Jenny Mehmedovic, Associate Director: We’re introducing you in this newsletter, but you’ve actually been in your new role as Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development since January. Can you talk a little bit about what you’ve been doing?
Jennifer Ng, Associate Vice Provost: I’m excited that I get to continue a lot of the faculty-focused work I was doing before in both the Office of Diversity and Equity and the Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring. This includes serving as a point of contact resource for faculty navigating workplace issues, as well as providing case-specific instructional support on academic inclusion across campus.
I’m also more hands-on now in designing programs like the series for associate professors this spring and planning upcoming initiatives for faculty, chairs, and directors next year. I’ve helped strengthen connections with groups like the Faculty Women and Allies Leadership Network and conducted DEI-related educational outreach for campus partners like the Endacott Society and KUEA given the escalation of anti-Asian racism and violence in recent years.
JM: What else is in the works?
JN: Besides programs, we have to engage policies and practices relevant to faculty careers and institutional change for the better. I’ve continued working on the university-wide implementation of hiring protocols to diversity faculty applicant pools as well as pushing to improve faculty retention efforts. Adapting faculty work and evaluation processes relative to the effects of COVID-19 has also been important, as is the opportunity to co-chair the American Council on Education’s Internationalization Lab subcommittee on Faculty and Staff Policies and Procedures.
JM: What’s your approach to thinking about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in Faculty Development?
JN: Diversity, equity, and inclusion should be values that are substantively integrated in all we do. For me, this means recognizing that faculty life is dynamic, and its accompanying challenges evolve throughout an individual’s career. Additionally, it means understanding that people are varied in their personal backgrounds, identities, circumstances, and needs. These differences have been—and still are—consequential in countless ways, so we have to give them ongoing and critical consideration.
JM: Tell us about yourself as a faculty person.
JN: I came to KU in 2004 as a beginning assistant professor in the School of Education, and I worked my way through the ranks to full in 2019. My research and teaching have focused primarily on the work of K-12 educators in high-needs urban and rural schools. In recent years, I’ve also examined the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in higher education and various concerns of faculty life.
JM: Thank you! We are so pleased you are now part of our team in the Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with you.
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