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How to be an Academic Superhero

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay

In universities across the world, academics struggle to establish and sustain their careers while satisfying intensifying institutional demands. Drawing from the author’s decades of observation and experience in academia, this exceptional book responds to the challenges of fostering and sustaining a successful academic career.
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Chapter 32: Sustain collegiality

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Iain Hay

Extract





The term collegiality circulates widely around many universities and other academic institutions. It is quite reasonably upheld as a vital characteristic of being a good scholar and ‘corporate citizen’. It is critical to job and life satisfaction and supportive of academic effectiveness. And it is a key part of the ‘glue’ that ‘binds … members of a common scholarly community and helps connect them with the larger world’ (Lewis and Zelinsky, 1987, p. 75).

Collegiality thrives on individual thoughtfulness, awareness of and recognition of one another’s efforts, as well as productive institutional rituals such as regular events and gatherings (e.g., shared morning or afternoon tea;1 a weekly seminar; end of week drinks). It is about being part of a community: mingling, listening, conversing, supporting and helping out.

You can go a long way to making yourself part of a collegial community by participating in the (positive) rituals: attending or leading seminars, buying a sweepstake ticket, or going to morning coffee. For all the small talk about sport, the weather and political calamities, these informal social gatherings can yield spontaneous insights to your colleagues’ research, the workings of the department, as well as helping to resolve everyday issues that can occasionally escalate into more significant problems.

But, of course, collegiality is not all about getting involved in social engagements. It may also require some effort on your part. For example, you may be asked to support someone by covering their class...

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