Dr. Nyasha Junior Won 10 Faculty Awards (And You Can, Too!)

N JuniorDr. Nyasha Junior is a scholar/teacher whose research focuses on feminist and womanist biblical interpretation.  She is passionate about CrossFit, grits, and BBC television.  And, she writes about teaching, academia, and offers advice for students on her blog, No Extra Credit.  See more about Dr. Junior on her website, and follow her on Twitter at @NyashaJunior.

Below, Dr. Junior offers a fun way to celebrate one’s own accomplishments for the past academic year. Enjoy!

How I Won 10 Faculty Awards (And You Can Too!)

It’s that time again! At the end of each academic year, like most faculty members, I have to complete an annual faculty productivity report. In this report, I provide details regarding my productivity as defined by some ad hoc committee from the Neolithic era. I give highlights of my year in four areas: publication and research; service; teaching; and professional development activities. I repeat what I wrote in a meeting with a designated administrator, and the report becomes part of the fabled “official file.”

I am an African-American straight, cisgender woman in a tenure-track position at a divinity school. I am a biblical scholar, and my year has been productive in terms of the four productivity areas. Still, the things that I am most proud of are not reflected in the report. In academia, rewards can be few and far between, and only those things that are deemed worthy by a committee are acknowledged. But no more!

This year, I am not waiting for my accomplishments to be recognized. I will not go gentle into that good night. I refuse to allow my good work, great retorts, and fabulous outfits to go unnoticed. Therefore, I hereby nominate my bad myself for the following 10 Me, Myself, and I Faculty Awards.

10. Best post-faculty-meeting huddle convener
9. Best redirect of an incorrect answer
8. Best short, sweet, and cold-blooded email
7. Best recovery from a bad twist-out on a teaching day
6. Best show of restraint in the presence of a rookie colleague
5. Best final assignment handout and rubric designer
4. Best 5-minute face after oversleeping
3. Best No! to service “opportunity” with accompanying silent stare
2. Best cute, cold weather teaching outfit
1. Best Yoda-like office hours mentoring

And the winner is:

Me!  In every category!  Gasp!

You can do it, too! It’s not a competition. You’re the selection committee. You’re the only entrant. You’re the only winner!

Here are the rules:

  • You must nominate yourself for 10 things. One is not enough. You need to really reflect on all of the wonderful things that happened this year.
  • You must not include things that appear on your CV, annual productivity report, or on any official document. Dig deep for those things that are usually overlooked.
  • You must include only positive things that you did (or did not do). This is not a time to thank the entire cast and crew, the Academy, your stylist, etc. Just you!
  • You must not use this exercise as an opportunity for thinking about what did not go well this year. It is likely that you dwell on the negative quite enough. Keep it positive! The saints would call this a “praise report.”

In which categories would you nominate yourself for awards?

I know. I know. You wouldn’t nominate yourself. You have issues with self-promotion. But try. Be creative.

I’m going to collect my swag bag, do a few post-award interviews, and go to the after party!

Share your awards in the comments!

“5 Secret Weapons Every Graduate Student Should Have” – Advice from Dr. Nyasha Junior

Dr. Nyasha Junior, a professor of biblical studies, shared a few tips for current graduate students on her blog, No Extra CreditThere, she often writes about higher education, including her own experiences in academia.

See her post below.


Wonder Woman has a Lasso of Truth.
Iron Man has a suit of armor.
I don’t have any secret powers as a professor, but I have found five secret weapons that can make your life easier as a grad student.

1. Fan Mail File – Keep all of your fan mail! It is very easy to dwell on problems and negative feedback. Scan every nice note or letter and save positive emails no matter how short. When you need a quick reminder of your fabulousness (and you will), pick out one and read it.

2. Journal – Write everything down. Make sure that you have a place to keep all of your ideas, notes, and doodles. You don’t have to do full-on GTD. Just don’t try to keep things in your head. There is nothing worse than forgetting a great idea.

3. Slow Cooker – It’s tough to eat healthy meals when you are in a long-term relationship with the library vending machine. Knowing that you have a great meal waiting for you at home can help you to avoid the drive-in. Find slow cooker recipes online. Prep your food the night before and leave the stoneware in the refrigerator. Before you leave in the morning, put the stoneware in the slow cooker and turn it on. When you walk in the door at the end of the day, the kitchen smells great, and dinner is ready!

4. Power Nap – Take a 15-20 minute nap even if you do not feel tired. After a good nap, you will feel revitalized and ready to get back to work. If you can’t take a nap, close your eyes for a few minutes and recharge.

5. Public Library Card – You have a library card for your home institution, but the public library may have a better selection of popular material. You already spend more than enough money on books in your field. Get books, CDs, DVDs, and e-books for free!

These are super effective weapons for me. Find what works for you!