How To Get Your Department to Pay for Productivity Support

This is part of a previous post on how to get your department to fund your participation in Unstuck: The Art of Productivity and The Art of the Academic Article, but you can use it to ask for any kind of professional development or program improvement support.

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Your department might pay for your enrollment in this course, and the only you will find out is to ask. Don’t be afraid. Department heads get requests for funding all of the time. There is nothing shameful about it. In fact, learning how to ask is great practice for the rest of your career.

The best way to loosen the departmental purse strings is to show the money is going to solve a problem the department head considers worth solving.

So what problem does the course solve?

  • Maybe your department is worried about your pace of publication.
  • Maybe your department is focused on raising its profile.
  • Maybe your department has a stated desire to support underrepresented faculty.

You also have to show the stakes of not solving the problem.

  • You may not progress to tenure
  • The department’s output might lag.
  • You and the department might miss out on involvement in high profile projects and collaborations.
  • You may miss out on funding opportunities.

Stating the problem and stakes is not enough. You also have to show why this particular thing you are asking to be funded will solve the problem.

  • Why this course?
  • Why these people?

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Here is an example email that you can use to approach your dean, department head or PI to make the request that the course be funded.

NOTE: PLEASE! DO NOT USE THESE EXAMPLES VERBATIM! WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF READERS AND CLIENTS, MANY IN THE SAME DEPARTMENTS. REPHRASE THE MODELS BELOW IN YOUR OWN WORDS!

Dear <administrator>

I have an opportunity to enroll in a program designed for academics to produce a full draft of journal article in 10 weeks and I am requesting departmental support. The course is being offered by The Professor is In and Up In Consulting, two career services organizations with well-documented success in assisting academics in all phases of their careers.

The benefit of The Art of the Academic Article, over other programs, is not only the extensive experience of the two coaches offering guidance but also the ongoing access to the online material. I will be able to use the course material for not just this article, but all future ones as well.

As we have discussed, I have XX articles in progress that are necessary/would improve my third year review/tenure review/post doc production/chances of success on the job market. This course would assure that I produce xx articles in the next year. It also increases my chances of publication in the mostly highly ranked journals because it includes instruction on positioning both in terms of discipline and journal rank.


OR


As we have discussed, one of the critical components of raising the profile of our department is to increase faculty publications and the quality of those publications. This course would assure that I produce xx articles in the next year. It also increases my chances of publication in the mostly highly ranked journals because it includes instruction on positioning both in terms of discipline and journal rank.

It is no secret that balancing research, service and teaching is a challenge for all junior faculty here at xx. With this course, I will have the resources to achieve the balance required for success. With your support, I will be able to avoid common problems like false starts, writer’s block, and perfectionism, while assuring I choose the best journals to target, and submit a draft to a strong journal in an efficient time frame.

The next session of the course starts June 3rd. Please let me know if you are willing to support this effort and I will purchase and submit the receipt for reimbursement/contact accounting to complete the registration/ xxx




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