The Agile Academic Podcast
Welcome to the agile academic, a podcast for women in and around higher education. In this first season, I talk with my guests from all over academia about a wide range of topics, from teaching and research, to writing and speaking, to career vitality and burnout and everything in between.
The podcast launches January 26, 2021, so watch this space! Here’s a little hint of what you’ll find on the show!
Hello listeners! Welcome to episode 0.5 of the agile academic, a podcast for women in and around higher education. I talk with our special guests about career vitality to burnout and everything in between. I’m your host, Dr. Rebecca Pope-Ruark.
In this minisode, I thought I’d tell you a little about myself, the concept of the show, and even tease some moments with guests in the first 8 episodes coming this spring.
I’ve been wanting to do a podcast for a while, but it was actually the pandemic that spurred me to make it happen. I’m usually pretty introverted when it comes to reaching out to people I don’t know very well – or at all – but that became standard practice once many of us started working from home. I found myself reaching out to people I’d connected with on Twitter and other internet groups to just schedule chats to break up the day and meet someone face-to-face.
So, I’m having these really interesting conversations, and realized that this is the podcast. Telling stories with women in a and around higher education, some faculty, some administrators, some outside of traditional academia. Each with their own unique story to tell about their relationship to higher education, what drives them, what excites them, what drains them, what inspires them.
My goal for the show is to interview 100 inspiring women about their experiences pursuing purpose, compassion, connection, and balance in the academy and beyond. Why purpose, compassion, connection, and balance? That takes us a little bit into my story.
I taught writing, professional communication, and rhetoric to undergrads for 17 years, including five years as a graduate instructor of record during my PhD. Out of grad school I landed my dream job at a medium-sized, private, liberal arts-focused where I eventually earned tenure.
It was the perfect job. Until it just wasn’t. I was a productive faculty member – good teaching evals, good publications including a couple books, good scholarly reputation. I loved teaching, did quite a bit of service, and tried to keep up by research agenda.
But eventually I pushed myself over a cliff of overwork and into a deep period of burnout, that took me 3 years and a few major life changes to get over.
So where does my focus on purpose, compassion, connection, and balance come from? They are the four aspects of my life and work that helped me to overcome burnout. I’m writing about it now in a book about burnout and women faculty. In interviewing and doing research for that book, I’ve realized how important these four, let’s call them pillars, shape our professional and personal well-being.
And that’s the point of the podcast. My goal for the show is to interview 100 inspiring women about their experiences pursuing purpose, compassion, connection, and balance in the in and around higher ed.
So, what can you expect? Every Tuesday in this 8 episode season, you can expect a new interview with an agile academic woman from all walks across and adjacent to higher ed. We’ll talk about our stories, compare notes, share insights, and have a laugh. We talk about teaching writing, researching, serving, and generally living as a human in higher education.
Who will I be talking to, you ask? Here are some hints…
Guest: The word higher and higher education. It does mean something to me. And you know, I, I know we might touch on purpose, the topic of purpose today. Um, I think sometimes I feel like we’ve lost our way a bit in higher ed and I wish we talked more about what are we doing here? What is our, why? Uh, what is our purpose as higher educators? What does the word higher mean to us? For me in part, it means helping our students to become happier, healthier, more fulfilled people for like three or four weeks.
Guest: I noticed that like, I go to bed. It doesn’t matter when I go to bed, I somehow wound up with like between four or five hours of sleep. And like, this is not, no, this is not where we live. And I realized that the, that was a way that anxiety had reappeared in my life. Like it was really undermining. It’s like I actually had to yell at my brain and say, I’m not working at 2:30 in the morning. I’m tired. I’ve taught the body body, mind and soul me to sleep.
Guest: I think it’s very cool that we’re all we’re close in age, but we’re not all the same age we’re close and where we are in our careers, but not exactly the same place in our careers. And so every time someone has a question, there’s a, there’s a balanced perspective that comes from being close to people who are not in your institution, because there’s a, uh, an objectivity in the sounding board that you may not get from the connections you have at your own institution, which are also important. But, but for me, that, that balanced perspective where we’re just as likely to cheer each other on, as we are to say, you know, maybe your Dean has a point or maybe that student had something else going on. Those, those kinds of a safe place where people can kind of tell you to check yourself, but it’s not the end of a relationship. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible professor, that kind of balance. I think there’s something really beautiful about being able to talk to people who aren’t at your institution.
I hope you’ll join me for each of these wonderful conversations for episode one. I chat with three of the most influential women in my life and career over the last 10 years. I couldn’t imagine kicking off the podcast with anyone else. Can’t wait to share that first episode with you. Thanks for joining me on the agile academic podcast. More soon. Thanks for listening to this episode of the agile academic podcast for women in higher ed, to make sure you don’t miss an episode. Follow the show on Apple and Google podcasting apps and bookmark the show page where you’ll find show notes and a transcript with each episode, you’ll find the firstname.lastname@example.org slash podcast. Take care and stay well.
I hope you’ll join me for each conversation. For the episode 1, I chat with three of the most influential women in my life and career over the last 10 years. I couldn’t imagine kicking the podcast off with anyone else!
So you don’t miss an episode, follow the show on the Apple and Google podcasting apps (coming soon!), and bookmark the show page listed in the show notes. You’ll find show notes and a transcript with each episode. If you’d like to recommend someone to interview, please just complete the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Thanks for joining me on the agile academic, and more soon!