Conversations for Early-Career Faculty and Academic Staff Colleagues

Starting an academic career involves new opportunities to learn, connect with others, and make meaningful contributions–to share one’s excitement about one’s field with learners, to advance the knowledge base, and to use one’s expertise to address pressing issues in the broader society. For most people, the start of the career is exciting while also peppered with questions about getting established, understanding the organizational culture, and learning about useful resources.

The unprecedented pandemic situation this year, however, means early-career faculty are grappling with more than the usual questions. AAN is offering monthly “Conversations for Early Career Colleagues,” designed to foster connections, answer “frequently asked questions,” and support those early in the career to navigate the university and the overall landscape of academic life. Each Conversation will have a general theme and will begin with some opening comments and information relevant to the theme which will be useful to newer colleagues. Themes will include navigating the opportunities available in a large institution, cultivating friendships and networks, establishing a scholarly identity, balancing work and professional commitments, and understanding one’s place in the land-grant tradition—and others based on the interests of attendees. The Conversations are also an opportunity to ask questions in an informal, safe space. The themes guide the start of each session but the interests of those present will direct the conversation.

All early-career faculty and academic staff in all appointment types are invited to attend. The Conversations are intended to be no-pressure, enjoyable opportunities to meet others at your career stage, learn about resources, and be welcomed more fully into the university community. The Conversations will be facilitated by Ann Austin, Assistant Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff—Career Paths and Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education, and Marilyn Amey, Interim Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development. Please join us! If you have questions, please email Ann Austin ( or Beth Leete ( in the AAN office.

The first conversation will be October 27th: 12:00-1:00 “Becoming a Spartan: Getting to Know MSU – its People and Resources”