An Introduction to the Bill and Karen Campbell Faculty Mentoring Program

Bill Campbell portraitThe Bill and Karen Campbell Faculty Mentoring Program is a powerful asset for new faculty at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Through the program, experienced, insightful, and trusted senior faculty serve as guides, allies, and advocates of junior faculty. The program, which is completely voluntary, aims to help new faculty adjust to life at Carolina and to succeed professionally and personally. The effort is supported by funds generated by the $1 million endowment of the Bill and Karen Campbell Distinguished Professorship.

Goals of the Program

  • Assist in recruitment of junior faculty
  • Help new faculty reach their full potential as quickly as possible
  • Assist in the retention of new faculty (ending at promotion and tenure)
  • Take advantage of the unique and valuable talent of senior faculty
  • Engage mentors from outside UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and academia

Guiding Principles

  • Keep it simple: minimize paperwork, no added administrative layer, highly individualized
  • Program is voluntary: no one is required to participate
  • Faculty ownership: arm’s-length relationship to administration, mentorship is, at its core, a faculty value

Origins

In July 2006, the School of Pharmacy launched the Bill and Karen Campbell Faculty Mentoring Program to assist in the professional and personal development of the School’s junior faculty who are on a scholarship-intensive track. The mentoring program serves as a testimony to Bill Campbell’s strong advocacy of the importance of mentorship to faculty development. Since its inception, 23 junior faculty members from the School’s five academic divisions have elected to become fellows of the Campbell Mentoring Program.

Previously, the mentoring of junior faculty at the School was conducted informally under the guidance of senior faculty. This arrangement was effective in most cases because of the shared interests among faculty and the collaborative and the nurturing environment at UNC. However, in recent years the mission and scope of contemporary pharmacy programs have changed. We have seen a need for new skills to meet today’s health challenges. In the pharmaceutical sciences, which include medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutics, and drug delivery, our faculty develops genetic-based therapies and examines the structure and dynamics of therapeutic targets. They collect, mine, and use vast repositories of chemical, biochemical, and medical information. They design novel chemical and biological drug-delivery systems, exploit the role of pharmacogenomics in medicine, and delineate the role of transporters and the impact of the human metabolic machinery for drug treatment. This breadth of science has led the School to hire faculty trained in disciplines other than pharmacy. Similarly, translating new therapies and diagnostic procedures to the clinic represents the culmination of the pharmaceutical experience wherein science and medicine merge to provide beneficial health outcomes. The integration of these disciplines requires broadly based, trained faculty who can interface with research scientists and clinicians. Further, the need to provide quality managed care to our citizens has caused us to examine healthcare economics and policies from a pharmacy perspective. Thus, new skills are needed to develop comprehensive and innovative solutions, based on analysis of vast databases, and to implement them into policy. Lastly, educating today’s professional pharmacist has changed. The information explosion and the changing classroom has mandated innovative teaching methods and restructured curricula. These dynamic changes in the mission of the School have led us to hire individuals with diverse backgrounds and to reevaluate our approach to junior faculty mentoring.

Team Mentoring: A New Approach

Formal efforts to devise a new approach to junior faculty mentoring began in 2003 upon the retirement of Bill Campbell as dean of the UNC School of Pharmacy. Supporters and friends of Campbell and the School established the Bill and Karen Campbell Fund through the Pharmacy Foundation of North Carolina to honor the retiring dean and his wife. In 2004-2005, the School Committee of Faculty Mentoring and Development under the chairmanship of Bill Campbell created a blueprint for junior faculty mentoring and a roadmap for its implementation. Key to the program is the mentoring team, who assist the junior faculty. Support for this program would come from the fund. This mentoring program was endorsed and strengthened by the School under the leadership of Dean Robert Blouin.

The Program’s Goals

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy faculty-mentoring program is the first such sponsored program among the nation’s pharmacy schools. We have found that this junior-faculty-development initiative has helped us to attract outstanding faculty to UNC, has encouraged the professional growth of our faculty, has aided in retaining faculty, and has enlisted talented senior faculty in this endeavor. We continually assess our program to determine its effectiveness, identify potential improvements, and share with others what we have learned.