ERIC Number: EJ1017293
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: 15
The Calculus of Yes and No: How One Professor Makes Decisions about Academic Service
Griffin, Kimberly A.
Thought & Action, v29 p35-43 Fall 2013
In this article, the author, Kimberly A. Griffin, a faculty member at a research-intensive institution, reflects on what has guided her decision to say "yes" or "no" when requests for academic service are presented. She reports she is evaluated on how much she engages in research, teaching, and service, and that tenure and promotion decisions are almost always based on research productivity. Time spent working on committees or with students is time that could be spent working on research projects and journal articles. She realized that whether or not she chose to engage in a particular service activity was a complicated balance of moving pieces considered in relation to one another. Questions she found helpful to consider before responding "yes" or "no" included: (1) Are there lessons to learn through participating in the work of a particular committee that would better engage me in my work as a faculty member, or allow me to better serve my students? (2) Will the committee connect me to colleagues or administrators that would be helpful for me to know? (3) When asked to serve on a conference planning committee, might I engage in important national networks and conversations that I might not have been included in otherwise? and (4) Will I expand my professional networks beyond my institution in a meaningful way? The end result reached was rather than just assuming academic service would detract from her productivity, the author considered whether her participation could actually fuel her scholarship or inspire her in a new way. She further concluded that just as individuals must be empowered and encouraged to say "no" to requests that do not make sense for them, it is also important to acknowledge the present in saying "yes." Yes can be an affirmation of one's identities, open the door to professional opportunity and potential career advancement, or resonate with one's interests.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Decision Making, Faculty Workload, Self Concept, Professional Development, Interests
National Education Association. 1201 16th Street NW Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-833-4000; Fax: 202-822-7974; Web site: http://www.nea.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A