Faculty and administrators mingle at mentorship mixer

Matthew Sazma, assistant professor of psychology, and Jason Neidleman, professor of political science, chat at the Faculty Mentorship Launch Mixer hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity March 16 in the Ludwick Center courtyard. The goal of the mixer was to bring faculty members together to get to know one another and support their peers. / photo by Abelina J. Nuñez
Matthew Sazma, assistant professor of psychology, and Jason Neidleman, professor of political science, chat at the Faculty Mentorship Launch Mixer hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity March 16 in the Ludwick Center courtyard. The goal of the mixer was to bring faculty members together to get to know one another and support their peers. / photo by Abelina J. Nuñez

Abelina J. Nuñez
Arts Editor 

University of La Verne faculty and administrators attended the Faculty Mentorship Launch Mixer that was hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusivity on March 16 in the Ludwick Center courtyard. 

The purpose of the Faculty Mentorship Launch Mixer is to provide an opportunity for faculty to come together and be able to get to know one another. Faculty were able to share what their needs are and how they would like to support one another.

“My office, along with the faculty diversity committee, initially came up with this concept and started to have some conversations with the other faculty governing committees and found out that there were similar interests and similar workings happening,” Alexandra Burrel, Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion officer, said. 

Burrel said they are trying to gain momentum so faculty know there is an opportunity for junior faculty who are just starting out and trying to prepare for their scholarship along with their teaching.

“And then also faculty of color, who can sometimes come to a campus and not necessarily feel totally connected, so wanting to provide opportunities for them to grow, learn and develop and find community within those spaces is what this is all about,” she said. 

At the faculty mixer, everyone was in deep conversation with laughter getting to know the faculty a bit more with music playing, including Latin pop, reggaeton, pop and banda. 

Bon Appétit catered for the event, where faculty ate crispy chickpea croquette with lemon tahini, jerk chicken skewer with grilled pineapple, mini avocado toast with tomato, pickled red onion and watermelon radish. Faculty had their choice of beverage, from water to iced tea to lemonade. Bon Appétit was serving drinks like San Simeon Monterey Chardonnay, San Simeon Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, and San Simeon Paso Robles Syrah. 

“We’re trying to reestablish something with more intentionality on how to serve the demographic of people who are here right now,” Burrel said. “Faculty committees don’t have budgets to do this type of thing, so my office is sponsoring it. It’s great to be able to support them in this initiative.”

Faculty were enjoying themselves and having a great time before ending their Thursday evening. 

“I immediately messaged the organizer, and I asked if our administrators are welcome because this is the kind of thing that I love to go to,” Emmeline de Pillis, Dean of College of Business and Public Management, said. “I always welcome the chance to meet new faculty, and because I only got here in July 2021, I would like to be mentored on the history of La Verne because I’m still learning about La Verne’s very complex and interesting history.”

De Pillis said she got the chance to reconnect with some faculty leaders and find out their concerns while having some interesting, productive discussions about what they are doing in a challenging time of low enrollment. She said it was a fantastic opportunity for faculty to connect and was really grateful for this opportunity. 

“I found out that there are really interesting initiatives going on around campus, and one of (the things) that I’m particularly interested in is apparently there’s going to be a reading group starting up, so I don’t know what the choice of book is yet, but I would be very interested in joining that,” she said. 

Yvette Latunde, a faculty in the doctor of organizational leadership and the LaFetra College of Education, said she thinks mentoring is important, especially to people that are new to the community, and with this event, it is a way for them to immediately feel a sense of belonging and connectedness with other people.

“It’s nice to know that you know what other people are doing on campus, to know what kind of support they might need, and that they’re open to having a relationship or connection with you,” she said. “We meet after COVID, after being distant for so long. It’s great to connect, whether you do that with phone, call, text, or an event like this.”

Latunde said her takeaway from the event is that ULV is a community, and if someone needs help with something, there are other people around that are willing to help them with whatever their job is.

“I’m so glad that this event was held, I think it’s so needed for faculty to have that mentorship,” Krystal Rodriguez-Campos, director of the Justice and Immigration Clinic, said. “I’m a new professor, I’ve been at La Verne for less than three years, so I came during the pandemic, and for me, it’s so important to be able to connect with other professors and be mentored by them and get guidance as to what it is to teach and to be able to be effective in the learning process for our students.”

Rodriguez-Campos said knowing different programs that we have on campus, along with knowing different professors, helps her connect with students more because she met with another professor who is looking to have a private defense attorney come and speak to their class and intersects with the law school where she teaches and could tell her students about.

“I’m looking forward to having more of these events and being able to talk further to professors about scholarship and about collaborating on student events that will benefit the student community,” she said. 

Abelina J. Nuñez can be reached at abelina.nunez@laverne.edu.

Abelina J. Nuñez, senior journalism major, is a photography editor for Campus Times and staff photographer for La Verne Magazine. She previously served as LV Life editor, arts editor social media editor and staff writer. In Fall 2023, Nuñez was La Verne Magazine's editor-in-chief and was previously a staff writer as well. Her work can be found on Instagram @abelinajnunezphoto.

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