Belmont Fosters Faculty Growth and Wellbeing Through HOPE Initiative

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Inman College of Nursing

Belmont Fosters Faculty Growth and Wellbeing Through HOPE Initiative

June 27, 2024 | by Clara LoCricchio

Coffee Hours Empower Belmont Professors to Thrive

Belmont is taking proactive steps to support its faculty members' professional development and overall well-being through the Helping Others Prosper Through Empowerment (HOPE) initiative, spearheaded by Professor of Nursing Dr. Jamie Adam and Professor of Pharmacy Dr. Elisa Greene. The program, supported by a grant from the Kern Family Foundation, aims to create a nurturing environment that encourages mentorship, interdisciplinary collaboration and personal growth among faculty. 

The initiative was born out of Adam and Greene's personal experiences as "scholarship accountability partners." The two colleagues met regularly throughout the academic year to keep each other on track, which ultimately led to increased productivity, community building and overall work satisfaction. Recognizing that it can be a challenge to authentically connect with colleagues during the workday, they sought to create a space where people could brainstorm ideas, learn from each other and find collaborators. 

"We are here to support you," Adam emphasized during the inaugural Incubator Coffee Hour, the first of many planned HOPE events. "Our goal through this initiative is to build a culture of faculty seeing each other and supporting one another." 

Throughout the Spring 2024 semester, four Incubator Coffee Hours were held, each attracting 20-35 faculty members representing almost every academic area on campus. The events saw both returning and new participants, highlighting the growing interest in this initiative. 

Each event provided a unique opportunity for faculty members from across the University to connect, share ideas and explore potential collaborations without the burden of additional workload or curriculum. 

During each Incubator Coffee Hour, participants were invited to set personal intentions for professional growth and explore topics of interest at designated tables, such as building connections, seeking collaboration, idea generation/brainstorming, scholarship generation and academic life. 

These events fostered meaningful connections and sparked potential partnerships. One group of faculty members identified a common challenge faced by students and devised a solution that could benefit instructors across multiple disciplines. Another faculty member made a connection with a colleague, paving the way for the development of a new study abroad course. 

Representatives from key university departments, including the Institutional Review Board, Tenure and Promotion, Teaching Center and Office of Sponsored Programs were on hand to provide valuable resources and guidance to faculty members. 

“Our hope is that our team will continue to foster these connections outside of our events," Greene shared.  

Adam and Greene believe that creating dedicated spaces for interdisciplinary collaboration and personal growth benefits not just individual faculty members, but the entire university community.  

"Anytime you're putting interesting people together talking about interesting ideas, faculty engagement grows," they explained. 

The HOPE Incubator Coffee Hour series proved to be a catalyst for professional growth, interdisciplinary collaboration and overall well-being among Belmont's faculty. Preliminary data analysis shows that faculty greatly appreciated the opportunity to connect across disciplines and access key campus resources in a low-stakes environment. 

Looking ahead, the initiative will continue in the 2024-2025 academic year, with the addition of a peer mentorship component. Adam and Greene envision the HOPE initiative shaping a culture where faculty feel seen, appreciated and valued, ultimately leading to a flourishing community that better serves students and the broader campus. 

Events will kick off again in the fall, offering another opportunity for faculty members to connect, share and thrive. As Adam and Greene note, "Cross-disciplinary thinking is going to be necessary for solving the world's problems and for achieving all the God-sized dreams Belmont is dreaming!" 

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