Supporting the University’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about, respond to, and address sexual and relationship violence, the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence conducts the Sexual and Relationship Violence Survey, with the support of the Office of…
Faculty Affairs’ Winders Focusing Efforts on Faculty Professional Development, DEIA, Communication and Streamlined Workflows
Jamie Winders arrived at the University in 2004, a new faculty member right out of graduate school. Ten years later, as department chair, she began to think about how she could make a further impact, helping other faculty members reach tenure and mentoring and supporting faculty in her department.
Now in her role as associate provost for faculty affairs, Winders partners with the vice chancellor, provost and chief academic officer and other academic affairs leaders to support key faculty initiatives and advance the University’s vision for academic excellence and scholarly distinction.
“Being a faculty member has given me a knowledge base. I don’t always have the answers, but I have a good sense of what questions to ask. There are lots of moving parts in what we do, so we have to understand how the parts fit together as well as seeing the big picture,” Winders says. “It’s important to understand how to support faculty and support the work the deans are doing without getting in their way and without undermining the work of the schools and colleges. And it doesn’t hurt to have thick skin.”
Winders is also a professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She’s best known for her work on international migration and emerging technologies and as founding director of the University’s Autonomous Systems Policy Institute. Winders is associate editor of the international research journal Cultural Geographies and was editor-in-chief of the International Migration Review from 2017 to June 2022. She has served as department chair and director of undergraduate studies, faculty representative to the Board of Trustees, chair of the Arts and Sciences and Maxwell faculty councils and chair of the University Senate research committee. Winders began her new role as associate provost for faculty affairs in December 2021.
Winders answers some questions about how she approaches her role and implements its unique range of activities and perspectives.
01What are the priorities of the Office of Faculty Affairs?
On a nuts-and-bolts level, it is to streamline workflows and procedures as much as we can to speed up the processes we oversee, and where possible, lighten the administrative load regarding faculty reviews, promotions and retirements.
A big focus is on more support for faculty, more robust professional development for new faculty and more professional development opportunities for chairs. We are preparing to launch some professional development programming for associate professors. In the spring, we want to deepen support and professional development opportunities for teaching professors. We’d like to do more to identify emerging leaders, support them and find ways to help them develop skills they want to learn.
We also want to enhance the focus on equity, inclusion and gender pay equity issues. We are working with search committees on how to run inclusive and equitable searches and are collaborating with the Office of Strategic Initiatives in Academic Affairs to help create a stronger sense of belonging for all faculty.
We’re also broadly supporting Academic Strategic Plan efforts. When the plan is completed, we will be implementing Faculty Affairs support steps and the simultaneous work in the schools and colleges in support of the plan.
02What should the campus community know about how you regard your work?
It’s our prime responsibility to support faculty members across the course of their careers. We also try to create and shape policies and procedures to help faculty do the work they are most excited about so that they can work in the most effective way with the least amount of administrative burden. Given those missions, I’m always asking two questions: 1. What is in the best interest of the individual faculty member?; and 2. What is in the best interest of faculty as a collective?
We also make efforts to celebrate the work faculty are doing, overseeing University faculty awards and working on Meredith professorships, Chancellor’s Citations for Excellence, Seinfeld awards and scholar awards. We coordinate with the vice president for research to identify faculty who can be competitive for discipline-specific awards and external awards.
What I enjoy most now is knowing that the work we’re trying to do is making faculty work easier and creating new opportunities for them. And it’s great getting to work with an amazing, supportive, hardworking, innovative team in academic affairs.
03How do you collect information and feedback and represent faculty interests to the University administration and board?
I try to have as much interaction with individual faculty members as I can to get a good sense of what they are doing and to identify their pain points. I do one-on-one meetings, hold academic affairs drop-in hours and talk with department deans. I rely on colleagues to keep me abreast of what’s going on with research; diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives and community engagement. I also draw quite heavily on my own experiences as a faculty member.
I see my job as engaging with other parts of the administration and board and kind of opening up the black box of what faculty lives are like. It’s communicating about the ins and outs of daily faculty work life, what it means to have your work distributed into teaching, research and service buckets, the opportunities faculty are most excited about. Most importantly, it is determining and communicating what kind of support the faculty needs to do its best.
04Do you have any message for the University community?
Yes, it’s “Thank You!” Over the years I’ve worked with amazing mentors who put support and time into me and who helped me develop as a scholar, teacher and colleague. I’m so appreciative of the support I’ve had, what this university has done for me and what those who came before me did to help bring me to new opportunities.