Comments on: Practicing collegiality, and what to do when it’s not returned http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:41:03 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Resigning without regrets : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-566850 Tue, 02 Mar 2010 15:51:51 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-566850 [...] response to “Practicing collegiality, and what to do when it’s not returned,” onlooker writes, Perhaps you have thoughts on this question: What if a [tenure-track [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-566845 Tue, 02 Mar 2010 14:59:07 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-566845 onlooker: let’s throw your question out to the knowledgeable masses of people who read this blog. I think you ask a great question–in the end, we can’t control how people think or react, but there may be some strategies for avoiding jerkitude.

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By: onlooker http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-566636 Tue, 02 Mar 2010 07:49:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-566636 You offer great advice. Perhaps you have thoughts on this question: What if a tt asst prof. were to leave their post after their first year? Can one resign a TT position within a year (especially for a “more prestigious” school) without ruining their relationships with their colleagues? Is moving quickly considered okay within the field at large or can it damage your professional reputation?

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-564971 Sat, 27 Feb 2010 19:14:35 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-564971 Jacqueline–welcome. And, very well said: “Showing an interest in the lives and work of those you’d like to have as friends and mentors is not kissing up; it’s the art of conversation – and connection-making.” I’m glad it worked for you!

Because adjuncts may or may not be around most days and may or may not be teaching at multiple colleges, the regular faculty may not know their schedules and routines. Striking up a hallway conversation is a perfectly fine way to indicate that you’re interested in a collegial relationship.

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By: Jacqueline http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-564968 Sat, 27 Feb 2010 19:10:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-564968 These are all great comments that got me thinking about how I’ve found myself fitting into different teaching situations. In both cases (as an adjunct and on tenure track) it was surely myself who did all of the initiating.

If an adjunct wants to reach up (as I did), having an active research agenda and cannot but help. But in all cases, it pays to show an interest in those around you. Too many beginning assistants (and job candidates) arrive like movie-stars on Oscar night – expecting all eyes to be on them at all times. It’s hard to keep a conversation going when interest is not reciprocated, and the truth is that when you get to a new department, most everyone there is already as networked as s/he wants to be. (People with kids are even more enmeshed in their school-communities, making such connections harder yet to forge.) If you want to know your colleagues better, make the invitations yourself – knock on doors, send e-mails, and ask questions. Listen to what’s being said and ask follow-up questions, since the all-purpose “how’s your work going?” may not get you very far. Showing an interest in the lives and work of those you’d like to have as friends and mentors is not kissing up; it’s the art of conversation – and connection-making.

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By: GayProf http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-557980 Wed, 17 Feb 2010 16:28:27 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-557980 Another blogger coined the phrase, “Be like the colleague you want rather than the colleagues that you have.” I think that is generally good advice and can go a long way to changing institutional culture (Rather than getting into the trap of “everybody else is out for number 1, so I should be too!”).

As you and I have discussed many times, I think that hostile departments thrive on the expectation that it would be “impossible” for people to leave. It is tough to find other academic appointments (now more than ever!) and it might take a couple of years; however, it is well worth the effort if the environment is toxic.

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By: perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-557960 Wed, 17 Feb 2010 13:36:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-557960 @ koshem – the conventional wisdom in most departments is to protect junior faculty from service obligations. While I agree with these efforts, it’s not always feasible. In addition, people have different response to service work. I never found it especially onerous (and even sat on a search committee as a 2nd year faculty member) – it tends to cluster work at certain times of year and then let up. It depends very much on the committee, of course. But I have always been happy to do (some) service work, and found it a really helpful way of meeting colleagues and understanding my new department(s) better.

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By: koshem bos http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-557591 Tue, 16 Feb 2010 23:33:08 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-557591 Taking on service assignment outs your professional in risks and we try to delay it as much as possible. Departments themselves and their chairs can help out by assigning mentors, inviting people for lunch, have departmental gathering, etc. In a society where communities are not common place, special arrangement can be made.

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-557544 Tue, 16 Feb 2010 22:13:07 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-557544 I’m aware that the local culture here is not very sociable, so it’s my job to start creating that community. People are stretched so much, though, it’s not personal. Still, I was astonished that in my first semester, one person invited us for a meal.

As for the rest, I think status anxiety may contribute to the lack of outreach to adjuncts, but so does time. Many faculty lead complicated lives, with teaching, service, and families. I’ve noticed as I get older that establishing relationships becomes more difficult, just because people already have full lives and you have to squeeze in. So a few stories from my history:
When I finished my Ph.D., I had a 2 year post doc at a major university. One of the senior people there told me that when he and some of the others had arrived as “young turks” 10+ years before, they thought the senior people were not sociable. Now they were senior, and he realized that *they* were not sociable.

After I was denied tenure at SLAC, I stayed in touch with several colleagues (in other fields). One of them said to me that after I was denied tenure, she didn’t want to become friends with any more junior people because it was too hard.

So there’s also the sense of transience, that makes developing relationships with adjuncts, lecturers, etc. more tiring. So I think people do it, but occasionally rather than usually.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/02/16/practicing-collegiality-and-what-to-do-when-its-not-returned/comment-page-1/#comment-557495 Tue, 16 Feb 2010 21:13:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9602#comment-557495 Sic Semper Tyrannis–I think the tensions are there precisely because temps/adjuncts are more numerous. I taught in two departments as a full-time but non-tenure track lecturer. In one department I was one of two lecturers, and in the other I was the only full-time non tenure-track person (but I think there were a few other adjuncts who were true adjuncts–they taught just one class at a time, on loan from another department or program.) Both departments were welcoming of me, and in one department I even attended faculty meetings. I look back on that and think that I was treated equally because I was in departments that weren’t adjunctified.

A friend of mine at Baa Ram U. is very involved in our Adjunct Council. She says it’s difficult to get our adjuncts together–they don’t all want to identify as adjuncts and bond together for a common purpose. So, just as there is a divide in many departments between regular and adjunct faculty, both of those factions may in fact be highly subdivided.

perpetua: Good point about the size of departments making for different departmental moods. Larger faculties tend to let people spin on their own, for good or for ill. Smaller faculties might appear warmer and more welcoming–but there may be a price for all that intimacy. (As in, buttinskyism in your career, etc.)

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