What is Your New Year's Resolution?

U Venus bloggers share their resolutions.


August 29, 2016

The new academic year is upon us! For many of us, a new (academic) year represents a new start. What is your New Year's Resolution? Happy New Year 2016 - 2017!

Meg Palladino, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

My 2017 resolution is to build more relationships to expand my professional network and take advantage of more things that my campus has to offer. It is very easy to stay in one building, with my circle of co-workers.  In addition to simply making more friends, a wider network will offer me more opportunities, more assistance, and more advice.

Lee Skallerup Bessette, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA, USA

I need to learn to stop treating everything as a battle. Being a contingent faculty member was a battle. Trying to find my place within academia was a battle. Making space for myself was a battle. But now, I’m in a really, really good place, and my instinct is to still treat my job as it is a battle for survival, rather than a place where I can instead grow and thrive. There is much, still, that I need to let go of, but this is probably the most important one for me this year.

Ernesto Priego, City University London, UK

Like Meg and Lee I am hoping to have a new academic year with more opportunities for me and everyone at my institution to grow and thrive. Developing wider networks keeps being part of the plan too. It’s hard if one reads Higher Education news but I’d like to be able to remain focused, empowered, inspired and creative. I’d like to be less concerned about everything that could potentially go wrong (and about everything in the world at large which is going wrong) and be able  to trust my instincts more in order to appreciate more the efforts I actually make. Teaching-wise I hope to be able to focus more on providing creative opportunities for learning rather than being super concerned about intensive content delivery. I’ve been working on striking a balance between the two. I’d also like to be more helpful to the community as well: I’ve taken some steps like training as a professional coach, which has definitely helped me to develop strategies not just to help others but to remain focused and happier myself. Hopefully work-life balance will be less of a struggle and more of a natural process... I am happy and positive that this new academic year will be great. Looking forward to it. Hopefully yours will be excellent too!

Mary Churchill, Salem State University, Salem, MA, USA

My resolutions for the new academic year involve embracing radical possibilities. Our university is embarking on the development of a new strategic plan this year that we will implement beginning in the fall of 2017. At an all day retreat last week, I was inspired by my president who spoke of preparing students for careers (and societies) that we can’t even begin to imagine. In this brave new world one can either be paralyzed by the rapid changes in society or move forward. I can only move forward and that requires seeking radical solutions to incredibly complex problems. My resolution is to positively seek those solutions.

Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

I spent last year with my fingers crossed as I applied to become Director of the office in which I will have worked for a decade come September.  I got my wish.  I have spent the summer in transition to become Director on 1 September.  My colleagues are becoming my staff, and I will assume the role of manager for the first time in my professional life.  I resolve to preserve the empathetic relationships that made me a good colleague as I embrace my new role as a supervisor.  I realize that our successes and shortcomings as an office will now sit on my shoulders.  I want to carry that burden lightly and maintain my ability to put student needs first.  Wish me luck!

Gwendolyn Beetham, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Two years after taking up my position at Rutgers, I am excited to be getting back into the classroom this fall. Although I love interacting with students in my administrative role, I’m looking forward to the different kind of engagement that classroom interactions provide. I’m also looking forward to continuing to collaborate with colleagues inside my Department and around campus. Since I started at Rutgers, I’ve developed good working relationships with others around the University who lead international service learning programs. Over the past two years we’ve developed and piloted pre-travel and reentry programs for our students that we’re now starting to expand and present about at national conferences. I can’t wait to get more involved in the international education community and learn more about the intersections with my home discipline, Women’s and Gender Studies.

Janni Aragon, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

My resolutions are about the strategic yes. I am looking forward to the new school year. I have accepted an interim position directing our Technology and Society program and will work with colleagues to review the program and plan the courses for next year. While this might sound banal, I am keen to have this academic role that is in addition to my directing an academic service unit. It’s a great opportunity! I am finishing up working on student resources for a book that I have used lots in Political Science. This year I will work with a colleague on writing student resources for two open textbooks. There are lots of new projects on the go: learning analytics, piloting different ed tech applications, but overall my mandate for the year is the strategic yes.

What is your Academic New Year's Resolution?


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