Developing the five year plan…

I don’t know about you but it is hard to determine what is important and what is not as I enter the world of academia. This semester I created a five-year plan as part of a pre-tenure program in my college. The goal was for us to sit down and develop a vision of the next five years to share with the leaders and other pre-tenure colleagues. We were provided various examples of possible plans from previous participants. For example, one person developed a plan that seemed to be based on a theoretical framework providing a detailed story of what they would do. Another example focused more upon the start and completion process for acquiring funding, collecting data, and submitting articles. While we were not cajoled into any one format or the other, I took the safe route… I combined the examples together.  LOL!!!

I know I say “safe”, but for me it was logical. I wanted whomever I shared the work with to understand my theoretical framework that informs my teaching, research and scholarship. I also needed to understand what would happen when and plan accordingly. Included in the when for me was the where. Which conference? What would I do towards reaching out to the practicing teacher? I had charts, diagrams and lists galore. My chart to take me from obscurity to fame was 13 pages (with appendices) with about 5-6 major research projects planned out. Below is my introduction to the plan:

            Research Agenda

            The purpose of this paper is to map my research agenda across the next five years. Each area of research will include the title, list of researchers, a brief            

            description of the study objectives, data collection and analysis tools, current status and possible publications. While this paper provides an overview of

            research, connections to future conferences and publications will be presented in Appendix A (Timeline of Research) and Appendix B (Outline of

            Scholarship, Research, and Outreach). Appendix B also provides a brief description of outreach that may inform the research ideas discussed as well as

            places that these ideas will be shared or used while working with the university, local, state, national, international and online communities.

This wondrous document had so much information I just knew I would impress those I would share this with. Now if you are reading this and you read my document, I really didn’t think I would impress… I really was thinking, “I sure hope this is what they are looking for?”

Before I go into what happens next, I hope that no matter where you are in the professorial journey that you take the time to create a five year plan. Heck, I think this is a good move for anyone trying to get ahead. Where do you see yourself in 5years? How do you get there? What must be done to be fill in the blank? No one format is right or wrong. The five participants including me in this program we each had a different take on the project. Depending on what type of person you are and the nature of what inspires you, you too may have a completely different document. But I do like that I did this.

The next posting will discuss what others had to say about my magnum opus once I shared it with the department chairman, peers in the group and colleagues outside my university. Stay tuned… 🙂

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