Hi, and welcome to Energized Academic. If the idea of an academic life and career coach is new (or foreign) to you or if you’d like to know a bit more about me and what I do and how I work, this is where you should begin.
My most popular blog post can be found here. It’s on wombats vs. frogs and task management.
I read books, LOTS of books, and I talk about some of them here. My current favourite has an essay in it that I co-wrote with my husband. You can read a bit about that one here.
How I became an academic life and career coach:
The short story is that, shortly after I earned tenure at Kansas State University, my husband was offered a job at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Because I was in the common phase of post-tenure “now-what,” leaving my job and moving to a different country seemed like a grand adventure, so we did. I found work at a local university, collaborating with faculty and staff on the creation of new undergrad and grad programs. I finished a book. I missed teaching and got a temporary contract (2 years) to do various humanities teaching assignments. That contract went the way of most humanities gigs of late and I found myself unemployed. And angry, sad, depressed, outraged, and frustrated.
I worked with career counsellors and coaches both at my former institution and privately and these kind souls kept telling me that my skills and interests lined up with their work. Eventually, I listened to them. I spent a year taking coaching courses and undergoing a rigorous certification process so that I can now call myself a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.
Because the academy was my intellectual and work home for so long, I choose to work with people who make their lives in higher education in one way or another. This is my calling because, to improperly quote Bill Clinton, I feel your pain. I understand the institutional context in which you work and the freedoms and restrictions that environment brings with it. I’ve been on the tenure track, published articles and a book, but I’ve also been full-time support staff, as well as contingent faculty.
I know that, regardless of your position in academia, you can feel isolated and frustrated, you can struggle with competing demands on your time and attention, and you can wonder about the difference you’re making in the world. Everyone needs a sounding board, a champion, and a coach to help them be their best selves and do their best work. This is what I do.
How you can work with me:
Coaching, in its simplest form, is an on-going arrangement of twice (or so) monthly calls between you and me. We establish your goals and agenda at the beginning of our relationship and you let me know what success, for you, looks like. Then we meet virtually and work through the places where you’re stuck or need accountability, or want more focus, or want to increase your impact. I promise to always hold the space for your ultimate goal as you work on the pieces of that goal and I commit to helping you check in with yourself to make sure you are making decisions about your life and career that line up with your values and your stated goals.
Because colleges and universities are doing an increasingly poor job of preparing the next generation of academic leaders, I also offer workshops that I can deliver on your campus. I work with both graduate students, to help them expand their horizons when searching for work (both academic and non-academic), and faculty, to help them articulate a clear vision for their career and how it fits in with the mission of their department and institution.
Additionally, I offer selective small group programs that focus on a single aspect of YOUR academic “leadership.” Whether you want to get in control of your own research and writing agenda, or get that monograph finished, or prepare yourself to take on the role of Chair or Associate Dean, or Dean, I’ll work to assemble a small group of people at a similar stage in their career and provide you all with resources, accountability, and an academic mastermind group that will serve you well into the future.