Greater Gator Community Program Connects Current and Retired Faculty

Navigating the world of academia, research and clinical work can be a daunting task, but a new program from the University of Florida College of Medicine is hoping to streamline this process for faculty through mentorship with some familiar faces.

The Greater Gator Community will pair current faculty members with retired UF College of Medicine faculty to enable the current generation of professors, clinicians and researchers to learn from experts who taught hundreds of lectures, published dozens of papers and treated thousands of patients over the course of their careers.

“Faculty are busier than ever, and they desire coaching and mentoring but often senior faculty don’t have the time to provide this much-needed mentoring,” said Mark Segal, M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development. “The hope is that by utilizing the expertise of our retired faculty, we can encourage more of this coaching that can help with professional development.”

Through the Greater Gator Community, retired faculty — called Granite Gators — would be grouped with current faculty who are interested in specific topics like scientific or clinical lectures, manuscript and grant writing or navigating the peer review process.

Granite Gators will have access to UF’s electronic library services and will receive a stipend for the purposes of group meetings, which may also take place virtually. In addition, current and retired faculty will be able to view seminars from the college’s various departments.

Aside from department chairs sharing information about the program, Segal said incoming faculty will also learn about the program and will have the chance to participate during onboarding. Faculty who are in the process of retiring will learn more about how to join as mentors during their offboarding. More information on the program will become available as it rolls out over the next couple of months.

Steven Kraft, PA ’76, M.D. ’81, who retired from his career in cardiology from the UF College of Medicine in 2013, said he’s interested in the possibility of joining a group of like-minded peers to continue regular discussions about science.

“I would enjoy the social aspect of being among friends, and I am definitely interested in having continued electronic access to the library,” Kraft said. “This will be great for younger faculty who are interested in research and looking for guidance on that.”

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