Ascend Mid-Career Development Program for APL Faculty

How do you design a long and meaningful career at Georgia Tech as an Academic Professional or Lecturer? What career goals do you have now and in the future? How will you achieve your goals?

Ascend, a new career development cohort program for APLs, will launch its first session in Spring 2024 (meet the first cohort!). Cohort members will build on their current strengths and successes and explore ways to thrive at mid-career and in the future. Using a faculty learning community model and the Appreciative Inquiry framework, participants will explore their interests, values, and goals, and create an actionable individual strategic plan while developing skills for career growth and leadership. 

“Appreciative Inquiry is commonly called an “asset-based” or “strengths-based” approach to systems change because it emphasizes positive idea generation over negative problem identification (the latter is often framed as a “deficit-based” approach). The model utilizes questions and dialogue to help participants uncover existing assets, strengths, advantages, or opportunities in their communities, organizations, or teams, and then collectively work toward developing and implementing strategies for improvement.” Source.

Eligibility In this pilot cohort, Academic Professionals and Lecturers at the senior or principal level are eligible to apply. Participants should be established in their roles at Tech and looking for additional career development support as they consider the paths forward at mid-career.

Objectives of the Program
Participants in this application-based cohort program can expect to 

  • Learn and use the Appreciative Inquiry (AI)* model to develop a personal development plan that includes a personal vision and mission; goals for personal learning, professional development, and career momentum; and an action plan
  • Practice skills essential for collegiality and leadership in a cohort environment 
  • Learn concepts and strategies associated with career development, leadership, and resilience
  • Explore opportunities for growth and career vitality at Georgia Tech.

Program Calendar
The calendar will be organized around the five-step process of the Appreciative Inquiry framework. With its asset-based rather than deficit-based approach to change, AI is a useful framework for thinking about career and leadership development and to achieving the goals for this program. All meetings will take place on Friday afternoons from 1-3pm in-person. 

Week 1Jan 12Welcome, intro to program, team-building design activity about mid-career
Week 2Jan 19Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry process
Week 3Jan 26Defining – vision and values
Week 4Feb 2Defining – mission and authentic purpose
Week 5Feb 9Discovering – most vital experience
Week 6Feb 16Discovering – vitality and productivity
Week 7Feb 23Dreaming – ideal future
Week 8March 1Dreaming – ideal future
Week 9March 29Designing – 1-3 years
Week 10April 5Designing – 3-6 years
Week 11April 12Deliver/Destiny
Week 12April 19Wrap-up, Destiny-sharing, Celebration

Participants in the program receive four one-on-one career development coaching sessions with Rebecca Pope-Ruark, certified coach with the International Coaching Federation, to discuss the personal development plan and career opportunities. Two sessions would happen during the cohort semester and two in the next semester to support implementing the personal development plan.

Application Process 
Applications are currently closed. Questions can be directed to Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Director of the Office of Faculty Professional Development.