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Fighting those Mid-Career Blues

posted May 15, 2017, 10:54 AM by Emily Tai   [ updated May 30, 2017, 11:15 AM by Jay Weiser ]
By Emily Tai

Among the findings of the recent survey conducted across CUNY through the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) was evidence that some faculty see their careers stall after earning tenure and making the all-important transition from assistant to associate professor. As noted in a recent article in The Chronicle for Higher Education, this difficulty, while identified, and even pronounced, at CUNY, is by no means limited to the City University of New York. Coache surveys administered around the country have exposed evidence for this problem among higher education faculty across the country.

So, what can be done to chase away those mid-career blues?

Several programs have been established to address this problem:
It is to the great credit of CUNY’s administrative leadership that, in the year since COACHE survey results were released, Vice-Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz and University Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Annemarie Nicols-Grinenko have consulted with representatives of the University Faculty Senate to devise programs for mid-career faculty that replicate the best of these national programs—and then go beyond them. At CUNY, there have been workshops and leadership seminars for mid-career faculty. More substantively, however, additional programs have funded released time for Associate Professors to make progress on scholarly projects.

After all, the best cure for mid-career blues is simply being allowed a bit more time, in a busy schedule, to focus on the disciplinary research that brought so many of us to the academy in the first place.

Emily S. Tai is a professor of History at Queensborough Community College who serves on the UFS Executive Committee, and edits the UFS Blog.

The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.

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Photo credit: Egghead06, public domain.