Everyone knows that you’re supposed to have goals. Goals for every aspect of your life, including your career. But, I feel like research administration kind of gets a hard rap in this area of things. I mean, are we salespeople and define our success by the number of proposals submitted? The number of external dollars earned? That doesn’t really speak to personal career development. That’s more career achievement. So, how do we formulate good professional goals for ourselves?

I’m talking about I want to be over there in five years, so how do I get from here to way over there kind of goals. Here’s what I’ve been doing lately:

  1. Hunt job descriptions and job postings.
    • All kinds of job descriptions — vice presidents, chairs, directors, managers, CEOs, anything that may relate to your specialty or your goals. Look on your society career pages, look on LinkedIn, look anywhere. Don’t worry too much about the title, worry more about the field or specialty (compliance, education, technology transfer, etc.)
  2. Look at the required qualifications and experiences sections.
    • Pay attention to what you’re reading.
    • A doctoral degree is required — but does it matter what degree you get? Probably not.
      • “Doctoral Degree in education, research methodology, statistics, or closely related field.”
      • “An earned doctorate from an accredited university in a discipline related to research and innovation.”
      • “A PhD in a discipline represented by one of the university departments”
    • Academic productivity and scholarship is required.
      • “Distinguished record of sustained scholarship, contracts and grants”
      • “highest academic standards with research accomplishments”
    • Proven ability to work with teams.
      • “Skilled in fostering strong, collaborative, innovative and entrepreneurial partnerships”
      • “Ability to work with deans and directors to support interdisciplinary institutes, initiatives and programs”
    • Teaching experience.
      • “expertise in, and involvement in teaching and learning practices”
    • Subject-Matter-Expert knowledge.
      • “Awareness of national and global trends.”

Pool several high level job descriptions together. They don’t have to be the exact position that you want. And you may not even know the exact position you’ll want in ten years. But, you can get close and you can begin to formulate some of your professional development goals based on this information.

Goals to consider:

  1. Online doctorate degree
  2. Submit at least 2 peer-review publications.
  3. Submit at least 2 abstracts to a conference/symposium.
  4. Send out requests to join a new committee or working group.
  5. Apply for an online adjunct teaching position, for a TA position, or put out a general offer to be a guest lecturer.
  6. Find out how your colleagues keep up with global trends. Do the same.
  7. Cultivate a deep and comprehensive knowledge of your institution’s organizational chart, the various departments and divisions.
  8. Shadow someone you admire, then ask to be their mentee.
  9. Write a personal thank you note to each of your colleagues to connect on a more personal level with each member of your team.
  10. Attend your society’s annual conference and complete any certificates that may be available.