ADVANCE at Michigan Tech recognizes the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the career development of faculty at all stages of their careers. We have and will continue to collect resources related to navigating these challenges on our resources page linked below. If you have found resources you'd like to share, please email us.
About Affinity Groups (FAQs)
Affinity Groups FAQ
What are Affinity Groups?
Affinity groups are peer-to-peer mentoring groups focused on career development for Associate Professors and divided amongst three career tracks: Research Intensive, Research and Teaching Excellence, and Leadership. These groups meet 3-4 times per semester and discuss topics related to their career track or to one of the provided prompts.
What topics do Affinity Groups discuss?
Affinity Groups can discuss a range of topics related to the shared career track aspirations of the group. In our pilot groups, these topics ranges from research collaborations to inclusive teaching practices to how to be an inclusive leader.
The ACM team will provide prompts for each meeting and a series of guiding questions to facilitate conversation but discussion is not limited by these resources.
What is the time commitment for Affinity Groups?
ACM Affinity Groups are expected to meet a minimum of 3-4 times per semester with planning of dates and times handled by the ADVANCE Resource Center. Each meeting is approximately 1 hour in length. Depending on your level of engagement with the group, time outside of the group meetings will vary.
How can I get involved with an Affinity Group?
We're very excited to hear you're interested in our Affinity Groups. We'll be having an ACM Orientation where you can get a short trial of the Affinity Group experience on September 20, 2021 from 1-2pm in the MUB Alumni Lounge A. We hope that you'll be able to join us for this event.
If you're unable to join us for the ACM Orientation but would still like to participate, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, please let us know which of the groups below you would like to join:
Research and Teaching Excellence
I'm an Assistant Professor, can I be involved?
Thanks for your interest! At present, our affinity groups are only open to Associate Professors. These groups are modeled after the Early Career Management groups and we believe that you will find similar discussions in your ECM group. When you're promoted to Associate professor, please give us a shout and we'll get you into an affinity group!
Senior Guide FAQ
What is a Senior Guide?
A senior guide is a tenured professor who meets with Affinity Group participants either in a group setting or one-on-one via Zoom. The responsibilities of the senior guide vary depending on which type of guide you become:
Companion guides are Senior Guides who meet regularly with an Affinity Group. Typically we have 1 companion guide per group. The companion guide is responsible for facilitating group discussion and ensuring that the group completed the Affinity Group Feedback Form.
Support guides are Senior Guides who provide specialized support for both the Affinity Groups and the Companion Guides. The ACM program will organize a series of events for Support Guides throughout the semester and guides can sign up for those events which fit their areas of expertise and schedule. This typically involves a time commitment of 1-2 hours per month.
Resources and training for both companion guides and support guides will be available through the ADVANCE Resource Center. If you're interested in joining the Affinity Group program as a Senior Guide, please contact us at email@example.com.
What is the time commitment?
Companion Guides should expect a time commitment of 1-2 hours per month for group meetings with additional
time for discussion planning.
Support Guides should expect a time commitment of 1-2 hours per month depending on the events you sign up for. Additional time for planning may be necessary.
Where Can I Learn More About Being A Senior Guide?
For all Senior Guides, we encourage you to check out our resources section below and to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. If you'd like refresher on the Orientation sessions, we've linked to the recordings of those below.
Companion Guide Orientation
Support Guide Orientation
What Activities Can A Support Guide Participate In?
Themed Zoom Discussion Sessions: These group based discussion sessions will be open to all Affinity Group participants.
During the session, each Support Guide will host a breakout room in which they facilitate
discussion on pre-selected topics. Participants are free to move in and out of the
rooms and join in different discussions.
Create A Video: Using one of the topics highlighted by the ACM Team as an area of interest for participants, Support Guides can create a short video (approx. 5min) discussing their experiences and providing advice on the topic. The ADVANCE Resource Center can assist in recording, creating transcripts, and adding subtitles to these recordings and will publish them on their website and YouTube channel.
Zoom Office Hours: 1-2 times each semester the ACM team will work with the Support Guides to host a Zoom Office Hour. Much like regular office hours, we will work with you to block off time on your calendar (1-2hr) for discussions around career development topics of your choosing! ADVANCE will assist with scheduling affinity group participants for your office hours in 15min slots.
Join A Regular Affinity Group Meeting: Sometimes, our Senior Guides and/or group members need extra expertise in facilitating discussion. This is where the Support Guides come in! When asked, Support Guides can attend regular 1hr group meetings for the Affinity Groups. The ADVANCE Resource Center handles the scheduling and will provide you with any discussion themes ahead of schedule.
Support Guide Video Series
Leadership Within The University
Join Dr. Will Cantrell, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Michigan Tech as they share their experiences in leadership within a university setting.
Leadership In Professional Societies
Join Dr. Adrienne Minerick, Interim Dean of the Pavlis Honors College, President-Elect of the American Society for Engineering Education, and PI of the ADVANCE Adaptation grant at Michigan Techas they share their experiences in leadership within professional societies.
Commercialization of Research
Join Dr. Shiyue Fang, Professor of Chemistry at Michigan Tech as they share their experiences in navigating the commercialization process for academic researchers.
Affinity Group Resources
Our ACM Orientation on September 20, 2021 introduced Associate Professors to the Affinity group program. It covered expectations, support from the ADVANCE office and testimonials from our pilot groups in Spring 2022. If you missed our session or want to review the materials we covered you can find our slide deck and meeting recording below.
Affinity Group Guiding Questions
You may use the questions in the Google Doc below to help guide your discussions.
Fall 2021 Affinity Group Prompts
Meeting 1: Planning
- Resilience: How To Handle Obstacles/Rejections
- Organizing By Three's
- Balancing Research With Teaching and Service
- One Faculty Member's Journey To Stay Motivated, Engaged, and Successful
- How to Beat Mid-Career Malaise
- 45 Pieces of Career Advice That Will Get You To The Top
- 5 Steps For Developing A Mid Career Plan
- How To Write A Professional Development Plan (With Examples)
- How To Create Career Development Plan (Template)
- Making Mid-Career Meaningful
- How To Build A Meaningful Career
- TechFacCDP (Coming Soon)
- ACM Fall Workshop Activities
Meeting 2: Prioritization
- Hundreds of Academics Give Advice To Their Younger Selves
- Work Life Balance: A Guide For Professors
- The Benefits Of Developing A Master Writing Plan Over The Summer (Opinion)
- Resetting Your Research Agenda
- The Importance Of Aligning Your Career With Your Core Values
- The Mystery of Faculty Priorities
- TechFacCDP (Coming Soon)
- ACM Fall Workshop Activities
Meeting 3: Networking
- Conference Networking Tips
- Social Media for Academe
- Try Out Some Of Our Networking Tips
Spring 2022 Affinity Group Prompts
Groups may address one of the 3 topics from Fall 2021: Planning, Prioritizing, or Networking. Alternatively, you may follow through with a topic you have already introduced. Please let us know about topics you would like more information about by using your group's feedback form at the end of your meeting.
Groups may address any of the topics suggested on the ACM website. For example, it may be useful to return to your Planning materials to assess your plans and strategies. Or you may have opportunities for Networking during virtual conferences so that topic may be useful. Alternatively, there may be a topic that emerged in discussions for which ACM has provided materials --you will be informed about these topics and we encourage you to talk about them. Finally, you may want to invite a support guide to joining your meeting. See the Support Guide section below for information about the topics these guides can talk with you about and contact ACM to arrange a visit.
Groups may address any of the topics suggested on the ACM website or invite a support guide whose interests address those expressed in your group.
This meeting will be a wrap-up meeting with visits from the ACM team for purposes of assessment and feedback.
Senior Guide Resources
Resources for Successful Affinity Groups
Supporting Mid-Career Faculty
- How To Give Better Advice
- Patching Up the "Leaking Leadership Pipeline": Fostering Mid-Career Faculty Succession Management
- Re-Crafting Careers for Mid-Career Faculty: A Qualitative Study
- Mid-Career Faculty: Trends, Barriers, and Possibilities
- Call To Action To Support The Success of Mid-Career Nurse Scientists
Peer Mentoring in Academia
- Navigating the Lonely Sea: Peer Mentoring and Collaboration Among Aspiring Women Scholars
- Changing Institutional Culture Through Peer Mentoring of Women STEM Faculty
- Weaving Authenticity and Legitimacy Latina Faculty Peer Mentoring
- Five Relational Strategies for Mentoring Female Faculty
- Peer Mentoring Communities of Practice for Early and Mid-Career Faculty: Broad Benefits From A Research-Oriented Female Peer Mentoring Group
- Reconceptualizing Faculty Mentoring Within A Community of Practice Model
- Overview of the Faculty Mentor Training from CIMER
Additional Readings and Resources