A Message from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Inclusion
I began college in 1984 at the University of Chicago as a first-generation scholarship student: no roadmaps, no family tradition on which to draw, and limited economic resources. Throughout college, I worked part-time during the school year and full-time in the summers. And my parents sacrificed, too, so that I could shine. My busy, rigorous, and life-changing undergraduate experience fostered survival skills, to be sure, but still I longed for a how-to guide.
More than three decades later, it is fitting that my efforts in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences focus on helping scholars and teachers navigate successful professional trajectories. This, for me, includes nurturing a healthy work-life balance. A working mother of two daughters—one in high school, the other in middle school—I am intimately familiar with the challenges of creating a productive and meaningful life.
I have always disliked the adage “publish or perish.” I prefer “publish and thrive,” and I seek to implement this philosophy in hands-on mentoring activities, workshops, and online resources for faculty members and those, such as department heads, who guide them. Academia can be a challenging environment; indeed, rigor is a hallmark of excellence in scholarship. Life inside a Research 1 university is complex and daunting, though often quite rewarding. And though it is up to individual scholars to achieve success in their chosen fields, it is up to us to provide tools for negotiating careers.
Here in Academic Affairs & Inclusion, we are committed to…
- Knowing the College’s nearly 400 faculty members and their unique concerns
- Offering trainings, workshops, and conversations beyond orientation activities
- Fostering professional development opportunities
- Implementing “best practices” for recruitment, retention, and promotion
- Supporting inclusive departmental cultures and practices
- Dissolving institutional barriers to recruitment, retention, and promotion
- Creating transparent processes and policies that are easy to find and navigate
- Recognizing, training, and encouraging emergent leaders
- Communicating opportunities
If you are a current faculty member in the College, or a faculty member from outside the College who needs guidance and support, my door is open. Please feel free to email me any time; I will try to respond within 24 hours. And if you are a prospective faculty member, I sincerely hope you consider joining our welcoming community.
Monica J. Casper, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs and Inclusion