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A Professor’s Guide to Getting Professional Development Funding

by | Apr 11, 2019 | academic project management

There are some things that really get on my nerves about academia.

One of them is the assumption that we should all know how to do the job. I mean, we have Ph.D.s, right?

How on earth does the process of getting a Ph.D. prepare you for managing #allthethings, getting writing done, keeping your pipeline flowing, teaching new preps, and serving on all the committees?

Hint: it doesn’t!

That’s why we need professional development! And that’s what I’m on a mission to do: pull back the curtain on the “how to” of centering your writing, managing your career, and feeling damn good about it (instead of frazzled and overwhelmed).

The goal of my programs is to teach a different way to “do ” academia. One that is more supportive, more compatible with caring for ourselves and others.

Frankly, that should be the mission of your university, too. They hired you, they want to keep you. Although it might not seem like it, your administration really wants you to succeed–to get tenure, to get promoted, and to stay there. They spent a lot of money finding you. They definitely want to keep you.

So guess what? They should be paying for your professional development! But they never will unless you ask. Here are three steps to successfully requesting professional development funding.

Step 1: Identify all the possible sources

If you’re thinking “this sounds great but my university doesn’t fund professional development/I’m a student so the university won’t fund MY professional development/I can’t use my start-up funds for that” think again.

I have been offering professional development to women professors for a long time and I have seen everyone from students to full professors funded, had people use start-up and grant money and had universities find funding for women who swore up and down that there was none.

One thing that I have learned from my broke university is that there is always money somewhere. You just have to know where to look. And who to ask.

Here are possible sources of professional development funding to explore, and I suggest you tap all of them:

  1. Your own start-up or professional development funds. If you have such funds, you can absolutely use them to fund all or part of a professional development program like The Academic Women’s Writing Roadmap or Amplify: The Faculty Writing Accelerator (many others have done this in the past). If you need a partial invoice or purchase order, I can provide that for you no problem!
  2. Department chair and dean. They might not be advertising that they have professional development money, but many do. But you need to ask and make a good case for why they should use it on you. What will the outcomes be (that are important to them)? (see more about this in step 2).
  3. Professional development office or faculty support office on your campus. If your campus has this office, ask them to fund your participation in The Academic Women’s Writing Roadmap or Amplify: The Faculty Writing Accelerator. You could offer to hold an on-campus writing workshop based on what you learned or form a faculty writing group (but you don’t have to!).
  4. Faculty or equity diversity office. If your campus has a faculty diversity office or equity office, you can ask them to fund your professional development as an academic woman. There are plenty of stats that reveal that women, especially women of color, are less likely to get promoted in higher ed. And what is THE key to getting promotion and tenure? Yep, it’s writing. For that reason, your equity/diversity office should be paying to support your writing development.

Step 2: Connect to the strategic plan

This is grant-writing 101: align what you are asking for to the institution’s goals. Your university says that it wants to retain women faculty? Quote that in your funding request letter (see this letter template).

Your university’s strategic plan is supposed to be what guides the administration’s decisions. They are committed to that plan because that is how they justified themselves to accreditation bodies. If you want support, you need to intimately know that strategic plan and quote it directly when asking for funding. The more clearly you can connect the outcomes of the professional development program to the strategic plan, the more likely your administration will say “yes.”

Step 3: Ask (and keep asking!)

Start asking TODAY. And ask at all levels. Start with your department chair, and keep going up the ranks. Ask all the offices mentioned in step #1. If someone says a flat “no, I don’t have the money,” then ask them for a letter of support that you can take with you to the next ask.

Be sure to continue to follow up with the decision-makers that you ask until you get a solid “yes” or “no.” Don’t let your request sit on someone’s desk until the registration period closes!

Click here access the Funding Request Template letter (it’s a Google doc, so you’ll need to make a copy to your own drive in order to edit).

So what professional development program will YOU do?

Here’s what I’m offering:

Option #1: The Academic Women’s Writing Roadmap (version 2.0!)

This popular program has helped hundreds of academic women write and publish more. Now it is completely revamped into a 12-week program that will change your writing life.

If you feel like you never have time to write, like you’re pulled in a thousand directions, and like your publication pipeline is absolutely clogged up, The Academic Women’s Writing Roadmap will take you on a 12-week journey to prolific publishing through recorded video lessons, a guided writing sprint, three live workshops, weekly co-writing sessions, and daily support in a non-facebook online community.

Who is this for? The Academic Women’s Writing Roadmap is for any academic who identifies as a woman, from late-stage PhD students to full professors, who wants to write and publish more without guilt, stress, or overwhelm.

Dates: May 15-August 10; Pre-registration opens on April 24th and registration closes on May 17th

Option #2: Amplify: The Faculty Writing Accelerator

Amplify is a year-long support program for pre-tenure academic women who want their tenure prep to feel less like hazing and more like inspiration. This group is limited to cohorts of eight women who are ready to learn how to do academia differently, with writing solidly at the center. The result is that you will go up for tenure with the confidence of having both the number and quality of publications you need.

This program is available by application only. To schedule your interview, where you’ll learn all about the program details and find out if it is a good fit for you, go to:

Amplify: The Faculty Writing Accelerator starts May 28, 2019 and ends April 30, 2020.


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