Episode #174

How You Know It’s Time To Revise Your Academic Mission Statement

Academic mission statements are powerful tools that guide your career. It helps you set boundaries around your time, clarify your pipeline map, and qualify opportunities. But careers in academia last decades. How do you know when it is time to change your academic mission statement?


You will change and evolve throughout your career. It is common for professors to make pivots or shift focus. When this happens, aspects of your mission will also change. Embrace that change! Change is good. It means you are growing and developing as an academic. However, it is crucial to leverage that change and use it to revise your mission statement so that you can stay focused and keep your work impactful.


Today I discuss key moments in your academic career that call for a revision of your mission statement. I also discuss ways to identify if your current work aligns with your intentions as a professor. Is it time to adjust your mission statement? Listen in to find out!

How Do You Know It’s Time to Change Your Academic Mission Statement?

A best practice to effectively utilize an academic mission statement is to have a copy printed and near you at all times. This document should serve as criteria for accepting opportunities, what to publish, and where to focus your time.

At the beginning of each semester, take an hour to make a strategic plan with your mission statement. Compare your publication pipeline, commitments, and weekly calendar to your mission. Then ask yourself, “Does this mission statement make sense based on where I am now in my career?”


Key Career Moments that Call for a Revision

While it is an excellent idea to reflect on your mission statement each semester, critical moments in your career should inspire a revision. These stages or seasons in your career are times of change, evolution, and personal development that can generate a shift in focus.

  • Early career – Create an initial mission statement that directs how you want to show up in academia.
  • Promotional times – Compare your CV and published publications to your mission. Do they align?
  • Tenure – At this point in your career, you have taken on and done so much it is easy to lose who you are and what purpose you want to serve in academia. 
  • Changing jobs – What type of professor do you want to present yourself as?
  • Major life moments – Whether you got married, divorced, or had a kid – these significant milestones change who you are, your values, and your focus.
  • Career seasons – Academic careers are long. Many professors work in the same position for 20-30 years. Your focus and goals will not be the same throughout this time. As you shift through different seasons, your mission statement will evolve.


“The academic mission statement is a one sentence that captures the essence of what you want your career to be about. It’s like the thesis statement for your career. It can be a little aspirational and we use it as a tool to help you put boundaries around your time, focus your work, publish your pipeline and say yes or no.”


 “It’s a good idea at the beginning of each semester to take at least an hour and have a strategic planning session. Get out your mission statement, get out your pipeline map, get out your ideal week calendar, and look through everything again and see if it all still makes sense for this moment in your career.”


If you’re interested in learning how to write your academic mission statement and how to use it, know it’s a core part of our Navigate program. We’ve opened the waitlist for our next cohort of Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap®. Check out the program details and sign up on the waitlist to be notified when applications open here.



  1. Our 12-week Navigate: Your Writing Roadmap® program helps tenure-track womxn and nonbinary professors with a disruptive perspective on their field to publish their backlog of papers so that their voice can have the impact they know is possible. Get on the waitlist here! 
  2. Cathy’s book, Making Time to Write: How to Resist the Patriarchy and Take Control of Your Academic Career Through Writing is available in print! Learn how to build your career around your writing practice while shattering the myths of writing every day, accountability, and motivation, doing mindset work that’s going to reshape your writing, and changing academic culture one womxn and nonbinary professor at a time. Get your print copy today or order it for a friend here!
  3. Want to train with us for free on your campus? Now you can when you recommend our Scholar’s Voice Faculty Retreats to a decision-maker on your campus! Download the brochure with the retreat curriculum and both in-person and online retreat options here.






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