Faculty Success

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is committed to building an academic environment in which faculty feel valued and can thrive. We aim to support our community of scholars and educators across all career stages and appointment types by hosting mentoring programs and workshops in specific aspects of career progression, research, and teaching.


Mentoring can take a wide range of forms and should be supported at both the college and departmental levels, across career stages. A primary goal should be to build sustainable relationships that advance careers.

Faculty, including unit leaders, are encouraged to consult the Faculty Mentoring Toolkit developed by the Office of the Provost. It provides resources on topics including designing and evaluating different types of mentoring programs and areas for conversation that might be considered as mentors and mentees work together. Many additional resources on faculty mentoring exist online. For examples, see materials from Michigan State University and from Columbia University (the two sets of suggestions immediately below were adapted from the latter).

Goals for Department Mentoring Programs

We encourage departments to strive to assist all junior and mid-career faculty in:

  • Developing independent scholarship and/or research productivity.
  • Developing professional networks.
  • Identifying factors paramount to academic advancement within the unit.
  • Achieving a reasonable work-life balance, considering the full range of family and personal needs individuals may have.
  • Proactively identifying, recognizing, and mitigating factors that impact women and underrepresented minority faculty in a disproportionately negative fashion.

Developing a Mentoring Program: Things to Consider

No single mentoring model can be effective for everyone. As such, we encourage units to consider the following steps when developing their mentoring program:

  • Articulate priorities and expectations for faculty that the mentorship program will address.
  • Identify mentoring models most feasible for the department.
  • Identify the structure needed and be sure it is adequately resourced.
  • Identify and articulate the roles and responsibilities of mentors and mentees.
  • Establish a plan for oversight, evaluation, and sustainability.

To facilitate the advancement of mentoring within CLAS, the College plans to offer an Introduction to Mentoring workshop each year. In addition, based on feedback from faculty during mentoring sessions the College hosted in the past, two programs will also be piloted during the 2022-23 academic year for the group and more individualized mentoring across CLAS units.

Introduction to Mentoring

This program is designed to provide information for faculty on what mentoring is and why it is important, as well as strategies for developing and maintaining mentoring networks and setting and evaluating goals to facilitate the mentoring process. The session will involve a presentation by the dean’s office and a panel discussion.

Introduction to Mentoring Workshop

Monday, Sept. 19, 2022
3-4 p.m.
Online Event (Webex)

Access materials from the event.

  • Eva Lefkowitz, Professor and Head of Human Development and Family Sciences
  • Sherry Zane, Associate Professor-in-Residence and Interim Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Michael Lynes, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology

Group Mentoring

With the goals of connecting junior faculty across CLAS units, creating a greater sense of community among colleagues, and exchanging information to facilitate success, cohorts of faculty will engage in a series of conversations on topics of interest. Hosted by experienced CLAS faculty members, groups will meet monthly for approximately one hour from October through April.

For the 2022-2023 academic year, three mentoring groups will be led by:

  1. Michael Finiguerra, Associate Professor-in-Residence of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Natalia Smirnova, Associate Professor-in-Residence of Economics
  2. Inge-Marie Eigsti, Professor of Psychological Sciences, and Jane Gordon, Professor of Political Science
  3. Francoise Dussart, Professor of Anthropology, and Rachel Theodore, Associate Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Nearly 40 assistant professors, across the in-residence and tenure tracks and a wide range of CLAS units, are participating in the program this year.

Individualized Mentoring

CLAS will facilitate cross-unit dyadic mentoring by developing a list of enthusiastic mentors, with expertise in particular topics. Faculty in any career stage and appointment type will be able to request a match based on a particular interest by emailing clas@uconn.edu. The College will provide $100 per pair for resources that would facilitate conversation. It is expected that in cases where the match is appropriate, mentors and mentees will continue to meet at a mutually agreeable schedule over the remainder of the academic year (and possibly beyond).

Career Progression

The College plans to host four sessions each academic year designed to help faculty understand factors and strategies that will facilitate success to advance to the next career stage, including integrating individual aspirations with departmental, college, and university priorities. These workshops are not designed to explain the mechanics of the Promotion, Tenure, and Reappointment (PTR) or Promotion and Reappointment (PR) processes, which are handled by sessions organized through the Office of the Provost. Instead, the goal of the CLAS programs is to address broader issues of how to have productive, rewarding experiences, recognizing that responsibilities differ across appointment types and career stages. Each workshop will include material presented by the Dean’s Office, a panel discussion, and breakout sessions.  

2022-2023 Career Progression Events

10/12/22 – Tenure System: Assistant to Associate Professor

Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022
12:30-2 p.m.
McHugh Hall, Room 301
Access materials from this event

  • Meina Cai, Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian and Asian American Studies
  • Kun Chen, Associate Professor of Statistics
  • Michael Hren, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences
  • Ariel Lambe, Associate Professor of History

10/26/22 – Clinical and In-Residence System: Assistant to Associate Professor

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Student Union Building, Room 304AB

Access materials from this event

  • Kimberly Bergendahl, Associate Professor in Residence, Political Science
  • Stephen Stifano, Associate Professor in Residence, Communication
  • Diego Valente, Associate Professor in Residence and Director of Teaching Laboratories, Physics

2/6/23 – Tenure System: Associate to Full Professor

Monday, Feb. 6, 2023
12:30-2 p.m.
McHugh Hall, Room 301

Access materials from this event

  • Amanda Denes, Communication
  • Spencer Nyholm, Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Lynne Tirrell, Philosophy

3/1/23 – Clinical and In-Residence System: Associate to Professor

Wednesday, March 1, 2023
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Student Union Building, Room 304A
Access materials from this event

  • Xinnian Chen, Professor-in-Residence, Physiology and Neurobiology
  • Phoebe Godfrey, Professor-in-Residence, Sociology
  • Nancy McMahon, Clinical Professor, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Teaching and Research Conversations

The College will host a series of virtual teaching and research conversations that meet monthly throughout the academic year. These conversations are an opportunity to discuss and explore specific topics of interest across the College. Examples of past teaching conversations include working with the Dean of Students and the Center for Students with Disabilities, and research conversations have explored funding opportunities in the humanities and social sciences. Topics will be more fully identified and Webex links will be provided as the dates approach.

2022-2023 Teaching and Research Conversations

9/22/22 – Teaching Conversation: Grading and Assessment

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022
4-5 p.m.

10/24/22 – Research Conversation: Managing Your Digital Academic Profile

Monday, Oct. 24, 2022
4-5 p.m.

Managing Your Digital Academic Profile

Presented by Michael Hren, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences

11/14/22 – Teaching Conversation: Accessibility in STEM Using Universal Design

Monday, Nov. 14, 2022 
4-5 p.m.

Accessibility in STEM Using Universal Design

Presented by:

  • Michael Finiguerra, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Jamie Kleinman, Psychological Sciences
  • Erin Scanlon, Psychological Sciences

Michael, Jamie, and Erin will host a conversation about the Faculty Learning Community about Disability in STEM that they have been running this semester. They will describe why they created this community, how they organized it, and the ways in which they integrate Universal Design principles into their discussions and workshops. Attendees will be able to take away ideas related to using Universal Design techniques in their own courses as well as ideas about creating their own learning communities related to accessibility in teaching.

12/1/2022 – Research Conversation: Maintaining Research Productivity — Perspectives and Insights

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022
4-5 p.m.

Maintaining Research Productivity — Perspectives and Insights

Presented by:

  • Gene Likens, Professor in the Field, Institute of the Environment
  • Bandana Purkayastha, Associate Dean for Social Sciences, Regional Campuses, and Community Engagement, Professor of Sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies
  • Diane Lillo-Martin, Department Head and Professor of Linguistics

2/2/2023 – Teaching Conversation: Teaching Enhancement Grants

Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023
4-5 p.m.

3/6/2023 – Research Conversation: Training Grants – From Concept to Implementaiton

Monday, March 6, 2023
4-5 p.m.

Training Grants - From Concept to Implementaiton


  • Emily Myers, Professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
  • Seth Kalichman, Professor of Psychological Sciences
  • Fumiko Hoeft, Campus Director of UConn Waterbury, Professor of Psychological Sciences, Director of the UConn Brain Imaging Research Center
  • Ofer Harel, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs, Professor of Statistics (moderator)

Event Materials and Resources

Faculty members can access CLAS faculty success event materials from current and past academic years via SharePoint. UConn NetID login is required.

View the New Faculty Handbook

Access all faculty success materials