Tag: Retention

Keeping individuals on career paths, supporting, valuing, including

ADVANCE Roundup: Institutional Ideas for Responding to Faculty Exhaustion and Demoralization

Although the early years of the pandemic are behind us, and we are beginning to adjust to a “new normal” in our classrooms, labs, and professional activities, faculty continue to report feeling exhausted and over-stressed. Two recent essays in Inside Higher Ed suggest unique institutional responses: a “Chapter 11” work relief declaration and a return to values and workload equity redesign. The Chapter 11 suggestion was made by an anonymous faculty caregiver overwhelmed by unrelenting teaching and academic demands that she could not fulfill following an official two-week hiatus necessitated by her child’s health crisis. This was not simply a personal problem; she argues that faculty are “like lemmings walking off a cliff of overwork” with the requirements for career advancement ever-increasing, an expansion of committee and administrative tasks, and constant pivots, instructional up-dates, and altered expectations for teaching. The author proposes a “Chapter 11” for faculty that would allow overwhelmed colleagues to step away from some of these responsibilities. Too often, we just watch each other struggle. 

In the other article, Doug Lederman describes a state of faculty “demoralization” characterized by detachment, cynicism, and dissatisfaction, provoked by a discrepancy between espoused values like equity, care, and deep learning and enacted values that tend more to system preservation and economic goals. Added to this is the realization that a faculty career is changing given current and future constraints—less job security, more surveillance and accountability, diminished institutional flexibility, a paucity of faculty resources. Instead, a mythic ideal is upheld as a standard for faculty performance requiring constant availability, unquestioning loyalty, no caregiving distractions, and bodies that never falter.

There is considerable evidence that experiences of exhaustion and demoralization often jeopardize the progress of women caregivers in STEM, especially those with children (see, for example, these two recent publications–”Preventing a Secondary Epidemic of Lost Scientists” and “Voices of Untenured Female Professors in STEM”). Lederman argues that these issues impact recruitment and retention, undermining institutional goals of faculty equity and diversity and points out that campus culture has a critical impact on institutional competitiveness both for talent and institutional reputation. He urges university leadership to gather data on workplace conditions (note the ADVANCE AFEQT tool), measure workload inequities, update systems of reward and accountability, and reconfigure administrative systems to uphold core cultural values. We hope that innovative responses like a faculty “Chapter 11” or institutional reconfigurations around deep values can catalyze a shift in the culture of academe toward more humane priorities and an institutional redesign that is more inclusively responsive.

Today’s feature was shared with us by Dr. Jennifer Slack (IPEC, Humanities) and the ADVANCE PI 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: 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: Beyond Productivity Metrics: Call for a Paradigm Shift in STEMM

In this essay, a group of scientists advocates for paradigmatic change in the academic scientific enterprise. Specifically, they point to biases in STEMM measures of success, normative standards that support a subset of scholars and narrow the career pathways for others, and call out those in positions of power for engaging in advocacy performances rather than substantive change. They offer several ways to“pivot the paradigm”. First, address the gendered, raced, and classist biases in the “publish or perish” model that relies on impact scores to assess value. Second, expand measures of scientific value to encourage non-publishing pathways (i.e., applied sciences, public dissemination, podcasts) that acknowledge the critical need for researchers with expertise to engage in broader communities (i.e., policy, training). Third, implement multidimensional and networked mentorship to support a ”publish and flourish” model of STEMM excellence. Fourth, engage in creative, innovative ways to dismantle discriminatory systems to instead promote equity, diversity, and inclusion with effective accountability mechanisms. Finally, invest the resources to promote belonging, safety, and well-being at the research group, departmental, institutional, and funding levels. We applaud this far-reaching call for transformative change to realize justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the academy.

Today’s feature was shared with us by Amy Marcarelli. 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: Eliminating the penalties for motherhood in STEM

The COVID-19 pandemic has called attention to the impediments that women in STEM face as mothers, including a multipronged “maternal wall” with career-long ramifications. This week’s Roundup takes you to a virtual conference, “Motherhood and career retention in STEM: Systemic barriers and actionable solutions” held on May 5, 2021. The event was sponsored by Mothers in Science and features lucid summaries and original research into the challenges and structural barriers for women in STEM and in faculty careers more broadly as well as actionable solutions. A summary of the conference issues appeared in The Scientist featuring Mothers in Science co-founder Isabel Torres, a PhD in genetics and mother of four. Refreshingly, the presentation videos often reveal the presence of children, a deliberate strategy to make visible the work that must go on behind-the-scenes by academic mothers.

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.

Come Together: Building an Equitable Department Where Faculty Want to Work and Stay

The Department Chair Professional Development Workshop Series aims to strengthen the abilities of department chairs to lead change by cultivating inclusive and supportive work environments for all faculty.  Workshops will address the challenges of faculty evaluation, department culture, work-life integration, and diversity, equity and inclusion, with appropriate attention to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on faculty careers.  Facilitated workshop sessions are open to chairs from all four campuses as a way to share cross-institutional best practices.  

Our virtual workshop is titled Come Together:  Building an Equitable Department Where Faculty Want to Work and Stay.  To accommodate schedules, this facilitated workshop is offered on two separate dates:

Department chairs are invited to sign up for one of the two workshop dates using the corresponding registration links.  Workshop materials will be provided closer to the workshop date. 

Institutional Contacts:

For general information, please contact: Katharine Hensley, ISU Faculty Success Coordinator at  khensley@iastate.edu.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Confronting Ableism and Improving Climate

Beginning a new school year can be a moment for recognizing and challenging ingrained patterns and perspectives in order to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus community. One pernicious aspect of campus life is the pervasive ableism that often goes unacknowledged. Ableism refers to the beliefs, practices, and physical arrangements that disadvantage and stigmatize those with disabilities, whether visible or invisible. One of this week’s articles asks, “Where are the disabled and ill academics?” noting that a higher percentage of students disclose their disability status than faculty. Another article points out that the dominant conceptions of disability make claiming a disability a professionally risky move, especially voluntarily disclosing an invisible disability like a neurodiverse condition. A third article by a professor with a visible disability warns that accommodations may inadvertently impose “unreasonable adjustments” that require “additional unpaid labor.” Crafting a welcoming, inclusive, and accessible campus includes re-examining dominant perceptions and caricatures of disabilities, listening respectfully to experiences of ableism, stigma, and the complexities of accommodation, and working together for more responsive policies and practices.

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: Documenting the Extent of COVID Career Disruptions

Documenting the impact of the COVID shutdowns during 2020-21 on the productivity and well-being of students and faculty in higher education is critical to responsive efforts toward recovery.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a report, Impact of COVID-19 on the Careers of Women in Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, documenting the ways COVID disruptions impacted the careers of women in STEMM. In this brief video based on the report, STEMM women give voice to these impacts. The video resonates with the experiences of many STEMM women and offers insight into the intensity of women’s challenges during COVID and the need for change in the culture of academe itself. Michigan Tech is exploring several measures to provide faculty opportunities to report these impacts on their work including spaces for narratives in Digital Measures, COVID guidelines for Tenure, Promotion, and Reappointment (TPR) committees and reviewers, and adjustments to workloads, tenure clocks, and service expectations. We encourage all to participate in discussions on these measures.  

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PI 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. 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: Unintended effects of gender-neutral tenure policies

Policies that allow for pauses in the tenure clock have been discussed as a potential solution to the gender disparities observed in faculty promotion, such as those which have become more evident during the pandemic. But what evidence do we have that these policies produce desirable outcomes? A 2018 study using aggregated economics department data revealed that adoption of gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies actually led to a decrease of 19% in women faculty obtaining tenure, while men obtaining tenure increased by 17%. These results “imply that gender-neutral tenure clock stopping policies do not adequately account for the true gender-specific productivity losses associated with having children,” thereby actually worsening the problem they are attempting to fix. It behooves us to examine whether our own university policies are adequately designed to correct the imbalances and achieve their desired outcomes.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the MTU 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. 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.

November 20, 2020 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

Disabilities, both visible and unseen, impact approximately 26% of the US population and research has shown that both graduation and retention rates for students with disabilities are lower than those of their peers. Faculty ranks are also impacted with only 3.6% of tenured faculty identifying themselves as individuals with disabilities. While efforts to include disability in diversity work are gaining momentum, it’s time for a reckoning in higher education. Today’s edition of the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup features an article from Inside HigherEd that discusses the need for an increase in diversity and inclusion efforts for those with disabilities.

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.

October 23, 2020 ADVANCE Weekly Roundup

Paid time off, generous raises, bonuses, and even free coffee. Each of these are tools used by employers to improve retention. However, these mechanisms don’t address the concerns of the employee who doesn’t feel comfortable in their work environment. Without knowing and addressing the reasons an employee may feel excluded, other measures to increase retention are for naught. Today’s ADVANCE Weekly Roundup article comes from the Harvard Business Review and emphasizes the importance of fostering an inclusive workplace environment on retention of employees.

Today’s feature was shared with us by Michael Olson. 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.