ELEVATING YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Yep! That's me. Just before
taking off on a hot air balloon ride. It was a gift from one of my mentors as a
way of encouraging me to lift my head out of the day-to-day details and take a
look at the big picture. This was definitely NOT something on my bucket list, I
was terrified, and I felt completely annoyed that she dragged me away from my
computer. But guess what? It was an amazing experience! And my mentor was right, I couldn't help but have a dramatically altered perspective floating
through the sky in that beautiful balloon.
Elevating my perspective for
the NCFDD meant taking at a look at what we're currently doing, where we want
to go, and imaging how to bridge the gap. Our goal this year is to provide
10,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty with our unique training. So
month, our newsletter is dedicated to expanding our reach. To that end,
you'll meet the winners of the RWJF New Connections scholarships in our Faculty
Success Program spotlight, we welcome our newest institutional member (the
University of California, Berkeley), and you'll learn about our exciting new
facilitated learning community: How to Develop, Write and Submit Your Article
in Nine Weeks. You'll also learn about a new guest expert workshop entitled Teaching
in Color: Effective Teaching Strategies for Faculty of Color. And because our
center's fastest growing demographic is mid-career scholars, our feature
article is dedicated to Mapping The Mid-Career Emotional Spectrum.
I hope there's something in
our September Newsletter that will inspire you to elevate YOUR perspective, try
something new, and imagine how you can bridge the gap between
where you're starting off this semester and where you want to land in December!
Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
FACULTY SUCCESS PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT
Meet The New Connections Program Scholarship Winners!
The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation New
Connections Program sponsored four scholarships for the Fall 2012
Faculty Success Program. The scholarship winners are:
Alyssa Garcia, PhD
Department of Women’s Studies,
Pennsylvania State University
Glenda Morris Burnett, PhD
School of Nursing,
St. Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois
College of Social Work and Latino Community Practice
University of Saint Joseph
Department of Educational Psychology,
University of Hawaii
The NCFDD Welcomes
Our Newest Institutional Member:
The University of California, Berkeley
Would you like additional information about how your college or
university can become an NCFDD institutional member?
William Haupricht, our Vice President of Institutional Relations (William@FacultyDiversity.org).
DID YOU MISS THE
NCFDD INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERSHIP PREVIEW
Many college and university leaders want to diversify
their faculties and invest heavily in recruitment as the primary mechanism to
meet that goal. However, under-represented faculty often experience a lack of
community, support, and mentoring on campus. This call outlines how administrators
can provide external mentoring, targeted professional development training, and
a peer support network for under-represented faculty.
CLICK HERE TO
DOWNLOAD THE SLIDES AND AUDIO
UPCOMING TRAINING WORKSHOPS
GUEST EXPERT WORKSHOP
TEACHING IN COLOR: EFFECTIVE TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR FACULTY OF COLOR
Facilitator: Chavella Pittman
Time: 4:00 PM ET
In this live workshop you'll learn:
You will also get to practice a few of these strategies in the workshop!
- A brief overview of research on faculty of color's teaching experiences
- Why and how you should reduce course prep and grading time
- Strategies to address race classroom dynamics
- How to document teaching effectiveness (beyond teaching ratings)
For more information and registration:
CORE TRAINING WORKSHOP:
HOW TO HAVE HEALTHY CONFLICT
Facilitator: Kerry Ann Rockquemore
Time: 4:00 PM ET
Academics are notoriously conflict avoidant and the inability to
manage conflict can result in negative physical, emotional, and
relational consequences for tenure-track faculty. So why not learn early
in your career to master the SKILL of healthy conflict so that you can
effectively manage conflicts as they arise and avoid carrying around all
of the negative energy, anger and resentment in your mind and body. In
this workshop, you will learn:
For more information and registration: click here
- Why conflict-management is an essential part of thriving in the Academy.
- How to decide when to push-back and when to pull back
- The difference between healthy and unhealthy conflict.
- How to get clear about the role that power plays in resolving conflicts.
- Ten tips for engaging in healthy conflict.
NEW FOR AY 2012-2013: FACILITATED LEARNING COMMUNITIES
In response to our
member's requests, individual and institutional members will now include access
to our brand new facilitated learning communities (no registration fees, no
extra tuition - it's all included in your annual membership). These are
multi-week courses, given by subject matter experts, on the topics of greatest
need: 1) how to write a journal article, 2) how to write a grant, 3) how to win
fellowships in the humanities, and 4) how to become an academic entrepreneur.
The first course, How
to Develop, Write and Submit Your Article in Nine Weeks, will begin on
Facilitated Learning Community: How to Develop, Write and Submit Your Article in Nine Weeks
Facilitator: Rich Furman, PhD
Dates: 9/26/2012 - 11/28/2012
Registration Deadline: 9/15/2012
this 9-week facilitated learning community you will learn the ins and outs of
publishing scholarly articles. Through audio lessons, readings,
experiential exercises, and threaded discussions, you will develop the
you need to publish your
work. Participants work on a new or in-progress article, receiving
invaluable feedback from other workshop participants. This course is
ideal for those fairly new to scholarly publishing,
or for those who may be
stuck, and wish to develop and strengthen existing skills.
For more information and registration: click here.
NCFDD Learning Communities are for individual and institutional members only.
The Mid-Career Emotional Spectrum
By Kerry Ann Rockquemore
Last month, I devoted our newsletter to a discussion of how and why people get stuck at mid-career.
Consistent with my experience on campuses, talking
about mid-career faculty who are "stuck" in a normative way elicits
three types of intense responses. The first is from people who are not
stuck and who feel compelled to shame and belittle
their colleagues who are stuck (with particular venom
aimed at those who have been stuck over a long period of time). The
second type of responses comes from people who are stuck and thankful
that someone is giving voice to the experience.
And finally, there are faculty members who are
high-functioning on the surface, but withering underneath. For them, the
mere idea of getting un-stuck feels like a life preserver.
In fact, anytime we start talking about a
pervasive reality that is not openly discussed, it’s common for intense
emotional responses to arise. Each of these responses reify my belief
that it’s perfectly normal to get stuck at mid-career
and that we need to differentiate between people and
processes of development. Some people know how to get
unstuck quickly, while others struggle to adjust their approach, learn
new skills, and develop the networks that
will lead to whatever post-tenure pathway
they truly desire. And most importantly, judging, shaming,
and attempts at characterizing people as irreparably
damaged "dead wood" are completely ineffective. They don't get anyone unstuck
and work instead towards diminishing the conversations.
Where Are You on the Mid-Career Emotional Spectrum?
If you’re currently in the feeling
"stuck" category, a great first step is to clarify
where you want to be in five years and identify the corresponding
pathway. The next step is to move a little deeper
into the emotional undercurrent of why you are stuck. I describe this as
the mid-career emotional spectrum because most post-tenure faculty can
locate their feelings within this range.
I’m going to describe each position on the spectrum
briefly to help you pinpoint your location so that you can identify what
emotional work you may need to do to move forward.
faculty members often describe feeling physically, emotionally and
relationally bone-weary. They have been stretched so
thin by service and institutional maintenance that
their work-life feels like a constant sprint from one mind-numbing
meeting to another.
a path for the next chapter of your career can elicit feelings of
confusion about what to put on the front burner and what to leave on the
back burner. This confusion
can stem from a sense of wanting to do lots of
different things or it can stem from a lack of interest in much of
I often hear people describe moments of looking around and thinking,
"Is this it?" Having worked so hard to win tenure, some faculty
experience intense disappointment
when faced with the reality that they are now
committed to colleagues they find unstimulating, living in a geographic
location that is suboptimal, and/or feeling they have few meaningful
relationships outside of work because of how much
they have sacrificed to win tenure.
On the tenure track, many faculty mask their emotions so as to be
professional and to be sure they don’t make enemies among those who will
be voting on their case. However,
masking one’s emotions over a period of time and
stuffing down intense emotional responses can result in feeling numb,
perpetually flat affect, and an inability to connect to emotions.
feeling comes from the market reality that it’s harder to move from one
institution to another post-tenure than it is pre-tenure. Even beyond
the academic labor market,
some faculty describe themselves as feeling "trapped”
when they are no longer interested in research but don’t believe they
have any marketable skills outside of the academy. In this context, the
perception of a limited marketability
combined with the security of a guaranteed salary and
benefits for the duration of their professional career binds some
faculty to a space and position they feel unable to leave.
the tenure-track years, some faculty members endure a variety of
hazing-like experiences. For those who have been beaten down over a
period of six years, some issues
and incidents remain unresolved or unexpressed and
result in a constant simmering rage that is carried around on a daily
basis and can erupt with the slightest provocation. For others, anger
stems from structural pressures like budget
cuts that result in constantly increasing workloads
and fewer resources. Anger can also be related to devaluation. It’s only
after being promoted with tenure that some professors realize the
disconnect between their own personal values
and the values of their college or university. Because
post-tenure faculty members engage in different types of service, they
are often brought into close contact with the stark distinction between
the story of what is valued by their
institution and the reality of what is valued
(evidenced by resource distribution). When faculty members sense that
work in a particular area is neither rewarded, nor recognized as
valuable by the institution, a certain level of inertia
and disengagement can set in.
the pre-tenure years, fear of failure (not getting promoted with
tenure) is a powerful motivator. For some faculty members, once the
absence of fear, as well
as intense, time-limited pressures to perform are
gone, their motivation is significantly diminished and a new source of
motivation must be located.
feeling is primarily voiced around teaching and repetitive service
responsibilities. For example, teaching introductory-level courses may
be stimulating the first few
times, but the 30th time around feels significantly
tenure is an enormous accomplishment and one that has taken six years
of hard work. The sense of relief stems from an alleviation of the
pressures generated by
the tenure track (not knowing if you can put down
roots in a location, not knowing if you will be successful, etc.). This
emotion is frequently asserted by those who have recently been awarded
tenure and promotion and often short-lived.
particular emotion can take a few different forms. One is from a sense
of intellectual freedom where scholars who may have taken a strategic
approach to their work in
the pre-tenure years feel the freedom to engage in
more ambitious projects post-tenure. Additionally, some mid-career
faculty members describe feeling free in terms of their voice and
feeling that they no longer need to filter or modulate
their opinions (as they did when they were on
probation). And finally, some describe a deep sense of freedom based on
not having to worry about their financial and professional future in
ways that will allow them to focus entirely on
their scholarship and teaching.
emotion is experienced by people who feel they are doing exactly what
they want to do and who have organized their post-tenure life to
maximize the time they spend
on activities that energize them and minimize the
activities that are energy draining.
hear this from faculty who describe knowing how to work the systems,
opportunities, and networks on their campus to get things done. They
feel clear in their agenda,
know how to move it forward, feel comfortable saying
no, and skilled in blocking competing agendas from advancing.
LETTING GO AND MOVING FORWARD
Can you locate yourself on the
mid-career emotional spectrum? I hope so, because understanding where
you currently reside on this spectrum is useful in moving forward. To
state the obvious, if you’re primarily located in any of the positive
emotions (powerful, free, happy) then you’re probably
not stuck and/or reading this article for advice. You may want to sharpen
your skills in time management and saying "no," but moving toward where
you want to be in five years is mostly
about gaining skills, trying new strategies, and
expanding your network.
What’s interesting is that the majority
of positions on the mid-career emotional spectrum are negative and
debilitating. If you locate yourself in any of these negative states, I
want to suggest a few ideas to free yourself up in order
to move forward.
1. Differentiate between the things that are (and are not) under your control.
I’m describing the causes of so many of
these negative emotions in detail because most of them: a) are outside
of your control and b) have nothing to do with where you want to be in
five years. People get angry with me when I say this,
but it’s true. The structural pressures aren’t likely
to change in the short term (and may actually get worse). If you’re
committed to the path of being an institutional change agent as your
primary activity, then organize on! But if
you want to work toward becoming a full professor,
breaking new ground in your discipline, or launching a new research
area, working to change things beyond your control and/or staying in a
state of perpetual anger and frustration over
them, is not going to move you toward your goals.
Focusing on your writing and becoming more productive (both of which ARE
under your control) will move you closer to where you want to be in
2. Think about what you need to do to release the negative emotions that are tied to individuals.
I know it’s hard, but moving out of
these negative emotions involves resolving your feelings, conflicts, and
relationships with others in your environment. In most cases, this is
going to involve some combination of a literal release
of the negative emotions from your body and some form
of forgiveness. Let’s face it, negative feelings (particularly when
stuffed down over a period of time) get embedded in your body and won’t
just go away. The more we try to push them
down, the more they take root, grow, deepen and expand
until you are walking around so bitter that you snap at every perceived
slight, become known for disproportionate responses to conflict, and/or
are perceived as "checked out" because
you’re so emotionally locked down that you can’t
engage. Whatever you need to do (kickboxing, hot yoga, a good cry,
short-term therapy, journaling, etc.) to get that hurt out of your body
so you’re no longer carrying it around is well
worth the investment.
3. Get clear about what success means to you.
One of my mentors once told me: "The
only real tenure in the world is to do what you love. Everything else is
an illusion." What I think he meant was that job security in a position
where you experience negative emotions most of the
time is not particularly desirable. So instead of
internalizing what your institution defines as successful, measuring
yourself by that standard, and/or being angry about how opportunities
and resources are distributed, try considering
what success means to you? What does it look like (by
your definition) to live a successful life? And once you’ve imagined
your own standard, see how that cognitive reframing changes how you
perceive your current situation.
This month I encourage you to:
1. Locate yourself on the mid-career emotional spectrum.
2. Ask yourself whether your current
location on that spectrum is likely to move you forward on your
mid-career path or if it’s keeping you stuck where you are.
3. Take a deep breath, close your eyes,
and ask yourself: What would it take for me to release myself from this
emotion and move forward?
4. Try some form of emotional release to
move whatever negative energy that you’re carrying in your body out of
you and make the space for some healing. This will be most effective if
you try something you’ve never done before.
5. Take 15 minutes to journal about what
it means to you to live a successful life. If your version of success
is perfectly aligned with your institution, great! If it’s not, take
some additional time to consider what it means to thrive
in a context where your values differ from
institutional values and what type of support would be necessary to
I hope you experience some new clarity
about what emotions may be underneath your sense of being stuck, the
willingness to do the work that’s necessary to release yourself from
them, and the empowerment
that comes from living out of your own version of
About the National Center For Faculty Development & Diversity
The National Center for Faculty
Development and Diversity is a professional development, training, and
mentoring community. We work with colleges, universities, professional
organizations, and individuals towards one goal:
helping faculty make a successful transition from
graduate student to professor. We offer on-campus workshops, professional
development training, and intensive mentoring programs.