Archives for posts with tag: community

This is a guest post by Saima Eman, PhD Commonwealth Scholar, Psychology, University of Sheffield and Lecturer in Psychology, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan

S_EmanSince technology is the main source of information diffusion, it goes without saying that the online presence and online interaction of researchers is indispensable. Below follow some ideas from my own experience, for joining in global discussions, and for expanding the reach of your research.

In addition to looking for a new job or position, maintaining a researcher profile online is equally essential for career progression and reputation. Websites such as Researchgate, Linkedin Facebook, Google scholar, and a personal university webpage Google sites and Wixsite are very useful in recording the research work including published research, research projects, and achievements as a researcher. Read the rest of this entry »

I was inspired during a Twitter conversation a couple of weeks ago to consider concepts and perceptions of professionalism. The opinions offered online and the research literature on professionalism, professional trust, and professional development, are vast and sprawling, and each profession has its own definitions and competencies that make up what it means to be professional. You can imagine that professionalism in Paediatric Physiotherapists is defined in a different way to professionalism in Chartered Accountants or professionalism in Theatre Stage Managers. I’ve not done a comparative analysis of all this, because lists of similar and different ‘in theory’ skills and competencies aren’t too useful in shaping how we help others develop professionalism. I’m more interested in examples of how this plays out in practice. Read the rest of this entry »

researchwell jpgThis blog is run by the Think Ahead team, at the University of Sheffield. We work with postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers, supporting them to develop careers inside or outside of academia. We’re very privileged to be able to  work with researchers as they progress through their PhD, start a new research contract or take the next step in their career. We see their successes and their achievements – and it’s brilliant!

Inevitably, though, we also see the other side: researchers who are struggling or stressed-out.  Because – spoiler alert – academia is hard! It’s enough of a challenge when everything’s plain-sailing in the rest of your life but, when a perfect storm of work and other life stresses come at once, it can feel overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »

Mentoring, is often used to target career progression for academic women — but could furthering this agenda include mentoring men?

I’ve been thinking recently about a mentoring programme which involves senior academic women mentoring more junior academic men. I’ve been considering if and how this could not only provide senior women with coaching and mentoring expertise useful to them in advancing their own careers, but also provide new male academics with the benefits that come from being mentored by women in senior positions. Bear with me…yes there are short term individual benefits to those new lecturers, but more importantly I think there could also be systemic or structural benefits here that in the long term help more women advance into senior positions. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week provided me with a double of interesting events that made me think about the importance of ‘engaging’ (with learning, people and change).

There are various definitions on Dictionary.com but for me engaging is a conscious act, one of opening up oneself to new information, ideas or opportunities. From this can come the act of engagement, characterised in a multi-way transaction in which all parties are actively involved and inevitably, something changes as a result.

On Thursday, I attended a TUoS Engaged Learning Network event. Professor Brendan Stone, who introduced the session, describes engaged learning & teaching as, “combining academic rigour and disciplinary knowledge with opportunities for students to learn with and from external partners, ‘real-world’ challenges, and experiences outside the University.” (‘Engaged Learning Sheffield’, 2016).

The keynote speaker, Dr Ira Harkavy from the University of Pennsylvania, talked passionately about the need for academia to use its considerable resource and standing to foster community engagement and cooperation to enable genuine research impact in the local environment.

In the Q&A at the end, an impassioned colleague pointed out that this type of engagement, whether in Undergraduate learning or in core research, needs to be woven in to the fabric of the institution, rather than be seen as the activity of a few ‘out there’ individuals on the margins.

engage

What all of these positions reminded me was of the need for researchers to look beyond the day to day activity of research to consider who they will need to engage with to create change (no matter how big or small and whether in their own lives or beyond).

This contemplation was then reinforced on Friday when I attend a meeting of the nascent University-wide researcher society. Once again, impassioned colleagues talked, this time the focus being the benefits of engaging with researcher networks/associations for skill development, social connectivity, profile raising and to support collective change.

Both of these events had a common undercurrent, the certainty that collaboration and collective effort can be a force for change. For me, the very desire for ‘engagement’ implies that either an individual wants to improve something, be it personal and directly related to themselves or for the wider benefit to others.

I guess what I am trying to say (in a muddled philosophy kind of way) is that my choice to engage in both of these events, provided me opportunity to hear others’ visions, reflect on my own values, think more broadly about the role of research in society and be reminded about the potential for change that comes through a collectively engaged ‘voice’.

Time well spent, I’d say.

(Image credit: The University of Edinburgh)

Last Tuesday I attended the third in a series entitled ‘Tuning in to the value of research staff’, “a celebratory lunchtime event to showcase outputs from two creative workshops organised by researchers, for researchers at TUoS.”

As well as sharing the outputs from the earlier events in the series (Into the Woods / Talk it Out) through a display of artworks and photographs, this event aimed to ‘promote the value of fixed term staff and celebrate their contribution to TUoS’. It was also billed as ‘an opportunity to meet other research staff, to share experiences and consider ways of creating a connected community of researchers at TUoS’. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s my turn to blog this week and I have a complete lack of inspiration. I selflessly stepped in and took an extra turn in the blogging schedule a couple of weeks ago and now I have nothing to write about. I’m completely stuck for inspiration and even my lovely colleagues are failing in their attempts to assist!

lightbulbIn a cunning way of circumventing the lack of a current “hot topic”, I thought I’d write about the blog itself. The Think Ahead blog has been active for around a year now and at the beginning the Think Ahead Team made a pact to be the ‘core bloggers’, each taking a turn on a Monday (or, if you’re tardy like me, a Tuesday – sorry!). The aspiration was to enable the blog to belong to researchers and colleagues at the University of Sheffield and beyond. So far there have been 75 posts and 6376 individual visitors! Best of all, we’ve had 26 guest bloggers sharing some amazing guest posts, covering a whole range of topics including perfection, influencing policy, being an effective researcher and complex cauliflowers. Read the rest of this entry »

We are hosting a conference in 2015!

REDs_CONF1_LOGOThis inaugural conference is timely, and in-line with recent sector calls for the professionalisation of the researcher developer role. Those who develop research staff and students, are invited to strengthen their links to evidence-based practice and the impact agenda, by coming together to share and discover the scholarly work that underpins robust and innovative education of research staff and students. The conference is linked to the work of the International Journal for Researcher Development*

Register and submit your abstract here: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ris/ecr/events/reds2015 DEADLINE WEDS 15th JULY 2015

Read the rest of this entry »

Up until last year, Vitae had organised tri-annual hub meetings for Researcher Developers to get together to share practice and ideas. When the hub group heard the announcement that this was to be no more there was a ripple around the room expressing dismay. There was a unanimous desire for something to rise from the ashes of the hub meetings but uncertainty about being able to commit to making it happen. Regardless of what our job role is, in research itself or professional development, we all (it seems) have that sense of there not being enough hours in the day and a reluctance to overcommit or to do things to an average only standard. I was all too aware of this, so I whispered in the ear of my colleague Keith from Sheffield Hallam University to ask if he would volunteer to co-host the first meeting of the phoenix from the ashes together. He said, yes….no muss, no fuss. Read the rest of this entry »

Guest post by Dr Kathryn Ellis, a post-doctoral research associate in Civil & Structural Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

MeetingPhoto_150107_aBeing a member of the Engineering Researcher Society (ERS) in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Sheffield has helped me to settle into my new role as a Research Associate. I am the only person working on my topic within my Department and my work can be very insular. At times, as with many jobs, it can also be frustrating. Membership of a post-doc group has helped me to keep my sanity when work is not progressing as I hope. It also provides a place to celebrate successes too, which is just as, if not more, valuable in a research workplace. Read the rest of this entry »