Tag: Collegiality

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Make feedback matter – steps to achieve high performance and retention

How and why do supervisors provide feedback? How does feedback influence retention? These questions are posed in this week’s Roundup article. While it focuses on the corporate world, the discussion also applies to the academic environment. Feedback is intended to help faculty, staff, and students improve performance, but the article notes that, “Telling people they are missing the mark is not the same as helping them hit the mark.” Just conveying negative feedback reduces engagement, so supervisors of faculty, staff, and students can build a culture of high performance by shifting from critic to ally.

The article recommends four steps. The first is to communicate by listening and empathizing with the challenge, expressing confidence in the person’s ability to prevail, and then asking to partner with them on brainstorming strategies. Steps 2 through 4 frame outcomes through actions. Partnering as an ally centers the faculty, staff, or student employee in the plan while supervisor management aligns resources and collaboratively develops strategies to help the employee grow. Using these strategies increases communication, morale, and helps position all individuals to succeed at their highest level of performance.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PIs. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Departmental Climate Has High-Impact for DEIS

A recent article in Science magazine, “Michigan’s Surprising Path to Diversity,” highlights the success of the Applied Physics Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan in recruiting and graduating underrepresented students. As much as one-third of the program’s entering cohort are Black, Latino, or Native American students, compared with 5% nationally, and women comprise one-third of the typical graduating class. Success starts by removing barriers, such as reconceptualizing the vision of the ideal graduate student among faculty, empowering staff to serve, and creating a family-like climate. Roy Clark, founding program director, states that “we make it clear that we expect people who come here to succeed,” and the program promotes excellent teaching among research faculty. The interdisciplinary program also helps to connect multiple areas of study, which appeals to underrepresented students. For example, the Imes-Moore Bridge Program helps recruit, prepare, and sustain cohorts of underrepresented students to the program. Model programs such as this one can inspire new ways of structuring our own PhD programs for student success.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the Advocates Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

When Bad Behavior Becomes Sexual Harassment

by Institutional Equity

Sexual harassment is no joke. This topic is no longer off-limits, and allegations are being taken more seriously than ever before. But when does behavior cross from bad to unprofessional to sexual harassment? Is sexual harassment only egregious acts of physical touching or fondling? Does the behavior have to occur more than once before it becomes sexual harassment?

So often, recipients of sexual harassment talk themselves into believing it’s not a big deal with thoughts like this:

  • “Don’t be so sensitive. It’s just a joke.”
  • “That is a really nice skirt. Can’t you take a compliment?”
  • “Is it really that bad if they’re looking at you? Who doesn’t like attention?”
  • “Why do they have to hug me? I guess that’s just what they do.”
  • “The comments are not directed toward me, so I should mind my own business.”

Jokes, comments and actions can be harmful. Don’t justify someone else’s actions. What matters is the impact of their actions. When someone else’s behavior affects you to the point that it interferes with your employment and programs associated with employment, that is the point at which the behavior needs to be addressed.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex, including verbal, physical, written and visual forms. Employees are encouraged to seek assistance as early as possible to prevent the harassment from continuing and possibly becoming more serious. Whether you are reporting harassment directed at yourself, another employee or a student, the key is to report the incident(s) so any harm can be remedied, the appropriate University personnel can respond and University procedures are followed.

Don’t suffer in silence. There are multiple resources, so choose the one that best meets your needs:

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Recommendations for LGBTQ+ Inclusivity

Creating more inclusive academic communities and making equity and diversity hallmarks of campus culture are lofty goals. What are the actual practices that can make such goals concrete features of university life? A recent essay in CBE-Life Sciences Education makes the case that inclusivity requires thoughtful, proactive strategies. Specifically, the authors advance fourteen actionable recommendations for creating more inclusive academic relationships and environments for LGBTQ+ individuals in the life sciences. The recommendations provide strategies for inclusive practices in the classroom, on campus, in research spaces, and at conferences. They address issues of language, naming assumptions and alternatives, a variety of practical advocacy actions, teaching activities and materials, and research design and protocols. These recommendations are meant to stimulate further discussion, recognizing the ongoing need to adapt normative expectations and commonplace practices in order to create productive, inclusive academic spaces and communities.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: What to do in the moment when being bullied

We have all experienced bullying at work and upon reflection we often think we could have handled the moment better. Each time we think “How could I have responded better?”, “What should I have said?”, “Why is this still bothering me?”  But how? In Liz Kislik’s blog, she shares exercises she uses with her clients to navigate the moments of bullying by a colleague. The first exercise is to ask yourself “Are you safe?” Recognizing that you are safe reduces the grip the bully has on you. The second exercise is to mentally imagine the bully as small and vulnerable standing in the palm of your hand. Since the source of the bullying behavior is insecurity and lack of control, this exercise redirects behavior to focus on the bully and not on the response.  This positions you to act in a manner that is measured and strategic instead of purely reactionary. Measured responses also allow supervisors to better recognize the source of the bullying behavior and hopefully work to correct problematic patterns of poor behavior.  

Today’s feature was shared with us by A3B. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

A&A Session for Chairs/Unit Leaders

During Academic Forum on Wednesday, it was mentioned that the ombudsperson talks to ~2 faculty per week.  This rate is consistent with results from Michigan Tech’s Work, Live, Learn Survey which found that 31.6% of women disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement that they felt supported and mentored during the tenure-track years or the 22.4% who don’t feel valued by their department chair/school dean.  I know each of you care about your faculty so these findings are disturbing.  


Crafting positive climates so that everyone is valued and feels part of a supportive team relies upon broad engagement of all faculty in a unit and the chair can help influence this.  That is why ADVANCE has adapted the Advocates & Allies program to offer a learning environment led by peers.  As a Department Chair, have you been concerned about your unit’s community and cohesiveness over the last year?  Have you wondered about interactions between your faculty in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion? or related to the University Senate’s Proposal 41-21?  


Research has revealed that retention of faculty is closely coupled with how included individuals feel and that attracting new faculty is closely coupled with how well systems ensure equity is embraced within a unit.  Our diversity counts illustrate that Michigan Tech is one of the least diverse campuses in the nation (second resource here).  All of this can be intimidating, but the NSF ADVANCE effort on campus would like to help with a one-hour educational session from the Advocates & Allies (A&A) program.   A&A sessions provide the data and research, starting from the beginning, that enables individuals to gain perspectives and help them become allies for the success and inclusion of non-majority individuals. 


THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED. Through a department chairs only session, we’d like you to preview this program and consider inviting us to present to your department.  This session will be presented by our Advocates Team in coordination with the ADVANCE Academy for Responsive Leadership.  Please RSVP  and join us on Wednesday, March 31st from 4 to 5.

THIS EVENT WAS POSTPONED. When: Mar 31, 2021 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Register in advance for this meeting:https://michigantech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvdumqqj8jEtKTYYe0ArOPrzgqPUpuUOuE  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Mothers Rebuild: Solutions to Overcome COVID-19 Challenges

by Allison Mills, University Marketing and Communications

Over the summer and fall, paper after paper revealed that mothers are one of the demographics hardest hit by the pandemic. From layoffs and leaving careers to do caretaking, to submission rate decreases and additional service projects, the data were clear, but the follow up less so. Many of the problems are not new and will remain after the pandemic. But a new paper, published this week in PLOS Biology, outlines methods to help solve them.

“In the spirit of the well-worn adage ‘never let a good crisis go to waste,’ we propose using these unprecedented times as a springboard for necessary, substantive and lasting change,” write the paper’s 13 co-authors, including Amy Marcarelli (Bio Sci), who helped lead the paper’s section addressing professional societies. She sees the work through her lens as an ecosystem ecologist.

“Some of my most recent work has been around cascading and indirect effects and how effects viewed on short time scales may have very different outcomes at long time scales,” Marcarelli said. “What I’ve learned from that research is that you can’t abstract a single characteristic of an organism and expect that to explain its ecological role. And [in academia] we try so often to treat ourselves as researchers — and not as mothers and partners and daughters and leaders — and that’s to the detriment of all of us. It’s to the detriment of us as individuals but it’s also to the detriment of our academic system because if we don’t treat people as whole people then we fail them.”

Marcarelli joined researchers who are also parents to outline ways to help mothers recover and rebuild academic careers during and after the pandemic. Read their solutions on mtu.edu/news and follow the conversation with @mturesearch on Twitter.

February 12, 2021 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

Incorrect assumptions on the part of one or both parties during discourse can often push “hot buttons” and devolve an otherwise civil conversation into a conflict. Learning and listening plummets as tensions rise.  When conflict arises, the way in which we respond is far more telling than we may think. Today’s featured article for the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup outlines “7 Steps To Transform Conflict Into Collegiality.” As members of the Michigan Tech CommUNITY how we treat each other during discussions is also important.  Listening to understand, and focusing on the concepts instead of labeling the person, helps us all learn and grow while maintaining collegiality and space for all individuals to thrive.

If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These articles are available on the ADVANCE Newsblog (https://blogs.mtu.edu/advance/). To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.