Is academic coaching right for me?


Whoo needs an academic coach?

A misconception in academia is that seeking support signals remediation or a deficit.  Conversely, in the business world, coaches are typically reserved for the highest achievers – e.g., executives.  So in academia, faculty and researchers who are high-achieving, but who may be feeling overwhelmed with their workload, and believe that “there must be a better way to get this all done” … are prime candidates for coaching.  The goal of coaching is not to teach someone how to do their work, but to help them identify their goals and use their strengths to meet those goals.  Additionally, periods of transitions (preparing for promotion, a new role/responsibility at work, a new family member) can be an important time to reflect and re-adjust work processes. There is always a “better way,” but sometimes what that may look like (or how to get there) is less than clear.

What makes you unique from other coaches who work with academics?

Depth and range of my Professional Experience
I was a tenured faculty member at a R1 university (Texas A&M) and held multiple leadership positions. I currently have a halftime appointment as a Researcher in Educational Psychology in Norway (University of Stavanger).
Specialize in writing development
I co-directed a university writing support program for graduate students and junior faculty, taught undergraduate and graduate courses in academic writing, designed an academic writing course specifically for international students, and currently lead writing workshops for faculty.
Diverse client base
My clients work in diverse academic settings including large research universities in the US, (e.g., UC Berkeley) and abroad (e.g., Oxford), private liberal arts colleges, (e.g., Muhlenberg, Wesleyan), and teaching-focused public universities (e.g., Florida Atlantic University). Additionally, my clients are from a wide range of fields within STEM, liberal arts, social science, performing arts and law. Finally, my clients ranged in experience from dissertation writers to professor emeriti (who are finally having time to a book!)
Trained mediator and conflict manager (specific for the university settings).
Conflicts, or the avoidance of, can drain much energy from academics. I can support people in managing conflict in a proactive manner that allows such energy to be put into more positive places.
Holistic life focus
In the words of a client, working with me “isn’t just about productivity and meeting one’s goals, but is developed a well experienced life”. I aim to challenge my clients to embody their most compelling presence both within and beyond their work lives.
​• Support new visions of purposeful work both within and beyond academia
I believe that one’s vision should see the opportunities in the world around them and not stay limited to their “known experience” Previous and current clients have successfully launched entrepreneurial endeavors or chose to apply their skills of academia to Alt-Ac positions (Alternative-Academic).

How do I know the Positive Academic is right for me?

Coaching is all about the individual client — their needs, style of work, personality etc.  The growth or insight occurs mainly through conversation and reflection which requires trust and rapport between the client and coach.  That said,  I am certainly not the right coach for every individual.  To find out if I would be a good coach for you, the best way is to have a “Discovery Discussion” and see if the conversation brings you new insight and promise.

What sort of support do you provide?

The type of support directly stems from the unique challenges.  For example, a faculty member who has low research productivity because of their time spent teaching needs different support than a faculty member who has high productivity but is in persistent conflict with co-authors/collaborators.  Through our work together, the first faculty member may develop policies for student communication, new strategies that minimize time spent grading, and active learning strategies in the class which require less prep than traditional lectures.   Through conversation and reflection, the second faculty may gain insight as to the cause of the various conflicts, practice for constructive dialogue with co-authors and set up policies for future collaborations.