GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 154-2
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


BRADFORD, Kristie, Geology, Lone Star College - Tomball, 30555 Tomball Parkway, Tomball, TX 77375

It is common to experience a drop in self-confidence when undertaking a new challenge or project. When low self-confidence is also coupled with toxic beliefs regarding competence, growth is all but impossible. After earning a full-time faculty position at a two-year college in 2009, I quickly realized that teaching & learning required skill sets I did not have. I felt the weight of the imposter experience and feared that at any moment my colleagues would discover my incompetence. I lost confidence in my teaching and in my ability to serve the needs of my students.

In 2013, I attended a SAGE 2YC student success workshop where I was exposed to many education-related topics that I did not fully understand nor know how to use. I became overwhelmed and felt too underprepared to teach effectively. This feeling fed into my imposter experience accentuating the belief that I was not qualified for my position. However, in 2015 I was invited to be part of a new SAGE 2YC project called “Faculty as Change Agents.” My invitation came as a surprise and illustrates a common aspect of imposter syndrome: Heather MacDonald and her team saw my competence and capabilities where all I could see were my deficiencies. The first “Faculty as Change Agents” workshop held in 2016 was a pivot point in my career and marked the beginning of my evolution as a professor and an agent for change. Participating in this project provided me information about education research and best practices, leadership guidance, mentorship, and peer support. SAGE 2YC offered a supportive community of people with goals similar to mine where I could grow, learn, and make mistakes without fear. I now know and believe that my place in the classroom and on campus is well deserved.

Participation in SAGE 2YC has completely transformed me. The PI team and my fellow change agents celebrate each of our successes and discuss failures helpfully. I can now confidently share my knowledge and experience with colleagues through workshops and seminars and I have assumed the mantle of leadership by helping to shape campus policies and practices. Through SAGE 2YC I shed the restraints of imposter syndrome, allowing me the freedom to grow into my role as a change agent in geoscience education.