NCFDD experiences by Shannon Hall-Mills
College of Communication and Information
I was introduced to NCFDD a couple years ago through a friend at another university who invited me to join her in one of the free 14-day writing challenges. I committed to writing for at least 30 minutes a day in a self-regulated program that included daily and weekly writing goals, measures of accountability to myself and others, and a self-designed rewards system. Despite having established good writing habits previously, I needed a refresher. I admit that I struggled to find 30 minutes each day to write in that first 14 day challenge. But by the end of the second week, I was blowing right by the 1-hour timer, needing/wanting more time, and eventually completing a manuscript. During the second challenge several months later, it was much easier for me to initiate and maintain that process because the first challenge helped jump start my writing habit. I produced 2 manuscripts during the second writing challenge. The writing challenges also helped me realize the value of keeping a log of writing goals, time, and challenges.
Tried and true (and evidence based)
I think it’s safe to say that faculty don’t have time to read and adapt productivity ideas from self-help texts to develop a plan to succeed in the academy. While NCFDD does offer self-help techniques, there is more at work in their materials than just reminding you about good habits and best practices. They have a research-focused approach to their programs. Helping faculty is their science as well as their trade. I take confidence in that aspect, knowing that however much time I can invest in reviewing and using their resources, it is time well spent (and evidence-based).
You get out of it what you put into it
NCFDD provides a range of materials, information, programs, and other supportive mechanisms to address a variety of expressed faculty needs. For example, a new tenure-track faculty member is likely to reap the full benefit of setting themselves up for success early in their track if they take advantage of excellent resources such as the faculty boot camp series, writing challenges, and learning-to-say-no practices. Tenured faculty who need occasional reminders of good habits and best practices for productivity benefit from a reminder of forgotten strategies and consideration of new ideas they haven’t tried before. Tenured faculty who are mentoring junior faculty may find many of the resources useful for their mentee. The same is true for mentorship of doctoral students. Specialized faculty also struggle with barriers to their success and may apply many of the resources in their work as well. There are networking opportunities to connect with faculty across a range of disciplines and universities.
Check it out
If you are not already familiar with what they offer, take a minute to create your FREE NCFDD account (Thanks FSU!) and explore a bit. My advice is to start small by focusing on one idea or issue to resolve in your work. There is another 14-day writing challenge just around the bend! Won’t you join me?