Faculty Flourishing: Tips from the Sustainable Strategies Workshop Series

Apr 5, 2021

Faculty life is increasingly hectic, and it can be difficult to carve out space to prioritize what is most important to your flourishing and growth. The Sustainable Strategies Workshop Series emerged out of a recognition that, within the limiting structures and contexts in which we operate, faculty can use their agency to move towards their goals in research and scholarly activity. Dr. Brandy Simula has been our guide to putting sustainable strategies into practice. Dr. Simula, whose doctorate is in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies, offers workshops nationally and publishes on questions of academic identity. Her workshops build on her work as a professional development specialist in the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development at Georgia Tech, and her background in project management and academic publishing. Here we share key takeaways from her first three workshops as well as links to the presentations and recordings (once available), and invite you to join us for one or both of the upcoming offerings. All of these workshops are interactive, and offer tools you can take home!


Past Workshops

  • Creating Professional and Personal Flourishing as an Academic
    (view slides | view recording)

    So often we experience conflict between the professional and the personal spheres, as if we only get to flourish in one of them. In this workshop, Brandy challenged us to reject that zero-sum game and consider how centering our values can bring together our various commitments and help us set priorities for research or creative activity. Pro-Tip: Flourishing is not the same thing as feeling happy every moment of the day. Sometimes, “maintaining” is enough. Try a small change like turning off email notifications on your computer or phone, or taking 30 minutes to write reflectively about what excites you in your research or teaching.  
  • Creating and Sustaining Your Mentoring Network
    (view slides | view event recording)

    Mentoring improves faculty satisfaction and also outcomes like attaining promotion. Instead of leaving mentoring to chance, Brandy offers a process for mapping out both your mentoring needs and existing resources. She also addressed the challenge of asking for mentoring, and offered tips for structuring a mentoring relationship so that it is mutually beneficial. Pro-Tip: Move beyond the “one-stop-shop” where one mentor is expected to be a content-based mentor, sponsor, confidant, and accountability partner. Instead, find the right person for each role. And plan on check-ins throughout the relationship to assess needs and effectiveness. 
  • Creating and Sustaining a Research Agenda & Publication Pipeline
    (view slides | view recording)

    Most academics have multiple projects occurring at once and it can be hard to see the linkages between them—or move them forward simultaneously. Brandy shared an excel template which helps map out projects over time, but also mechanisms for articulating the values that bring together different research agendas. Pro-Tip: Your research agenda links your various projects and provides a framework for decisions about potential new projects. Your publication pipeline helps you plan and manage multiple projects simultaneously. Regularly revisit–and revise–both your research agenda and publication pipeline

Future Workshops

  • Project Management for Academics: April 12, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm
    Learn the basic principles, concepts, and tools of project management and how to apply them to academic projects, from dissertations to books to course design and preparation–and beyond.
    Registration and More Information Here
  • Preparing and Revising Academic Manuscripts: May 10 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm
    Learn strategies for preparing academic manuscripts, identifying potential manuscript homes, communicating with editors, and responding to reviewers.
    Registration and More Information Here

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