My Research Interests

 Positive Academia

Reseraching and Transforming Knowledge into Action for

Positive Change Making in Academia.

 

Making a differenece for Higher Eduation and the global societies.

Background

Positive Academia: The History

In January 2022 Anne-Wil Harzing formally launched the #PositiveAcademia initiative on LinkedIn. You can read more about Anne-Wil’s long-standing engagement in crafting and cultivating positive academic cultures here. Inspired by the idea, Christa Sathish has supported Anne-Wil’s initiative, during her three-year PhD at Middlesex University. Christa integrated Positive Academia activities into her teaching practices, and she used every opportunity to support fellow PGRs as well as ECRs. As part of these activities, she developed a Well-Being Activities for Teaching Guide as well as Social Media for Teaching – How to Guide . After her PhD, driven by her aim to make a real difference for others, Christa had the idea to take the #PositiveAcademia initiative further and initiated the foundation of the Positive Academia Network. Our network features the #PositiveAcademia initiative, as well as wider core components associated with research and practice in universities worldwide.

Our Mission and Vision 

Drawing on high-quality research that involves our network of researchers and external stakeholders, we craft and cultivate a Positive Academia for universities worldwide by creating real-life impact for both junior and senior academics.

Our vision is to be the world’s premier network driving the development of a Positive Academia, and to build a hub where stakeholder knowledge comes together to explore innovative, inclusive and sustainable solutions for universities worldwide.

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Activities & Resources

Researching & Transforming Knowledge into Action for Positive Change Making in Academia

 

Over the next few months, we are launching our network activities through various online and on-site events, including workshops, meetings and discussions. We are also conducting rigorous research, which will inform all our actions and activities and aims to create real-life impact for universities worldwide.

 

Campaigns

 

Every Little Counts Campaign 2024-2025

At Positive Academia we believe that embracing small positive actions in our daily academic work can contribute to the positive transformation of our academic culture.

Our Every Little Action Counts campaign will be running from 2024 to 2025. During this period, we kickstart your week with ideas for positive actions every Monday.

We encourage everyone to try and make a positive difference and advocate for such actions in their environment. We look forward to hearing about, and learning from, your experience and inputs.

Week 7: Creating a Positive Academic Reviewing Culture #EveryLittleActionCounts

Referring to Christa Sathish’s recent Reflections on the completion of AMR’s Bridge Reviewer Program , this week is dedicated to creating positive academic reviewing culture.

The crisis in academic reviewing refers to various challenges within the peer-review process, such as reviewer disengagement due to heavy workloads and prioritising the quantity over quality of publications. The increasing volume of submissions requires more engaged reviewers who are willing to spend more time, time they do not have, on reviewing. This can affect the effectiveness and quality of our peer-review processes and ultimately lead to poor academic writing and theorizing and lower quality contributions.

The AMR Bridge Reviewer Program is an excellent example of how collective and positive actions in academia can lead to holistic, constructive, and inclusive peer-reviewing. The program provides opportunities for ECRs and PGRs and includes those who may not have easy access to review to join the academic reviewing community

Week 6: Be proactive #EveryLittleActionCounts

#actionsinacademia #positiveacademia #proactiveacademia

Referring to Anne-Wil’s blogpost on proactivity in 2020, this week is dedicated to Being Proactive in Academia. Success in academia doesn’t happen overnight: it requires lots of hard graft, initiative, and resilience, and of course a dose of pure luck!

Every career is different and so are everyone’s life circumstances. So, measure your “success” based on your own goals, values, and circumstances, not on “internalised external goals” derived from a mythical person such as the “world’s most successful academic”.

Realise though that much of your academic career can only be shaped by one person: you!

Week 5: What Makes You Laugh? #EveryLittleActionCounts

This week is dedicated to humour in academia. When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered” (Mayo Clinic, 2024) and there are various benefits (such as stress relief, fostering social bonds, or improved immune system) So, let’s make our daily struggles (e.g., stress, long working hours) and heavy burden of responsibilities easier by cultivating humour in our daily lives and academic cultures.

Week 4: Be a book fairy #EveryLittleActionCounts

Everyone loves a freebie. Everyone loves a present.

Academics are no different. But most of them prefer a very specific freebie: books!

So, if you are a senior and/or well-resourced academic, why not make a difference this week by being a book fairy? There are at least three ways you can be a book fairy.

Week 3: Be Proud of Yourself #EveryLittleActionCounts

“You are unique, resilient, and constantly growing. Embrace who you are, and let yourself feel proud of all that you have accomplished and all that you will achieve in the future” Tanvi Vyas

We believe that everyone should celebrate themselves as often as they can, no matter how big or small the achievement. The need to perform at high levels requires resilience and focus.

Week 2: Saying Thank You - #EveryLittleActionCounts

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

You are only one Thank You away from contributing to Positive Academia! We believe that saying thank you is not just an expression of gratitude, but also is a way to pay respect. It thus reinforces and fuels crafting and cultivating #positiveacademia. Courtesy in email communications Thank You: The most underused words in academia? for instance, is especially important when interacting with mentors, fellow academics, colleagues, or students as a “taken-for- granted-attitude” can harm relationships and leave people feeling used.

Expressing gratitude can spread positivity and happiness in your daily environment. The good news is that there are various ways to say Thank You and we encourage you to try the following options:

1. Say Thank You to appreciate one colleague every day.
2. Start an email response with Thanks, Thank You or another phrasing that shows you appreciate the content of the email!
3. Thank a colleague publicly for their input in a meeting.
4. Give a Thank You Card to a colleague (physical or digital). LinkedIn has a wide range of Kudos awards you can use (Thank you, Making work fun, Making an Impact, Amazing Mentor, Outside the Box Thinker etc.)
5. Buy a cup of coffee for a colleague – especially one that is new or you haven’t seen for a while – and spend a few minutes with them chatting.
Found any other good ways to say thank you? Please let us hear your ideas and thoughts by replying to this post!

Best wishes,
Anne-Wil & Christa

Week 1: One Email at the time - #EveryLittleActionCounts

You are only one message away from contributing to #positiveacademia! We believe that we all can make academia a kinder place by simply appreciating each other.

Hence, we encourage everyone to send at least one nice message either via email or social media post (e.g., LinkedIn recommendation or endorsement), appreciating somebody’s (colleague, co-author, student) work, achievements, or collaboration.  For ideas on how to do this have a look at Anne-Wil’s post on changing academic culture here: Using LinkedIn recommendations to support others (harzing.com)

We would be happy to hear your ideas and thoughts by replying to this post!

Best wishes,

Anne-Wil & Christa

Events

 

International Women's Day 8th March 2024

On this International Women’s day, let’s amplify the voices of women everywhere. Let’s uplift their stories, celebrate their achievements, and champion their rights. Together, let’s create a world where every woman’s voice is heard, valued and respected. Happy Internationa Women’s Day! #AmplifyWomen, #IWD2024

22nd November 2023 - “Creativity, Collaboration and Co-Creation: Building Positive Networks”

We warmly invite you to join other Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) and Early Careers Researchers (ECRs) in this onsite event at the University of Westminster, Marylebone Campus, London.

This event is designed to foster debates and conversations that support your Postgraduate or Early Career Research journeys. The aim is to facilitate creative approaches to research and collaborative learning, helping us understand how to build positive relationships and co-produce knowledge that address challenges in the complex research, teaching, and organisational cultures that we navigate. Additionally, this event will be a great opportunity to find and develop collaborative relationships and micro-support systems within the Positive Academia Network for PGRs and ECRs. By participating, you will pioneer a unique global support network designed to make positive differences to universities worldwide.

Resource Bulletin

We are the provider of the Crafting & Cultivating Positive Academia Resource Bulletin and encourage everyone to subscribe to our Positive Academia JISC List in order to receive the latest news about our activities and high quality  information that will help you to make a positive difference in and for your university.

Resource Bulletin: Edition #4 - PGR Support

Our fourth edition is dedicated to positively supporting PGRs.

Resource Bulletin: Edition #3 - Creativity in Academia

This month’s edition is dedicated to Creativity in Academia.

Resource Bulletin: Edition #2 - Diversity in Academia

This month’s topic is dedicated to -We Are All Different-

Resource Bulletin: Edition #1 -We are all connected

This month’s topic is dedicated to “Happiness is a good flow of life” – Zeno

Resource Bulletin: Edition #1 - We are all connected

This month’s topic is dedicated to “Happiness is a good flow of life” – Zeno

Supporting PGR and ECR Academics

Reflections on the completion of AMR’s Bridge Reviewer Program

The crisis in academic reviewing refers to various challenges within the peer-review process, such as reviewer disengagement due to heavy workloads and prioritising the quantity over quality of publications. The increasing volume of submissions requires more engaged reviewers who are willing to spend more time, time they do not have, on reviewing. This can affect the effectiveness and quality of our peer-review processes and ultimately lead to poor academic writing and theorizing and lower quality contributions.

Efforts are being made to address these issues through innovations in peer-review models, such as open peer review as well as through increased transparency, accountability, morality and constructiveness in the peer-review process. The AMR Bridge Reviewing Program is an excellent example of how collective and positive actions in academia can lead to holistic, constructive and inclusive peer-reviewing. The program provides opportunities for ECRs and PGRs and includes those who may not have easy access to review to join the academic reviewing community. In what follows, I am reflecting on my recent experience of completing the Bridge Review Program by highlighting why and how AMR’s approach to developing peer-reviewing contributes to crafting and cultivating a Positive Academia.

PGR Support: PhD Wellness

At Positive Academia, we understand the importance of taking care of your well-being as a PhD student. Pursuing a doctorate can be challenging, but with our dedicated support program, we are here to help you navigate through the ups and downs of your academic journey. Our PhD Wellness initiative offers a range of resources and workshops tailored specifically to support your physical and mental well-being. From stress management techniques to strategies for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, we’ve got you covered. Join our network of like-minded researchers and let us empower you to thrive in your PhD studies. Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay updated with the latest news and events. Together, let’s create a positive and nurturing academic environment for all.

Academics Wellbeing Matters

At Positive Academia, we believe that the wellbeing of academics is of utmost importance. We understand the challenges and pressures that come with pursuing a career in academia, and we are committed to creating a positive and nurturing environment for all. Our mission is to support junior and senior academics by providing resources, workshops, and a supportive community. From our dedicated PGR Support program to our PhD Wellness initiative, we aim to empower researchers to thrive in their academic journey. Join our network and let us help you make a positive difference in and for your university. Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay updated with the latest news and events. Together, let’s build a positive academia where wellbeing truly matters.

Supporting Positive Teaching and Learning Cultures

Social Media for Teaching Guide
Looking to engage your students in innovative ways? Our Social Media for Teaching Guide provides you with practical tips and strategies to leverage the power of social media platforms in your teaching practices. From creating interactive assignments to fostering online discussions, this guide will help you create an engaging and dynamic learning environment. Stay connected with us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay updated with the latest trends and insights in educational technology. Join our network and be a part of the positive academia movement. Let’s transform teaching and learning together!
Well-Being Activities For Teaching Guide

At Positive Academia, we understand the importance of taking care of your well-being as an educator. Teaching can be demanding, but we believe that prioritizing your own well-being is essential for creating a positive and nurturing learning environment. Our Well-Being Activities for Teaching offers a range of resources, strategies, and workshops designed to support your physical and mental well-being. From mindfulness exercises to stress management techniques, we provide you with the tools you need to thrive in your teaching journey. Join our network and let us empower you to create a balanced and fulfilling teaching experience. Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay updated with the latest news and events. Together, let’s build a positive academia where well-being matters.

Interconnected Learning Guide

Are you ready to unlock the power of interconnected learning? At Positive Academia, we believe that learning is more than just acquiring knowledge in isolation. My Interconnected Learning Guide is your roadmap to a vibrant and collaborative learning experience. Discover innovative teaching practices, and engage with diverse perspectives. Join us in shaping the future of education and embrace the endless possibilities of interconnected learning. Connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay updated with the latest trends and insights. Let’s create a positive and inclusive academia together!

Creating Positive Impact for Teaching and Learning @University of Westminster: Visiting the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park

It was field trip time for our Master level students of the Multi Platforms Communication Module (2023-2024)! Together with Asher Rospigliosi Pallavicini, we visited the National Computing Museum at Bletchley Park. Many thanks go to Dr. Richard Berry (Head of the School of Management and Marketing) who agreed to fund the trip and Josh Scott from the Wellbeing Support Team who assisted me with all the administrative tasks! You made this enriching experience possible, and it would not have happened without you 😊! Many thanks also go to Aisha Dhama who assisted and supported me with various tasks during the trip. I am very grateful for your help, and it made a very positive impact on my own experience 😊

Supporting Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in Academia

CYGNA: The Power of neurodiversity

Our 55th CYGNA meeting was our first transdisciplinary, open-to-all event and featured the SWAN project celebrating the unique strengths of neurodiversity in academia

The SWAN project

This project created two swans reflecting CYGNA’s equal, inclusive, collective identity and the diversity of the network and its members.

When inclusion becomes exclusion: The problems of the label ‘disability networks’

In this reflective this blog post I aim to start the conversation of how ‘disability networks’ are labelled in universities. I am drawing on Armstrong’s (2010) book ‘the power of Neurodiversity’, which focuses on seven conditions: ADHD, autism, dyslexia, mood disorder, anxiety disorder, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia. Armstrong (2010) defines neurodiversity as a world comprising forms of natural human differences, which were previously referred to as mental disorders of neurological origin.

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