Note: PAEA is offering Leadership 101: Developing Minority Faculty Leaders directly following the 2016 Education Forum in Minneapolis, MN. Register now.
I am delighted to write this article about my experience attending the Leadership 101: Developing Minority Faculty Leaders Pando workshop at the 2015 PAEA Education Forum in Washington, D.C. It helped me gain invaluable insight into the promotion process in academia, conflict resolution skills, and collaborative cross-institutional peer relationships. The two-day workshop was an immense privilege to attend and has continued to shape my leadership skills as I advance in my academic career.
Promotion and Tenure
The barriers in the promotion process for minority faculty are well documented, and this workshop directly addressed how to overcome some of these barriers. Terry Scott and his team specifically addressed key components to a curriculum vitae that would be of interest to a promotion and tenure committee. One of the most important pieces of information I received was that Service Learning Project (SLP) participation should not outweigh research activities. Often minority faculty are asked by their leadership to lead more than one activity in this area — often at the cost of research. Promotion and tenure committees in academia often do not recognize SLPs as valued added to promotion! Dawn Morton-Rias, EdD, PA-C, the CEO at the National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), echoed this exact message during the panel discussion consisting of academic leaders. She reinforced that minority faculty should be vigilant in protecting their research time.
Building a Network
Another important outcome of the workshop was the cross-institutional peer relationships that were organically created. While in my institution, I am the only full-time female didactic minority faculty member, at the workshop, I was introduced to strong, female didactic minority faculty from Texas, Georgia, and Florida. We have remained connected during the past year and recently collaborated on a grant proposal for PAEA focusing on assessing perceptions of promotion and tenure opportunities among underrepresented minority PA faculty. This peer-to-peer mentoring opportunity has created a valuable resource of support, guidance, and shared experience in academia.
The workshop focused on several themes of leadership skills. The leadership style quiz that we were asked to fill out was a great tool to illustrate our strengths and weaknesses. Role playing conflict resolution in the workplace, which focused on preparation, was another exercise that has helped in forming my ongoing leadership skills. Prior to entering the discussion surrounding conflict, we prepared written talking points. Understanding the goal of crucial conversations and having a clear “ask” has definitely changed how I approach conflict resolution. I have been set up for future success with this essential skill set.
The Leadership 101: Developing Minority Faculty Leaders Pando workshop was an amazing experience. I am very grateful for the leadership tools and relationships that were generated from participating in this workshop. I highly recommend this workshop to any faculty member.