The Positive Academic

meet
erin

After over a decade of being a traditional tenured faculty member at a research-intensive institution, I realized that I derived the most joy and energy from mentoring graduate students and junior faculty as well as running an academic writing program. However, these service aspects were only a tiny part of my overall job description so I could not my full attention to them. Therefore, I decided to make the support of academics, in their journey to success, as my primary mission and founded the Positive Academic.
Unfortunately, in academia, “publish or perish” is often repeated as the way to success. Yet, the binary nature of those options grossly oversimplifies the complexities and dynamic nature of being an academic. Furthermore, the phrase implies that if one is publishing, then one is not perishing. I have found that to be not always true, for the cost of productivity (e.g., time, sleep,
health, energy) can be very high.
 
My philosophy is that to truly succeed, one must create their own pathway in which expectations for both one’s institution and one’s self are honored and
balanced. Each pathway is unique based on my client’s institutional expectations, goals, career stage and life situation. Therefore, I do not prescribe programs or predetermined pathways, I support you in finding the best for you, at this moment in time. I help you to define your goals, your constraints and create strategies for managing the constraints in order to meet your goals.
Like most academics, I have many identities. However, at my very core, I am an educator, as my first profession was as a classroom teacher and I continue to honor that identity even though it’s not my job title. I strive to help others develop and derive great joy from witnessing growth and success. I am also a life-long learner and researcher. As an adult, higher education allowed me
to transition from a teacher to a reading specialist, and then to an educational researcher.
 
At the moment, I constantly self-educate on how to become more effective coach and always researching new strategies to assist my clients. I am also a writer – whether that is family stories or academic journal articles. Either way, almost every day I wrangle with the written word, and sometimes enjoy it!
 
 
Finally, I am a wife (to a faculty member), mother, daughter and sister, and always striving to create a space for family and academia to co-exist as peacefully as possible.
Accomplishments
Financial Analyst
  • Studied Psychology at Wellesley College
  • Taught elementary and middle school in Massachusetts & Virginia
  • Awarded an M.Ed. and a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia
  • Earned tenure and multiple awards for teaching, mentoring & research productivity at Texas A&M University (2006-2016)
  • Instructed undergraduate and graduate students at TAMU
  • Directed TAMU Reading Clinic – Clinical Experience and Community Outreach Program
  • Graduated and placed > 10 Ph.D. students in faculty positions
  • Received multiple federal grants (e.g., NSF) to support multidisciplinary projects
  • Co-directed POWER Writing Support Services at TAMU – led workshops, developed writing course for international students, provided individual support for graduate students & junior faculty
  • Published (and continue to!) > 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters
  • Trained in mediation with a focus on managing academic conflicts
  • Work on research projects at the National Reading Research Center of Norway in Stavanger, Norway
  • Lead workshops for university faculty in writing productivity & mentoring in the US & Europe
  • Internal Coach at College of Geosciences, Texas A&M University and The Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University, England
  • Mom to twin boys (Proudest accomplishment!)
  • Founded “The Positive Academic” providing coaching on academic productivity, writing, and balancing the many demands on academia — while staying true to the inspiration behind one’s work