KerryAnn designs keynote talks, workshops, and presentations to fit campus and conference needs; typically they fall into one of three categories:
(1) Thriving in Early, Mid, and Late Careers: Professional Growth Workshops for Faculty
Drawing on her own and other’s research on the role of agency in faculty professional lives, as well as eight years experience designing professional development experiences for faculty and academic leaders, KerryAnn provides workshops for faculty symposium, annual convenings and retreats on strategies individuals can take to assume agency in such areas as career advancement, writing productivity, balance of work and life, aligning time and priorities, and creating mentoring networks. She also shares research on the factors that constrain agency and how faculty and their institutions can work to overcome barriers.
(2) Equity-Minded Reform in Teaching and Service Workloads.
Drawing from action research conducted as P.I. of the Faculty Workload and Rewards Project, a National Science Foundation (Advance IHE PLAN Award: 1463898), (in which Joya Misra (UMass Amherst) and Audrey Jaeger (NC State) are close collaborators), KerryAnn provides workshops to increase awareness of how and why academic workloads become unfair, especially for women and URM faculty. She draws on experience working with over 30 academic departments/units to help campuses diagnose equity issues using faculty work activity data, and then design new organizational practices that proactively and transparently lead to greater equity. For more information, see this Workload Brochure and Asked More Often Brief.
(3) Promotion and Tenure Reform
Many promotion and tenure policies and processes unintentionally disadvantage some faculty because they have not been updated to be inclusive of newer forms of scholarship (such as community engaged and interdisciplinary work), research methodologies, or use of technology. Social science research over the last twenty years has revealed implicit biases against women and URM faculty groups in evaluation processes; yet policies and practices have not been updated to mitigate against biases. KerryAnn works with campuses to engage in equity-minded reform of faculty evaluation processes. She helps campuses increase awareness of these issues and then “script” policy language and practices to better regard newer forms of scholarship, and mitigate biases that can harm diverse faculty in evaluation.
KerryAnn O'Meara is the first scholar I've encountered who has really made a difference for me in providing a conceptual framework for thinking about one of my purposes as department chair: cultivating a supportive departmental environment that enhances faculty growth and self-efficacy. Her research articulates the experiences of faculty and demonstrates the dynamics of expectations -- spoken and unspoken -- that they bring to their jobs. Her work also shows that these expectations, while individual in nature, also play out in organizational contexts. I am especially struck by her insistence that we need not give in to the idea that the academy is inevitably demoralizing, toxic, or overly bureaucratic. We can, in fact, affect the contexts in which faculty do their work; they are not immutable. By addressing the context of faculty work, both faculty and department chairs experience a sense of agency and efficacy. O'Meara's work should be on the top of new chairs' reading list.
Karin Peterson, Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology UNC Asheville & Academic Affairs Faculty Fellow at UNC General Administration.
On behalf of the faculty and administration of Rutgers-Camden, I would like to thank you for the terrific institute on community engaged scholarship that you brought to our campus. I have received nothing but praise from those who attended. Special kudos for engaging the faculty in discussion for almost the entire day.
Michael A. Palis, Provost, Rutgers University Camden
Thanks so much for coming to campus the past two days. You were easy to work with, your preparation was well thought out, and your workshops engaged our faculty and administration throughout the entire duration. You showed great breadth and depth of knowledge on reward systems, and had wonderful examples and resources at the tip of your tongue. Our participants left wishing they had more time to pick your brain, and are now ready to start tackling these issues in their respective departments and colleges. Furthermore, the audit and dashboards are clearly strong tools to keep developing. We can’t wait to see future iterations!
Jessica Donovan Program Director, University of Cincinnati LEAF Program (an NSF funded ADVANCE-IT Program)
KerryAnn O'Meara came to our campus this past summer for an all-day Teaching and Learning Institute. I had interest from faculty from all over campus, most of whom had not done community engaged teaching or scholarship. She was well received by everyone and her message was very accessible. Over the next few weeks our campus started a new strategic planning initiative and I heard many of the faculty in attendance bringing attention to the things we learned in the Institute. She is extremely knowledgeable and her research is relevant to engaged, diverse, and interdisciplinary faculty.
Ruth Kassel, Assistant Director for Academic Community Engagement, Siena College
KerryAnn O’Meara’s presentation and discussion have played a crucially important role in framing discussion as we move into our review of Tenure & Promotion policies on campus. In particular, I was struck by the importance of developing effective messaging and training around policies. I can see how having not attended to the messaging around faculty reward systems has led to many unintended consequences and perceptions among faculty that don’t reflect the policies. Another important take-away for me from her presentation is that reforming policies benefits from a value-based approach in which institutional values undergird the process.
Julia Metzker, Professor of Chemistry and Director of ENGAGE, Georgia College and State University
Thank you for your visit to our university this fall. Your presentations on engaged scholarship were an important first step in promoting broad-based conversations across our campuses on this topic. You assisted us in defining engaged scholarship and in exploring how to best address the challenges faced by engaged scholars in academic reward systems (e.g., promotion and tenure, faculty development, finding peer networks). Since your visit, I have received emails from faculty members asking about how to continue to build upon the momentum. I believe that the resources that you offered to provide, along with those available publicly on your faculty website, will be important references for us going forward. I also appreciate your small-group discussion with administrators about the actions that they can take to establish organizational practices that support engaged scholars and faculty community engagement. Your expertise gave voice to many working in this area who have not been able to effectively articulate the importance of their work to their colleagues. For that reason alone, your presence was deeply appreciated.
Patricia L. Donat, PhD, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
I think we hit a home run when we identified Dr. O'Meara as a speaker. She had a message to share that was substantive and relevant, she wasn't afraid to challenge the status quo, but she approaches change in a way that is non-threatening. I sense that we've planted some great seeds to help grow engagement at UT, we just need to do some watering and fertilizing to make them sprout and bear fruit.
Tim Cross, University of Tennessee
“I asked Dr. O’Meara to lead a full day of the inaugural Seminar on Leadership of the Faculty at Harvard to stimulate the minds of 40 provosts and deans. She delivered—and then some. Participants wrote to me that Dr. O’Meara was ‘an amazing person,’ and an ‘excellent, energetic presenter with a good balance of content and discussion/application.’ She will be a pillar of this institute for as long as she will have us.”
Kiernan Mathews, Ed.D., Executive Director & Principal Investigator | The Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE)
Thank you very much for your superb keynote address at our April 20 forum, Community-Engaged Scholarship in Research Universities. We could not have hoped for a better outcome for the forum. Your remarks earned superlatives from many here and greatly stimulated our conversation about and interest in engaged scholarship at U Albany. The range of topics you covered--from the history about and interest in engaged scholarship in higher education to the steps institutions can take to "set the table" in the P&T process--provided the needed breadth of scope for U Albany.
You stimulated an equally excellent discussion at the luncheon for U Albany deans and other campus leaders. Because of your own scholarship on faculty rewards, work and life issues, and community engagement, you deftly fielded questions and extended our own inquiries. We heard very positive feedback from many participants including members of the Council on Promotion and Continuing Appointments.
We greatly appreciate everything you did to listen to our needs and fine-tune your remarks and documents to make our first conversation about this critical area such a success.
Miriam Trementozzi, CCUCE Co-Chair and Associate Vice President of Community Engagement, President's Office
On behalf of my colleagues in the School of Education, I want to thank you for providing the keynote lecture at our annual Research Colloquium last month. Your talk, "Building the Plane As We Fly It: Faculty, Universities, and Change" hit all the right notes in laying out the issues, the challenges, and possible solutions as we work toward creating the "new normal" faced by universities and faculty. Your own scholarship on the issues and your comprehensive grasp of the literature was woven into a dense but highly accessible talk from which we all benefited.
I just received the evaluation report we went to SOE attendees about all of our activities that day, including your keynote lecture. Not surprisingly, the evaluations echo my assessment- over 90% of the respondents were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with your talk. Comments include "engaging and highly relevant for all in attendance," "pertinent and provoking," "great speaker," and "nice opportunity to engage campus community members." You get the idea- it was a homerun and I am grateful for the time and energy you put into the talk.
Deborah L. Speece, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
A huge thank you for accepting our invitation to come to USI and for sharing your expertise with us today! Your workshop was an amazing learning experience. The strategies that you discussed are, without a doubt, going to help us in what is next in our academic career. Your passion for higher education was contagious and left the room inspired a with bigger plans for summer.
Gabriela Mustata Wilson, University of Southern Indiana