Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is committed to providing a strong faculty development program.

This program serves all faculty at Roswell Park and begins with recruitment and onboarding. Faculty are engaged through a variety of programs that support academic and professional development as well as strong work/life balances. 

Roadmap for new faculty

Welcome to Rowell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center! I wanted to introduce the Faculty Development Program (FDP) here and give you a little background on who we are and what we do.

Program leadership

I am Sandra Gollnick, PhD, the Director of Faculty Development and Chair of the Appointment and Promotions Committee. I am responsible for the strategic development and execution of a formal mentoring program for junior faculty in both the basic science and clinical departments. I oversee all aspects of this effort, including the preparation of progress reports and the design and implementation of the Faculty Development, Mentoring and Grant Development programs. 

Elisa Rodriguez, PhD, serves as the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer for faculty; she is also Director of Roswell Park’s Community Engagement Resource and leads our efforts to build bridges between researchers and the broader community, looking for opportunities to highlight the cultural diversity that exists within and around Roswell Park. She ensures that our center is a place where faculty from underrepresented groups feel welcomed and fulfilled. Dr. Rodriguez also contributes to the implementation and design of the Professional Development and Work/Life Balance programs, ensuring opportunities for inclusion and equity, as well as addressing and eliminating the unique barriers faced by underrepresented faculty.

Jamie Sobieski, MBA, is the Project Manager for the program. Ms. Sobieski serves as the first point of contact for the FDP, oversees the implementation of the FDP mentoring program, scheduling reviews and maintenance of metrics for the pre-submission Grant Review Program. Ms. Sobieski works with Dr. Gollnick and the Clinical Onboarding Task Force to schedule the in-depth training course for clinical research, integrating input from a variety of sources. She also schedules the various seminars and workshops associated with the Faculty Development and DEI programs. 

Our leadership group works with the departmental chairs and senior Roswell Park leadership to create a robust FDP. This is an institute-wide resource whose mission is to enhance the professional growth of Roswell Park faculty in all aspects of their career. The FDP is designed to cultivate scholarly productivity, hone leadership skills, and enhance a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equity to accomplish this mission. The FDP also provides networking opportunities, supports a healthy work/life balance and facilitates the recruitment and retention of faculty from underrepresented groups.

We are also advised by a multidisciplinary steering committee that includes senior researchers, physicians and physician researchers. The committee also includes junior faculty researchers and physicians. 

A faculty onboarding course is offered, introducing Roswell Park’s research mission, our Shared Resources, and how we can help get your research started. 

All Assistant Professor faculty members are required to set up a mentoring committee and continuously meet as a group at least every six (6) months.

Finally, grant/manuscript writing tools are offered to help you succeed in funding efforts and scholarships. We have established a Scientific Editing and Research Communications Core (SERCC) resource that provides in-house editing on grants and manuscripts. More information on these activities can be found under the grant development tab.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Sandra Gollnick, PhD
Sandra Gollnick, PhD
Director, Faculty Development Program

Introduction to Roswell Park research

Introduction to Research for Clinicians and Clinician Investigators

This seminar series meets once a week for five (5) weeks and provides an introduction to Roswell Park’s research mission, information on promotion requirements, training on writing and maintaining a biosketch and CV, how to select mentors, how to form a research question and discussion of how to move from having a research question to writing a clinical trial/grant. The course also serves as an introduction to retrospective studies, collaborating with biostatisticians, data scientists and epidemiologists/population scientists.

Orientation to Conducting Research at Roswell Park for Basic and Population Scientists

This half-day seminar introduces scientists to grant administration, including purchasing, hiring of support staff, travel requests, shared resources, the role of the Cancer Center Support Grant (CCSG) and promotion criteria and process. 

Mentoring Program

Roswell Park offers a strong mentoring program for faculty at all stages of their career path. Mentoring is both a formal and informal activity: it helps faculty manage expectations for research, internal and external service, and it contributes to the center's educational mission. Mentoring of faculty is expected of all senior positions and participation in the mentoring process, both as a mentee and a mentor, is expected. 

Junior faculty are required to participate in the Mentoring Program. With advice from the department chair, mentoring committees are formed within three months of faculty members joining Roswell Park. The committee will consist of a minimum of three senior (associate or full) faculty members. At least one of the members must be in the same department as the junior faculty member. At least one of the members must be in an outside department.   

The goal of mentoring is to help junior faculty set priorities, achieve external funding and progress toward promotion. This is accomplished through joint goal setting and progress meetings to identify and address areas of concern and success. 

Grant Development Program

One of the major goals of the Faculty Development Program (FDP) is to increase the academic success of Roswell Park faculty. To achieve this goal, we have implemented several grant writing support programs.

Grant idea development

The FDP works with departments to host ideas/hypotheses/specific aims seminars, offering faculty an opportunity to present their ideas to department faculty as a brainstorming session.

The FDP also sponsors mentored grant development groups of four to six faculty members. These groups provide support to faculty writing grants by offering them the opportunity to brainstorm in a small group setting.

Grant writing support

Grant writing is supported in several ways:  

  • Sponsoring one- and two-day grant writing workshops from external experts
  • Organizing small grant writing support groups including Scientific Writing Accountability Groups (SWAGs)
  • Working with departmental grant writing programs that include grant writing meetings

FDP has established a Scientific Editing and Research Communications Core (SERCC) Resource.  The mission of SERCC is to provide in-depth advice on how to maximize the clarity of scientific documents to help Roswell Park faculty succeed in their funding efforts and scholarship.  SERCC is staffed by Deanna Conners, PhD, a Senior Science Writer/Editor with 10 years of professional service in the field of science communication and a doctorate in Toxicology.  Dr. Conners has edited more than 1,800 projects in diverse scientific fields, and she is well acquainted with the needs of ESL (English as a Second Language) authors.  SERCC is available for all Roswell Park faculty to use in improving both grant proposals and manuscripts. 

Pre-submission review

The FDP arranges for a pre-submission review of the grant. This program offers Principal Investigators (PIs) an opportunity to have their proposal reviewed by experienced senior Roswell Park faculty who have study section experience. The reviewers meet one-on-one with the PI and offer both written and verbal feedback on the proposal.

Tools for success

In addition to supporting junior faculty success through mentoring and grant success through our grant writing program, the Faculty Development Program (FDP) is committed to enhancing our faculty's professional and personal success. Toward this goal, the FDP offers networking opportunities, informational and professional development seminars, and workshops on establishing a healthy work/life balance.


The FDP sponsors networking groups for assistant professors, female faculty and works in conjunction with the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity office to provide networking and support for our underrepresented faculty.

Professional workshops

We sponsor leadership and management workshops on career and personal development skills, communication and planning for a successful career. We also offer seminars on building a successful laboratory and becoming a mentor.

Informational seminars

FDP holds brown bag seminars on various topics, including updates on the latest NCI regulations, how to write research papers, rigor and reproducibility, how to best publicize your research, etc.

Life/balance seminars and tools

In collaboration with the Roswell Park Employee Benefit Office, the FDP offers seminars on topics such as “How to avoid burnout,” “How to say no,” and priority-setting. We also offer yoga and mind relaxation tools.