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EAWOP Mid-Career Retreat for WOP/IOP/OB Scholars


Announcement in PDF format

September, Friday 22 to Sunday 24, 2017

Miraflores de la Sierra, Madrid



M. Gloria González-Morales, PhD
University of Guelph, Canada


Tine Köhler, PhD
University of Melbourne, Australia


Ramón Rico, PhD
University of Western Australia, Australia


Mid-Career Retreat description

Academic careers in their early phase (i.e., pre-tenure) can be likened to an obstacle race, during which short-term objectives need to be accomplished in order to advance to the next level. These obstacles must be overcome in order to accomplish the Holy Grail: tenure. During this time, junior academics put much of their non-work life on hold to meet the demands posed by the tenure clock, counting down the months during which they have to excel in teaching, face and master publication pressures to produce a number of top-tier publication (despite little experience with the peer review process), engage in administrative work, start supervising PhD students, and become involved in academic leadership and community engagement roles.

Once tenured, though, we as newly minted mid-career academics have found ourselves in something akin to a mid-career crisis. We have faced a range of negative experiences (or might still face them), resulting frequently in experiences of burnout (exhaustion and lack of energy to continue working as hard; cynical attitudes around academia and science). But we also have felt the positive and challenging experience of figuring out how to advance our career in a meaningful way, especially after working towards externally imposed goals during more than a decade (e.g., finish dissertation, find postdoc, find a job, get tenured). In order for academics to overcome this “post tenure slump”, some of us need to regain the energy lost in the process, others need to figure out a way to obsess less about work, and still others aim to balance a fulfilling and enriching life with generating a real and significant impact with their work.

To help academics master this challenging point in their career, we offer an academic retreat for mid-career scholars. The retreat, funded by EAWOP, will provide a structured opportunity for sharing and discussing with others who are in the process or have successfully gone through it. The aim of the retreat is to offer support to purposefully and positively shape participants’ next career steps as well as to re-energize and re-engage them.

This retreat is designed for:

Mid-career academics who have obtained job security and stability (i.e., tenure or the equivalent) and are trying to figure out the next steps in their careers.

This retreat is not designed for:

·       Those who are looking for a quiet weekend to write papers: This is not that kind of retreat.

·       Those who are practitioners or work for non-academic organizations: We will not be able to cater to the specific needs of those mid-career professionals.

·       Those who are within 5 years of obtaining their PhD and are junior academics developing their independent academic career after graduating: The EAWOP Early Career summer school is a perfect event for you.

·       Those who are working on a contractual or casual basis (postdocs, research assistantships, etc.): The EAWOP Early Career summer school may be a good opportunity.

·       Those who are PhD candidates: There are doctoral consortia organized by various professional and academic associations (such as EAWOP, SIOP, AOM, and BAM) that may be best suited.

Main questions and topics of discussion we will cover

How do we focus our academic efforts?

-       What kind of academic do you want to be in the next 10 years?

-       Is administration or professional service (e.g., EAWOP leadership) a next goal?

-       Do you want to focus on teaching excellence? Is this a viable option at your school?

-       Working with graduate students

-       Developing a large research program

-       Engaging with industry and solving wicked problems and grand challenges

-       Dealing with the publication pressures and deciding what do you really have passion for

-       How do you know when it is time to switch universities or jobs?

-       How to generate and manage self-imposed, long term goals in a part of our careers that has few to no externally-imposed goals and provides little structure?

How do your career goals intersect with your life goals?

-      Parenthood as a post-tenure goal

-      Pursuing other passions, unrelated to academia, as a post-tenure goal

-      Work-life balance, healthy choices and the pursuit of happiness

-      Self-compassion and self-care for occupational health

How do we create a meaningful career? Finding meaning and passion in our academic careers

-      Engaging in rigorous and relevant research: working towards research excellence, quality discussion

-      Internationalization, networking and collaborations as a way of going further

-      Resources to move forward, finding a mentor and becoming a mentor.

Outcomes of the retreat:

Reflection on how we want to manage our career in the next 10 years, and maybe until retirement.

Participants will have dedicated time to create the following outputs:

1.     Long-term goals plan (identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)

2.     Short-term goals plan (identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)

3.     Contingency plan: What happens when things go pear-shaped or not as planned?

4.     Creating a support network: Who are the people we can turn to for help and advice?

Facilitator team

A.   Facilitators:

Organizers will facilitate peer-guided activities in which participants share their own best practices and provide opportunities to create and maintain a peer network (e.g., regular online coffee check-ins). We will also provide participants with the opportunity to participate in coaching activities designed to facilitate goal setting applied to career planning.

B.    Senior facilitators:

Senior academics who have successfully navigated the challenges of the mid-career will share their experiences with participants. These include challenges related to work-life balance, integrating different academic responsibilities, and doing meaningful work.

At this point, we have confirmed the attendance of two prolific and engaged academics who are grounded, down-to-earth, and inspiring: 

Elena Antonacopoulou, PhD

University of Liverpool, UK


Sabine Sonnentag, PhD

University of Mannheim, Germany

Michael West, PhD

The Kings Fund and Lancaster University, UK


During the retreat, they will:

-       Share their stories.

-       Be small group facilitators that help participants to set goals for the next stage.

-       Assist participants in being conscious about the opportunities ahead.


The retreat will take place in a quiet location, away from the bustle of big cities, so that participants physically and mentally get cued into retreating to reflect on their next career steps. La Cristalera ( is a university residence located in the mountains near Madrid in the small town of Miraflores de la Sierra. It is connected by bus with plaza Castilla and the Airport.  We will provide accepted participants with further details regarding travel to and from the airport.


There are no registration fees for this small group meeting. However, participants will need to pay for their own travel and accommodation. Accommodation is pre-arranged at La Cristalera, but participants will need to book accommodation themselves by contacting the venue and paying them directly. The accommodation fee is 100 Euros per person per night for Friday and Saturday night and includes full board (i.e., breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

Participants are welcome to arrive ahead of the retreat as early as Wednesday, September 20th (if a minimum of 10 participants is reached). Accommodation fees for Wednesday and Thursday night are 45 Euros per person per night and include breakfast.

We will provide more detailed information about the accommodation booking process, travel to and from the airport, and such, once we processed participants’ applications and confirmed attendance. Please do not arrange travel until you received a notification of acceptance from us and have confirmed your attendance.

Submission of applications to participate

Application forms should be submitted by 22 May 2017 using the following qualtrics link.

Once you completed the form and pressed the submit button, your application will be reviewed for selection. Participants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 31 May 2017. Participants selected to participate in the retreat will need to book their accommodation with the venue and confirm attendance by 15 June 2017. Further details about this process will be provided in the acceptance email.


If you have any questions about the retreat, please feel free to send an email to

Also, some of us will be available to meet with potential participants during the SIOP conference and the EAWOP congress.

SIOP Conference (April 26-29): Email M. Gloria Gonzalez-Morales at to arrange a time.

EAWOP Congress (May 16-20): We will be at the EAWOP Social Hour - Small Group Meetings, Previous Experiences and Next Opportunities, on Friday 19 May at 6.00 pm, UCD - E1.19