Letter of Welcome from Joan Lorden, provost emeritus and PI of the NSF ADVANCE GRANT

Dear Colleagues

Thank you for your interest in UNC Charlotte Center for ADVANCing Faculty Success (CAFS). I am pleased to update you on this important university-wide initiative and to encourage your involvement and support.

UNC Charlotte CAFS is a centerpiece of our efforts at UNC Charlotte to create an inclusive university climate to support the recruitment, retention and academic success of all faculty, particularly women and under represented minority faculty.

The Center does this through policy reform work, university partnerships and the institutionalization of professional development programs for faculty. We know from research and experience that engaging men and women in creating an equitable gender climate contributes to a positive environment for us all, including the students we serve. In fact, the vast majority of the ADVANCE programming is offered to both male and female faculty.

The UNC Charlotte CAFS, which started life as the UNC Charlotte ADVANCE Office, was originally funded through a National Science Foundation Institutional Transformation Award in 2006. The overarching goal of the original office was to increase the representation and advancement of women’s faculty, including women of color, in science, technology, engineering, and math. At the end of the funding period in 2013, the office was institutionalized, and since that time has been funded through the Office of Academic Affairs. With this change, the office was renamed the UNC Charlotte ADVANCE Faculty Affairs and Diversity Office (FADO) to reflect its expanding role. The institutionalization of the office has allowed us to move forward and expand our mission. It has always been clear that our efforts to promote the success of women and minority faculty had a positive impact on ALL faculty at the institution, and consequently, the vast majority of our programming has always been aimed at the entire faculty community. Our mission reflects this commitment to facilitate the development of ALL faculty at UNC Charlotte. In 2024, with a new Provost and the continuing reorganization of the Provost’s Office, a new change was made. We are now the Center for ADVANCing Faculty Success, reporting to the new Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, and Dr. Huet was made the Executive Director of the Center.

Areas of Emphasis

The Center for ADVANCing Faculty Success has built partnerships with Academic Affairs, Human Resources, the Council on University Community, the Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative, and the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, among others. These partnerships have led to efforts that we believe are enhancing an inclusive climate that is supportive of successful faculty careers. Some of the most notable initiatives include:

  • Best Practices in Faculty Recruitment training for faculty search committee members offered each semester;
  • A mentoring program that includes a formal matching of new junior faculty members with more seasoned faculty and a mid-career component to support the transition of faculty to the rank of full professor;
  • Leadership UNC Charlotte, a year-long seminar series offered annually to cohorts of 20-24 current and emerging faculty leaders;
  • A year-long New Faculty Learning Community covering a variety of important issues faculty face, including plagiarism, communication and effective use of new media and information technology;
  • Facilitated conversations between long-standing and newly appointed chairs;
  • Faculty Forums with the deans and the provost to discuss promotion criteria for associate professors interested in progressing to full professor positions;
  • Informal gatherings of faculty peer groups to share ideas and strategies on pressing issues;
  • Faculty Climate Surveys – Every 3 years, UNC Charlotte conducts an external survey to assess faculty climate at the institution. The Collaboration on Academic Career in Higher Education at the Havard School of Education Climate Survey (COACHE) is employed by the university to conduct the survey. In addition to evaluating faculty perceptions of climate at UNC Charlotte, the COACHE data also allows faculty to compare measures of faculty climate satisfaction at their institution with a number of peer institutions. Results from the survey inform programming for ADVANCE FADO going forward.

Notable Results

Since 2006, the initial year of ADVANCE, the number of women in STEM leadership positions has increased 23%. The number of women STEM faculty achieving promotion and tenure has increased 14 percent. ADVANCE also has provided support and leadership for:

  • Expansion of the rationales for stopping the tenure clock;

  • Initiation of discussion for a faculty ombudsperson, a position which has been approved;

  • Awarding 27 Bonnie Cone Fellowships to women STEM faculty members to enhance their careers;
  • Raising the visibility of work-life balance issues, which has helped communicate the need for establishment of a permanent committee on Faculty Welfare by the Faculty Council;

The Center for ADVANCing Faculty Success will continue to build partnerships and develop initiatives to help faculty succeed in their disciplines and also in their roles as leaders on campus and nationally. We invite you to consider ways you can become involved and also how you can benefit from the ADVANCE work.


Joan Lorden
Emeritus Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Principal Investigator, NSF ADVANCE Award