Professional Development Workshops at AAS 215 in January

by Kelle on September 21, 2009

UPDATE (Oct 18): The capacity limit for the writing workshop has been raised. If want to attend the workshop but have already registered, complete and fax the Workshop form:

AAS_Star_Logo_75_blackIn the spirit of doing astronomy better, I have helped to expand the professional development offerings at the upcoming meeting of the American Astronomical Society. In particular, workshops on leadership, negotiating, and writing productivity are being offered this January at AAS 215 for $50 each. You can sign up for them online via the meeting registration page.

REMINDER: Early registration ends on Wed, Sept 30.

The intention is that these types of workshops become a regular part of the meeting and I’m very interested in your ideas for future workshop topics! Descriptions and the details for the three new workshops are after the jump.

  • Emerging Leadership: Development of leadership skills in problem-solving and leading change
  • Tues morning (Jan 5, 8:30am – 12:30pm)
    Facilitators: Jane Tucker and Barbara Butterfield
    Intended Audience: Early-career scientists who are or wish to be in a leadership position (Post-Docs, Junior Faculty, and Staff). Limited to 25 participants.

    Do you guide other people’s research projects? Do you plan to be or are you currently the Principal Investigator on projects with several collaborators? Are you frequently in committee meetings, and sometimes chairing them? Do you want to eventually be a team lead, department chair or dean? This workshop will focus on some of the leadership skills that are necessary to perform effectively in these roles. Participants will increase their leadership skills by understanding effective and ineffective leadership characteristics, personal leadership strengths and development needs, leadership negotiation and problem-solving, how to lead change, among other topics. Attendees will select a case to practice in a role-play exercise. Participants will practice leadership skills; get feedback from coaches; and discuss best techniques for leading successfully.

  • Basic Negotiations, Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution
  • Tues Afternoon (Jan 5, 2 – 6pm)
    Facilitators: Jane Tucker and Barbara Butterfield
    Intended Audience: Graduate students and Post-Docs. Limited to 25 participants.

    This seminar is designed to build understanding of mutual interest based negotiations or solution finding by developing understanding of the parties’ interests and developing alternatives that enhance the possibility of reaching agreement. Participants will evaluate their personal conflict resolution styles. Case studies will reinforce the use of effective styles in negotiating and problem-solving. Case practice will include a competitive job offer, committee service, salary increase and assuring research resources. These cases help define patterns of negotiations when choice and stress are factors. Development of supporting data, options and packaging solutions are examined relative to these cases. Several methods of responding to difficult tactics will be demonstrated and discussed.

  • Not Another Scientific Presentation: How to maximize your productivity on long-term writing projects
  • Wed afternoon (Jan 6, 2 – 4pm)
    Facilitator: Dr. Gina Hiatt, Academic Writing Club
    Intended Audience: Anyone who would like to increase their writing productivity.

    Do you have research that has gone unpublished because you can’t make yourself finish the manuscript? Do you sometimes suffer from writer’s block? Do you wait for that elusive free morning in order to concentrate on your writing, but find that the time is never available? Or do you just plain procrastinate on writing? This seminar will present simple, doable action steps that you can take to increase and maintain your writing productivity over the course of a long-term writing project. If you’ve been unhappy with your writing output, the strategies presented here can help you turn around your writing habits, while dispelling common myths about writing that impede productivity.

Many thanks to a grant from COACh that is helping support these workshops. COACh is funded by National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences

Planning on registering? Problems registering? What workshop topics would you like to see offered at future AAS meetings? Let me know in the comments.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Kelle September 28, 2009 at 2:44 pm

More PD at AAS:
At the January 2010 AAS meeting in Washington DC, the CSMA and CSWA will be jointly sponsoring 2 special sessions on mentoring. The two 90 min special sessions, entitled, “Mentoring Astronomers: Students to Faculty I & II”, will take place during the morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesday January 6, 2010.

The morning session, will be devoted to an exchange of information and best practices on mentoring by speakers selected for their current work with and knowledge of mentoring activities/programs. Invited speakers include, Dana Lehr (NSF), who will give an overview of NSF’s Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan requirement for NSF proposal submissions; Kathleen Flint (National Postdoctoral Association) who will discuss tips and tools for mentors generally and special considerations for international scholars and women; and Hakeem Oluseyi (Florida Institute of Technology) who will include a discussion of advancing diversity in astronomy through mentoring. The number of invited speakers has purposefully been kept small in order to facilitate ample time for discussion during the session. We encourage attendees at all levels and stages of mentorship.

The afternoon session will be devoted to a participatory mini-workshop on mentoring. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed, field tested, and publicly released research mentor training materials for several STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines, including astronomy. Eric Hooper (Univ. of Wisconsin) will lead an interactive implementation of these mentor training materials. Participants will experience the training seminar in practice, come face-to-face with some common mentoring challenges, and have a chance to reflect upon and discuss these challenges.

Our intended audience are astronomical researchers and faculty, as well as students, who act as mentors to more junior colleagues and who will continue to be mentors as they progress through their careers. Each session will provide unique and practical information for attendees who attend only one. However, if attended as a unit, the sessions provide both useful information and the opportunity to practice and discuss the techniques presented.

If you have questions, contact Dara Norman (


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