What is NFD (NetWorks for Faculty Development)?

NetWorks’ goals are a vibrant intellectual community, effective undergraduate teaching, and career-long professional development.

Welcome to NetWorks for Faculty Development (NFD). NetWorks provides opportunities for faculty to get to know each other informally and to mentor one another.

For new faculty, these opportunities begin at workshops and orientation events in the late summer. Throughout the year, faculty in their first three years, including pre-tenure faculty, all visitors, artists in residence, Mellon post-doctorate fellows, and Bolin fellows, are invited to participate in the First3 Lunch Schedule and other events (for more information, see First 3). These discussions provide a forum for asking questions and sharing answers, for learning about the College and its academic resources, for discussions of teaching, scholarship and/or creative endeavors, as well as how to balance it all.

All Faculty lunches (a collaborative effort typically facilitated by the Dean of the Faculty’s Office and First 3) and NFD events occur throughout the year and are open to all, addressing questions of interest to faculty at all stages of their Williams careers. NFD also helps to coordinate programs for all faculty that support our teaching and our own scholarship and creative endeavors, and provides information about the College’s resources in support of that work. Events over the course of the year include Drop-In Lunches with Associate Deans, a publishing workshop and faculty retreat in the spring, and workshops that range from grant-writing and Design Thinking to writing retreats and new media training. The goals are a vibrant intellectual community, effective undergraduate teaching, and career-long professional development.

We hope you’ll check back often to see what’s in store, and contact First 3 or the Dean of Faculty’s office with suggestions for ways that we can support your work.


NetWorks Events


Upcoming events

Professional Development and Mentoring at Williams

At Williams College, we are committed to furthering the professional development of faculty members as teachers, scholars/artists, and contributors to college governance. We seek to provide support for continuing growth in these areas. Every faculty member has access to a range of college resources for professional development. Information about these resources can be found on the NetWorks for Faculty Development website.

We recognize that faculty arrive at Williams with different kinds of expertise. Each faculty member has varied aspirations and needs for their professional development, which may well shift over the course of one’s trajectory at the college.

In this document, we emphasize the importance of mentoring, the formal or informal practices used to advise, train, and/or support those with less or different kinds of experience; practices that aim to develop and improve skills; practices that provide additional tools; and/or practices that expand knowledge. Inherent to effective mentoring are the development of trust and the cultivation of a relationship that is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. Mentoring is a key aspect of professional development at all stages of a faculty career.

Professional Development and Mentoring at Williams document, 2018-19

Professional Development and Mentoring at Williams document, 2017-18

Professional Development and Mentoring at Williams document, 2016-17

Drop-in lunches with Associate Deans

Dear colleagues,

Last semester, the Associate Deans’ lunches explored issues related to labor and community commitments at the college level (writ large). This semester, we will focus on ways faculty can strengthen communication within and beyond our units. We will cover a broad range of topics that include: sustaining conversations about classroom climate, faculty cultures, and diversity; facilitating collaboration among units; and transforming ideas from conversation into action.

The Associate Deans’ lunches are held on Wednesdays at noon. They are occasions for faculty to get together and talk—across ranks, divisions, and disciplines—on topics of mutual interest.

We hope you will join us for one or more lunches this spring, which will be held at the Faculty House. Please charge your lunch to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

Co-hosted by Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity and Equity Ngonidzashe Munemo and Associate Dean of Faculty Rhon Manigault-Bryant. If you would like to suggest a topic for discussion, please contact one of us.

Spring 2018 Schedule & Topics

  • February 7 (New Private): Moving Beyond Talk
  • March 7 (New Private): Reality Check: Classroom Climate(s) and Faculty Culture(s)
  • March 14 (New Private): Open Topic
  • April 18 (Old Private): Sustaining Productive Conversations about Diversity and Inclusion
  • April 25 (Old Private): Developing and Sustaining Collaboration Across Units
  • May 2 (Old Private): Open Topic
  • Tuesday May 15, 2018: Faculty Retreat, Location TBD


Difference, Power, Equity (DPE) Faculty Chats

Williams College is committed to creating and maintaining a curriculum, faculty, and student body that reflects and explores a diverse, globalized world. In the spirit of that commitment, the  the faculty voted in the spring of 2017 to change the current Exploring Diversity Initiative requirement to the Difference, Power, and Equity Requirement.

To ensure a seamless transition, the Committee on Educational Affairs and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty are hosting a series of opportunities for faculty interested in teaching a Difference, Power, and Equity course to share syllabi and ideas with each other. Please join us for the upcoming syllabus-brainstorming sessions this academic year:

11/29/17:  Lunch in the Faculty House lounge: 11:30am-1:00pm

12/11/17: “Wine, Cheese, and Syllabus” in the Hollander lounge: 4 PM

1/9/18:  Lunch in the Faculty House New Private dining room: 12:00-1:30pm

1/11/18:  Lunch in the Faculty House lounge: 12:00-1:30pm

For questions, please contact Professor Lara Shore-Sheppard, Chair of the CEA

Design Thinking Pilot @ Williams

Thanks to a very generous gift, Williams has officially launched a three-year Design Thinking pilot program,  to be spearheaded by Richard Grefé, our Design Thinker in Residence (DTiR). Ric will be a resource for faculty, staff and students who would like to learn more about and engage innovative practices. For faculty in particular, he will be a hands-on resource for planning courses, assignments, and creative approaches to original research. The position represents a broader institutional interest in promoting creativity as a core component of the college educational mission for the campus community as a whole.

Design Thinking, a human-centered approach to problem solving, has been emerging at Williams for a number of years (see DesignWilliamsATimeline), and facilitated in great part by the interest of students as well as faculty and staff partners in Art, CLiA, Mathematics, and WCMA.

With its evolution from grassroots initiative to a more formalized pilot, we are excited to launch more robust programming and work during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Interested in learning more about Design Thinking? Check out these recent ruminations!

Yes, Design Thinking is B.S…And We Should Promote it Anyway

Can Design Thinking Redesign Higher Ed?

How Design Thinking Can be Applied Across the Campus

How to Solve Problems Like a Designer

View All →