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NCFDD Newsletter - January 2015
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January Newsletter


A Note From Kerry Ann


It’s time for a new year and a new term! I don’t know about you but I’m feeling rested and rejuvenated from the holiday break. I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico for several weeks for our annual family retreat and then get settled in Venice Beach, California where we’ll be spending the Spring Term. Taking a break from work to rest, relax, resettle (and have some fun) means that I’m ready and raring to go in 2015!

This year, the NCFDD team is on a mission to help faculty learn how to thrive in the Academy. Why? Because we work with so many brilliant faculty members who are physically and emotionally exhausted from working all the time and yet, still feel like they are failing. It seems that most faculty members imagine that being busy all the time, working 7 days a week, and experiencing chronic stress and sleep deprivation is an unchangeable part of academic life. We know that the exact opposite is true: sleeping 8 hours a night, taking weekends off, learning how to manage your work time, and having a life beyond your campus will make you more productive, effective, and happy. We know this because there’s plenty of empirical evidence to support it AND we’ve watched over 600 faculty in our Faculty Success Program undergo this exact transformation: greater productivity AND a life beyond work.


We want to encourage you to embrace the radical idea that living a full life will improve your productivity, so we’re kicking off 2015 with a monthly newsletter that's full of opportunities for you to start taking steps in that direction. First and foremost, we’re offering one of our most popular core curriculum webinars: Every Semester Needs A Plan. It’s an amazing way for you to start prioritizing your personal and long-term professional goals. In addition to this free workshop, we’re having a special 4-Day Membership Drive (January 27-30) for new NCFDD Individual Members. We only do this twice a year, so if you’ve been waiting to become an NCFDD member: mark your calendar!


We've also included some important information about our January on-campus workshops at Rutgers University and the University of Michigan Flint, our January guest expert webinar (Disability and Living/Working in the Academy) and our upcoming Multi-Week Course: Developing a Strategic Plan to Use Social Media to Enhance Scholarship. You're also invited to connect with our team, explore our Career Center, and meet another one of our Faculty Success Program alumni. And finally, our feature article ('No Justice! No Peace! No Writing?") is dedicated to managing the tension some faculty are feeling between academic life and activism in the current politically tumultuous times.


I hope you feel inspired by our January Newsletter to explore some new possibilities, make some new connections, and work towards redefining what success looks like for you in 2015!




Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD

President, National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity 



Faculty Success Program Scholarship Recipients Announced!


Carrie Castaneda-Sound

Crystal Chambers


Congratulations to the following individuals for being selected to receive tuition scholarships for the Spring 2015 Faculty Success Program!

  • Carrie Castaneda-Sound, Assistant Professor, Pepperdine University
  • Crystal Chambers, Associate Professor, East Carolina University
  • Angie Napier, Assistant Professor, Indiana State University
  • Carol Walther, Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University

The scholarships are awarded each session to individuals who have participated in our "Making the Ask" course, were not funded by their university, and showcase dedication and commitment to both personal and professional growth. The scholarships enable faculty members across disciplines and institutional types to participate in the NCFDD's Faculty Success Program.


Angie Napier

Carol Walther



Faculty Success Program Spotlight



Kaelyn Wiles, PhD
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Centre College



"Thank you for developing and running such an incredible program. I've had multiple breakthroughs this fall -- including writing every day. I had doubts at the beginning of the term that I would develop the habit of daily writing because I have always been such a steadfast procrastinator. I knew that I was the kind of person who needed a really high level of accountability and the Faculty Success Program offered that.  As I’ve been developing better habits, I need fewer accountability checks, but I also know that I can create more accountability mechanisms for myself when I need them. 

One of the things that I loved most about the FSP was the opportunity to have individual coaching sessions with master coaches. They were wonderful about answering questions, helping me set goals, and helping me overcome obstacles. This has been the most enjoyable semester of my academic career, both in teaching and research. Knowing what needs to get done each week and setting aside the time to do it has helped me feel calm and confident in moving forward on each of my tasks.  I am excited to apply what I’ve learned in FSP in other areas of my personal and professional life."



Institutional Membership




The NCFDD Welcomes

Our Newest Institutional Member:

University of California, Riverside

Do you want additional information about how your college or university can join a rapidly growing list of NCFDD Institutional Members?  Please contact Denise Rushing, Director of Institutional Relations, at



NCFDD Individual Membership Drive Begins January 27!




Our Spring 2015 Individual Membership Drive will run from 
Tuesday, January 27-Friday, January 30.


For 4 DAYS ONLY, you can register as an Individual Member at a discounted rate AND we will offer installment payments. 
NCFDD Individual Membership includes:

If you're not currently a member or if your membership has lapsed, be on the lookout for an email invitation! If you have questions about NCFDD Membership, contact



Meet the NCFDD Team




Each month we will introduce you to an NCFDD Team Member. This month, meet our new Director of Institutional Relations, Denise Rushing!

Even at a young age, Denise found the planet's living systems enchanting. She devoted her early career to environmental stewardship through science and technology--earning a degree in engineering from Stanford University. Her career as an energy technology executive spans three decades and includes launching award winning energy efficiency and technology initiatives adopted by utilities around the world. Business success notwithstanding, Denise recognized that humanity’s relationship with Earth’s living systems requires a deeper response. After earning her Masters in Culture and Spirituality, she co-founded an eco-spiritual center and was later elected to local public office serving two terms, where she was best known for her environmental advocacy and community revitalization efforts.

In her role as Director of Institutional Relations, Denise will be the liaison for all NCFDD Institutional Members.


Upcoming Training Webinars




Facilitator: Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD



Core Curriculum:

Every Semester Needs a Plan

  • Do you often start the semester with high hopes for your writing projects, but end disappointed by your actual productivity?
  • Do you desperately want (or need) to write a lot this semester?
  • Do you want to figure out how to be more productive AND enjoy your life this semester? 

Then join us for a hands-on workshop! We offer this planning workshop at the beginning of each semester so that you can take time out of your schedule to identify your personal and professional goals, create a strategic plan to accomplish them, and identify the types of community, support, and accountability you need to make this your most productive and balanced semester ever!


 Date: 1/15/2015
2:00-3:30 pm ET





Facilitator: Stephanie L. Kerschbaum, PhD



Guest Expert:

Disability and Living/Working in the Academy  

Living and working with a disability in academia is a common occurrence, particularly given the ways that academia itself is an environment that can exacerbate or bring out disabling conditions in many people. 

In this workshop, Stephanie L. Kerschbaum will suggest ways that academic environments can become more hospitable towards disability as well as how academics can work interdependently to enact accessible moves and procedures.


Date: 1/22/2015
3:00-4:30 pm ET




Multi-Week Courses This Spring



Facilitator: Margarita Mooney, PhD



March Multi-Week Course

Developing a Strategic Plan to Use Social Media to Enhance Scholarship

Have you ever thought you would like to enhance your presence on social media, but either don't have enough time or don't know enough?

This three-week course includes three online lectures, presenting on ideas of how to build your image on social media, form an online community of scholars, and track qualitative and quantitative measures of how social media enhances our scholarship. 


Dates: 3/17, 3/24, 3/31
1:30-3:00 pm ET


 Click here to view a list of upcoming Spring Training Webinars!



January Campus Workshops




Writing, Procrastination, and Resistance: How to Identify Your Writing Blocks and Move Through Them

Facilitator: Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
Date: Friday, January 23, 2015
Time: 9:30am - 12:30pm


Mentoring 101: How to Get What You Need to Thrive in the Academy

Facilitator: Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD 
Date: Friday, January 30, 2015
Time: 9:00am - 12:00pm



Have You Visited the NCFDD Career Center?




University of California, Merced

Dean of The School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

The Dean reports to the Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and is the chief officer of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA), serving as its executive head, representative, and administrator. The Dean will provide intellectual and academic leadership in the instructional and research missions of SSHA, overseeing more than 100 faculty and 20 staff through a period of great growth for the School as well as for the institution. S/he will engage the faculty and provide the strategic vision for SSHA, in addition to managing the academic leadership of the School. 

See the full posting here


Michigan State University

Academic Specialist in Diversity and Civic Engagement


The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University (MSU), seeks applicants for academic specialist position in diversity and civic engagement. Successful applicant will establish strong collaborative programs with diverse community, faculty, and student partners inside and outside MSU to enhance our groundbreaking civic engagement curriculum and commitment to recruitment and retention of a diverse student body.


See the full posting here


Dear Kerry Ann: "No Justice! No Peace! No Writing?"



Dear Kerry Ann,

The recent political events in Ferguson (and beyond) have me consumed with injustice in the world. I'm located in an isolated location (there are no actual protests in my area) so I'm spending enormous amounts of time on Facebook and Twitter re-posting news, fighting with "friends" I've only recently learned hold racist views, and watching all things protest on TV. I have no energy for my work and fighting for justice feels like an immediate need (or at least way more important than the boring article I'm writing). But I'm not meeting the expectations my department has for publishing my research and I have a third year review looming. Spending time on my writing feels privileged, careerist and positively decadent when other people are protesting in the streets. 

What should I do?


Passionate (But Not Productive) Assistant Professor


Dear Passionate,

I've been inundated the past two weeks with similar messages from tenure-track faculty members who are feeling the pain of recent events but unsure how to respond in ways that are effective and don't derail their productivity. In fact, the above email is a composite of several emails, which I combined to avoid identifying the individuals. Like most difficult situations there is no universally right (or wrong) answer, so let me suggest a few guiding questions for you to use as you make the right decision for you.



Take Stock of Your Current Productivity

Because you’re on the tenure-track, I recommend first conducting a sober assessment of your current productivity. What are the publication expectations in your department for tenure and where do you currently stand relative to those expectations? If you’re on track or ahead of the game, move on to the next set of questions. If you’re behind then you need to seriously consider the consequences of any activity that will take you further off-track. Your time is finite, so taking additional time to engage in any resistance activities is time that will no longer be available for your research and writing. That means it’s time to get real with yourself about whether it makes sense to put yourself further in the hole or whether it’s time to reframe your writing. In other words, maybe it’s time to let your success be your resistance.

If you’re not meeting research expectations, ask yourself about the efficacy of your existing writing habits and time management strategies. Moments like these (when life puts unexpected opportunities in front of us) are when your productivity habits matter the most. Planning your semester, planning your week, and writing every day lead to the kind of steady productivity that provides for a wider range of choices and lower stress during upheaval (be it personal or societal). If you’re behind, then it’s time to recognize that the habits that got you through graduate school may not be the habits that lead to success on the tenure track and make some changes. In other words, if you’re still a binge-and-bust, deadline-driven writer, it may be time to sign off Twitter and Facebook and start investing that time in daily writing


Do What Matters

Taking stock of your productivity clarifies how much time you have for engaging in protest activity. So the next question is how do you choose what activity matters. I can’t help but observe a number of cognitive errors at work in conversations I’ve had over the past two weeks. I keep hearing repeatedly that: 1) protesting in the streets is the only legitimate form of resistance, 2) spending hours on social media preaching to those who already agree with you produces change, 3) arguing with people who will never agree with you is an effective use of time and/or 4) if you’re not in the streets engaging in civil disobedience, nothing else matters. It’s as if there are only two choices in people’s minds: abandon your writing or sit behind your computer and compulsively engage social media.

Black and white thinking rarely leads us to the best decisions so I want to encourage you to consider that there is a wide continuum of protest activities. What is meaningful and effective for you may be very different than it is for someone else. The good news is that movements are composed of a broad range of activity. I like to ask three questions when determining what activity matters: 1) What can I do that other people cannot do? 2) What can I do that will have the most impact? 3) How can I use my unique skills/talents/training in the time I have available? Answering these questions can lead to a wide range of actions. For example, last week these questions led faculty I work with to the following activities:

  • contributing money for bail for those engaging in direct action,
  • drafting op-eds,
  • writing blog posts,
  • adjusting lessons plans to analyze the current events,
  • supporting students in making thoughtful choices about their activity,
  • organizing difficult conversations on campus,
  • participating in campus protests,
  • engaging in civil disobedience,
  • reconceptualizing a current academic writing project
  • signing petitions
  • supporting other scholars who are impacted through conversation

As you can see, answering these questions honestly led to a wide variety of activity. And all of the activities came from conscious and intentional choices by individuals as a reflection of their own gifts and talents and as a way of doing what matters. All of these examples are WORK (i.e., they take time and energy) in addition to your regular workload and will not be rewarded in your formal reviews. This is why it is critically important to be focused, strategic and intentional in how you invest your time.

Stay Healthy

Let’s be honest, the news of the past few weeks has triggered lots of powerful feelings: anger, fear, disappointment, sadness, grief, despair, and rage. These are all normal and healthy responses to injustice. And because of that, the final question I encourage you to consider is: what do you need to stay healthy during these times? Often, engaging in resistance activities is a productive direction for our emotions and can be a powerful means of processing and pushing back. That said, even when we choose meaningful action, there can still be residual emotion left over to deal with. It’s okay to scream, cry, and punch inanimate objects, as long as you don’t do so at work. You may also find that times like these require more sleep, exercise, loving physical contact and supportive conversation than other times. Ultimately, this is a collective stressor so just be sure your coping mechanisms are healthy ones.

I hope the idea of asking yourself a series of questions is a helpful approach to determining how you can both remain productive and protest during this season. I welcome your questions, comments and concerns on my Facebook page


In Peace and Productivity,

Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
President, National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity

To read other Dear Kerry Ann columns from Inside Higher Ed, click here

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