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We welcome the new year with our words for 2017:


Mary Churchill, Salem State University, Salem, MA, US

In 2015, my word was inspire and in 2016 it was awe. In 2017 I realize that I want to be inspired and filled with awe just as much as I want to inspire and fill with awe! For me, that happens in the process of creating, making, and doing.

I read. I am inspired. I create. I take a stand. This year, let’s CREATE. Let’s make a pact -- you inspire me and I’ll inspire you and, together, we’ll take a stand. 2017 needs us more than ever!


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

In 2017, I must remember to breathe.  Breathe as the American pluralism I cherish comes under threat; breathe as the child I love passes through the torments of college applications and then flies the nest; breathe as I adapt to new levels of responsibility at work; breathe….


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

My word for 2017 is FORTIFY.  Although it could be seen as a defensive word, fortify can also mean to hearten or embolden.  It can mean to give strength, morally, mentally, or physically.  I want to make better choices, read more, and exercise more, take my vitamins, and be as ready as possible for whatever 2017 brings.


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

My word for 2017 is community. Now more than ever, it seems important to connect with others, both in my personal life and professional. While I have always made efforts to partner with other centers and departments across my university, this year I want to reach out even more, while continuing to deepen the connections I already have. I also want to connect more to life outside of work. I want to be in community with like-minded people who are working to live meaningful lives full of love, light, and (this year especially) fight!


Janni Aragon, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

I’ve usually had a three word mantra: Listen, Learn, Lead, and then mentor is the backdrop to all of this. Choosing one word is hard, but these four words that I noted are now adorned on my wrist or inside of my arm for me to see. This calendar year, my word is yes. I want to say yes to the positive and to enjoying that first cup of coffee. I want more yes in all aspects of my life. I know that it’s going to be a hard year in so many respects, but I want to eschew the negative, pay attention, resist, and, say yes to the important things.


Lee Skallerup Bessette, University of Mary Washington, Virginia, US

My word (ok, two words) is to let go. I’m turning 40 (!!!!) this year, and it seems like a good time to take stock and try to learn to let go of things I’ve been carrying with me that no longer help me, feed me, serve me. Or rather, letting go of those things that have been weighing me down.


Anamaria Dutceac Segesten, Lund University, Sweden

My word of the year is Persevere. Last year, I started many exciting projects that begin to show their results, so I wish to stay on target and dedicate the amount of time and thought these projects require to be completed to satisfaction. The word seems also apt for the general trend we see in politics and societal relations. I want to stay focused on those values that are truly meaningful to me and not get distracted or disheartened by the “fluff”of the passing circumstances.


A. S. CohenMiller, Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education, Kazakhstan

I recently had a chance to talk to a couple people about their experiences in academia. One left a tenure track job, in part because of the competitiveness experienced, and the other just gained tenure but explained the challenge faced with colleagues. Both these aspects lead me to thinking more about this upcoming year, to 2017, and the ways in which it’s possible to move forward meaningfully, passionately, and collaboratively, even within the academic pipeline. To achieve these goals, I plan to focus on one word—one word that can challenge me everyday: Play. How is it that play can be meaningful, passionate, and collaborative? One way to think of it comes down to childhood development and the work of Maria Montessori. What adults would consider play, the children consider work. They build towers, they think, they figure, they take care of one another and their environment. They do meaningful, passionate, and (individual and) collaborative work. And since they enjoy their work, since they are engaged and often joyful, this can be seen as play. When I look into my progress and ahead to the year, I hope (and plan) to be been engaged in meaningful, passionate, and (individual and) collaborative work, play. This is the type of work I want to do and that which I hope for all of you. Here’s to what we can do together in 2017!


Denise M. Horn, Simmons College, Boston, MA USA

For the first time in the past three years, I feel less anxious about my career and life generally (although much more anxious about the future of our country, to be sure). This year looks to be a turning point for me career-wise, and I want to take advantage of the opportunity to spread my wings and explore new creative avenues. This means I need to brave, adventurous, and less protective of my inner self than I have been. So, my mission for this year is to be bold. I want to be bold in all aspects of my life--I want to be an outspoken advocate for myself, my students, and my community.


Join us in this space and let us know if you have a resolution or word for the year and share it in the comments below, on Twitter, and/or on Facebook.


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