Being Valued and Appreciated by Your Academic Institution
I have had quite a few conversations at the end of this semester with faculty of different ranks. During the conversations, one of the topics that consistently emerged is
that the faculty member felt that their contributions were not
sufficiently recognized or valued, despite their efforts and hard work. I tried to pick my colleagues up and cheer them on but now that I am
thousands of miles away in beautiful Sweden, where I consistently get my
muse, I feel that the topic is of sufficient importance to write about
on this blog. Especially at the end of the academic year, there are always many
celebratory events such as banquets and award ceremonies in which
recognitions such as teaching awards, research awards, and even service
awards are noted. Some of the accolades are "local" in that they are
given by the school in question, such as, in my case, the Isenberg
School of Management, for example. Other recognitions are at the
university level, which are done elegantly at our annual UMass Amherst
Honors Banquet, where also national and international awards are noted
that recipients have received during the year. Sometimes I wonder whether with all the emphasis on rankings in Business Schools, are we forgetting the human element? As we chase the rankings, are we steering research in directions that
faculty may not be fully passionate about? If a journal is not on the
identified list for your program to publish in, does that mean that you
will turn down opportunities or feel that a publication in only an A
level journal (since it is not Premier) does not matter? A colleague of
mine stated that this is how he felt. I know from citations to my own work, that my books are highly cited as are
articles that are not in premier journals although I have published
there. And now - a colleague at ASU,
with whom I am working on organizing a very cool symposium, let me know that on Google Scholar I hit an i10-index of 50. This means for those of you who are wondering, that 50 of my publications have been cited 50 or more times, which is pretty good, I am told. That in itself, is gratifying, even if this will not affect any ranking but, then again, it may when it comes to a school's reputation. Better to have faculty whose work is cited, I would think. Faculty (as employees) want to feel valued and appreciated and there are concrete ways in which this can be accomplished. I wonder why it may be hard for some administrators to give public
acknowledgments, private thank you's, and even kind words in passing as
to the work that faculty do. Of course, this holds not only for research
but also for teaching and service. An institution is built on all who
are part of it and faculty are the foundations. Under a previous administration, something known as an Exceptional Merit
Award was initiated at UMass Amherst, whereby every 3 years a faculty member could apply
(or, better yet, be nominated) for this award, which entails an
increase (which can vary) in one's base pay. In order to get this award, one needs substantive national and/or international accolades. When rules of the game change, I can always go back and recall that,
under two different Provosts, I received such an Exceptional Merit Award.
Such a university recognition does give you some lift under your wings
and is a concrete recognition. Of course, I tell my colleagues that even if you don't feel appreciated
by your immediate school or college, excellent work does get recognized
(sooner or later) and one should just continue doing great work that one
is passionate about.
I, specifically, laud professional societies such
as INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management
Sciences) for support of research of their members and their other professional activities
through communities and various awards. Do send a colleague a congratulatory note, and copy it to administrators, if a colleague has published an article that she or she is very proud of. Do the same if a grant is received or even a student comments to you on how much he or she enjoyed a professor's class. In being driven to Boston Logan last Wednesday using UMass Amherst's Meet and Greet service, I had a great driver who is a Math major (so, of course, the conversation was fabulous). He spoke about a colleague of mine in Finance that was his favorite professor even though he is considered to be very tough. I sent an email to my colleague telling him about this. Do acknowledge work well done and an interesting paper or achievement by a colleague at a meeting of
the department or even school and, most definitely, do it also individually! Or, as I sometimes do, even write a blogpost with congratulatory
messages for notable recognitions. I do this for faculty and students. This helps to get the news out
and will build a positive community.
Administrators have their own challenges and sometimes they may just forget or be focused too much on their agendas and initiatives to spread the good word about faculty. It does not hurt to remind them!
is the John F. Smith Memorial Professor of Operations Management at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College at Oxford University for the 2016 Trinity term.
She was a Visiting Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Her latest book, co-edited with I. Kotsireas and P.M. Pardalos is: Dynamics of Disasters: Key Concepts, Models, Algorithms, and Insights, published by Springer in 2016. She is also the co-author of the book: Competing on Supply Chain Quality: A Network Economics Perspective, with D. Li, and published in 2016.
She is the author of the book: Networks Against Time: Supply Chain Network Analytics for Perishable Products, co-authored with M. Yu, A.H. Masoumi, and L.S. Nagurney.
She is also the author, with Q. Qiang, of the book: Fragile Networks: Identifying Vulnerabilities and Synergies in an Uncertain World, and several other books.
She is the Founding Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks.