Staying Connected

Faculty orientations provide opportunity, resources

From left, Maria Kontaridis, an HMS assistant professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,  and Daniel Deschler, an HMS professor of otology and laryngology at Mass Eye and Ear,  on a panel at a recent faculty orientation.  Image: Laurie O'Connor

One of the few certainties of modern medicine is that it is rapidly changing. Career development is important.  To help longtime faculty at Harvard Medical School and the School of Dental Medicine keep abreast of the latest opportunities and resources available to them, the Office of Faculty Affairs has launched a new orientation program designed to promote connections and communications.

Balaraj Menon, an HMS instructor in ophthalmology, joined the Schepens Eye Research Institute in 2010. He was drawn to the program by the opportunity to meet with academic leaders and to learn more about promotions and academic career development.

 “Of most interest to me and in line with my future goals were the resources offered regarding the criteria for appointments and promotions. I found that the presentation provided valuable guidelines for succeeding and climbing the academic ladder at HMS,” Menon said.  

Since 2010, a junior faculty orientation program has been in place to ensure that new faculty members have a welcoming transition and are able to successfully connect to available resources, and with one another.

Although the program has been highly successful at orienting new faculty members, it became apparent that faculty members who joined HMS before 2010 could also benefit from such a program. The Office for Faculty Affairs decided to organize orientation sessions open to all faculty members.

“We have offered two programs a year for the past three years to new faculty members, and they have been very popular. Realizing that this program might be useful for others in our community, we decided to offer a similar event this June that was open to all faculty members,” said Carol Bates, HMS assistant dean for faculty affairs.

Similar to the orientation held for new faculty members, the goals of the program are to aid faculty members in career planning, to connect them to available resources, and to introduce them to academic leaders and other established faculty members.

Participating faculty members enjoyed a vibrant program that covered an array of topics, including the promotions process, teaching opportunities, and career development resources. They also met with Dean Jeffrey S. Flier and other academic leaders from across HMS and its affiliated institutions.

 “I also enjoyed the panel discussion devoted to academic career development strategies.  It was interesting to listen to the experiences of panel members and to gain some perspective of the different challenges and hurdles they faced during their upward career trajectories at HMS,” Menon said.

For faculty members who were unable to attend the orientation but who may be interested in learning more about these topics, the Office for Faculty Affairs website offers a variety of resources, including: a video of a career development panel discussion and a variety of guidelines and tools for successfully navigating the promotions process.