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Strategies for Success in Academia: Navigating the risks and opportunities of interdisciplinary and international appointments for tenure and promotion.

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Presentation on theme: "Strategies for Success in Academia: Navigating the risks and opportunities of interdisciplinary and international appointments for tenure and promotion."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strategies for Success in Academia: Navigating the risks and opportunities of interdisciplinary and international appointments for tenure and promotion Eleanor Krassen Covan, PhD UNC Wilmington James R. Peacock, PhD Appalachian State University Renee Oscarson, PhD South Dakota State University Presented as AGHE Webinar, May 20, 2009

2 PART I: Navigating the Risks and Opportunities of Interdisciplinary & International Appointments Eleanor Krassen Covan Professor of Gerontology Professor of Gerontology UNC Wilmington

3 Multiple Perspectives on Risks and Opportunities ProvostsDeansChairpersons Gerontology program directors Tenure track faculty Discipline-specific credentialing organizations vary by country

4 Risks & Opportunities Vary by Administrative Structure Gerontology Departments housed in one School Stand-alone interdisciplinary Gerontology Programs housed in one school with course offerings from multiple schools Gerontology Program housed within a department of other academic discipline(s) Transdisciplinary Gerontology Research Centers International Gerontology Programs

5 Gerontology Department Organization Housed within a college or school such as Arts and Sciences, Allied Health, or Nursing Department Chairperson controls budget Tenure track faculty evaluated by gerontologists Faculty earn tenure as gerontologists Department earns positions gained by endowments or student enrollment Academic programs more or less follow AGHE guidelines

6 Gerontology Department Opportunities Provide an obvious link to Association for Gerontology in Higher Education No need to defend benefits of interdisciplinary coursework Visibility of gerontology for students and faculty Fosters creativity in design of gerontology curriculum through combining biological sciences, social sciences, humanities, and allied health perspectives

7 Gerontology Department Risks Department chair effectiveness depends on negotiation skills Budget may depend on student enrollment May need to offer courses that serve other departments Gerontology enrollments tend to be small Chair must defend gerontology stressing need to know rather than student demand

8 Stand-Alone Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program Structure Program Director is academic program coordinator Director reports to one or more deans Faculty may or may not be housed in program Faculty may or may not earn tenure in gerontology as well as another discipline Effectiveness depends on negotiation skills of director Focus may be on gerontology or geriatrics

9 Stand-Alone Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program Opportunities Director has the ear of the dean(s) or provost Director may have ear of department chairpersons Provides administrative experience for academic gerontologists Potential for higher salaries for social scientists

10 Stand-Alone Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program Risks Faculty lines? Risk of joint appointments Who earns FTE for gerontology courses? Possibly no way to earn budget Possibly no way to earn budget Budget resources may depend on good will of department chairpersons and faculty Faculty may not be supported by chairpersons & colleagues in home departments; salary suppression for biologists

11 Gerontology Program housed within a department of other academic discipline(s) Usually program begins as an academic track in another discipline within that department Gerontology faculty may or may not earn tenure in gerontology. Tenure may or may not be granted by department housing gerontology program Gerontology faculty may have two homes

12 Gerontology Program housed within department of other academic discipline: Opportunities Gerontology not under the FTE microscope because FTE earned collectively As Gerontology develops an interdisciplinary minor, department gains resources from fellow traveler enrollments

13 Gerontology Program housed within a department of other academic discipline: Risks Department colleagues may not value gerontology Conflict between basic and applied academicians Risk of joint appointments

14 Transdisciplinary Gerontology Research Center Emphasis on research rather than teaching Research proposals designed by faculty who share their expertise on aging or an aged population Prestige dependent on funding

15 Transdisciplinary Gerontology Research Center Opportunities: Facilitates research by increasing pool of scholars with knowledge of gerontology Greater funding opportunities Centers attract more attention than do academic programs

16 Transdisciplinary Gerontology Research Center Risks: Muddies the water among disciplines Service to the center is not regarded as departmental service Risk for faculty that research wont be valued by discipline-specific colleagues

17 International Collaboration European International Gerontology Masters Degree Program offers multi- disciplinary training in gerontology and geriatrics Masters Degree Program offers multi- disciplinary training in gerontology and geriatrics Good model of collaboration Good model of collaboration Faculty Exchanges Require funding (e.g. Fulbright awards) Require funding (e.g. Fulbright awards) Require faculty reassignment or sabbaticals Require faculty reassignment or sabbaticals

18 International Faculty Exchange Opportunities Allows exploration of social systems through lens of cultural relativism Fosters creativity through collaboration Rejuvenation Fosters faculty development

19 International Faculty Exchange Risks Costly Language barriers May deplete presence of senior faculty Administrative turnover when program directors travel

20 PART II: Promotion and Tenure: Interdisciplinary positions James R. Peacock, PhD Associate Professor of Gerontology and Sociology Appalachian State University

21 Promotion and Tenure: Interdisciplinary Positions The question: How does one obtain tenure and promotion when one owes allegiance to two departments? How does one obtain tenure and promotion when one owes allegiance to two departments?

22 The Immediate Task Determine immediately which department will be evaluating your tenure case. Tenure will only be granted in one department. Tenure will only be granted in one department.

23 Potential Benefits of Interdisciplinary Appointments Interdisciplinary research/publications Opportunity to develop professionally in two disciplines Wider college/university visibility Wider professional visibility

24 Potential Barriers to Tenure/Promotion Miscommunication between department heads (and with you) Expectations that lead in opposite directions E.g., one department may expect a good amount of service, the other may see service as detrimental to professional progress E.g., one department may expect a good amount of service, the other may see service as detrimental to professional progress Limited interaction and/or communication with the Dean Changes in administration

25 Negotiating Progress With The Administration Meet with both department heads and Dean early on and regularly (at least once/year). With any change in administration (e.g. new chair or department head) set up a meeting to negotiate any new directions (departmental, university, etc.). Determine early on the department through which research/publications will be evaluated. Run service opportunities by department heads (What service is recognized? Awarded? Misdirected?). If you are promised something, get it in writing. If you are expected to complete a task as part of your job description, get it in writing.

26 Stuff To Keep In Mind Develop research/publications that will count for both departments (e.g., sociology of aging research should count for both gerontology and sociology). Make sure this is true. Follow closely any recommendations from the tenure-granting department (but maintain a quality level of work for the other department). Form relationships with outside reviewers early on (professional organizations are a good source).

27 To serve or not to serve … No one gets tenure or promotion based on service efforts. Do what's expected, but little more. Be aware of being asked to do excessive service (learn to say, No, or Ill think about it.) If you say, Yes right away people will automatically start asking you to do everything. You want to avoid being pulled in too many directions. It can throw you off course!

28 Developing your tenure/promotion case Develop a cohesive product which presents your career as a complete package. The tenure process changes and so it's always good to have the advice of someone who has just gone through it. Find/Develop that connection between your research, teaching, and service. Describe your future career based on the foundations you have laid. Toot your own horn (but don't be annoying). Make sure all that you've done is in your evaluation file.

29 PART III: Promotion and Tenure: Challenging Ageism in the Academy Renee Oscarson, PhD Associate Professor, Human Development Gerontology Coordinator South Dakota State University

30 Identifying Ageism Definition: "a systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old" (Butler, 1969; cited in Achenbaum, 1985) Age discrimination in Chronicle 63 times, Universities slower to abandon mandatory retirement It's not so easy to identify: Ageism or ??? economics (e.g., salary compression) economics (e.g., salary compression) social & institutional renewal (Chronicle, 10/24/08) social & institutional renewal (Chronicle, 10/24/08) From graduate school to retirement

31 Although we all abhor age discrimination, it is one form of prejudice that flies low on the outrage radar. You might look great, run marathons, even use Botox, but you could still be the victim of discrimination. So while personal self-help is useful, it's even more important for our institutions to take special care that fairness and justice apply to everyone in academe -- especially those who have served it throughout a lifetime. Davis, Chronicle, 6/6/08

32 Why should we care ? Why should we care ? Non-traditional students in gerontology What we teach: Age integration (Riley & Riley, 1994) Age integration (Riley & Riley, 1994) A society for all ages ? A society for all ages ? A university for all ages ? A university for all ages ?Really?

33 What might we do ? If women want any rights more than they's got, why don't they just take them, and not be talking about it. Sojourner Truth

34 (How) do I benefit from age discrimination ? Describe a university for all ages students students faculty & administrators faculty & administrators support staff support staff Just take them (after tenure!) Redefine success: Not just a year track record of publication if we want age-integrated universities. Not just a year track record of publication if we want age-integrated universities.

35 Webinar Summary Covan Joint appointment opportunities foster collaboration. Joint appointment opportunities foster collaboration. Joint appointments foster turf battles. Joint appointments foster turf battles. Risks and opportunities of joint appointments depend on administrative structure. Risks and opportunities of joint appointments depend on administrative structure.Peacock Communication is the key to few surprises. Communication is the key to few surprises. Develop open communication between the department heads and the Dean Develop open communication between the department heads and the Dean Discuss professional expectations and progress early and often Discuss professional expectations and progress early and oftenOscarson Ageism impacts both graduate students and faculty; some of us may benefit from age discrimination. Ageism impacts both graduate students and faculty; some of us may benefit from age discrimination. Gerontologists have the knowledge to promote age-integrated universities. Gerontologists have the knowledge to promote age-integrated universities. Obtaining age-integration may require risk and revolution. Obtaining age-integration may require risk and revolution. Don't be too revolutionary without tenure! Don't be too revolutionary without tenure!


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