Making Time for Scholarship: Reflections from a Recent Keynote Address

Making Time for Scholarship: Reflections from a Recent Keynote Address

As I traveled home from a keynote address I gave at the major teaching conference for the American Psychological Association in Decatur, GA, I had some time to reflect on the message. My talk was inspired by the changing research environment and the need for faculty who teach statistics and research methods to change with it in order to better prepare students to be “lab ready.” In this light, a key aim of this talk was to elucidate tips and strategies that can be applied to bridge the overlap in the language used to describe what it means to engage in the scientific process, as well as to present pertinent software in the classroom without substantially increasing the hours required to do so.

As the academic review process is now really starting to take shape, I think it is important to reflect on the importance of professional development as well—not so much as simply being an evaluative process—but instead as a process through which we work together to adapt to the changing landscape of the professional and research environments we engage in. The talk I gave focused on integrating (1) the “parts” of science, and (2) appropriate technology as part of the standard toolbox we utilize as practitioners and researchers. One key outcome for taking such an integrated approach was to underscore the importance in academic pursuits to train the whole scientist. Whether we are focused on the methods (the “rules”) or the analysis (the “data”), both parts are instrumental in the decisions (the “science”) we make as practitioners and as researchers. It is therefore important to find common ground between the ‘science’ of our fields of study and the application of it in an applied or clinical setting.

As you engage in this academic review, think about the outcomes you desire for your own career and professional development. Imagine that before this process began, the University was already developing the infrastructure necessary to support your efforts to grow, learn, and succeed. It is certainly advantageous for us, as experts in our fields, to have the support and platform to develop our skills further. Think about all the people who depend on you or all the people affected by the decisions you make daily. While this may vary from one professional to another, think about how many decisions you make that are rooted in scientific thinking or based on scientific evidence or claims. As doctors and practitioners in your discipline, it therefore makes most sense to be open to the research process—its strengths and limitations—and even actively engage in it, if for no other reason than to gain greater insight into the processes that underlies the evidence you will use to make decisions. What better way to learn and grow, and ultimately succeed, than to participate in the research of your discipline?

Regardless of whether you are still a student, early in your professional career, or a leading expert in your discipline, professional development should be an ongoing part of your career. In this light, the academic review process is meant to support your efforts and provide you with the necessary resources and support needed engage in professional development and grow in your discipline. In the words of Will Rodgers, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” So get up, get excited, and find your greatest potential as you move your careers and those of our students forward. 

Comments

Aaron Coe's picture Aaron Coe | November 7, 2015 10:22 am MST

Thanks for the words of encouragement related to developing our scholarly practices and our Academic Review process Dr. Privitera. It is vital that we work to grow our individual and collective expertise in our disciplines and that occurs through new and innovative research, which the Research Centers are central too. I appreciate your contribution here and look forward to our ongoing work together as we drive our respective disciplines forward.

Aaron