We are just completing the second year of the Academic Advancement Network, which we affectionately call “AAN” (we are at MSU, and of course therefore must have an acronym!). Overall, our focus is on providing a range of types of support, including orientations, workshops, cohort programs, and individual consultations, to help MSU’s academics advance in their careers.

We serve all academic employees, including fixed-term and tenure system faculty and academic specialists, across disciplines and locations around the state.  Much of our work is in partnership with departments, colleges, and central units; we particularly enjoy building connections to facilitate the success of our colleagues in areas including education, research, and creative activities on campus.

While still evolving in how we can best serve the needs of MSU academics, we have made substantial progress in the past year.  We are excited to highlight some of our advances from 2017-18 here.

AAN 2017-18 graph showing numbers of programs and participation

We have focused on listening to people across appointment types and career stages at MSU. 

We heard concerns related to respect, support, and opportunities for academics outside the tenure system, including fixed-term and health professions faculty and academic specialists.  We heard the imperative to diversify our leadership, to provide more information for individuals considering leadership roles, as well as to provide more training for current administrators.  We heard a desire for greater support and career opportunities for mid- and late-career academics. We heard challenges associated with working outside of the East Lansing campus, and a need to provide information and support for individuals educating our students.

We have responded in a variety of ways, including:

  • We changed our orientation program to better reflect the range of responsibilities individuals have across appointment types.
  • We hosted a program for administrators (primarily chairs, associate deans, and deans) to share information on academics outside of the tenure system. Here, we presented national data as well as detailed information from MSU and highlighted the range and importance of the work of these individuals.  Leaders were encouraged to consider issues related to training, resources, rights, and responsibilities within their units.
  • We hosted workshops designed to help academic specialists and fixed-term faculty thrive in their careers, to parallel those that have long been available to tenure system faculty.
  • The Lilly and Adams Programs were revamped in terms of content and were opened to all academics, regardless of appointment type. A framework for Educator Professional Development was created, including a new platform for sharing ideas and resources related to instruction (#ITeachMSU commons).
  • Where possible, we have added live-stream or zoom access to our programming, and will continue to advance these efforts going forward.
  • For emerging leaders, we launched the AAN Leadership Fellows program, which paired mid-career faculty with mentors holding administrative positions.
  • We also hosted lunches for interested individuals to learn about a diverse set of leaders and their roles: Margaret Crocco (Chair of Teacher Education), Debra Dotterer (Assistant Dean for University Advising), Sonja Gunnings-Moton (Associate Dean, College of Education), and Chris Long (Dean, College of Arts & Letters).
  • To extend the training and support for current leaders beyond the New Administrator Orientation in August, we created the Leadership Institute and offered sessions throughout the year.
  • Following a symposium on the late career in spring 2017, we organized three sessions to help faculty and administrators address issues related to retirement.
  • In spring 2018, we hosted a symposium for mid-career academics, which featured a keynote address by Dr. Kiernan Mathews from Harvard’s Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) as well as panels and discussion sessions featuring MSU administrators along with mid-career fixed-term and tenure system faculty and academic specialists. We are grateful to continue working with Dr. Roger Baldwin on these efforts, a faculty emeritus from the College of Education whose scholarship focuses on academic career stages.

We want to thank all of you who interacted with us in various ways over the past year, including those who partnered with us in offering programming, and in particular our new Advisory Board, which is a great source of ideas.  We continue to welcome input from across the MSU campus, and look forward to working with you this year!

Our Team

  • Node Leaders: Ann Austin (Academic Career Paths), Jeff Grabill (Teaching and Learning), Beronda Montgomery (Research & Scholarship), and Juli Wade (Leadership Development)
  • Directors: Cindi Leverich (Academic Leadership Development) and Patti Stewart (Instructional Development)
  • Teaching and Learning Specialists: Sarah Gretter, Michael Lockett, Erik Skogsberg
  • Overall Coordination, Logistics and Communication: Juli Wade, Jill Bryant, Beth Leete, and Blythe White