Engaged Academics in the Age of Mass Distraction

New Webinar Featuring:
Maren Wood, Jen Polk, and Michelle Dionne Thompson

March 3rd, 2017 12:00 P.M. ET

Cost: $30.  We’ll donate $7 from each ticket to the ACLU
Register:  https://beyondprof.eventbrite.com

The last month has been exhausting. The assault on progressive values has come fast and furious. I feel like I’ve had a bad case of whiplash as we moved from the Age of Obama to the Age of Trump. As a Canadian living in the US, I’ve found myself at a loss about what I – one individual, one woman, one immigrant – can do to make a difference. I’ve upped my subscriptions to newspapers; made my protest signs and attended rallies; signed up for daily action alerts; donated money; phoned senators; applied for US citizenship so I can vote; applied to immigrate my partner back to Canada so we can move ….

But it’s not enough. And while I desire to become more critically engaged in my community, I have felt overwhelmed, scattered, directionless, and unsure of the best way to channel my time and talents.

As I’ve reflected on the work I’m doing here at Beyond the Professoriate and in my coaching practice, I’ve thought: what more can I do? And I’ve thought a lot about a conversation Jen and I had with a professor who stopped by our booth at the American Historical Association conference last month. The faculty member told us that, after the election, she had decided to become more engaged with grassroots organizations in her home state. What she had learned in a few short weeks was just how valuable her skillset was when employed beyond the academy: quickly finding reliable information on specific issues, distilling that information into a persuasive argument, and then writing scripts that others could use when speaking with representatives. Used to speaking in front of an audience, she was not intimidated to show up at town halls and ask pointed questions. Things she did on a daily basis as an educator allowed her to quickly become a leader in her small community.

And I thought: this is what I do. When I work with clients or do workshops on campus, I try to help smart, talented, academics think about ways to employ their skills broadly. And it doesn’t just have to be those who are looking for new careers – the work we do at Beyond the Professoriate can help any academic who wants to employ their unique skillsets beyond their work as educators and scholars.

I approached Jen and Michelle with the idea of doing a webinar to help academics do three things: First, to help you identify your core values. We can’t do everything, we can’t attend every protest, we can’t give money to every worthy cause or organization. It’s just not possible. So how do you decide what is most important to you? Jen Polk will provide concrete action steps you can take to help you prioritize.

The next steps is to figure out what it is you can do in terms of tasks and skills, and to turn your expertise into a skill that can directly benefit organizations and causes. Maren will walk you through how to do a skills inventory of your work as an educator and scholar, and provide strategies to identify organizations where your abilities can be put to use.

And we’re in this for the long haul. We’ve got 2? 4? (not longer, surely!) years of resisting and rebuilding. How do you pace yourself? How do you practice self care? Michelle will talk about strategies to help you avoid burn-out.

We hope that you can join us! We’ll be donating $7 from the live webinar to the ACLU. If you can’t attend live, the recording will be available afterwards to those who register in advance.


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