CHSS Research Virtual Coffee: Narrative of Productive Failure recap

On March 23rd, 2022, CHSS Research hosted a virtual coffee hour: The Narrative of Productive Failure. The session was designed to aid CHSS faculty on how to effectively utilize “failures” in academic careers, such as handling funding rejections, negative reviews, and manuscript denials. 

The panelists shared their stories of academic “failures” and how they handled these moments to ultimately advance their academic careers.

One of the most shared discussion themes was the peer review process where faculty members received negative reviews, and how to constructively handle negative or sometimes indifferent comments on proposals.

One of the panelists shared that after several rejections and unsupportive feedback from a series of journals, they decided to change their analytics to a different set of journals. By slightly shifting one’s context or research analytics, one could better navigate the publication process and have their work accepted for publication.

Ultimately, the panelists all advocated for normalizing failures as they are a part of the whole process. While the culture often tends to only celebrate and display successes, the panelists agreed that we also need to share and acknowledge “failures” that had not seen the light of day. It was very refreshing and encouraging to hear about the experiences of successful faculty who have gone through rejections and edits to arrive where they are today.

At the end, a failure is just a part of the journey toward next success.

To encourage authentic and genuine personal discussions among panelists and attendees, the virtual session was not recorded.

The discussion panel featured:

Jane Flinn, associate professor of psychology and director of the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Program

Christopher Koper, associate professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society, and principal fellow in the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy

Graziella McCarron, assistant professor of leadership studies, School of Integrative Studies 

Jessica Otis, assistant professor of history and director of public projects at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.