6/22/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University’s Sharleen Mondal, associate professor of English, recently completed a certification to become a master coach for the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD).
Mondal works with the AU Research and Writing Community (AURWC) on campus, a group she first created and then piloted in fall of 2013 with one faculty small group. Since then, the program has grown to include four-to-five faculty small groups and two-to-three coaches every semester. Also, a student version for College of Arts and Sciences students working on long-term writing projects was piloted in the fall of 2015 and has continued each semester since.
“After directing and small group coaching for the AURWC, I longed to grow my skills and to be part of a broader, national community of people pursuing the same kind of faculty development aims as me,” Mondal said. “There are many faculty development organizations to choose from, with countless online webinars and modules on a large list of subjects, but the NCFDD is different.”
Mondal said the mission of the NCFDD is to give faculty the tools to change their lives, change their campuses and change their world.
“This involves training faculty to use empirically proven techniques to increase their scholarly productivity and improve their work/life balance; both of these are necessary for faculty to thrive in the profession, to be retained by their institutions, and to enrich their institutions and broader communities,” she said. “The NCFDD is centrally focused on holding space open for each individual’s personal transformation, honoring each member’s unique journey, and this is apparent in its Faculty Success Program (FSP) structure.”
Mondal explained that this summer she received an invitation to apply to become a Master Coach with NCFDD.
“Master Coaches are a select group of faculty who are available for one-on-one appointments, each half an hour, with current FSP participants who seek additional assistance beyond what they are receiving in their small group. This level of work requires specific training on how to provide assistance to people who are often struggling with serious challenges at their institutions and professional lives,” she said. “I attended the Master Coach training at NCFDD headquarters in Detroit from June 14-15, during which I worked with my fellow coaches and the core team to expand my repertoire of coaching skills, including very specific techniques for helping faculty feel heard and guiding them to be able to see possibilities in their situation that they were not able to see before.
“If I were to sum up what master coaching is about, it would be this: to affirm to each faculty member their fundamental worth and value, regardless of their personal and institutional circumstances, and to walk with them through their situation with compassion and insight toward discovering a range of possibilities that will help them to achieve their highest good.”
Mondal said that in 2017 she applied to become an FSP coach and began coaching one FSP small group in the fall of 2017. “I coached another FSP small group in spring of 2018 and am currently coaching three small groups for the summer. The training I received to become a small group coach, and regular interaction with a community of other coaches under our head coach, has been phenomenal and has kept me constantly growing as a coach in a way I could not have in isolation,” she said.
Mondal is excited because AU will be hosting an NCFDD workshop at its Faculty College this fall.
“Faculty members can contact Shawn Orr for the date and time of the workshop. It is important that AU faculty connect what I'm saying about NCFDD to knowing that that organization will have a presence on campus to which they are invited,” she said. “One thing the AURWC has taken from NCFDD’s core values is that faculty members are most useful to AU when they are being honored as whole people with fulfilling personal and professional lives.”
Inspired by her experience in the NCFDD, Mondal worked with NCFDD President Kerry Ann Rockquemore under an AU Professional Discipline and Experience Grant in the spring of 2013 to create the AU Research and Writing Community and her work received strong support from Dr. Dawn Weber, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2018, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###