Empowering a professor through an academic shift 

School of Nursing Assistant Professor Alisha Johnson finds support and encouragement in career switch to research from Mizzou’s faculty group Connection.

April 4, 2024

Making a career pivot can be a scary process — but, in the case of Alisha Johnson, the decision to transition from the practical world of professional clinical nursing to research was nothing if not rewarding and restorative.

Now an assistant professor at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, Johnson’s work centers around enhancing the form and function of nursing homes to prioritize the well-being of their residents.

“I research how to make nursing homes better, how to improve the workforce in nursing homes and how to make life better for nursing home residents,” Johnson said.  

As she shifted her focus to research, Johnson began searching for guidance and other faculty members who could offer advice. This brought her to Connection, a faculty support group led by Maurice Gipson, vice chancellor for the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity, and Candace Kuby, associate provost for faculty success.  

Johnson joined Connection in spring 2023 — seeking mentorship and advice on venturing out into the unchartered territory of academic research. In discussions with group members, Johnson was encouraged to lean into her passion for working with scholars from diverse academic backgrounds.

“Connection has allowed me to connect with other faculty who are also making the transition or have successfully transitioned to tenure track,” Johnson said. “I’ve also met some other folks who’ve expanded my thinking.”

While navigating new spheres in the realm of faculty research can be challenging, Connection provides a break from the anxiety that can come with these changes. For Johnson, this group of supportive colleagues made all the difference.

Read more from the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity 

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