Changing Campus Culture

by | Dec 20, 2018 | mindset

What does it take to change the campus culture? Seth Godin sums up culture in the simple phrase: People like us do things like this.

Translate that into campus culture and we get: Academics like us do things like this.

Academics like us…

…publish in the top journals.

…bring in the big money.

…mentor the best students.

If that is what our campus culture is, is it also this?

Academics like us…

…work nights and weekends.

…burn out before tenure.

…are being bullied by ruthless colleagues.

…idolize overwork.

That’s not the campus culture we want. The campus culture we want says:

Academics like us…

…are driven by purpose and deep calling.

…support each other in difficult times and celebrate each other’s successes.

…feel connected to the institution and supported by the administration.

Academics like us…

…write and publish more.

…work and rest.

…have families and take care of ourselves and others.

Academics like us…

…know that deep work is important.

…know that our institution values our deep work.

…know that students want to learn what we can uniquely teach.

People like us do things like this. Cultural change is simple, but not easy.

Until now.

I am in the business of changing campus culture–of changing academia–one female faculty member at a time.

If attracting and retaining top female faculty has been a goal in your university’s strategic plan for years, why is it not happening?

The truth is that higher education was not built for women. We’ve had to fight our way in–as late as the 1970s in some institutions–and the culture of academia is still a deeply patriarchal one. It assumes a full-time support person taking care of things at home while the academic toils away on nights and weekends.

Academia has not figured out what to do with pregnant and breastfeeding bodies.

Academia is a culture that squeezes women out, or makes them give up altogether before they get tenure.

The strategic plan’s goal to get more women through the tenure and promotion process is an important one. Who loses out when women are excluded from making knowledge? Humanity, that’s who. We have to do better.

How do we do better? We change the culture of academia to include women.

How do we change the culture? People like us do things like this.

We change the people who make the culture, from the bottom up.

I teach cultural change. Through online courses and community, and in-person workshops and writing retreats, we change how women experience academia.

We accomplish this cultural change by teaching academic women:

-how to create a sustainable writing practice without guilt and overwhelm

-when and how to say “no” to unfair service demands

-how to control their careers by putting research and writing at the center

-how to build time-saving processes that let them focus their time on deep work

I make these changes sustainable through a supportive community where academic women can connect with like-minded female faculty from around the world as they seek to implement and sustain change.

This is how we change academic culture. This is how we take goals in the strategic plan and cross them off as done.

Are you ready for your campus culture to undergo a change that makes it a place for women academics? Ready to attract and retain female faculty? Ready to make good on that strategic plan?

Then let’s get started! Humanity has no time to waste.

In January 2019, I’m hosting a four-week group called Campus Change Insider.

You see, I have some ideas about how to make this change, but I don’t want to develop them in a vacuum. I want to talk to the smartest group of women I know (you all!) to explore the next steps that I can take, and that we can take together, to change academia.

Is changing academia a lofty goal? Sure. I know it is. I know it will take a big vision and lots of focused action to get there.

But what is the alternative? We need women working on humanity’s problems.

The Campus Change Insider is 100% free. I’m looking for 10-15 dedicated women to share one hour per week for four weeks in a Zoom idea generation session with me. I’ve got some plans up my sleeve for 2019, but I want to hear what you have to say.

And then we’ll start changing your campus, together.

Sixty-minute Campus Change Insider Zoom calls will take place on three Wednesdays (January 23, 30, and February 6) at 1:00 p.m. AST (noon Eastern, 9:00 a.m. Pacific). To apply to be an insider, click here to fill out this application. Joining is free, and all you have to do is show up and participate in the discussion. As a perk of being an insider, we’ll end each call with 20 minutes of group writing coaching, where we’ll tackle a common writing obstacle together.

Click here to apply to be part of the Campus Change Insider!



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