Workshop 15: Making a Career in Rhetorical Studies
Primarily Synchronous (June 1-4)
An academic career can span a long arc, with different challenges and pressures emerging at every stage. These can include navigating new terrain at the start of an academic career (new geographic location, new institutional contexts and roles); making transitions to new types of institutions and/or to new professional roles; getting clear on your own priorities and using those priorities to determine when and how to say yes; planning effectively for promotions, tenure, and/or the longer arc of your professional career; identifying choices available to you and choosing the ones that best fit your needs and goals; building a robust support network of mentors and peers; determining where and how to invest in service (and how this matters differently at different stages of your career) and looking ahead to retirement.
This workshop is co-led by two scholars at different career stages who have worked at different institution types. Participants will engage in a series of activities, individual consultations, small-group discussions, and future-oriented goal-setting as well as reflective consideration of career, personal, and institutional priorities. At the workshop’s conclusion, participants will have identified their most pressing needs, created a list of career and personal priorities that will shape the next three- to five- year stage of their career, and created a list of resources (people, funding, materials, opportunities) for addressing those priorities. Throughout, workshop leaders and participants will share their own strategies for career success and balance as well as materials such as their own strategic plans, mentor maps, and practices of community and relationship-building.
Denise M. Bostdorff is professor and chair of Communication Studies at The College of Wooster, an undergraduate liberal arts institution, and, prior to that, was a tenured associate professor at Purdue University, an R1 institution. She has published extensively in the area of political rhetoric and won the Bruce E. Gronbeck Political Communication Research Award. She has also been recognized for her teaching and mentoring of undergraduates, most recently by the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education in 2019. Based on her experiences at two very different types of schools and mentoring faculty, Bostdorff believes that what constitutes a successful professional career and fulfilling personal life will be different for each person, even at the same institution, but finding ways to connect with others, build support, and work strategically serve as invaluable tools.
Stephanie L. Kerschbaum is associate professor of English at the University of Delaware, where she researches and teaches courses in writing studies and disability studies. She directed UD’s Faculty Achievement Program from 2016-19 and has been involved in various mentoring initiatives and programs both at UD and across multiple national organizations including CCCC and RSA. This work led in part to her receiving the 2019 Outstanding Faculty Mentor award within the College of Arts and Sciences at UD as well as the 2019 Leadership for People with Disabilities Award from NCTE. She believes in the importance of connecting faculty and graduate students with one another, building out our professional and personal networks, and strategic planning.