Mohindar Singh Seehra Lecture Series

The Monindar Singh Seehra Endowment was created to benefit the Women’s and Gender Studies Center in the West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and will provide funds to host a guest speaker to explore topics related to the challenges involved in combining and balancing a professional career with a family life for the modern woman in the workplace.

2017 Lecturer

Karen Cardozo

Karen Cardozo is Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), where she coordinates Women’s Studies and Leadership Studies programs.

As a scholar, she has published on diverse topics in ethnic, gender, literary, trauma and feminist science studies as well as on pedagogy and the academic profession. With a record of exemplary teaching at six institutions (the Five College Consortium of Western MA and MCLA), her inventive new courses include Leading Women (integrates intersectional WMST and Leadership Studies) , World of Work (introduces life design as a response to the rapidly changing work landscape) , and East Meets West (suggests how practicing mindfulness can disrupt the “mindlessness” of Orientalism to enable more genuine cross-cultural engagements).

A former dean at Mount Holyoke and career counselor at Harvard University and Williams College, she analyzes present configurations to hypothesize about the future of work, so that individuals and institutions can make ethical and informed decisions. Her relevant articles in this vein include “Academic Labor: Who Cares?” in Critical Sociology (2016) and “Contemplating Contingency: Toward a Posttenure Politics” in Modern Language Studies (2012) . The founder of Leap Here Consulting (specializing in PhD career coaching and higher education reform), Dr. Cardozo has served hundreds of clients across disciplines and sectors as an Alt/Out-Ac coach, including in affiliation with The Professor Is In . She is writing a forthcoming book for that audience: Careering Toward Authenticity: A Guide For Academics Who Need to Get a Life . She lives in Amherst, MA with her family and, in her own balancing act, performs regularly as a singer-songwriter in the indie rock band, Show of Cards .

Public Talk

Behaving Badly, Balancing Gladly: Women, Work and Life in the Wild New World
Thursday, March 23 at 7:00 pm
Rhododendron Room, Mountainlair

In this presentation, Dr. Cardozo revisits the perennial question of whether women can “have it all,” through recent feminist scholarship and the burgeoning literature on the changing world of work. Looking at the rise of entrepreneurship, design thinking, and interdisciplinarity, as well as the renewed threats and activism of the Trump era, she explains why this “wild new world” (Martha Beck) is the ideal time to reclaim authenticity and engage in genuine life design rather than lifeless strategic planning. In this rapidly changing landscape, it isn’t the capacity to plan but the ability to “pivot” (Jenny Blake) that determines success and resilience. The dawn of a more fluid Conceptual Age (Daniel Pink) is particularly good news for “scanners” (Barbara Sher), polymath types often dismissed as dilettantes in eras of hyper-specialization: today, such multifaceted and integrative thinkers are essential to disrupting the ubiquitous “silo effect” (Gillian Tett) that fragments contemporary knowledge and experience. Reminding us that “well behaved women seldom make history” (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich), Dr. Cardozo suggests that we quit pursuing the elusive outcome of work-life balance and instead practice balancing authentically and gladly (which may or may not involve behaving badly).

This talk is free and open to all.

Graduate Workshops

Keeping Your Options Open: Exploring Both Academic And Alternative Careers
This workshop is primarily for Women's & Gender Studies students (Limit 15)
and is co-sponsored by Graduate Education and Life
Friday, March 24
12:00-1:30 pm
Colson Hall, Room 130

Register here  

The Versatile Humanities PhD: Launching a Cross-Sector Job Search
This workshop is for English and History students (Limit 15)
4:00-5:30 pm
Colson Hall, Room 130
Register here

Given the unpredictable vagaries of the academic job market and tenure system, graduate students, postdocs and untenured faculty across the disciplines must consider alternatives within higher education and beyond. These workshops do not reinforce a hierarchy between Academic and Alt/Out-Ac markets (i.e. that alternative work is Plan B to be deployed only if an academic job fails to materialize). Rather, Dr. Cardozo recommends a holistic and affinity-driven approach to career exploration across sectors for authentic career development in a satisfying life. Her presentation will explain why today’s job seekers must show more initiative, self-awareness, and situational responsiveness than ever before, while diversifying your experiences in order to maximize potential opportunities. 

Through sample case studies, we will consider a range of alternative trajectories through three (potentially overlapping) models:  1) the bridge, by which your content expertise is relevant to other roles or organizations; 2) the translational approach, in which your fit for alternative jobs are evaluated on the basis of analogous functions or transferable skills and 3) the authentic job search, in which options are chosen to align with your values and desired work/life configuration. Dr. Cardozo will demystify self-assessment, networking, and job search strategies so that you can engage in these processes effectively. Finally, the workshop will clarify key differences in organizational norms, hiring processes, timelines, and application genres across sectors so that you can foray multiple markets knowledgably and with confidence.