I am eligible for academic promotion to Level E from 2018. To this end, I would use the funding for one-on-one sessions with external professional mentor, Professor Shelda Debowski to mentor me on strategically advancing my career and leadership capabilities, specific to my unique situation. Prof Debowski is a leading international expert in educational leadership and tertiary education development. She has a long history in higher education as a Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor of Higher Education Development and academic within the disciplines of business and education. Prof Debowski supported me when I went for promotion to Level D in 2016, and we were able to develop a highly productive relationship in a short space of time.
I believe her input and direction would be of great value to personalise an approach required as a female researcher with a variety and unique comination of clinical, academic and research experiences, spanning several decades. I anticipate she would empower me to have the confidence to overcome some of the barriers I am facing to achieve my aims, and assist me to position my experiences for the best advantage on my application. I have multiple collaborations and hold several significant grants, and am involved with many professional organisations who have requested my expertise. Her high-level advice would help me move forward smoothly with building a more complex and influential portfolio, without taking on commitments that may be risky or less fruitful for my professional and personal goals. These strategies would have the multiple purpose of improving my prospects for future fellowship applications, major funding support and new collaborations.
The environment for getting ahead for women researchers such as myself remains less than ideal, with much unconscious gender bias. Although I consider my track record to be excellent for my career-stage there are certain disadvantages for my being in the narrow but important field of Indigenous research. My ambition also to become the best I can be at building research capacity in the Aboriginal students and staff I supervise, and in the Aboriginal Medical Services whose health professionals I train. Thus, much of my time and energy is not focussed into my own career development, but mentoring and bringing on others to succeed. Having an external and objective mentor is very helpful for me to balance my career aspirations, while proceeding efficiently towards my own goals.
I would spread these career-supporting sessions out over the next 9 months, so I would set goals, according to my mentor’s direction, to mindfully raise my profile and influence, and then work together with her closer to the promotion application date in 2018-2019, to position myself in the best light.
I am confident, with a personalised approach that I would have the best chance of success in my endeavours to build a strong and meaningful portfolio. Achieving a Level E professorial promotion would be the next significant step for my career development.