Dear BI Career Consultants:
How do I get my colleagues to respect the research/work that I do on African American issues?
Dr. Freddie SandipherAssistant professor of English, University CollegeUniversity of CincinnatiPresident of the National Council on Black American Affairs.
We are fortunate that the research of many of our colleagues has been well received. We are not breaking new ground. The essence of gaining respect for one’s work on African American issues is to uncover the truth, write it well and let your colleagues know about it. There are some strategies that will assist your efforts. If you are in the planning stage of your research, you might try the following strategies to increase the respect your work will receive. First, discuss with your colleagues the research you intend to pursue. Their experiences may be helpful, and they can direct you to others whose interests are related to yours. Later, when the project has been completed, colleagues you have consulted can become your strongest supporters. A second possible strategy is a collaborative project with others who have established reputations in the field. In addition to the reputation a colleague might lend, a collaboration can add different perspectives and networking possibilities. Each of the strategies above is a way of opening up the project so that interest is developed as the research unfolds.If the project has been completed, there are other ways of bringing attention and respect to your work. Use the informal opportunities within your institution to present your work to your colleagues. Colloquia, brown bag lunches, and faculty seminars are regular institutional opportunities. Plan to present your research at regional and national conferences. Know your work thoroughly. Remember that you are building a reputation and creating a following. Colleagues may not make laudatory statements, but if the work was well researched and competently presented, they will be present in your next audience. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm for the project. Sometimes the mask of objectivity we wear comes close to appearing to be boredom.The real key to gaining respect for your work is to do the excellent work you set out to do. The last thing you want is to complete your work and to be insecure about it. Once the project has been completed, it will develop a life of its own. It becomes public property. The research may acquire unanticipated audiences. You cannot change it and you don’t want to apologize for it.
The real key to gaining respect for your work is to do the excellent work you set out to do. The last thing you want is to complete your work and to be insecure about it.
—Dr. Freddie Sandipher
Dr. Anthony C. IhunnahAssistant professor of Special Education,Department of Special Educational Services/Instruction, Rowan University, Glassboro,New Jersey. He is also the immediate past president of the National Congress of Black Faculty.
If it is at all possible, I would recommend researching issues that you have either witnessed personally or have participated in. The style of writing and presentation of the research on the issues must, of course, project a true understanding of the issues, but also, and perhaps most importantly, be easy to read and comprehend. Your review of the literature must show a respectable pool of references who are credible experts on the issues you are researching and presenting on. Scholars appreciate reading or hearing about a popular author or authority with which they are more familiar. I also have found it helpful to include, in the analysis section of my work, the implications and applications of such research/work on the lives of people, thereby showing the connections between research and the improvement of people’s lives. The use of a diverse pool of reviewers, I believe, also provides tremendous help in ensuring that the final product will be better understood by a wider range of audiences. My research/work ideas are usually shared and discussed by a pool of mutually interested and experienced professionals and friends who would be encouraged to review, edit, and offer critical ideas or contributions to the work.There also is a need to ensure that your research has a broad appeal within its targeted audience. In summary, the research recommendation must be predicted, attainable, reasonable, responsible, and realistic.
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