One way I endeavor to make the hidden curriculum more explicit is through transparency, which requires vulnerability. Thus, it seems apropos to commence this post with a confession: Most people leverage down time in the summer by checking off a long recreational reading list. Sadly, despite my best efforts, I am not one of them.

For better or worse, reading is one of the first things to get downgraded in priority on my to-do list. For many years, I would berate and criticize myself for not having read more books. Compounding this issue was the pressure I felt to read books categorized as non-fiction, professional development, or pop-science…what I perceived a scholar or an academic would read. Sometimes I just wanted to decompress with a Nordic noir thriller by Jo Nesbø though. And, other times, my eyes were just too dry from staring at a computer all day to even contemplate reading.

While I love books, engaging narratives can also be conveyed through blogs, podcasts, and other formats. In the spirit of making academia more relatable and accessible, I hope you will forgive my duplicity for allowing all forms of media, beyond just books, to count as “reading” in the recommendations below:

Books:

  1. Complaint! by Dr. Sara Ahmed – This book draws on testimonies from those who have made complaints about toxic working conditions to reflect on abuses of power in academia. Dr. Ahmed’s book prompts the reader to reflect on how they can address larger systemic issues in academia as they simultaneously navigate them.
  2. The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein – Dr. Prescod-Weinstein synthesizes how theoretical physics concepts are related to the colonialism and the commodification of science from her perspective navigating academia through marginalized racial, sexual, and religious identities.

Podcasts:

  1. Hidden Curriculum podcast – Drs. Alex Hollingsworth and Sebastian Tello-Trillo started a Hidden Curriculum podcast to help make access to this type of information more equitable. Each episode is an interview with someone who shares their lessons learned related to the hidden curriculum, thereby curating a wealth of collective knowledge.
  2. AcaDames podcast – While AcaDames is sadly on hiatus, Drs. Sarah Birken and Whitney Robinson podcast about women in academia is full of thoughtful content and reflections. With such engaging hosts, the only downside is that I somehow convinced myself we knew one another and were friends while listening to each episode.

Blogs/Websites:

  1. Raul Pacheco-Vega’s website – If you click on the “Resources” tab of Dr. Pacheco-Vega’s website, you will get a sense of the impressive breadth of resources he has intentionally produced and organized. Topics include academic writing, note-taking techniques, social media, and writing groups/retreats, just to name a few.
  2. The gradschool and professors sub-Reddits – While it may seem blasphemous to recommend Reddit, I have found great resources and advice on many posts. Moreover, the aspect of anonymity can make it easier to overcome reluctance or fear about posting questions related to the hidden curriculum.

Email Newsletters:

  1. Mirya Holman’s Aggressive Winning Scholars Newsletter (MHAWS) newsletter – The tagline “surviving and thriving in academia” truly captures the content of this newsletter. You won’t find any generic platitudes here. Dr. Holman’s unfiltered, actionable advice really resonates with me.
  2. National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD) Monday Motivator – If your institution is an NCFDD member, sign up for these emails. Their emails cover difficult topics, such as “How to Say No,” with potential solutions on how to overcome common barriers.

Happy “reading” and best wishes for the summer!

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