She is aptly named for receiving an award called Changing Hearts and Minds. But Maureen Valentine, associate dean at Rochester Institute of Technology, earned the award for the personal and professional connections she makes to encourage diverse faculty to consider RIT as a rewarding place to work.
Valentine was presented the 2012 Changing Hearts and Minds Award this fall, given annually to recognize efforts made toward furthering RIT’s overall commitment to diversity and enhancing diversity among the faculty ranks within their respective college.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for what, to me, is an important job task,” says Valentine. She is responsible for faculty affairs in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology and coordinates its faculty search processes and acts as its liaison to the Office of Faculty Recruitment. “None of this is ever done alone, and as honored as I am with this award, I wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of the dean, faculty and staff of the college. The relationship part of this is so important to me.”
Those relationships have borne fruit. A faculty search is so much more than what it used to be, she says, and the days of just posting an ad and waiting to see who applies are over. Organizations must actively recruit candidates, including recent graduates of doctoral programs, and her college requires that its faculty have industrial experience as well as academic credentials.
“It keeps our faculty, students and our curriculum anchored. To me that’s critical,” she says. “We can look at a potential faculty member and say you’re going to make a difference here. You’ll be connecting with industry, and this has a direct connection back to your students, and I passionately believe in that and so it’s easier to sell that to a potential faculty member.”
Valentine began in 1992 as a faculty member in RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, in its civil engineering technology department and later served as its department chairperson. The resident of Pittsford, N.Y., is an advocate for current RIT faculty as well as its newest, participating as a researcher on a cross-college team leading a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant to identify barriers for women faculty at RIT in regards to rank, tenure, career advancement, leadership role progression and resource allocation.
“In her college liaison role, Maureen has made concerted efforts to work with her faculty search committees to include Future Faculty Career Exploration Program participants in the final interview pools. Her engaged approach in relationship-building resulted in hiring a top AALANA candidate into a post-doctoral position as an opportunistic hire,” says Renee Baker, executive director of the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention. Baker’s group and RIT’s Office of the Provost sponsor the Changing Hearts and Minds award.
A monetary award of $2,500 is given to the college to be used to continue recruitment and retention initiatives. Valentine will also receive $500 for her role in supporting hiring program efforts within the college.