, associate dean for international education and affairs, Honors College
  • Jay McCann, professor of political science, College of Liberal Arts

Duran, a faculty member at Purdue since 2000, says she looks forward to working as a liaison.

“I hope to help faculty members in any college and at any stage in their careers find the campus resources they need as quickly as possible,” said Duran. “I can also simply be a sounding-board, so that they can achieve their professional goals with a sense of satisfaction.”

Faculty are encouraged to reach out to the faculty liaisons via a dedicated email address: facultyliaisons@purdue.edu

All faculty are invited to an event hosted by the Provost’s Office on December 10, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m., in the PMU East Faculty Lounge, where refreshments will be provided. Faculty will be able to meet the liaisons and other important resources including faculty affairs personnel, Purdue’s ombudsperson, and human resource representatives.

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