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The Building Future Faculty Program is Built to Impress

By Dr. Marcia Gumpertz

NC State has hosted the Building Future Faculty (BFF) program each spring since 2006. Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, OIED, the colleges of PAMS, Engineering, CHASS, CNR, and the Department of Computer Science, the program hosted 32 scholars on April 4-6, 2013 from around the United States in disciplines in eight of the ten academic colleges at NC State. The participants included Fatmata Barrie, a graduate student at the University of Florida in Materials Science who will be heading off to Indonesia in the fall on a Fullbright Fellowship; Naglaa Hussein, from Howard University and originally from Egypt, studying African Literature; and Ericka Ford, a post-doctoral researcher in high performance fibers and nanotechnology at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Engineering, Research, and Development Center at Georgia Tech. All of the BFF participants are aiming for faculty careers and have great potential to bring diversity to the faculty of whatever institution they choose.

BFF 2013 Participants

The Building Future Faculty program is an all-expenses-paid three-day professional development workshop focused on preparing for a faculty career at a research extensive university. The program includes sessions on the roles and responsibilities of faculty members, what faculty duties are at the different levels of assistant, associate, and full professor, and different career paths for academics. There is time for frank discussion of the realities of faculty life, meshing academic work with personal and family life, and what to expect as a faculty member.

Some of NC State’s best presenters and teachers led BFF workshop sessions. Toni Thorpe, Program Coordinator at the NC State African American Cultural Center, facilitated a dynamic presentation skills workshop. Rupert Nacoste, Professor of Psychology and the 2013 NC State Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient, gave a presentation titled “You Want Me to Teach What?!” in which he showed the importance of getting inside the minds of college students to make alien and arcane subject-matter meaningful to them.

Toni Thorpe presents at BFF 2013

Each BFF participant is matched with an academic department at NC State. The highlight of the three days is a visit with faculty and graduate students in that department to learn about the culture and expectations specific to their discipline. One participant stated: “My department visit was amazing. I really appreciated the opportunity to give a presentation. I received some wonderful feedback about my presentation from the faculty and am so appreciative for that. The faculty also gave some amazing and useful feedback on my CV.” We hope that some of the BFF Scholars will join the NC State faculty soon.