On Aug. 30, 2019, Fordham faculty and graduate students received an email reminding students that the university has joined the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), which offers a number of resources and programs to support individuals as they progress through their academic careers at Fordham.
The NCFDD offers an array of professional development resources which can be helpful to academics who would otherwise not have access to “insider” knowledge or support. These services are shown to facilitate career success, as well as ease the transition from school to career.
The decision to join NCFDD is reflective of the university’s increasing commitment to diversity in recent years. In fall 2015, President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., established a Diversity Task Force that focused on four components: people, curriculum, community engagement and policies, and procedures.
“Diversity and inclusion are institutional priorities at Fordham, priorities that emerge directly out of our identity as an American, Catholic, and Jesuit institution located in the City of New York,” wrote McShane in his letter to the university regarding the Diversity Task Force.
The Jesuit philosophy “cura personalis” — care for each person, and care for the whole person — serves as the baseline for this motivation. Many of NCFDD’s programs provide a holistic consideration for students as they struggle with both the demands of academia and the realities of adulthood.
As Institutional Members of NCFDD, all of Fordham’s faculty, administrators, postdocs and graduate students will be able to access programming to help with life planning and academic success.
Some of these resources include Monday Motivators, which are weekly emails that highlight the importance of positivity and offer tips to maximize productivity. Another program is the Dissertation Success Curriculum, which provides different training modules for successful dissertation writing.
Institutional Members also have access to 14-Day Writing Challenges, aimed at increasing productivity by writing for at least 30 minutes every day and subsequently evaluating oneself. All of these services will be completely free for Fordham community members for the 2019-20 academic year.
Fordham’s first Chief Diversity Officer, Rafael Zapata, was appointed in January of 2018 to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the community, and has helped to spearhead this initiative.
“You can throw all the money you want at something,” Zapata said in an earlier interview with The Observer. “But money is not enough, you need leadership and sustained commitment,” he said. “All of us, all of us, have to engage in the work.”