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Conference Report Guidance

Dear Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Involved in the 2011 Career Development Conference Reports,

The faculty development committee in the department has discussed ways to ensure that the Career Development Conference Report experience is a positive and worthwhile one for all concerned parties.  This email is to share some of our thoughts and recommendations regarding this process. We hope that these will serve as a useful guide to you in your meetings.

The Career Development Conference Reports and associated meetings are designed as a mechanism to encourage the success of faculty members. While there is some element of a job performance review associated with these reports and meetings, as the name implies, they really are designed to be career direction/development in focus. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that the focus of your dialogues be on career direction/development. The meetings should offer the person being reviewed with the opportunity to share his/her accomplishments. It is important that the meetings focus on service, teaching, and scholarship; the balance of these three domains of professional functioning will depend on the track of the faculty member being reviewed.

It is recommended that the person conducting the meeting offer mentorship and guidance during the meeting. It will be helpful if a concrete list of suggestions (bullet points even) emerges from the meeting. Attention should be paid to helping the faculty member being evaluated to problem-solve various situations that may be complex or challenging (e.g., 5% coverage now required on teaching track). It is useful for there to be discussion about how the department can offer the person being evaluated the support to do their work (e.g., funds to attend meetings, release time to pursue new learning, support for teaching). Finally, be sure that there is some dialogue about the faculty member’s mentorship needs and appropriate pairing.  In my last memo, I indicated that the faculty member should bring his/her mentor(s) to the meeting if possible. It seems like it makes more sense for this to be at the discretion of the person being reviewed – in other words, there is no longer the expectation that the mentor(s) be in attendance. In addition, not all mentors are able to attend the meetings, and this also is acceptable.

It is hoped that by following these suggestions, we can create a climate or culture in our department where the completion and discussion of these reports is a welcome and appreciated faculty development activity. If you have other suggestions about this process after it is completed, please share them with me, so that we can modify for future years.