Loyola University Maryland

Faculty Development and Diversity

Finding the Path to Full - Mid-Career Advancement

Peer-to-peer support group and strategy sessions open to tenured faculty who plan to pursue promotion to full professor in the coming years. Includes two successful senior faculty co-mentors who understand various Associate Professor challenges and productive solutions to them.

Senior faculty mentors: Mary Lowe (Physics) and Matt Mulcahy (History)

To get on the mailing list, contact Cheryl Moore-Thomas (Education Specialties/Academic Affairs).

What We Do

  • Alliance meetings: Once a semester, we convene as a group for conversation about a key topic or challenge in pursuing promotion, with Mary's guidance. Contact Cheryl, Matt, or Mary if you have an idea for a topic.

  • Pairings: Matt is creating pairings for periodic check-ins between pairs. These are accountability partnerships and you can share goals and report on your progress however frequently (e.g., weekly, bi-weekly) and in whatever manner (e.g., over email, coffee) suits you. Contact Matt if you'd like a pairing.

  • Writing: Some colleagues are participating in the faculty writing retreats.

  • Mentoring: Some individuals are meeting one-on-one with Matt or Mary.

  • Mid-career grants: New program available through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, starting summer 2015.


What so far?

  • Fall 2016 alliance meeting: "Mid-Career Boosts," lunchtime conversation featuring recent recipients of the mid-career summer research grants (Carsten Vala and Janet Preis) and the Director of ORSP (Nancy Dufau). 11/8/16
  • Spring 2016 alliance meeting: "Going Up," lunchtime conversation featuring two newly promoted colleagues (Ramon Espejo-Saavedra, Modern Languages and Literature; Wendy Smith, Teacher Education) speaking about their own thought process for when and how to go up, along with a recent BRT member. 4/1/16
  • Fall 2015 alliance meeting: "Post-Tenure Reinventions," Pat Bizzell, Visiting Cardin Chair in Writing at Loyola (2015-16) and Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross. 11/13/15
  • Spring 2015 alliance meeting: "Going Up," lunchtime conversation featuring two newly promoted colleagues (Kathy Forni, English; Carolyn Barry, Psychology) speaking about their own thought process for when and how to go up, along with a recent BRT member. 4/24/15

  • Grants: Academic Affairs established a new mid-career summer grant to support the specific needs of Associate professors. Three colleagues received these awards for summer 2015.

  • Findings: Brian Norman delivered a presentation on the Associate-to-Full pipeline, including your feedback from the kick-off session, to Deans on 11/17/14 and to all Chairs on 12/11/14. The 2015 COACHE report on faculty job satisfaction contained much information on mid-career perceptions and challenges, much of it confirming the 2014 presentation. The mid-career advancement initiative was affirmed by the Faculty Affairs Committee in its spring 2016 report to Academic Senate on the COACHE findings.

  • Key challenges: Contact Cheryl Moore-Thomas for a write-up of key challenges and ideas generated by the conversation at our kick-off session.

  • 2014 Fall kick-off: We launched the Finding the Path Initiative with a conversation about key challenges and strategies in pursuing promotion. Contact Cheryl for a write up of that conversation. 10/6/14.

Resources for Mid-Career Advancement

"Visualizing Your Promotion Portfolio with Cmap," Janine Utell, Chronicle,  3 Sept 2014

An interesting discussion of a visual mapping tool to help outline a path to promotion, with a link to the tool itself.

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity

Lots of resources and workshops, such as jump starting your research, post-tenure slumps, and more. The founder, Kerry Ann Rockquemore, gave a well-received workshop at Loyola in 2012. At least one colleague used a discretionary Dean's grant to pay for an individual subscription in summer 2015.

Mentoring Map

A great interactive resource from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity to help you identify the resources available to you supporting your path to full.


Mid-Career Internal Grant


Academic Affairs is augmenting the Summer Research Grant program with additional grants to support the specific needs of midcareer faculty. After earning tenure, faculty at Loyola and elsewhere often experience increased expectations and challenges to work-life balance precisely at a time in their careers when they are ready to begin a new major research project or expand the scope of their research. These earmarked grants are designed to support the crucial preparatory work for faculty at the Associate rank to reenergize their scholarly agenda or to enter a new field of inquiry beyond one’s initial area of specialization. This opportunity is part of the Finding the Path initiative to bring institutional support and attention to the challenges often faced at mid-career. There is no separate application. To be considered for this additional opportunity, simply mark the “mid-career grant” box on the Summer Research Grant form.

More information and application for the summer research grant program on the ORSP website.

Helpful Articles on Mid-Career Matters


"Diversity and the Ivory Ceiling," Joya Misra and Jennifer Lundquist, InsiderHigherEd, 26 June, 2015

"Midcareer Melancholy," Joya Misra and Jennifer Lundquist, InsideHigherEd, 29 May, 2015

Recommended by senior mentor Mary Lowe in Physics, this short article provides a good look at the pressures associate professors face and some possible remedies, both individual and institutional. 

"Removing the Barriers to Full Professor," Kimberly Buch et al., Change, Nov/Dec 2011

"Pathways to Full Professor," chapter 11 excerpt in Darla Twale, A Faculty Guide for Succeeding in Academe, 2011

"Why Are Associate Professors So Unhappy?" Robin Wilson, Chronicle, 2 June 2012

Zero In-Box,  Kerry Anne Rockquemore, InsideHigherEd, 25 Feb 2015, on how academics can wrest control over their time.

Against Productivity, Quinn Norton, The Message, 12 Nov 2014. Jean Lee Cole recommends this interesting piece to counterbalance messages about productivity if it steals your passion.

How to Enjoy a Sabbatical, Sybil L. Holloway, InsideHigherEd,  15 Feb 2015. A decent article on the art of successful sabbatical planning. I think some tips apply to summer as well. Perhaps a conversation starter among us? 

"Midcareer Professors Need Love, Too," Colleen Flaherty, InsideHigherEd, 26 January, 2017

Recommended by Leslie Zarker Morgan, Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures

Reports on Mid-Career Issues

Perspectives on Mid-career Faculty and Advice for Supporting Them

Kiernan R. Matthews, Ed.D., July 2014

COACHE: The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (Harvard University)

Standing Still: The Associate Professor Survey (key findings)

Modern Language Association, 2009