Mentoring Academy established at Weill Cornell Medicine
By Alyssa Sunkin-Strube
Weill Cornell Medicine has established a new Mentoring Academy dedicated to nurturing the next generation of healthcare leaders. Ruth Gotian, a highly regarded academic administrator and educator, has been appointed assistant dean for mentoring and will lead the academy as its executive director.
The academy will take a proactive approach to mentoring and sponsoring Weill Cornell Medicine faculty, with such activities occurring in formal and informal settings. Gotian will strive to create an environment in which all faculty members, at all career levels, have the opportunity to be mentors and mentees.
Additionally, Gotian has been appointed chief learning officer in Weill Cornell Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology, and has joined the institution’s faculty as an assistant professor of education in anesthesiology. In this capacity, Gotian will focus on enhancing educational initiatives and studies for the department’s residents, fellows and faculty, as well as actively fostering faculty development. Gotian has spent the last 25 years at Weill Cornell Medicine, most recently serving as administrative director of the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program.
“Fostering a vibrant and dynamic culture of mentorship is an institutional priority, one that is essential to fueling our pipeline of students, trainees and faculty,” said Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine. “In her distinguished career with the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program, Dr. Gotian has advised and nurtured countless young physician-scientists who have gone on to high achievement. Dr. Gotian’s work exemplifies the power of mentorship, and we are thrilled to have her expand that role to the entire Weill Cornell Medicine faculty.”
As part of the Office of Faculty Development, Gotian will work closely with the Office of Faculty Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and department and division heads to advance the careers of faculty members across the academic mission. The Mentoring Academy will play an important role in these endeavors, providing guidance and support to faculty members – particularly those in the early stages of their careers – as they pursue academic achievement and professional advancement.
“The need for mentorship is particularly strong among junior faculty, who may or may not have had training in conducting research, teaching or building a clinical practice,” said Dr. Katherine Hajjar, associate dean for faculty development at Weill Cornell Medicine. “There are so many pressures on everybody’s academic endeavors that training in these areas has become particularly important. Dr. Gotian is greatly interested in how physicians and scientists learn and how we can best give them the special training that they need to be successful in an academic setting.”
The academy is dedicated to supporting faculty development in research, clinical care and education through the creation of personal mentoring teams that connect early-stage faculty with those more senior in their careers. It will create the infrastructure for formal mentorship opportunities – taking place in large groups or one-on-one sessions – to provide guidance on topics such as how to obtain research grants, recruit staff and earn promotions, and set appropriate milestones. The academy will also organize activities that encourage mentorship in informal settings, such as networking opportunities and workshops that further forge a sustainable culture of mentorship on campus.
In her role in the Department of Anesthesiology, Gotian will work with residents, fellows and faculty on their professional development, guiding them through the advancement process and helping them stay on track in their pursuit of academic tenure.
“I’ve been in higher education for 25 years now, working with nearly every single department and office at Weill Cornell Medicine,” Gotian said. “The part I have loved the most, and the part I got the most energy from, was advising and guiding and mentoring, because you are only as good as the people you’ve trained. To be able to continue this work, now in a scholarly way, is the dream.”
A former investment banker, Gotian joined Weill Cornell Medicine in 1993 and the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program staff in 1996. Since 2006, she has served as the program’s administrative director and was responsible for managing recruitment, admissions, student and alumni affairs, operations and grants management. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in business management from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and earned her doctorate in education in adult learning and leadership from Columbia University Teachers College, where she was elected to Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education. Her research interests focus on the factors critical to optimizing career success in physician-scientists.
Alyssa Sunkin-Strube is newsroom manager for Weill Cornell Medicine.