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The Duke Endowment funds faculty development cohort at Johnson C. Smith University, Davidson College

CHARLOTTE, N.C., November 20, 2019 – Johnson C. Smith University faculty members are participating in a new type of professional development cohort developed by Dr. Brian M. Jones, dean of College of Arts and Letters, and the Duke Endowment. 

Jones hopes the cohort not only prepares faculty for leadership opportunities on campus, which comes with regularity, but also in their own professional work as leaders. 

“I hope JCSU faculty will learn how much this institution values their work and how much we wish to support their development.  We want them to be and feel supported, to grow as faculty members, to gain expertise in a variety of areas, and to bring the same support and energy to the classroom,” Jones added. 

The Duke Endowment is funding JCSU’s cohort as well as the one at Davidson College, which uses the same model. $125,000 will provide 10 faculty members in two different cohorts (over the course of two years) the opportunity to attend leadership seminars with consultants and executive coaching sessions.  

As Jones emphasized, “This is a rare opportunity, which some universities don’t often invest.”

The first cohort luncheon, held Wednesday, November 6, 2019 in New Science Innovation Center, featured guest speaker, Abbas Benmamoun from Duke University. Benmamoun provided nearly 30 faculty members insight about leadership, guidance and strategies that support faculty excellence at universities. Luncheons are designed to reach all faculty and encourage their participation. 

“Our program was designed to leverage the closeness of Davidson and JCSU and to create a personal leadership experience for our faculty,” Jones said. “We also believe that JCSU will benefit short and long term from building a reservoir of leadership talent among the faculty.” 

While Duke University and Furman University (two other schools a part of the Duke Endowment) are not participating in this particular cohort, they have developed programs on their campuses for faculty.  

With the early success of the program, the Duke Endowment has already agreed to send representatives from all four schools to the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) conference in Washington, D.C., to present this effort in a session.


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