Dear SPS Faculty,
Believe it or not we are already halfway through the summer! This time of year brings a different set of schedules and obligations from what we experience during the fall and spring semesters. I am reminded of what a good time it is to recharge and advance our thinking on professional skills and knowledge, something we may not get a chance to do when we are in the middle of teaching, grading, committee meetings, and more. Thinking along professional development lines it is a great opportunity to engage in some “C” behaviors: conversations, collaborations and conferences.
I will start with the third C first, conferences, because that is fresh on my mind. In the professional and scholarly areas that are important to me, narrative, women and negotiation, there are conferences held in the summer months. I just returned from attending two conferences and I was pleasantly reminded how good it is to engage with colleagues who work in similar domains to see what they are working on, what challenges in the field have been occupying them and any new insights they have from their practice or research.
This is where the second C, of conversation, comes into play. It is enriching to engage with colleagues to discuss topics of mutual interest and to gain some insights about my own work from their perspective. Some of these colleagues I see only once a year at these conferences and appreciate the quick ways we have honed over the years of catching up. Other colleagues I am in contact with more frequently. This is where the third C might make sense and that is to enter into some sort of research, practice or writing collaboration with them.
It takes more coordination (Oh, a 4th C!) to manage these projects across universities and time zones, but the rewards can outweigh these challenges. We can be exposed to a broader range of thinking about a topic, might be able to participate in grants that favor multiple universities collaborating, and we may get involved in really interesting projects. So, if you have not taken advantage of your time this summer to engage in broader and deeper professional development, it is not too late. There are still 6 weeks to go! Who knows, you may discover something that will end up in one of your classes this fall.