A helping hand: Social Work senior faculty member recognized for junior faculty mentorship

Mentorship is the cornerstone of the onboarding process for Wayne State University junior faculty. Through support and networking, junior faculty are provided with the opportunity to enhance their research program development and focus on external grant opportunities that contribute to long-term sustainable research funding. WSU School of Social Work Associate Professor Carolyn Dayton, PhD, was recently recognized for her commitment to mentoring junior Social Work faculty and providing them with the support needed to thrive in their new Detroit home. 

Carolyn DaytonThe WSU Research Development Office annually recognizes senior faculty for their mentorship of junior faculty via the Research Mentor Program for New Faculty. The Program seeks to encourage a productive mentoring relationship between senior tenured faculty with strong research records and success in obtaining extramural research funding, and newly recruited junior faculty. “As a mentor I strive to support new junior faculty in a variety of ways including one-on-one meetings to discuss their adjustment to faculty life at WSU and plans for their long-term research trajectory,” noted Dayton. “I have also facilitated networking opportunities to support fruitful collaborations and shared my Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute lab space with junior faculty to further their endeavors. In one instance, I worked closely with a mentee and assisted her in designing a pilot intervention trial for trauma-exposed mothers in the early postpartum period, meant to alleviate symptoms of trauma and promote maternal-infant mental health and sensitive parenting.”

Dayton’s research is primarily focused on early parenting processes with an emphasis on fathering in urban settings. She earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology from Michigan State University, a Graduate Certificate in Infant Mental Health from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Arts in Psychology from Michigan State University, a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts from Kalamazoo College. As a licensed practitioner of clinical social work and clinical psychology, and an endorsed infant mental health mentor, Dayton has worked to support families in a variety of ways throughout her career. Dayton’s clinical work with families aims to identify biological and psychosocial risk and resilience factors that influence parenting processes and early child development.

As a senior faculty member, I feel it is my responsibility to pay it forward and support rising junior faculty as I was supported. Early mentoring relationships provide us with ample time to identify Wayne State and external collaborators and get a jumpstart on grants and publications. Making these new connections not only benefits the mentees, but me as well. I am honored to serve in this role and thoroughly enjoy mentoring junior faculty. 

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