Portrait of Heather Fryer

Heather Fryer, PhD, BCC

Faculty Coach, Consultant

Heather draws upon her supervisory experiences as a department chair and executive editor of an international interdisciplinary journal to help her clients find positive, constructive approaches to their unique challenges in bringing out the best in individuals, teams, and academic units.

Heather helps mid-career faculty revitalize their careers by restoring their connection to the passion and purpose that first sparked their dedication to their academic fields. Academia is rough terrain that many faculty navigate alone. It’s natural to adopt habits like overworking and people (or institution)-pleasing to cope with early career stresses without realizing the cost of shifting focus from their true aspirations. These habits take root over time, giving life to self-undermining behaviors like perfectionism, impostor syndrome, chronic dissatisfaction, and disengagement.

Drawing from the evidence-based methods in positive psychology, insights from cognitive behavioral theory, the proven effectiveness of coactive coaching, and her knowledge of best practices in academia, Heather guides her clients in reorienting their career trajectories toward their true aspirations, aligning their goals with professional benchmarks, charting a path to productivity and fulfillment, and taking continuous steps toward this new standard of success. Every coaching conversation celebrates successes, provides accountability for taking each next step, quiets the inner critic, and keeps forward momentum building by setting the next clear, achievable goal. This process of self-inquiry, reframing perspectives, and experimenting with new ways of working—and being—builds the skills and resilience faculty need to reach for the high bar, sustain work-life balance, adapt to emerging challenges in the academic workplace, and transform setbacks into opportunities for innovation, reinvention, and renewal over the course of their careers.

Heather came to coaching with 20 years’ experience as an endowed professor of history, journal editor, documentary filmmaker, TEDx speaker, museum exhibition planner, former department chair, and interdisciplinary program director who wants academics everywhere to flourish for the good of the world.

She holds a PhD in history from Boston College and is board-certified in life coaching through the Institute for Life Coach Training. She recently retired from Creighton University where she was a full professor.