Faculty Relations


faculty requested one-on-one consultations with the Director of Faculty Development & Career Advancement since January 2021

units completed a deliberative decision-making training with VPFA Willink and Professor Darrin Hicks, which is now available asynchronously to all Academic Impressions members

STEM faculty from NSM and RSECS attended events engaging IChange equity-planning principles

faculty members attended one more Academic Impressions or NCFDD workshops related to inclusivity, equity, diversity, and inclusion


The VPFA seeks to improve faculty wellbeing by improving processes and offering tools to produce a better climate, particularly for historically excluded faculty. This includes training and collaborative opportunities for faculty leaders, such as department chairs, program directors, and associate deans. The VPFA uses research-informed, intentional change models to engage stakeholders and faculty leaders in shared governance and committee leadership across the university. To cultivate a culture of engagement, VPFA initiatives also celebrate faculty growth and achievement in areas that are often invisible. Furthermore, the VPFA mediates challenging faculty situations in departments, schools, and colleges across campus; and works to change campus culture to proactively address known challenges and improve outcomes for all faculty.

Signature Programs

Faculty Staff Support Network

Faculty Staff Support Network LogoThe Faculty-Staff Support Network (FSSN) allows campus community members to exess concern about faculty members and connect them anonymously with campus resources. Created pre-pandemic as a collaboration between VPFA, the Department of Human Resources and Inclusive Community, and other campus stakeholders, the FSSN has helped support faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and beyond.

Workload Equity Committee

Created by the VPFA and the Faculty Senate, the Workload Equity Committee (WEC) seeks to bring greater clarity and transparency to three-interrelated areas: (1) faculty responsibilities and expectations, (2) the decision-making processes by which department and unit heads assign faculty responsibilities and set faculty expectations, and (3) the standards by which faculty responsibilities and expectations are measured, assessed, and rewarded. WEC aims to ensure all faculty have a clear, explicit, and transparent understanding of their job responsibilities and expectations to avoid workload distributions that disproportionately burden some faculty over others and enable “invisible labor” inequities. VPFA Willink chaired the committee for two years, culminating in the 2021 Workload Equity Report.

You Rock! Awards

Peer-to-peer recognition matters for cultivating a culture of celebration. Based on a successful program in the Morgridge College of Education, You Rock! awards recognize excellence among faculty and staff based on peer nominations. From the pool of more than 850 winners since spring 2020, ten are drawn monthly to receive a special treat. In spring 2021, the VPFA hosted a We Rock! event to celebrate the campus community’s collective accomplishments during a difficult year.

IChange Network

DU was selected as one of 19 universities to join Aspire’s Institutional Change (IChange) initiative in 2020. IChange is a three-year institutional change effort to develop inclusive faculty recruitment, hiring, and retention practices, and ensure that all STEM faculty implement inclusive teaching, advising, and research mentoring. In fall 2022, Associate Professor Robin Tinghitella and Professor Sarah Watamura took leadership roles in IChange.

Cross-Campus Leadership Development

In response to 2019 COACHE study data suggesting the need for more leadership and advancement opportunities, the VPFA created faculty huddles for Faculty Affairs Associate Deans (FAAD) and the Chairs Advisory Board (CAB) to support the growth and development of campus leaders. In 2021, the VPFA partnered with CAB to offer the first ever university-wide chairs training.


  • DDM training was offered to five departments (Art and Art History, Sociology and Criminology, Political Science, Communication Studies, and Media, Film, and Journalism Studies), as well as chairs and college-level promotion and tenure committees.
  • As a continuing endeavor, the Chair Advisory Board (CAB) offers peer-to-peer solution-seeking clinics, provides updates to the (VPFA supported) chair handbook, and supports the work of chairs and directors through new and continuing training and programming.
  • Since launching in 2019, VPFA newsletter open/read rates remain steady at 43%.

Spotlight Event

Accounting for Covid-19 Disruptions in the Review Process: Workshops for Faculty & Evaluators

In response to extended support from the Faculty Senate and Provost’s office for faculty navigating Covid-19 disruptions, the VPFA created two faculty facilitator positions to help faculty navigate and use these supports, especially the Covid-19 impact statement. Thirty-two faculty members attended at least one workshop on crafting an impact statement and 38.9% of faculty submitted an impact statement in 2021–2022. Chairs, Associate Deans, and Deans also underwent scenario-based training on interpreting Covid-19 impact statements for annual and consequential review processes.



Nancy Sasaki, Ph.D.

Nancy Sasaki, Ph.D.

Covid Impact Statement Facilitator

Nancy Sasaki is a Teaching Professor in Biological Sciences and has been at DU for 14 years. Sasaki has led efforts to improve the culture and environment for women across campus and in areas of STEM; improved opportunities for successful advancement for all faculty but focusing on the Teaching and Professional lines; and provided resources and opportunities for underrepresented students in STEM to increase degree attainment.

Deb Ortega, Ph.D.

Deb Ortega, Ph.D.

Covid Impact Workshop Facilitator

Deb Ortega is a Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work, a faculty member in the DU-Iliff JDP, a founding member of the Latinx Center at DU, and director of the Latinx Center. Her scholarship focuses on the inequity and dehumanization that affects marginalized people and communities.

Lisa Martinez, Ph.D.

Lisa Martinez, Ph.D.

Covid Impact Statement Facilitator

Lisa M. Martinez is Professor in the Department of Sociology & Criminology and currently serves as the CAHSS Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is also a core faculty member of the Latinx Center @ DU and co-directs the Center for Immigration Policy & Research (CIPR). Her research and teaching interests include immigration, racial/ethnic politics, Latina/o/x sociology, and social inequality.