Junior Faculty Development Program graduates first class

Year-long professional development program helps facilitate success in academic medicine

By By Ellie Castano

UMass Medical School Communications

June 03, 2011


While the campus was abuzz this week with commencement activities for the Class of 2011, another group of “students” quietly graduated last week from a program designed to enhance their future success. Launched at UMass Medical School last fall, the year-long Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP) culminated with a celebration in the Faculty Conference room that included the 26 junior faculty graduates and their families and mentors, their departmental chairs and chiefs, representatives of the Office of Faculty Affairs, which sponsors the program, and members of UMMS senior leadership, including Chancellor Michael F. Collins and Dean Terence R. Flotte, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor in Medicine

The JFDP is an intensive professional development experience for junior faculty, designed to facilitate their success in academic medicine. The JFDP was developed by Robert Milner, associate vice provost for professional development and professor of neurology, and Luanne Thorndyke, MD, vice provost for faculty affairs and professor of medicine, and modeled on a similar program they developed prior to their joining UMMS in 2010.

At the graduation celebration on May 25, the junior faculty received certificates of achievement, recognizing their participation in the year-long program as well as completion of an individual project under the guidance of a senior faculty mentor, who were also recognized at the event.

Mentoring is at the core of this program, acknowledged Chancellor Collins as he addressed the graduates. “Mentoring is a gift both given and received. Most of the time, to give a gift, we swipe the credit card, hand someone the gift and that is the end of the experience. But with mentoring, you will find that it keeps giving throughout your career,” he said.

For this year’s class, the individual projects represented the full range of research conducted at UMMS from bench science to clinical trials to outcomes-based research. Each project represents a substantial step along the academic career path of the junior faculty members, as well as their unique contributions to UMMS and UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Dean Flotte also remarked on the importance of this mentoring throughout one’s career. Specifically regarding the Junior Faculty Development Program, he said, “I’m delighted to see a substantive faculty mentorship program implemented at UMMS. We’re fortunate to have Dr. Thorndyke and Dr. Milner here at UMass, who have experience developing successful faculty mentorship programs.” 

Click here to view the 2010-11 JFDP participants list