City and Regional Planning Associate Professor Mai Nguyen is the New Faculty Program Director at the IAH, effective July 1. She succeeds Associate Professor of Religious Studies Todd Rámon Ochoa, who served in the position for 3 years.
IAH Associate Director and Professor of English and Comparative Literature Jennifer Ho had this to say about Nguyen: “Mai’s knowledge of how the university works, how to find resources to enhance one’s scholarship, and how to live a full life that balances the personal with the academic is both laudable and admirable, and we are very excited for her to take on her role as NFP director.”
We talked with Nguyen about her new role, her experience as a Faculty Fellow, her recent IAH Arts and Social Justice Grant for her research on Ferguson, Mo., and the importance of work-life balance. For the full discussion, listen to the podcast.
Tell us about your experience as a fellow.
I was an IAH Faculty Fellow in 2012 and this was one of the best experiences of my academic career at UNC. To have a community of scholars who are supportive and who offer thoughtful feedback on one’s research and writing is rare. The IAH Faculty Fellows Program offers this and so much more — the release from teaching duties and the weekly meeting of the “collective minds” creates a wonderful environment to promote greater productivity and creativity.
How does this experience inform your role in welcoming and helping to foster new faculty development?
I hope to pass on the warmth and generosity of spirit that I experienced in the IAH’s Faculty Fellows Program to others in the New Faculty Program. My goal with the new faculty program is to help faculty integrate into the academic life at UNC and to become aware of the many professional and social opportunities available at UNC and in the Triangle Region.
Why is the New Faculty Program important?
Being a faculty member at a research intensive university can be isolating in a number of ways and the New Faculty Program seeks to connect new faculty to other faculty and administrators and to build a stronger UNC community.