The coronavirus pandemic has forced most Cornell faculty and staff to radically change where and how they work, but support from the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD) continues via remote conferencing technology.
“We have retooled our programs and support mechanisms to address the uncertainty surrounding teaching, doing research and working in this environment,” said Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity.
“Normally, we offer dozens of programs a semester that provide faculty with community, support, resources and skills,” she said. “We’re still hosting these events, but participants now attend by logging in with a link instead of joining us in person.”
More than 60 faculty members and academic staff did just that on March 30, taking part in a session on remote mentoring of graduate students.
The presenters were Kelly Musick, professor and chair in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology; Jan Lammerding, associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering; and Corrie Moreau, the Martha N. and John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Sara Xayarath Hernández, Graduate School associate dean for inclusion and student engagement, and Jan Allen, associate dean for academic and student affairs, co-sponsored the event and participated. Panelists shared their experiences and ideas for mentoring graduate students while they were on sabbatical or geographically removed from their offices and laboratories.
Another program, “Parenting While Working Remotely,” is planned for April 3. Diane Bradac, work/life consultant in the Division of Human Resources, and Melissa Perry, family services director with the Ithaca-based Child Development Council, plan to give parents, especially those with young children, strategies on how to manage care while working.
OFDD switched to an online format prior to campus closing on March 13, once Cornell began taking proactive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Most sessions are recorded, and panelists’ comments are available online.
On March 18, OFDD held a remote session on the future of academic book publishing given by Cornell University Press’ Ange Romeo-Hall, director of manuscript editing, and Jennifer Savran Kelly, production editor. This was the last session in a four-part series that began in the fall.
And on March 12, the office hosted the virtual session, “Writing and Publishing Your Op-ed” with Michael Fontaine, professor of classics in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S); Jonathan Lunine, professor of astronomy (A&S); and Jessica Chen Weiss, associate professor of government (A&S). Jeff Tyson, media relations specialist in University Relations, explained how the Media Relations Office can help faculty members place op-eds.
Future programs include a May 15 session, “Resources and Partnerships for Broader Impacts Design.” This will be the final session in the National Science Foundation Career 2020 series, co-sponsored by OFDD and the Office of Sponsored Programs.
Lori Sonken is the communication and program manager at the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.