Support, Training, Early-career Enhancement, and Retention (STEER)

2023-24 STEER Faculty Track Mentors and Fellows.

2023-24 STEER Faculty Mentors and Fellows. Not pictured: Dr. Joe Gambacorta.

STEER Program Description

Effective mentoring programs guide early- to mid-career professionals toward successful, independent careers. They contribute to career goal achievement, excellence in teaching, research and scholarship, and an increase in professional development and satisfaction[1][2][3]. Effective mentoring programs are important components to hiring and retention. However, surveyed dental schools show low levels of mentoring programs[3][4], and according to a January 2022 climate survey at the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Dental Medicine (SDM), 57% of staff and 48% of faculty disagree or are neutral about receiving adequate mentorship and professional development and employees who are underrepresented minorities by race/ethnicity (URM) report twice as much disagreement (50% vs. 24%) than their non-URM peers.

In line with the mission of the University at Buffalo (UB) and the Office for the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, the UB School of Dental Medicine’s (SDM) Support, Training, Early-career Enhancement and Retention (STEER) program establishes intentional and formal mentoring relationships to empower SDM’s early- and mid-career professionals to accelerate their realization of professional growth and development, while training and equipping senior-level professionals to provide supportive and effective mentorship.

SDM’s STEER program will support the recruitment and retention of faculty and allied health staff at UB SDM. STEER establishes a formal mentoring curriculum for faculty and allied health staff within the UB SDM as supplement to current department initiatives, to ensure STEER fellows meet their individualized and unit-specific competencies. Fellows who complete the STEER program will be primed to mentor future STEER fellows.

The STEER program is being launched in phases:

  • Phase I: By May 2023, establish and train a cohort of STEER mentors who can support the professional growth of STEER fellows.
  • Phase II: From July 2023-June 2024, oversee, monitor and evaluate a formal curriculum for the mentorship of STEER faculty fellows.
  • Phase III: From January 2024-June 2024, oversee, monitor and evaluate a formal curriculum for the mentorship of STEER staff fellows.

The SDM Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) established the STEER program through the launch of the Faculty Advancement Series in 2021. The EDI Office officially launched STEER in early 2023 with the faculty track. In summer 2023, STEER became housed within the re-established Office of Faculty Affairs. 

The STEER Program is being funded in part through a grant from the ADEA Geis Foundation. 


Please direct any questions to Dr. Debra Stamm at

Our Team

Dr. Debra Stamm.

Debra Stamm, PhD

Director, Support, Training, Early-career Enhancement and Retention Program (STEER)
Assistant Dean for Advanced Education
315-E Squire Hall
(716) 829-3556

Dr. Elaine Davis.

Elaine Davis, PhD

Director, Office of Faculty Affairs
Professor, Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences
355 Squire Hall
(716) 829-2241

Dr. Thikriat Al-Jewair.

Thikriat Al-Jewair, DDS, MSc, MS, FRCD(c)

Chair, Department of Orthodontics
140 Squire Hall
(716) 829-6140

Ms. Jessica Scates.

Jessica Scates, EdM

Director of Operations, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
308 Squire Hall
(716) 829-2984


  1. Friedman, P. K., Arena, C., Atchison, K., Beemsterboer, P. L., Farsai, P., Giusti, J. B., ... & American Dental Education Association. (2004). Report of the ADEA president's commission on mentoring. Journal of dental education, 68(3), 390-396.
  2. Columbia University. (2016). Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Mentoring. Office of the Provost. 9 Best Practices in Faculty Mentoring.pdf (
  3. Al‐Jewair, T., Herbert, A. K., Leggitt, V. L., Ware, T. L., Hogge, M., Senior, C., ... & Da Silva, J. D. (2019). Evaluation of faculty mentoring practices in seven US Dental Schools. Journal of dental education, 83(12), 1392-1401.
  4. Gadbury-Amyot, C. C., Pyle, M. A., Van Ness, C. J., Overman, P. R., & West, K. P. (2016). Which way to lean? A national study of women dental faculty members’ career aspirations and choices. Journal of Dental Education, 80(12), 1392-1404.

"The STEER program is uniquely designed to meet the needs of dental professionals at SDM.  With its strategic curriculum and networking opportunities, STEER is an ideal catalyst for our faculty and staff as they strive to reach their career aspirations."   

Debra Stamm, PhD