Showing posts with label Academic Relationships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Academic Relationships. Show all posts

Monday, December 19, 2016

Searching for a Long-Term Academic Relationship (LTAR)

Relationships change, friendships evolve, and values are reaffirmed. The past sentence defines my life for the past six years. When I began my academic career, I had a core group  of academic friends at the institution. However, when lives changed and mindsets evolved, our academic lives drifted apart.

Thinking Back to the Sorority Days

I have to remember that this was a similar experience that I encountered with some of my sorority sisters after college. We had a lot in common when we saw each other each day and were completing college together, but when we began our career paths we discovered how different we truly were.

Focusing on Today

So, the differences. Yes, they are definitely evident now. I am no longer on the tenure track, I am almost an associate professor and my academic value systems changed from a faculty research focus to a student research focus. Everything that I do now focuses on helping our students navigate college while integrating high impact educational practices from their first-year to their senior year. 

Thinking Beyond Your Department

Just because you share an academic discipline and work on project together does not guarantee a long-term academic relationship (LTAR). A LTAR is strengthened when we participate in those high-impact relationship building activities like study abroad, text messages sent to encourage one another, a spontaneous coffee/tea invitation for a 30 minute walk around campus, and a telephone call just to let the other academic know that you are thinking of them.

Encourage Others by Thinking Positively

My past academic relationships have been VERY transactional and research and project-based. Now, I can say that these relationships are based on common experiences (away from the university) and shared (encouraging) conversations. We also encourage one another by discouraging any negative conversations about other people. These conversations can taint your views of others and the time that you spend gossiping can be allocated to conversations about family or classroom innovation ideas.

I am much happier since I realized that relationships in my 30s need to be long-lasting and based on common experiences and common mindsets, not purely transactional. Sometimes you just have to let friendships wither away, this can make you open to new (and better friendships).

Have a great day and keep thinking positively! Thanks for visiting the Millennial Professor Blog!


Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards
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