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 Helene A. Cummins, Ph.D.  (Chair, OCUFA Status of Women Committee)  “Navigating the Academy: Lessons and Strategies for More Equitable Universities”

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Presentation on theme: " Helene A. Cummins, Ph.D.  (Chair, OCUFA Status of Women Committee)  “Navigating the Academy: Lessons and Strategies for More Equitable Universities”"— Presentation transcript:

1  Helene A. Cummins, Ph.D.  (Chair, OCUFA Status of Women Committee)  “Navigating the Academy: Lessons and Strategies for More Equitable Universities”  Sponsored by the OCUFA Status of Women Committee  May 4,

2  What is academic excellence?  Untenured professors feel significant stress about the tenure and promotion process and being successful scholars.  Price and Cotton (2006) found that half of junior faculty had never discussed teaching, research and service expectations with their Chair. 2

3  In the academy it is still thought that academics have unlimited time for scholarship, teaching and service. There is the “illusion of flexibility”. These ideas are outdated and work to women’s detriment. New faculty are inundated with new course prep, getting their stride, focusing on scholarship.  Academic excellence connotes the quality of being very good, distinguished and outstanding.  Academics thrive in their work life when it enables high quality scholarship, but also values the person and their personal life. 3

4  Academics may become confused relative to short and long term commitments and responsibilities in accessing promotion and tenure. They need to know clearly what the expectations are and how to get there.  Without clear communication, an academic is left with ambiguity, frustration, disillusionment and becomes unhappy and unfocused/less productive.  Request what it takes to access tenure and promotion from your Chair and through productivity reports (3 year evaluation).  Forge valuable relationships with trusted mentors who aid and guide your career. Ask questions and build from their experiences and career journey. Talk to people who are often more than happy to assist and guide you. 4

5  Chairs can be enablers or gatekeepers to the process of tenure and promotion.  Departments are the place where evaluation bias can be disarmed as the larger academic system focuses on structures rather than individuals (Morrissey and Schmidt, 2008).  Gender schemas are unconscious assumptions that overrate men and underrate women when competency or excellence is evaluated.  Evaluation bias arises when schemas with “being a woman” negatively influence the appraisal of a female candidate’s viability for tenure/promotion.  Women become caught in gender appropriate ways of being and doing. They do the “institutional housework”, caring and nurturing that takes them away from the real focus of teaching and scholarship. 5

6  What is often clear across schools and disciplines is the recognition that service work is not as important as teaching and research.  What makes for teaching excellence?  Innovative and Effective Teaching and Ontario Universities (2012) suggests we need students that are motivated to learn, quality instruction and focused outcomes.  Teaching excellence varies depending on who is defining it (students vs. colleagues), subject matter, methods and many other factors. 6

7  Passion for the subject and effective communication: enthusiasm, charisma, smile, show that you love what you do and know, in order to make students thrive. Inspire, motivate, critique and raise provocative and significant questions.  Leadership: shows professionalism and integrity, listens well. Values each student learner with acknowledgement of diverse learning styles. 7

8  Classroom management: what students can expect from you, create a safe yet challenging learning environment, request respect for you as the professor and give respect to each student, be fair and flexible (within limits).  Knowledge base: engaging, active learning, encourage students to be self- directed, independent, life-long learners.  Organization: be organized and encourage this in students, coming to class on time, completing assignments on time, university level expectations and detail. Show your commitment to teaching well.  Social: beyond the classroom modelling and mentoring, dialogue with students, show interest, be available within limits, show compassion and care for them and what you do professionally.  Self reflection: what did and did not work, go back to find answers to student questions, teaching development skills/workshops and innovative practices, create down time to contemplate and think beyond “stretch opportunities”. This is extremely important to women academics as they take less time for the self in seeing to students and others in their personal lives. Have fun! 8

9  Good teaching is hard work. It is a valuable tool, and a gift to be given the opportunity to share knowledge/research with student learners and to continue to grow and learn as an academic.  May your knowledge acquisition never be complete.  May you enjoy the gift of teaching and the process. 9


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