MITACoach FAQ and Workshop Schedule

Why did you start offering these workshops? Mothering in the Academy (MITA) came out of my desire to find a support and community as a graduate student mom, having a second child on the tenure track, and then mentoring junior faculty parents after I got tenure. I noticed that the connections I made at conferences were vital to my success, although I couldn’t predict if I would meet other mother scholars at a particular conference. I received encouragement and support that really differed from that of friends in grad school or in my academic position, because we were able to offer each other outside perspectives on institutional problems. I even edited a book with Pegeen Reichert Powell after meeting her on a panel!

I decided to create my blog, open a coaching practice, and hold workshops in order to provide academic moms with consistent resources and a community outside of their current departments, much like I sporadically found at conferences.

I firmly believe that we need peer-mentors as role models to succeed.

The workshops especially are structured around the idea that mother scholars need a community to talk about their experiences and needs where they don’t need to have their “game faces” on. The workshops are deliberately kept small and framed as cohorts, with the hope that you’ll learn just as much from the participants as from me and the other seminar leaders. Each workshop will have a private Facebook group so that participants can keep in touch with each other.

MITACoach workshops will happen three times a year at critical moments to help mother scholars bridge work and family. Mid-summer to plan for the academic year, mid-fall to take stock of your work-life balance and plan for winter break, and mid-spring to plan for a productive and restful summer.

What happens in the workshop? In keeping with the busy schedules of academic moms, the workshop is designed for flexibility. You get a 30 minute flash strategy Skype or phone call with me, to be scheduled at your convenience during the month of July.

During the week of July 14th, there will be four conference call seminars on different topics. Each speaker will talk for about 20 minutes, and the rest of the seminar will be devoted to workshop participants’ questions. Don’t worry if you can’t make a specific call. All of the seminars will be available as mp3 files for you to review when you have time.

 

Jocelyn Stitt U of Michigan

Tuesday July 15th

2-3pm EST

Alison Piepmeier

College of Charleston

Wednesday July 16th

2-3pm EST

Michele Dunnum Mott Community College

Thursday July 17th

2-3pm EST

Laura Harrison

Minnesota State U

Friday July 18th

2-3pm EST

Academic Moms: How To Get What You Need from One of the Least Family Friendly Professions Professional Decision Making: A Single Mother and Department Chair’s Rubric to Avoid Superwoman Syndrome How I Survived and Thrived with a 4-4, Long Commute, Single Parenthood, & Remarriage Parenting Through Academic Career Transitions: Finding a Career While Keeping Your Sanity 

Finally, you’ll get a workbook designed to allow you to take action on what you’ve learned during the week and in your consultation with me.

You can find detailed information about the workshop and seminar leader bios here: https://mitacoach.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/mitacoach-mid-summer-workshop-starting-july-14/

 How do I enroll and what is the deadline? What happens next? You can enroll by clicking on the paypal button on mitacoach.wordpress.com website. The fee is 69$. Special Grad Student/Adjunct Rate $49. Or you can email me at mitacoach @gmail.com to send me a check. The deadline for the summer workshop is Sunday July 13th. After you enroll I’ll be in touch with a few questions so I can tailor the workshop to you, set up your flash consulting appointment, and send you your workbook. You’ll also get instructions in how to participate in the conference call and an invitation to the private Facebook group.

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MITACoach Mid-Summer Workshop Starting July 14

JOIN THE SUMMER 2014 COHORT

Mid-Summer Workshop Week of July 14

• Are you feeling overwhelmed?
• Do you feel the summer slipping away and you’re not writing?
• Would you like to be able to relax during family time and feel focused while you’re working?
• Want to prepare yourself and your family for the upcoming academic year?

Would you like to be part of a small cohort dedicated to finding solutions to these issues? 

Mothers working in the academy often find themselves torn in multiple directions with competing claims from family, teaching, research, service, and self-care. This workshop, run by Jocelyn Stitt, an academic mother devoted to helping other academic mothers, provides tested frameworks for rejuvenating, reflecting, and transforming the way we think about work by mother scholars at a variety of institutional locations.

Jocelyn’s coaching practice, MITACoach, is currently having a special of 3 coaching sessions with goal assessment toolkit and enrollment in the workshop for $199. OR, try out the coaching service by enrolling in the workshop for $69.

and receiving a free 30 minute session with Jocelyn. MITACoach is a coaching practice and blog dedicated to helping academics who are mothers find coaching, community, and support for their professional and personal goals. The summer cohort will be limited to 20 participants. EACH PARTICIPANT RECEIVES:

30 minute flash strategy call with MITACoach Jocelyn Stitt

Summer 2014 MITACoach workbook including

Concrete tips for using the summer to rejuvenate after a long academic year

10 key questions to help you reflect on your past work and family experiences

Writing prompts to identify and evaluate what your goals are for a successful blend of family and work

Curated transformative short readings that have the power to change how you think about work and parenting

Action Steps to help you reprioritize for the coming academic year

Four Conference Call Seminars over the course of the workshop addressing specific challenges facing academic mothers. Our fabulous SEMINAR LEADERS were chosen for their different institutional locations, their areas of expertise in education and mothering, their diverse identities and family structures, and their ability to overcome specific challenges. Each seminar will be recorded and available as an mp3 file for participants.

Email Jocelyn at mitacoach @ gmail.com with any questions. To sign up, please click on the Paypal Donate button on the right sidebar.

Seminar Leader Bios:

MICHELE DUNNUM lives in Ann Arbor and is a Professor of English and Coordinator of the Developmental Writing Program at Mott Community College in Flint.  Ten years ago, I began my tenure-track job four months before my divorce was final and had to adjust to the demands of full-time work and a one-hour commute as I navigated the emotional difficulties of sharing custody of my preschooler.  My son is now fourteen, beginning high school in the Fall, and I have been married to another Mott English professor for two years.  My husband brought two young-adult stepsons into my life, so I have learned a few things about the peculiar role of the stepmother and the art of family blending (gently—more like stirring than blending).  I could say that parenting, marriage, teaching a 4-4 load, and holding a leadership position at my college is a juggling act, but I lack the gross mental motor skills that are necessary for that kind of juggling.  I become an anxious insomniac if I try.  Instead, I pick up one ball at a time.  And I knit—as of four months ago, for the first time in a thousand years, I have an actual hobby(!)

LAURA HARRISON is an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at Minnesota State University – Mankato. I research the ways in which reproductive technologies intersect with ideologies of race, family formation, and reproductive justice. My current book project is titled Brown Bodies, White Babies: The Politics of Crossracial Gestational Surrogacy (under contract with NYU Press). I have a two and a half year old daughter named Ada and am due with my second child in August. I was on the job market while I was pregnant, finished my dissertation and accepted a job offer while my daughter was a newborn, and am facing book manuscript deadlines and pre-tenure job expectations while pregnant again! I look forward to discussing strategies and tactics that have worked for me in facing these challenges as a mother and an academic.

ALISON PIEPMEIRis director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston (SC). I’ve written books including Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism (NYU Press, 2009), and I’m currently at work on another book, The Good Mother:  Down Syndrome and Reproductive Decision-Making (under contract with NYU Press).  I’m mother to Maybelle, who’s almost six and has Down syndrome. Since 2013 I’ve been a single parent. This means, among other things, that I’m trying to figure out how my budget can work. I have seizures and for the past three years have been unable to drive, although that recently changed [hurray!].

JOCELYN STITT I’ve spent the last year taking a leave from my academic position, moving to a new state, enrolling my kids school, joining a research institute at the University of Michigan, and starting MITACoach. When I’m not transporting kids and pets across state lines, I’m an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at Minnesota State University where my research focuses on the amazing cultural productions of Caribbean women, especially their autobiographies. I’ve taken my research on how women tell stories of resistance, survival, and celebration even under difficult circumstances and used it to found my coaching practice. I help mothers who are academics find meaning in their experiences, make connections to others, and take positive steps towards shaping their futures. I’m looking forward to bringing to you my experiences as a grad student mom, job searching with a toddler, being the only person in my department to have a child, being pregnant of the tenure track, gaining tenure, and having a long distance marriage for several years. Although it feels weird as a feminist to say this, I’m proud of my 22 year long partnership with my now husband Neil who has seen me through master’s degrees, my PhD, getting tenure, and creating an equitable marriage. I would love to have a hobby; Michele has inspired me to find my knitting needles which are still packed from our move.

MITACoach.wordpress.com

 

Conference Like a Mom: Getting the Most Out of Academic Conferences

Every conference is an opportunity to make connections with other scholars and talk to an informed audience about your work. Here are some of my top tips for getting the most out of academic conferences.

• First, take time to think through which conferences are worth your time and energy. Most of us don’t have unlimited conference travel funds. When you add in the costs of extra childcare and the time it takes to craft a good conference paper, it only makes sense to carefully choose where to present your work. For me, with the ages of my children and my regional university’s limited professional development funds, I usually only attend two conferences a year. I’ve found attending of a broad international conference related to one of my disciplines, like the National Women’s Studies Association Conference and a smaller specialized conference, like the Caribbean Studies Association Conference useful. A big conference lets you get a sense of trends in your field, and a small one lets you talk to an audience who won’t need a lot of back story or excessive theory about whatever you’re working on. One of the questions I always ask peers at conferences is where else they’ve attended and what they’d recommend. That’s how I found out about the American Comparative Literature Association Conference that I just attended, and which inspired this post.

• Second, I have never really seen this issue talked about before, but going to conferences far away from where you live can be a huge sticking point in your childcare and co-parenting arrangements. You might end up paying 30% more than childfree colleagues because of the extra childcare you might need. If you’re already stretched by having small children, or through difficult negotiations because you’re divorced or separated, explaining why you need your children’s other parent to do 100% of the housework and childcare can be difficult. Since academics choose where and when to go to conferences, this can be another example of how our work can be perceived as leisure by our families. Recognize that you’ll need more help when you’re away and either budget for more childcare or maybe plan ahead of time to do some childcare sharing. For my recent conference, I asked a neighbor to get my youngest off the bus one day and watch him until my partner was done with work. I got her child off the bus and watched him this week.

• Finish your conference paper before you get to the conference. I know, I totally sound like your mom. The reason that finishing your conference paper before you get there is so important for us parents is that we often don’t get enough time to interact with colleagues. Use the conference pre-program to figure out if people you know are at the conference and which panels you’d like to attend. Conferences are all about interpersonal interaction. You can sit at home and read a journal article. Conference time, for me, is different than regular time. Its one of the few times in my adult life where it is ok if a conversation spills over into meal time, or that I can stay up late talking to colleagues and not need to worry about getting up for my kids. Let yourself enjoy the conference and meeting new people.

• Use the time and space of the conference to work on your research. This isn’t the same as frantically working on a conference paper. This needs to be stress free solitude. I do some of my best academic thinking while listening to other people’s research, so I tend to write notes to myself about my own project while at panels. As a mother of a toddler, I actually put together a big chunk of my tenure file at a conference. Carve out time to journal about your research or to actually write a bit. Just don’t spend your entire conference in a coffee shop or your hotel room.

• Fifth, conference like a mom. Employ an ethics of care. Put on your big girl pants and introduce yourself to people. Make sure that the grad student on your panel gets asked a question. Be kind. Talk to the person standing alone a reception. Compared to almost any other gathering, at a conference you already have a lot in common with the attendees. Lots of people use conferences to connect with old friends. I’m guilty of that too. But leave open the possibility of meeting new colleagues at all stages of their careers. Both of the books I’ve edited came about through meeting my co-editors for the first time on a panel.

•Last, don’t be a snob.  Given that we’re in an academic job market where fewer and fewer people get tenure track jobs, I no longer think (if this was ever true) that the importance of a person’s work can be evidenced by the name of their institution on their name tag, or by their job title. I’m so grateful to the senior scholars who came to panels I was on early in my career, even if they were mainly populated with other grad students. Unless you are a graduate student at your very first conference, you have experience and knowledge that you can pass on to someone else.