After experiencing burnout throughout her career, Dr. Angela Smith said she rediscovered her passion for medicine through UNC resources.
Now, as the associate dean for faculty affairs and leadership development at the UNC School of Medicine, she will be a resource to others.
In her new position, she hopes to create and establish programs that will improve the career paths of faculty members and help them reach their full potential. She emphasized that UNCSOM needs to invest in the future of faculty because they are the School’s “greatest resource”.
Smith said this position will help to further support and develop the skills of faculty and staff members beyond her previous responsibilities as a professor of urology.
After earning a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science as an undergraduate at UNC, Smith continued to pursue her education at the University by attending medical school.
She became interested in urology as a medical student and continued research at UNC after her residency training, which led her to this new position.
“I've met many colleagues, friends and learned a lot about myself in the process and realized that to thrive in an academic environment, many ingredients need to be in place,” she said. “Including an institution who values you, as well as an understanding of yourself and where your strengths lie and how you can contribute meaningfully in your job.”
Stephen Bogdewic, senior associate dean for faculty affairs and leadership development at the School, said he chose Smith for this position because of her various roles within the department.
“Angie is a physician, a researcher, a teacher and a surgeon among physicians, and so she has a set of professional experiences that are unique to anyone on the team that we have,” he said.
Bogdewic said Smith will also help find ways to support clinical and research faculty who have been under increased stress since the start of the pandemic.
“If our job is to support and develop people, we have to figure out how we're going to do that when the people we're hoping to help are experiencing significant stress and burnout,” he said.
Along with these roles, Smith also plans to encourage appreciation for all faculty members and help others realize that every member’s contribution is valuable.
“Understanding that culture of appreciation and ensuring that we have that at all levels provides a really nurturing environment for our faculty,” she said. “And ensures we can both recruit talented faculty, which I think we do well, and also retain them.”
Colleagues of Smith are enthusiastic about seeing her in this new position.
Lauren Westervelt, director of the office of faculty affairs and leadership development at the UNCSOM, said Smith’s process of teaching faculty about appointments, promotion and tenure is unique.
“She's taken a different approach that really centers the conversation around the faculty member, and what is meaningful to them and then helps them think through how to translate that into a meaningful career trajectory,” she said.
Westervelt added that Smith’s perspective as a faculty member herself will also be a great addition to the team.
Smith said her experience as a faculty member is why she is passionate about this position. She also said her use of UNC resources, including career coaching, has allowed her to be her best self for her patients, trainees, colleagues and family.
Bogdewic said Smith’s role is important because staff members are an invaluable part of the University, and said her responsibilities within this role will help everyone in the School.
“When faculty and staff are performing as their best selves then everyone benefits – patients, colleagues, families and the community,” she said. “We can't invest enough in our greatest resource, which is our people.”
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