ABFAS Works to Orient New Faculty, Staff

Posted: November 5, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

Achieving a successful tenure at George Mason University is never without challenge for new faculty and staff members.

For faculty members, there is the dual task of juggling quality teaching and original research. For new staff members, it includes gaining a rounded perspective on the Mason environment and a strong sense of the many academic and administrative units that comprise it.

Mika'il Petin
Mika’il Petin, ABFAS president
Photo courtesy of Mika’il Petin

One entity at Mason that is designed to help many new employees achieve these goals is the Association of Black Faculty, Administrators and Staff (ABFAS).

Formed in March 1992, ABFAS promotes the well-being of the black community at the university; advocates the recruitment of black faculty, administrators, staff and students; and maintains a support network for all black employees.

ABFAS is open to all members of the Mason community regardless of their racial or ethnic background.

“We work to foster greater community here at Mason,” says Mika’il Petin, ABFAS president and associate director of Mason’s African American studies program (soon to become African and African American Studies).

Recently, ABFAS worked with the Provost’s Office, which sponsored a day-long program designed to increase Mason’s ability to attract diverse candidates to its faculty ranks. The Preparing Future Faculty event aimed to capitalize on Mason’s desire to improve all graduate students’ preparedness for academic careers, with a special emphasis on minority graduate students. Nearly two dozen Howard University graduate students attended.

Speakers at the event included Peter Stearns, provost; Ann McGuigan, director of the Office of Research Development; Kimberly Eby, associate provost for faculty development; and Petin. Mason President Alan Merten and Chief of Staff Thomas Hennessey also attended.

Presently, ABFAS has more than 60 members and is affiliated with several offices and programs at Mason, including the Office of Diversity Programs and Services, the Black Alumni chapter, Mason’s chapter of the NAACP and the African American studies program.

For more information on ABFAS, see ABFAS.gmu.edu.

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