Introduction to Early Career Profiles

November 5, 2015

By Bryn Harris and David Shriberg

ECF strives to provide readers with diverse types of support as they navigate their first years as faculty members. This month, we are pleased to debut a new series featuring profiles of early faculty members. First, Assistant Professor Anisa Goforth of the University of Montana will discuss her experiences as the newest faculty member of this series. Next, Assistant Professor Julia Ogg, from Northern Illinois University, will discuss her path toward tenure. Finally, Erin Dowdy of the University of California-Santa Barbara will provide prospective as a recently tenured Associate Professor. We have asked each spotlighted scholar to respond to the same questions in an effort to learn more about their successes and challenges as they navigated their academic careers. While there are some behaviors—e.g., overextending oneself in voluntary university service responsibilities, not leaving oneself enough time to write—that are common pitfalls for pre-tenured faculty regardless of where you work, we recognize that there are a variety of pathways to academic success. As school psychologists we know that we all have our own learning and interpersonal styles, strengths, and limitations. Thus, as amazing and inspiring as these guest bloggers are, the goal is not to say that any one of them has all of the answers—no one does—but rather offer varied examples we can learn as we evaluate and assess our own professional practices.

As such, readers will see that the contributors have diverse experiences prior to entering academia, varied roles and expectations at their respective universities, and each offer unique perspectives on strategies for success. Lastly, we highlight that one of the common factors for these contributors is that they all attended the School Psychology Research Collaboration Conference (SPRCC; Indeed, while the intended outcome of this conference is collaborative research endeavors, one of the secondary benefits is that you get to meet and connect with others in the field, including people with very different research interests. This conference is held on a biannual basis and aims to connect early career scholars with mentorship and resources for advancing their research trajectories. The next SPRCC will be held August 1-2, 2017 prior to the APA convention in Washington DC. We strongly encourage pre-tenure scholars to apply for this highly beneficial experience.

While reading these posts, we encourage you to engage in similar self-reflection. To facilitate this process, consider the questions below.
How is your position similar or discrepant to theirs? In what way is this difference beneficial or challenging to your success?

  • Think about your own primary research interests and activities, how would you describe them in 4-5 sentences?
  • How did your training/prior experiences prepare you for your current position? Were you mentored for an academic career?
  • Are you currently mentored? If not, what are the barriers? What benefits might you receive from mentorship?
  • How do you balance your teaching, research and service responsibilities?
  • Where do you hope your research trajectory will be in 5 years, 10 years?
  • When do you feel the most successful in your academic position?
  • What have you learned from the contributors that you can apply within your own position?

Additionally, we encourage you to ask the authors questions about their experiences in an effort to continue this important conversation. We hope you enjoy these profiles!
Read Julia Ogg’s profile.
Read Erin Dowdy’s profile.
Read Anisa Goforth’s profile.

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