Mid-Career Workshop: Navigating tensions and planning the roads ahead
University of Louisville
University of Bern
University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney
What is the mid-career challenge?
By the time academics have tenure, they have typically produced a substantial body of impactful research to build on, and yet, they may feel a need to re-orientate and advance their work. Once the pressure of an up-or-out tenure decision are no longer the motivator, it can be challenging for mid-career Associate Professors to hit their stride and “find a fit” in moving forward in their careers. As one article in the Chronicle of Higher Education states, as the traditional roles of the Associate Professor are changing, “the burden is placed on us as individuals to create our own narratives, our own scripts” and to define how we move forward (McLemee, 2002).
In defining how to move forward, there are many possible roads one could take. The mid-career stage may be experienced as a new opportunity for setting a new research agenda, e.g. seeking greater impact, pursuing research-funding opportunities, or seeking alignment with institutional strategic research objectives. At the same time, the mid-career stage comes with the opportunity to take on responsibilities in various other areas, such as engagement in the scientific community, taking on administrative roles, and interacting with practitioners. Thus, it can be also be a time when many researchers need to decide what kinds of leadership roles they wish to pursue.
Choosing from among these new opportunities and responsibilities can be overwhelming and cause mid-career faculty to wonder – “Which road(s) should I take and how can I navigate possible tensions?”, “What does it take to successfully enter a new arena?”, “How can I cope with unforeseen events or crisis on the road taken?”
Audience and Objective of the Mid-Career Workshop
The Mid-Career Workshop is an opportunity for IS scholars to reflect on their existing work and strategically plan for the next phase of their careers. Generally, every researcher that is in the mid-career stage is welcome to participate in this workshop. This workshop is appropriate for any faculty member that has received tenure and is considering with a longer view the shape of the professional contribution(s) they want to make. Individuals at all stages of tenured profesorship may find this workshop useful, from newly tenured faculty members to those that have settled into their role as a tenured professor. Researchers who are more advanced in their career but considering a shift in their work are welcome to apply as well. Those that have attended other mid-career workshops are welcome to participate, share, and learn from other colleagues.
Organization of the Mid-Career Workshop
The Mid-Career Workshop at ICIS 2021 will be an interactive event. We will discuss what is known about the mid-career research stage and look at varying routes to take and associated challenges for mid-career researchers across countries and contexts. The workshop will feature panels and break-out groups to create, reflect on, and promote individual career plans. Workshop-wide discussions with mentors will help to learn from each other about possible roads to take, what it takes to succeed, and how to cope with unforeseen events and crises. Panels and follow-up round tables with panelists as mentors will help participants find effective ways to self-organize and manage the competing demands of research, teaching, and service. Workshop participants will share experiences among themselves, develop and collect feedback on their own research agendas and plans for a satisfying and successful mid-career. Discussions will focus on issues relevant to mid-career professionals, such as:
- Taking on leadership roles in University administration and academic community service
- Fostering engagement with practice
- Generating research impact
- Dealing with tensions, unforeseen events, crises, or inequalities
Christina Soh, Nanyang Technological University
Jane Fedorowicz, Bentley University
Natalia Levina, New York University
Roman Beck, ITU Copenhagen
Daniel Schlagwein, The University of Sydney
Likoebe Maruping, Georgia State University
Jungpil Hahn, National University of Singapore