Pete Larson, Research Development
Several early-career research programs are coordinated annually through federal research agencies. Below is some information on programs of particular interest to Michigan Tech faculty.
DARPA Young Faculty Award
Deadline: Executive Summary 10/26/20 (encouraged); Full Proposal 01/08/21Basic eligibility: Untenured in a tenure-track position OR tenured within 3 years of tenure date, employed at a US institution, no prior YFA award. For more information, click here.
Department of Energy (DoE) Early Career Research Program
Deadline: Pre-application (required) due 11/20/20. Full application due 02/16/20. Basic Eligibility: No prior DoE early career award; no more than 10 years since Ph.D. awarded, untenured assistant professor OR untenured associate professor on tenure-track. See solicitation for additional details. For more information, click here.
National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Program
Deadline: July 26, 2021. Basic eligibility: Ph.D. in NSF-supported discipline, untenured and in a tenure-track position, no prior CAREER award, and limit of three submissions pre-tenure. See solicitation for additional details. For more information, click here. Due to the wide interest in this program across campus, the research development office offers a short series of sessions leading up to the NSF CAREER submission deadline each year. Watch your email for an invite to these sessions early in the spring semester.
Several NSF directorates and programs have recently announced that the CAREER program is being re-focused to try to fund PI’s at an earlier career stage, rather than just before tenure. If you have been previously advised to not submit a CAREER proposal early in your career, the situation is now changing at NSF.
There are also several other programs of potential interest, including the Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program and the Air Force Young Investigator Research Program (current year information not yet available), among others. If you’d like to discuss submission to any of these programs, feel free to reach out to the research development team (email@example.com) for assistance.
Pete Larson, Research Development
Dear New Faculty,
This recent Tomorrow’s Professor post, Rethink Your Writing Time, provides advice on how to be productive in your writing as you also become increasingly busy with other aspects of your new position. I hope you find some of the tips to be useful to increase your own research productivity.
Rethink Your Writing Time
In last week’s Monday Motivator, I challenged each of you to create a Strategic Plan by identifying your goals for the term, mapping out how to achieve them, and committing specific weeks in your calendar to particular projects. If you haven’t created your strategic plan yet, you can click here and listen to our Every Semester Needs a Plan webinar to get yours started.
This week, I want to focus on how you can move from having a written Strategic Plan to actually executing it! Based on the findings of faculty development researchers, the answer is straightforward: Write every day for at least 30 minutes.
It sounds so easy, but for most academics, writing for at least 30 minutes every day is anything but simple. It is more difficult than it sounds because even though we KNOW that writing and publication are high priorities, we often BEHAVE as if writing is our lowest priority. In other words, despite knowing that writing is critical to our professional success, we often treat it as an optional activity. We “try to make time for it” at the end of the day or “hope to get to it” after everything else has been done and everyone else’s needs have been met. I want to make a radical suggestion this week: Let’s re-think our writing time by giving it the same weight in our schedule that it will have in our tenure review, promotion decision, and/or how we are valued on the job market.
To begin re-thinking your writing time, try an experiment this week by blocking out at least 30 minutes of each day for writing (Monday through Friday). In order to send a powerful message to yourself and the universe, go ahead and block that time out of your calendar the same way you would a meeting or a class. Then treat your writing time with the same respect and professionalism that you would extend to your colleagues or your students. That means your writing time is non-negotiable. Nothing else can happen during that time, and if anybody asks to schedule something during your writing time, the answer is: “Unfortunately, I’m not available at that time. I have a meeting.”
The Weekly Challenge
This week, I challenge you to do the following:
- Create a Strategic Plan (if you have not done so already).
- Block out at least 30 minutes of time each day this week for writing. I mean literally write it in your calendar! If you are feeling bold, go ahead and block out your writing time for the entire term.
- Treat your writing time with the same respect that you would a meeting with your colleagues or your students.
- Show up at your computer during the writing time this week, and see what happens.
- If you need support and accountability in developing your daily writing, join us in the Monthly Writing Challenge Discussion Forum.
- If you find yourself unable or unwilling to do any of the above, gently and lovingly ask yourself: WHY?
- If you want more help in developing a daily writing practice, consider reviewing our Core Curriculum Webinar: How to Develop a Daily Writing Practice.
I hope this week brings you the openness to re-think your writing time and the strength to aggressively, pro-actively, and even ruthlessly make time for writing every day. You deserve it!
Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD
Founder, National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity
By Susan Liebau, Asst Dean of Students & Director of the Waino Wahtera Center
As a faculty member, you have many opportunities in class, lab, office hours, and other places to engage with your students. When you find yourself in a situation where you feel a student may need additional direction or assistance, the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success staff is happy to step in. We can meet and work directly with students on specific and/or underlying challenges and get them connected to other services on campus.
The Wahtera Center houses a variety of programs and services that provide direction for transition and support for academic success at Michigan Tech. This includes Orientation and New Student Programs, success courses, Student Disability Services, the ExSEL and ExSEL Plus programs, peer-to-peer academic success coaching, and coordinated outreach to students at critical points in the semester (like midterm for first-year students) or who may be facing individual challenges at any time in the semester.
Academic success coaches work one-on-one with students on critical skills and habits that impact academic success, as well have discussions about balance and overall well-being. Coaches provide guidance on effective time management practices, help students develop or refine study habits, and generally are individual point people for helping students develop personal accountability.
The Center is a part of Student Affairs at Michigan Tech and has strong working relationships with areas on campus that are often critical for student success like Counseling Services, Student Financial Services, the Registrar and academic advisors. The physical Wahtera Center space is shared by the Dean of Students area so it is convenient for us to collaborate if a situation requires involvement from that area. You don’t need to have a full understanding of what a student is facing to encourage them to work with our office or for you to contact us to make a referral. Also, if you aren’t sure who to talk to about a student issue, we can assist. We are located on the first floor (130) of the Administration Building. Contact us at (906) 487-3558 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Joshua Olson, Chief Information Officer
IT Funded Software software requests
Software is a fundamental tool for research and teaching by faculty. Making decisions about which software to fund can be challenging and have a range of impacts. The IT Governance Committee has developed a process for determining the best use of its future software funding. This takes the form of an IT grant process conducted each fall semester. The deadline for software applications is November 1. The software is available for research and teaching for the following academic year (August).
If you’d like more information about the software request process, please contact us at email@example.com or call 906-487-1111.
Classroom A/V technology
Michigan Tech has over 40 classrooms equipped with instructional technology such as computers, projectors, lecture capture, and document imaging tools. We also maintain all lab computers on campus, as well as the PCs used for instruction in classrooms.
If you need help with the teaching technology in a classroom, you can reach us from the phone at the podium in each classroom by dialing 7-1111 for a classroom support specialist. Our staff can quickly respond even during your class. We also have staff available if you need help or training with any of the classroom technology tools.
Google for Education
Michigan Tech is a Google for Education institution. With your Michigan Tech account, you have access to the entire suite of Google applications, including unlimited storage space on Google Drive. For file storage and backup, Google offers two options: Google Drive Backup and Sync and Google Drive Filestream.
Though both of these options are available directly from Google, Google Drive File stream is also available in the Software Center (Windows) and Self-Service (Mac OS) for university machines. If you would like help, please contact us and we can assist with setup.
Research computing support
Michigan Tech IT supports research computing, both Michigan Tech’s High Performance Computing (HPC)—Superior and Portage clusters—as well as non-HPC research computing, which includes individualized support for faculty research computing needs. For more information or to put in a research computing request, email IT at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 906-487-1111.
We can help
- Our support center is a searchable, online resource for finding answers to common IT issues.
- If you’d rather speak to someone in person, we have staff at the Library and IT Service Center in the Van Pelt and Opie Library, Mon-Fri from 8am – 5pm. You can also reach an IT staff member during normal business hours 906-487-1111 or email email@example.com.
- The Michigan Tech IT website has information on the services we provide, as well as our staff listing.
- We are happy to work with new faculty before they arrive on campus as well.
by Sabina Nawaz*
As a leader, you probably juggle many things at work and at home. You’re not alone. Most executives I coach struggle with balancing parenting and work duties. They worry that they aren’t spending enough time with their children, and they’d like to help their children learn from their experience and avoid mistakes they’ve made.
What if you could maximize your time by making progress on work challenges while spending time with your children and helping them learn important skills in the process? Given my own challenges with balancing multiple priorities, I’ve learned a few ways to make the most of my time with both work and family, and I’ve shared these tips with my clients, many of whom have adopted similar practices. And the tips don’t take any additional time. In fact, you can increase time with your children without losing work time or adding more to your already full plate. By doing things a bit differently, you benefit your task list, your children, and yourself.
Here are four ways you can spend time with your kids while getting work done and teaching them important lessons along the way.
Practice time management together. One of your primary jobs as an executive is to anticipate the future and set a course to achieve success. This often takes concentrated time, away from the demands of back-to-back meetings. Many executives I coach take two hours a week to create white space. But unless you plan well in advance, it’s hard to find two hours of contiguous time each week.
Starting when he was eight years old, my older son would sit down with me once a quarter and help me block out white-space time for the next quarter. We would also block out time for vacations, shows, and volunteering. Because we carve out this time together, it helps me maintain a stronger boundary for family time. By helping me, my son appreciates the variety of my job responsibilities, not just what he sees from videos of my keynote talks. He’s also learned how to plan ahead to create balance and dedicate time to think strategically, and he’s picked up some other time management tricks. As a result, he creates time blocks on his calendar to ensure he has enough time for large projects that can’t be done in one sitting. It has reduced the amount of last-minute drama in our household.
Teach leadership ideas through reading. Harry Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” I’m much better at reading lots of books than at remembering lots of information from those books. Therefore, as I read each book, I tag passages that I’d like to go back to later. My sons compile all the tagged sections into one document. They curate my notes because I pay them, but you can also involve your kids by creating a game or competition such as answering trivia questions from the books at the dinner table. After all, these aren’t books they’d willingly pick up. Not only does this save me time and help me retain what I’ve read, but it also teaches my children at an early age about leadership topics from expert authors. Yesterday our dinner table conversation included the benefits of having mirror neurons and showing empathy when we want to improve our influence skills. It was a direct outcome of the book one of my sons is currently working on.
Explore values through discussing real-life dilemmas. Last month I struggled with a situation at work in which, if I acted according to my values, I would risk losing a large percentage of my revenue. It would be easy to pretend with my children that everything was business as usual. However, it wasn’t easy on my sleep. As I struggled with what to do, my husband and I discussed the dilemma (while protecting confidential information) with our boys. We laid out the situation, which values it was violating, and the potential risks of upholding my values. It was a difficult choice, but I decided to act in favor of my values.
I’d forgotten about the event until my older son said to me the other day, “Mom, I want to have integrity in how I talk to my science fair partner.” Curious, I asked, “What does integrity mean to you?” and was surprised to hear him remind me, “Mom, you always say integrity is doing the right thing when nobody is looking.” Having an open discussion about a work struggle benefited my son in a way I hadn’t anticipated.
Help children learn to frame problems in multiple ways. A common way that my coaching clients struggle is when they make assumptions about their adversary’s motivations during an interpersonal conflict and choose destructive actions based on that one conclusion. For example, Raymond, a tech executive, was recently convinced that his peer Jay wanted to discredit him and take over his team. Raymond jumped to this conclusion because Jay had interrupted during his presentation about his new project in front of the CEO. Rather than assume the worst of Jay, I told Raymond, he should lean into his natural tendency for storytelling and create not one but three separate stories about what Jay’s motivations could be. Raymond’s alternative stories were that perhaps Jay was very excited by Raymond’s idea and wanted to add his own ideas to it, or that Jay was less aware of interpersonal interactions and was someone who tended to interrupt others as well. This allowed Raymond to confront his assumptions and examine other possibilities.
You can share this tactic with your children as a game my family calls Multiple Meanings. We take turns creating stories from observations of people and events on trips to and from school. For example, if we see a man walking rapidly on the sidewalk with tattooed arms and a sleeveless vest, we might make up a story that he’s late for work because his car broke down, so he’s walking fast to get help. Maybe he owns a tattoo parlor across the bridge and is a walking advertisement for his business. Or maybe he’s meeting someone in the park and is running late. Our children then use the skill when they’re upset about something at home or at school. This is especially helpful when my sons argue and come to me for mediation. To reduce the heat in the conflict, I ask: “What other meanings can you make about why your brother borrowed your Lego airplane?” The goal is to be able to calm themselves down and be more empathetic, so they approach someone else with curiosity instead of judgment.
We spend a lot of our waking hours working. We also invest a lot in educating our children on academic subjects, physical activities, and the arts. But we treat these two activities separately. By involving our children in our work activities, we can teach our children key skills from our own experience, while maintaining quality time both at work and at home.
*Sabina Nawaz is a global CEO coach, leadership keynote speaker, and writer working in over 26 countries. She advises C-level executives in Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and academic organizations. Sabina has spoken at hundreds of seminars, events, and conferences including TEDx and has written for FastCompany.com, Inc.com, and Forbes.com, in addition to HBR.org. Follow her on Twitter.
BETR Grants: Bringing Efficiency To Research (BETR) Grants
The link below was shared by Jay Meldrum, Director of Sustainability at Michigan Tech, regarding the inclusion of sustainable lab information into individual grant proposals. View here.
By Amy Strage, PhD San José State University
III – To ensure that you get the most out of the conference, REFLECT AND FOLLOW THROUGH…” Structure to align intent with follow up
Text by Kerry Ann Rockquemore, PhD, president and CEO of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, from the posting of August 1, 2016 in her Monday Motivator series.
New faculty receive a fair amount of information about teaching during orientation. However, once in the classroom, you learn first-hand about Michigan Tech students, teaching expectations, what works and (frustratingly) what doesn’t. You may also be pushed to expand your teaching repertoire with opportunities to teach a larger class, a technology or project-based class, or even to teach online.
The William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning (firstname.lastname@example.org, 487-3000), on the second floor of the Van Pelt and Opie Library, helps with all dimensions of your teaching endeavors. We provide resources and support as you implement specific teaching methods or use new teaching technology in new, exciting ways!
Walk-in consultations are available Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM, or you can schedule an appointment to discuss a topic of your choice. You can request a recorded or live observation of your classroom to get feedback and suggestions, or if you know of some new technique you’d like to try out, the CTL can provide resources, references, equipment, and ideas. From the very low-tech (effective whiteboard use, syllabus review, or paper response systems) to “flipping” classrooms, to effective teaching in an online course, instructors in all disciplines find the CTL to be a valuable partner.
Many newer faculty find it difficult to allocate the time needed for effective teaching, especially to effectively assess student progress without being overwhelmed by grading. The CTL can help you explore informal, time-efficient methods of in and out of class response and grading systems. Its close partner, the Michigan Tech Testing Center (email@example.com, 487-1001) helps provide computerized or bubble-sheet exams, as well as assisting with management of the increasing number of students who need accommodations or makeup exams.
At least twice each month during academic terms, the CTL also holds instructional developmental events (“Coffee Chats” and “Lunch and Learns”.) If you haven’t yet been to one, I strongly encourage you to sign up and attend. Even if the topics aren’t a perfect match, these events provide a great chance to network with a large number of excellent instructors from across the university to get ideas and support. And the free food certainly doesn’t hurt!)
Your relationship with the faculty you meet at these events and the CTL is unique in that it’s purely supportive. Many instructors use the CTL staff to help interpret end-of-term course evaluations to focus ideas for improvement, or even to discuss departmental challenges. You can document your observation, teaching innovation, or professional development events as part of your continuous teaching improvements. The CTL can help document your efforts as part of your T&P packet, or your work with the CTL can remain entirely confidential, at your discretion.
There’s no question that teaching today is challenging and demanding. Many students carry high expectations, and it’s often hard to meet them, especially given the other demands on your time. Rather than trying to shoulder this burden alone, I encourage you to collaborate with the CTL! Let us know how we can help you to continue to improve your teaching and effective interactions with students.