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NCFDD Newsletter - June 2014
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A Note from Kerry Ann

I had the amazing opportunity last month to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame's Graduate School ceremony! I had 12 minutes to share with MA and PhD candidates the most important thing that I wish I knew when I completed my doctoral degree. To me, that's easy! The secret to professional success is knowing the answer to one question: what is your zone of genius? 


Today I'm clear about the difference between doing tasks that are in my zone of competence (I'm perfectly capable of doing them but I don't do them particularly well) versus working in my zone of genius (I'm highly engaged, using my gifts, and doing what I love). It's like night and day! I feel different, the quality of work is different, and the impact my work has is fundamentally different. So while the definition of success may vary across individuals, the quickest path is to maximize the amount of time you spend in your zone of genius and minimize the time spent in your zone of competence.

So this month I want to ask you: What makes up your genius? And are you spending time every day in that sweet spot? If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry? I've asked my colleague Cristi Cooke to help you identify your pillars of genius in this month's feature article (below)I imagine that discovery and innovation are pillars of genius for some, so this month's core workshop is for those of you who love the research  process, but experience lots of resistance to writing! I'll be teaching Moving from Resistance to Writing and we're hosting a guest expert workshop on How to Engage Non-Academic Audiences. We're also kicking off one of our most popular multi-week courses with Badia Ahad: How to Navigate the Academic Job MarketIf you're currently an NCFDD member, all of these courses are included in your annual membership. If you're not currently a member, the summer is a perfect time to join our 45,000 member community. In fact, we're having an Individual Membership Drive starting next week (details below)!


We are so excited about all of the workshops, courses, and community we have to support you this summer! We hope these resources contribute to your discovering and maximizing your genius!


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


Facilitator: William Haupricht


Have you ever wondered why a rapidly growing number of colleges and universities are becoming NCFDD Institutional Members? Join William Haupricht for a short preview call to learn all about how external mentoring can support your graduate students, post-docs and faculty members.

Date: 6/12/2014


Our Summer Institutional Membership Drive Ends June 20th! 

We're offering a 10% discount for new Institutional Memberships until June 20th.
If you need additional information about how your college or university
can become an NCFDD Institutional Member
please contact William Haupricht:


Our Summer 2014 Individual Membership Drive begins on June 10, 2014. For
4 DAYS ONLY, you can register at a discounted rate AND we're offering installment payments. For just $15 per month for grad students (and post-docs) and $30 per month for faculty members you can access all of our online resources:

If you're not currently a member or your membership has lapsed, be on the lookout for an email invitation on June 10th.


Facilitator: Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
Date: 6/18/2014
Core Curriculum Workshop:
Moving From Resistance To Writing


This workshop focuses on:

  • What resistance is and why academic writers experience it in pursuit of work we want and need to complete
  • How to identify what's holding you back from writing and completing your writing projects.
  • The three most common types of writing blocks 
  • How to create the types community, support and accountability for your writing that will help you to ride through whatever type of writing block you are currently experiencing. 
Register Now

Fatimah Williams Castro, PhD

Date: 6/11/2014

Guest Expert Workshop:

How To Speak To (And Engage) Nonacademic Audiences


Do you want to engage audiences beyond refereed journal subscribers and academic conference attendees? Would you like to share your work with practitioners, policymakers and advocacy groups? If so, join us to learn:

  • Why and what non-academic audiences want to hear from you
  • Potential formats for reaching your desired audience
  • Common mistakes academics make
  • How to maintain your voice, yet be accessible to diverse audiences

Badia Ahad, PhD

Beginning June 5th:
How To Navigate The Academic Job Market: From Application To Campus Interview

This three-week workshop aims to demystify the job market and guide you through the entire process from "application to campus interview,” with a special emphasis on clarifying what YOU want, how to present your "best self” in your CV and cover letter, and how to prepare for your in-person, telephone or Skype interview. We will also cover the nitty-gritty of the on-campus interview (what and what not to say/do/wear) as well as basics of contract negotiation (what you can and SHOULD ask for).

Julie Artis, PhD

Beginning July 8th

Department Chair Intensive: How To Balance Teaching, Research (And Life!) While Transitioning Into An Academic Role
Is it your "turn" to become department chair? Are you newly appointed to the role? Just like entering your first tenure-track job, becoming an administrator is a major career transition. In this four week session, we will discuss various ways to engage the role of chair while continuing to do scholarship and take care of yourself; brainstorm how to build a strategic network; learn how to engage in "difficult conversations" that will inevitably be part of your job; and ultimately, create your own personal, realistic definition for a successful term as department chair.

Chavella Pittman, PhD
Beginning July 24th
Teaching In No Time: How To Have A Stress-Free Semester

In this four-week course you will learn the basics of planning and executing a stress-free course. Through weekly calls and exercises, you will develop the skills you need to teach effectively with less time and stress. Participants can revise a current course or plan a new one. This course is ideal for new or experienced teachers at research or teaching universities who want to reduce the anxiety and/or time associated with teaching.



Tenure & Time Management: How to Manage Your Time so You Can Publish Prolifically AND Have a Life Beyond the Ivory Tower

Facilitator: Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
Date: June 11, 2014


Do You Want An NCFDD Speaker to Provide a Workshop on Your Campus?
See our Campus Workshops Offered and Booking Information


Featured Listing:
University of Washington- Bothell


The University of Washington, Bothell seeks a dynamic leader to work as Director of Diversity to support and provide leadership for campus-centered diversity initiatives, working with campus stakeholders to increase opportunity, equity, and inclusivity in all aspects of campus life.

See the full posting
Visit the Career Center


Erica Lorraine Williams, PhD



As the summer kicks off, are you seeking accountability, support, and community around your writing and research goals? If so, please join us in the NCFDD forums for the Monthly Writing Challenges! In that space you can share your monthly writing/research and personal goals, your accomplishments, and your challenges, and seek advice and support from your peers. It's never too late to join!


When It Comes to Mentoring, the More the Merrier

 Find Your Genius:
3 Surprising Places to Look for Your Unique Genius


I believe there is GENIUS in EVERYONE.

The questions is: Do you know how to identify, and where to look, for your unique genius?

The truth is, most people are looking in the wrong places for their unique genius. They are looking exclusively at their work life - instead of their whole life - to find their genius. And it's why so many people struggle to identify it.

There are many places to look for your unique genius. Here are three clear, but often surprising places you can look:

Genius Clue #1: What You Do Terribly?

While it sounds a little funny, looking at what you're not very good at often points to your genius, IF you look at it the right way. For example, I worked in the corporate environment for over 12 years and completely sucked at playing office politics. It wasn't because I thought that I was "above it all". I just get confused when people don't say exactly what they mean, or mean exactly what they say.


I also completely suck at poker. I am terrible at bluffing or understanding when someone else is, so I lose all my money in the first 5 minutes. I love the idea of playing poker. But the reality is I'm terrible at it.

Let's look deeper. The reason I suck at office politics and poker, and any other thing that requires you to say something other than precisely what you mean, is that I Have No Filter. And guess what, one of my pillars of genius is that "I Have No Filter".

In order to excel at my work as a coach, I need to understand the raw, unfiltered truth. That means I ask my clients lots of detailed questions, to get past their surface story and get to the unfiltered truth. I do this because my clients' nuggets of gold lie in the unfiltered truth. In this way, my pillar of genius (I Have No Filter) is one of the my most powerful assets on my work. Just ask any of my clients who have experienced it, and nailed their genius because of it. So take inventory of what you suck at. If you look closer, you may find that your genius is hiding there.

Genius Clue #2: What Agitates You?

Often what drives you nuts points straight to your non-negotiable values and behaviors. These are core to who you are because you just don't know how to be any other way. For example, let's say poor customer service drives you totally nuts. You have a bad customer service situation, and your family and friends hear about it for days. You post it on Facebook. You wake up in the middle of the night thinking of how that company "should have handled the situation", and write it down on the notepad beside your bed.


If you're a professor, you might think to yourself "students are not customers, so this has nothing to do with creating a vibrant learning community in the classroom (i.e.: my job.)".

Not so fast, genius. It likely has *everything* to do with your genius.

If bad customer service drives you batty, is it possible that every single policy and process in your classroom is tight as a bow? You run a tight ship and when students are displeased, you're effortlessly able to turn their complaints into learning opportunities? Your TA's are fully empowered to do whatever it takes to support student learning. And your evaluations consistently sing the praises of your content, your TA Team, and how much you make students feel valued, seen, and heard as learners in your classroom. 

Is it possible that if you wanted to, you could train others how to run large lecture course that provide great learning outcomes and a positive experience for students? You betcha. Is it possible that students sign up for your class in droves - partly for the great content - and partly because they know they will be treated like GOLD? Does that differentiate your courses? Of course it does. So look a little closer at what agitates you because your genius may be hiding in what drives you completely nuts.

Genius Clue #3 - What Are Your "Quirks" and So-Called Flaws?

What do your best friends, partner and family members rib you about (hint: it's usually accompanied by eye-rolling, and statements like "You're so (fill in the blank: ________ chatty/analytical/detailed)?

Listen closer - their ribbings are helping you identify your unique genius. It could be that you're the one who creates 20 spreadsheets for a family camping trip. Or, you have to have your entire home organized and labeled. Or, like me, you ask overly personal questions to complete strangers, whether it's a taxi driver or someone in the elevator.

If you're a Department Chair, and you (for fun) create 20 spreadsheets to go on a family camping trip, you might just see that as "quirky" and having nothing to do with your professional success. But look closer. Your quirks may be pointing directly to your genius.

Is it possible that your approach to leading your department is more powerful because you somehow analyze and organize data differently than others? Do you create spreadsheet tools for your faculty committees, staff, and events that organize everything they need to do? You might think "well that's no big deal". Quirks never seem like a big deal to you. But they are most likely the exact reason why people rave about you as chair. They love those spreadsheets that come from the same source that your family ribs you about. In other words, work your quirks! They are pointing straight to your unique genius.

What would happen if you got serious about finding your pillars of genius by looking in these surprising places? It's Simple. You'd set yourself up to find your unique genius and use it to serve your students, colleagues and campus in a way that you -- and only you -- can.


Cristi Cooke

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