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BLEND Receives Support from APSCUF

The Belonging Learning and Exploring New Directions (BLEND) new faculty mentoring program that began in Fall 2013 will complete its first year of service in May 2014. BLEND seeks to provide a safe and supportive environment for the personal and professional development of women faculty and faculty of color recently hired at IUP. During its first year, BLEND provided six peer mentoring workshops and access to a network of colleagues from a range of disciplines across the university to these new faculty.

At its launch, BLEND was adopted as a formal faculty mentoring program of the Academic Division of the university. Funding was provided by the Provost’s Office. In year two, however, BLEND will also receive $5,000 from the IUP chapter of APSCUF, the faculty union. Funds will be used to provide light refreshments for remaining workshops in 2014 and to provide BLEND programming for a new cadre of faculty of color and women faculty in 2014–2015. 

Crystal Machado, chair of BLEND, said, “I am very grateful to the Newer Faculty Committee and APSCUF for recognizing the importance of providing mentoring to women and faculty of color during their first year at IUP. This support will not only allow us to provide refreshments at our workshops, but also to purchase books that will help faculty protégés develop their research agendas and prepare for their annual and tenure reviews, and support informal mentor-protégé lunches at the Oak Room.”

Veronica Watson, director of the Frederick Douglass Institute for Intercultural Research, added, “This substantial gift from APSCUF, our faculty union, is an implicit acknowledgement that the university’s faculty have to take the lead in recruiting and retaining talented minority and women faculty. Faculty have to be invested in these efforts if they are to be successful.”

BLEND operates as a Reflective Practice Teaching Circle in the Center for Teaching Excellence and under the umbrella of the Frederick Douglass Institute for Intercultural Research.

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