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Academic Voices

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Academic Coaching & Writing
ACW provides coaching and writing services for faculty at all stages in their careers. Watch Video
 

Coaching is a Valuable Resource for Faculty Development

Pressured by the challenges confronting higher education today, universities are searching for ways to boost productivity across the course of their faculty members’ academic careers. To win grants and establish substantial reputations in their fields, junior faculty often need support to generate successful research and publication records. Senior faculty may struggle with different obstacles and need support to re-energize their research agendas so they can continue to innovate and contribute to their fields. ACW’s individualized Academic Coaching & Writing Programs can help attain these results, as the following achievements of recent ACW participants indicate.

  • An assistant professor with the University of Illinois, who worked with ACW throughout 2013, is delighted to report that she submitted ten articles in that year and three of those went through the peer review to acceptance in the same year.
  • A tenured professor at Harvard attests that coaching not only helped her make substantial progress on her new book, but provided her with “a new set of tools” that helped her become “more energized and focused” in all areas of her career.
  • An assistant professor at the University of Southern California recognizes that using the ACW’s Writing Room daily and meeting with her coach weekly helped her complete both a book chapter and an article in three months and made her feel “more optimistic” and “in control of her career.”

Though these are just a few examples, they illustrate the kinds of tools all faculty members gain by participating in the Academic Coaching & Writing Programs—tools that allow them to thrive as researchers as well as teachers and to make meaningful contributions to their fields and institutions.

How Coaching Addresses the Needs of Faculty

The need for greater support for faculty development cuts across diverse types of colleges and universities. Requirements for faculty publication have risen as universities compete for rankings. At the same time, support for developing research (in the form of sabbaticals and other substantial support) has declined as the number of tenure-track positions has declined. Further complicating the situation is a sea change in the relationship between higher education and the scholarly publishing industry, driven by rapidly rising costs and the transition to digital media. These trends pose serious questions about how best to cultivate excellence among faculty. Coaching offers an opportunity to make a critical difference in the success of faculty members.

Coaching differs from other types of support for faculty development in that it is tailored to the individual and sustained over time. Faculty members typically work with ACW coaches to:

  • Increase their writing productivity by establishing the habit of frequent and focused writing sessions;
  • Define their research agendas more clearly and prioritize tasks essential to successful publication; and
  • Navigate the complex requirements of scholarly publishing, from preparing journal articles and book proposals to responding to peer review critiques.

The ACW Difference

ACW’s Academic Coaching & Writing Programs complement university-based initiatives including writing retreats, workshops, and faculty writing groups. ACW coaches provide intensive, one-on-one support. The uniqueness of ACW’s approach lies in the structure and quality of our program.

Commitment to Sustained Progress. Writing retreats energize faculty and provide a critical time for writing. Sustaining that momentum, however, can be difficult. To address this challenge, faculty members meet weekly with their coach for at least three months, and some continue longer. This sustained focus helps faculty members integrate research and writing into their daily routine and maintain it across the varying rhythms of semesters and summers.

Commitment to the Individual’s Development. Initiatives to support faculty in writing and publishing are often designed to help new faculty members. Coaching is tailored to the needs of the individual, across the tenure track. In the context of confidential, one-on-one meetings with their ACW coach, faculty members address the obstacles that confront them.

Commitment to the Process of Writing and Publication. All ACW writers have access to the ACW Virtual Writing Room. This online program provides daily structure to maximize writing productivity. The Writing Room employs moderators to facilitate the live writing sessions, Monday through Friday. Participation in the Writing Room enhances both accountability and the sense of belonging to a larger community of writers. Research on faculty productivity shows that establishing a regular habit of daily writing is critical to long-term success. Writing Room moderators and each writer’s coach work together to nurture the development of this critical practice in faculty members participating in one of the ACW programs.

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