Robert Milner, PhD, has been appointed senior associate dean for Faculty Affairs at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, effective July 1. He will also have a primary appointment at Professor rank in the department of neurology and will direct the Office for Faculty Affairs.

Milner currently serves as Associate Vice Provost for Professional Development at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). At UMMS, Milner is responsible for designing, implementing and evaluating professional development programs for faculty, including the Junior Faculty Development Program, and programs on promotion and tenure, career development and mentoring. He has extensive experience in the professional development and education of individuals at all stages of academic careers.

Milner also developed the Junior Faculty Development Program at Penn State College of Medicine. Both there and at UMMS, the programs have been responsible for increased retention and higher rates of promotion for participants. He has presented workshops on grant writing (particularly NIH-focused grants) and on a wide range of topics in professional development at academic institutions and national professional meetings, including goal-setting, mentoring, oral presentations, professionalism, CVs and resumés and research collaboration. He was also a lead author of a major revision to the UMMS Academic Personnel Policy, which governs faculty appointment, promotion and tenure.

At UMMS, Milner has been a co-investigator on grants on intraprofessional professionalism (Macy Foundation), faculty career flexibility (Sloan Foundation) and the advancement of women in STEM disciplines (NSF-ADVANCE).

Milner co-founded the New England Network on Faculty Affairs (NENFA), a community of practice for individuals engaged in faculty affairs and development at medical institutions in the region, and served as chair from 2017 to the present.

Prior to his career in faculty development and faculty affairs, Milner directed a productive research laboratory in molecular neuroscience at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic. He also trained graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have continued on to successful positions in research. He served as the chair of the department of neuroscience and anatomy at Penn State College for eight years, where he developed his skills in mentoring and faculty development by successfully assisting in the career development of his own junior department faculty. He directed neuroscience education at Penn State, and expanded the graduate program from six to more 30 students. While at Penn State, he also founded and directed the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and implemented the Postdoctoral Professional Development Series.

“Dr. Milner’s background as a basic science researcher in neuroscience and as a former department chair, his experience with graduate and postdoctoral training and his many years leading and supporting faculty mentoring and development both locally and nationally, make him someone particularly suited to addressing the challenges of advancing our faculty’s academic careers,” Laura Mosqueda, MD, Dean of the Keck School, said in a statement.

Milner received his doctoral degree from The Rockefeller University, completed postdoctoral training at The Salk Institute, and held faculty positions at Salk, the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic, and Penn State College of Medicine before moving to UMMS in July 2010.

In assuming leadership of the Office for Faculty Affairs, Milner will succeed Judy Garner, PhD, the current vice dean for Faculty Affairs. Garner will be leaving that position to re-join the full-time faculty to pursue other scholarly and educational interests. We thank her for her many years of service.

— Landon Hall