This post published in 'Hightower lowdown' about the "Walmartisation" of the aspiring academic made for a rather depressing read. Has the state of American academia already spread to other parts of the world? Would unionisation help, or is it merely a minor delay to the inevitable?
Maybe I should abandon the increasingly unrealistic dream...
For those curious, this post was encountered in the 'Diaspora' network; see here
Hello again, anonymous academics.
Further to my previous post
I've just had a rather confusing reply from one of my ex-supervisors. My email to them said "On a separate note, I'm now in the final few months of my post-doc here at Western so I'm starting to look for a new job, ideally one which includes some teaching/lecturing. Are you both happy to be named as referees in any applications I send out?"
Her reply says "Regarding your application, I am afraid I cannot be your referee on this one as I am already the referee for someone else. Good luck!"
Now, either she's misunderstood what I've said, thinks I'm referring to one specific job opening, and feels there's a conflict of interest (seems unlikely, where would she have got that?), or she's refusing to be a referee for me at all, without explaining why (rather out of character; she's usually fairly upfront if she thinks there's a problem, and she hasn't mentioned anything being amiss).
So I need to reply asking her to clarify whether she's unable to be a referee for one particular position, or whether she would prefer not to be named as a referee at all. What's the most tactful but clear way of wording that?
AA-ers, some advice please. I finished my PhD 18 months ago, and am now in a post-doc research position, but since it ends in six months, I'm job-hunting. I've found a couple of positions to apply for, and hopefully there will be more, but the first two close next week. My current boss has said he's happy to be a referee for me, and I am assuming that my PhD supervisors will too, as they were referees for me last time round. However, I've emailed them to check that that's OK, and so far I have had no response. Apparently they are both quite busy at the moment. One of them tends to respond to email immediately or not at all; once it's off his front page it's forgotten. The other often doesn't read past the initial part of an email, and if it doesn't immediately interest her, she doesn't get any further, and as the email I sent had some other stuff at the beginning, I'm not entirely hopeful that I'll get a response from her either.
So, do I wait and hope, drop them another line getting straight to the point and hoping for a quick response, or send in the applications and let them know they are referees, on the assumption that they'll be fine with it?
I just got some scathing reviews. Essentially, I had two primate parasitologists fling feces at me. In a few days, I will be perky enough to start crafting my much more professional, yet even more scathing replies. In the meantime, I could use some cheering up. I'll take any stupid reviewer joke you'd care to offer.
A group of us from grad school got together recently to catch up. In the course of discussions it came to our attention that one of our former classmates was using the wrong title. This person introduced themselves as professor at a big city community college. We all were relatively familiar with the college so we knew this particular community college employed a lot of adjuncts but only awards full-time faculty the title of professor or instructor. The adjuncts are all referred to as adjunct professor or adjunct instructor. Because we were familiar with the college we also knew that this department only has 2 full-time faculty and that the competition to get those slots, when they open up, is fierce. A casual conversation with a mutual friend in the department quickly determined that the person I know from grad school is not a professor, but is an adjunct. Normally I'd chalk this up mishearing the conversation or something, however they printed their own business cards and have their own website that clearly says "Professor [FirstName LastName] at [Big City] Community College."
Several of us have attempted to point out that it's not cool to misuse a title in this way and that it's a good way to start drama in their department. This person insists that "it's no big deal" and "everyone does it".
So, academics_anon, is this a big deal? What would happen if someone did the same in your department?
[Something similar happened at my university and the department head required all of the incorrect business cards be destroyed. That person didn't have a website but they did get quite a bit of grief (they were staff, not faculty).]
I'm a first year assistant professor in a social science field at X second-tier state research university. My job is okay, but the town I live in totally sucks and my colleagues aren't near enough to my subfield or research interests to be stimulating -- basically, I'm the token X studies person. So, I'm on the market again this year. The perfect job, pretty much tailored for me, has come up at the first tier R1 in the same state. I'd have amazing colleagues there. One of my mentors is on the committee and the department is recruiting me pretty keenly. I got invited to campus.
Meanwhile, my current department specifically hired me to build institutional collaborations with the R1 and my mentor. Now that the R1 is hiring, there's a lot of speculation in my current department about whether I'm applying for it and some anxiety about me leaving. I'd really like advice on how to handle this. Right now the practical question is, do I tell my current Chair I was invited to campus? Is it fair to ask the hiring department to keep my name off Facebook/twitter/website when they're publicizing my talk? Or should I be above board and anticipate the inevitable gossip machine by being open about going on the market, and risk having to stay in a department where people don't trust me/disapprove of me because I'm not excited about staying?
I'd like some advice on the general etiquette of applying for TT positions once you're already on the tenure-track, too.
(By the way this is a burner account, for obvious reasons.)
Yay! I have a Skype interview on Thursday, with Big State U where my husband is currently tenure-track! The second-best possible outcome! (After both of us getting offers in a city we'd rather live in, which... is not happening.)
Obviously, the main reason I'm interested in Big State U is because it solves my two-body problem. Obviously, when they ask why I'm interested in Big State U I'm not going to say that.
But they will probably ask me why I'm living in this city while finishing my PhD for Private U 250 miles away. And they definitely know I'm living here, because I taught as an adjunct for them this fall (one of the classes that I know this position would be teaching, so that's good, and it's something I definitely want to talk about in the interview).
When they ask that, there's pretty much no getting around mentioning that my husband is a professor at Big State U. How bad or good is this?
As far as I can tell, BSU has no particular spousal hiring policy, and these departments are in different colleges so administratively there is little incentive for spousal hires. So on the one hand, I'm worried this will give away the fact that this is the main reason I'm interested in BSU and kill my chances. On the other hand, they'll know I'm extremely likely to take the job if offered.
Is there an optimal way to word/handle this to minimize potential damage?
I am writing grant proposals.
Actually, I am delaying writing grant proposals because I am working on a book, that's far more interesting, career prospects be damned.
But the knowledge of the looming deadlines adds to the X-mas blues, so here goes...
We scientists slavishly write grant proposals begging for amounts of money some people spend in a few days.
The said grant money provided by the governments to the scientists is spent in two ways. One, salaries of students and postdocs, whom we train. Most of them will go into industry.
Two, equipment and consumables (chemicals etc.), that are purchased from profit-seeking industrial entities.
Ergo, scientific enterprise is yet another channel via which money flows from the taxpayer to
deep pockets of the executives businesses.
So -- what does everyone think about undergraduate "journals," and the like? The whole concept strikes me as awful. Is it actually bad for a student to "publish" in such a journal, though, or is it neutral, or even a positive mark of enthusiasm, in your judgment?
EDIT: I'm really interested in what those of you who have served on admissions committees in the humanities think about students who have "published" their writing sample vs. one who has not. It seems that you all view it as a good thing?
Question two, then: what would you think about a candidate for a job, say, whose crappy undergrad student work you discover on googling for them? Do people pass it over as cute juvenilia? But I'm sure there are people who would hold it against the candidate, subconsciously or otherwise. (This is what kept me from even thinking seriously about trying to "publish" my undergraduate thesis, say, back in the day.)
Background: The faculty in my department strongly believe that graduate students are well served by having one publication (in a real journal, obviously), but that even that isn't obligatory, when going on the market. The main thing is to have a good dissertation (minor thing, that). Some of them have been known to say things like "graduate student conferences are a complete waste of time." So they are very "old school" in that regard. Yet my university (including this department) seems to have a strong culture of undergraduate journals. Some of my former students are involved in one of them, and another was considering submission. The concept seemed awful to me because I feel like those students should be developing their academic skills or broadening their horizons instead of playing at "professionalization," but clearly this is a minority view in this community. So thanks for your input -- I can give less snarky advice in the future.
EDIT 2: Thanks to everyone who commented!
It's job app season! Woohoo! So much fun! Yay!
And I've come to an app that I'm unsure what direction to take on: I am applying to department where I got my undergrad degree. Since then, my training has taken me in quite different directions, theoretically and methodologically, from the department's standard operating procedures. I've learned a lot about sides of our field that I wasn't exposed to as an undergrad. But I see some really interesting connections between what I do and what some their recent (ish, since I graduated over a decade ago at least) hires do, even if we approach it in different ways, so I think I have a decent argument for my work fitting into the dept even if I would also be bringing in some very different views and approaches.
The question is, do I mention my history with the dept in my cover letter? Obviously, it's going to be on my CV. My husband (a TT prof) thinks no, due to many depts' (including this one) rules, spoken or not, about not hiring their own grad students. He thinks that that attitude might also spill over into undergrads and it would only be to my disadvantage to mention that I went there in my cover letter. Yet I'm having a bit of a hard time formulating how to discuss how my work fits in without at all mentioning my knowledge of the department that comes from, y'know, five years of taking their classes and working in their labs and such. It seems like the fact that I know this dept better than someone who just browsed the web page is a good thing, right?
So. I'm applying. It's on my CV. Do I mention it in the cover letter as well, or hope they don't even notice it on the CV?
Originally posted by energyresearch
at open access week World Bank video
Have realised that the World Bank seminar event mentioned in my previous post is now accessible (but wasn't available live). Very interesting and thought-provoking. As the finalists of the ASAP commented, getting tenure assessment committees to recognise the extra work required to evaluate open access publishing remains a key barrier to growth in OA.
Off-topic, was impressed that the videos made use of the open source software; this is probably the first time that a non-geek institution has made extensive use of the WebM format (via 'Kaltura', it seems according to the web page source code) to deliver multi-media content. Well done, World Bank!
By definition, this post-doc survey may not be directly of interest to tenured academics, but each department is bound to have at one post-doc wondering "what next?".
Having just returned from a post-doc position in South Africa, this survey could equally have been global, not only Canada. Don't see the situation changing which is primarily beneficial to incumbents.
University world news has published a very thoughtful article about the rise of the "precariat". It seems a very accurate portrayal of the state of academia globally, but the question remains, are senior academics prepared to resist these changes? Who else can do so?
Following on from a recent thread on this comm, I wonder what you lovely people do to check for plagiarism. I mark students' work, and I'll be doing more of it now that I'm studying for a teaching qualification. A year from now, if all goes to plan I'll add AFHEA
to the alphabet soup after my name. I already teach undergrads and Masters students; soon I'll be teaching A levels too.
My University requires everything that's electronic to go through Turnitin
. So far, that app hasn't spotted any plagiarism in the work I've marked. I once spotted a possible case - an essay that changed styles halfway through - and reported it. The buck didn't stop with me, at that time, but in the future it will stop with me. Thoughts?
I've been making a living writing essays for undergrads who couldn't write their own essays. They couldn't write them for one of three basic reasons, as far as I have been able to tell:
1) they were lazy
2) they were rich
3) they were dumb (i.e. not in the pejorative sense of 'stupid' but simply they couldn't express themselves proper)
From category 1, I had about (I estimate here, as I do in all following categories) 15%, category 2 was 60%, and category 3 was 25%.
Should I feel like shit for doing this for so long? Sound off, please....
Hi there. I'm an instructor of English at a community college on a "full time temporary" basis. I've been with this school since 2010. I've been playing with an "ivory tower" group on another social networking site and thought it might be fun to see what LJ had to offer on a similar front. Yep. That about wraps it up for now, I'm looking forward to seeing what the group is all about.
Hi everyone! I'm pursuing my PhD in Psychology & Women's Studies, and will be teaching Introduction to Women's Studies this fall.
I am on the hunt for "feminist art"*** that I can incorporate into my teaching of Introduction to Women's Studies. Specifically, I'm looking for a home page image to use for my course website, as well as images for slides. Do you have an relevant artwork that I could use? Of course, I would give you credit whenever an image appeared on my slides/sites.
(***Note: by feminist art I mean: artwork produced by feminists; artwork portraying feminist themes; artwork featuring groups of diverse people -- aka anything that's not skinny stick figure men)
More generally, if you've ever taken a Women's Studies or Gender course, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What was the best part? Your least favorite part? Are there any particularly memorable assignments or discussions that stick out?
Thanks and I look forward to hearing back from you!
P.S. Sorry for any cross-posting
Okay, this is such a stupid question. And although I think it's been asked here before, I've dug through the tags and not found it.
I'm teaching my first class as an adjunct tomorrow. I'm currently finishing my PhD (at a different institution). What should my students call me?
Dr Coendou is right out, obviously. My job title is just "term adjunct faculty," so using "Professor" feels weird (though that's what my husband, who is TT at the same school, is telling me to do). But "Ms Coendou" feels like I'm a high school teacher.
For some reason, I am really panicking about this - I think I'm channeling my general anxiety about teaching (I've TAed, but never taught a college-level class solo before) into this one stupid thing.
I recently completed my PhD in a social science this summer and I am going onto the market this year. In my discipline, it is not uncommon to have a dissertation composed of three to four papers/journal articles (or in some cases, more than) rather than a traditional manuscript. I chose the paper route. Two of my four papers will be published in the coming year (one in a peer reviewed edited volume, and the other in a journal with a solid impact factor and high ranking in my discipline).* My main advisor/committee co-chair believes I should revise and clean up my two papers and send them out asap to journals before I start applying for jobs, with the first application being due in mid-September.** I was on board with this plan until recently when I was casually chatting with the chair of different department (I got my MA in that department, so she is familiar with my work). She asked me if I was going to turn my dissertation into a book and while I had considered it, I decided not to go that route. She suggested that I should wait to submit/publish my remaining articles until later in the year or until I begin a tenure-track position (assuming I get one) because it will show productivity and counts towards tenure. She also mentioned that this way I wouldn't have to start right away on a new research project in order to produce more publications.
I should mention that in addition to these two remaining articles, I can potentially produce two more papers/articles based on my dissertation research, one of which could seen as a stepping stone to a future research project. Also, I am not sitting on my thumbs during this whole process. I am going to be working on a research project in my department that can open up a few more doors for me in terms of publications and experience. I also have one other publication in one of the highest ranked journals in my discipline (but I am fourth author on that) and a few book reviews and encyclopedia entries, which I don't think count for much.
I am torn on what to do since both seem to be making compelling arguments. Should I submit both for publication now or wait? Or submit one and wait on the other? Begin writing more papers from my dissertation?
Thanks in advance for the advice! Always greatly appreciated.
* I don't mean to sound like I am bragging or boasting, I just wanted to provide as much information as possible, in case people had questions about where I had published.
**I should mention my advisor came into her t-t position from a post-doc. When she came in, she had four or so publications and a book contract, which was published in her second year in the department. So, she might be solely drawing upon her own experience.
After a long and protracted, as well as a very troubling process that involved being forced to commit authorship fraud by my superior (I refused and didn't back down, but it did cost me), I am finally about to disengage from the nightmare that has been my recent employment. And here comes the rub.
Lab notebooks. I know they belong to the Institute (I work at a private research institute), but, but, but.
One, my understanding was that they also belonged to the laboratory director/PI. I've seen in many places how PIs took their lab's notebooks.
Two, one of my students abruptly quit the lab after two and a half years. Mid-way through the PhD. The student was supposed to go with me to my new place at an internationally renown University. It took me quite some effort to negotiate various administrative hurdles so that the contract for that student could be organized, in part because the place from which we are coming is not well-known. All of a sudden the student announces that they don't actually have to/want to go because of the support promised to them by the institute which I am leaving. So I say that the student can't continue doing this project without me, to which the student replies, let's let the Director decide, because he promised support. Well, my project-my rules, so the end result is that the student is no longer in my lab, but still in the Institute, I am at any rate gone in a few weeks, and there is a written promise that the new topic of the student will not be related to my research topic. The point, however, is that we were working on two manuscripts, that now I have to finish by myself (obviously the student will remain co-author, probably even first author as planned, as they did the significant chunks of the work and in one case already quite some writing), and the information is in the notebooks. And all of a sudden I get this request to make sure that the notebooks are in place, because they are entitled to them, and to the data. Specifically mentioning those of that very student.
So what I am feeling like is, I leave, they quietly give the student back the notebooks and the data is there, and I am left with what? It took me more than three years of very careful data collection (involving proposal-based measurements and national facilities) to get to this point, with this student and the previous Master students; protocol development, etc., etc., and I am supposed to leave all this to them?
Now, Spain is a very particular country. I know a couple of national agencies I could write asking for help, but I don't know if there is a European body that could help me. What I want is either the notebooks, or a formal letter stipulating that the material in the notebooks will not be published by them without my explicit agreement - because I don't want later to be forced to go through a complex process of disentangling the situation with the editors, who do not like students to get hurt in the process (and neither do I).
I am also a little confused as to what they want to do with the notebooks. If some questions about my research come up, it would be me who'd have to answer those questions anyway.
Questions? Comments? Remarks? Suggestions?
I just got an article rejected from an important journal, perhaps one of the most important in my field. I'm not crying about it, heck, I'm thrilled that at least one of the reviewers thought it was good enough for publication! The one thing that confuses me are the comments that the second reviewer gave me. (The second reviewer sunk my chances of a revise/resubmit.) First, the second reviewer states that their specialty is X and, thus, they don't know my specialty of Y. Then, second reviewer proceeds to list works that I should consult to make my paper stronger. However, some of the works zhe lists do not even exist or they are clearly not pertinent to my research! I feel like contacting the managing editor and questioning the validity of the second reviewer's review, but I don't know if that would be bad form.
What do I do?
There seems to be some confusion regarding how I stated that the works the second reviewer suggested to me don't exist. They simply don't. Zhe mentioned an author from my home country, who is deceased, but whose family I actually know. I shot them an email and they confirmed that X and Y works do not exist within the author's estate or known bibliography. I also have contacts at the national library and they couldn't find anything within their archives either.
Thanks for your advice. I'm just going to revise my article, send it elsewhere, and hope for the best.
I'm a PhD student in quite quantitative-heavy social science field and a very occasional fiction writer (for the fun of it, really). Recently, a short story of mine was accepted to a fiction anthology that will be marketed, AFAIK, to both the academic and popular markets. I'm guessing this wouldn't be something that would go on my CV, in order to to avoid seeming seeming "unfocused," correct?
(The story is broadly related to my research interests, but not closely).
I'm working on my dissertation in an interdisciplinary social science and going on the job market this fall. This means that, at some schools, I could be at home in a couple of different departments.
Is it considered bad form to apply to two different departments within the same university? Does it matter if they are in the same or different colleges/schools?
In some cases, one department fits the research I've done as a grad student, but the other department is a better fit for the direction I want my research to go in in the future. I feel like I'd have an easier time getting hired in the former, but would be happier in the latter. Again, apply to both? And if not, which?
In partial reference to the previous post: How do you tell a student that you can't write them a good recommendation?
I will be applying to grad schools this upcoming fall for 2015 (taking a year off) and am wondering, if I do not meet the criteria to make the cut what can I do to tip the balance back in my favor?
I stand at a 3.4 cumulative, just under 4.0 for classes in my field of study.
My senior research project is a meta-analysis that has the potential to go to conference.
I have found a voluntary assistant research position to stick on the resume.
Know the GRE scores will be vital so am prepping.
Anything else I can or should do?
Any damage control strategies if it’s not enough?
Pie in the Sky Potential Field: Masters in Social Work then on to PhD
Is there a reason why anyone would get into a doctoral program and then pay someone else to write their PhD thesis? I'm dealing with that right now and I just find it really strange.
I can see why undergraduate students would hire people to write their papers for them. I can even conceive of Masters students getting too burnt out to finish their Masters theses. Hell, I can even conceive of someone hiring a professional writer to clean up his doctorate before he turns it in (or after his adviser told him to rewrite it).
But I always thought that the academic system would weed out the cheaters by the doctorate. Granted, the person I am thinking about is trying to get his doctorate from an online college, but it still perplexes me.
Does he think he's going to get hired as a professor and then hire people to write the papers that he's submitting to peer review journals? Does he think that he's going to be able to teach a subject that he's been NOT learning for 6-7 years?
OK, folks, here's one I haven't seen addressed. I'd welcome input from the hive mind.
I proposed, for my sabbatical project (in the US, and in the Humanities, if that makes a difference), to form focus groups of students who are at various stages of their progress through my university's new general education curriculum, specifically to track their progress through a specific set of courses. I wanted to get the student viewpoint so that I could add to or make improvements or tweaks to our pedagogy and our curriculum where appropriate. The sabbatical project proposal was accepted, and I'm working on it now. Except it came to a screeching halt a few weeks ago, when I got a less than 1% response to my invitations to students to tell me what they think. I've rethought and tailored my approach to these students, changed the venues and the group types, offered different and better incentives for participation (NOTE including a meal), and so forth--no change in the disappointing response rate. So I'm now looking at a real problem: not being able to do the core element of my research project. CRAP.
I did promise as part of this project a review of the scholarship/research to accompany my collection of first-hand data, and I'm obviously going to proceed with that part of the plans. If nothing else, I'll come out of this with a literature review, which is perhaps publishable. Maybe. But without that actual student input, in sufficient volume to represent some sort of valid sample size, I feel like my semester of sabbatical work is going to be completely a waste of time. That makes me feel like I'm not doing what I said I was going to do, and even though it's not really my fault--an excuse I loathe using--I'm at a loss about what to do now. I don't know what if anything I can do to substitute for the missing first hand data, and I don't know how to explain to the Dean that I wasn't able to do this work, and I'm not sure what the implications are going to be for my ongoing research project, for which this was a vital and early step. I had no reason to think that students on this really active campus would not respond to inquiries--one of our pet things here is undergraduate research!--and I had expected to be able to write something that would, with any luck, help get me one step closer to promotion to full professor. So now I feel as if I'm failing, even though I know that that is truly not the case. But there's a lot riding on my project, both for me and for the university, and I'm at a loss.
I'm not sure how to handle this or what questions to ask myself to get back on track. In similar situations, what have y'all done?
ETA: I should have made clearer that one of the changes I made in my pitch for student participation was the creation of an online survey. I'm getting perhaps 10% response rather than 1%, which is certainly better, but not nearly enough.
I know there will be a lot of IANAL thrown in here, but i figured i might ask some folks who have been there for advice.
i am finally... FINALLY... nearing completion of my Master's thesis. It has been a very long haul. As i await my final committee member sign-offs, i am working on the last of my thesis packet in prep for submission. One of the things i am required to submit are permission letters for any graphics i have used in my document.
My thesis is on LiveJournal, believe it or not. My graphic use is pretty small, a few userpics, some image macros, and some V-gifts.
For anyone who had similar graphics in their documents, how did you handle permissions? Did you blanket it under Academic Fair Use? Did you play it safe and get releases from everybody?
For what it's worth, all userpics are credited by username of the person who made them. Image macros are trickier, since a lot of them came from other places, so tracking down their exact creator is hard, so they are listed as "creator unknown." Vgifts are listed as created by LiveJournal.
The image macros are tricky as well, since some of them are Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc. that are copyrighted franchises, but their use here is most likely covered under fair use/satire.
Just when i thought the hard part was over...
Edited to add: The final destination for my thesis is ProQuest, which is who my university uses to publish theses. However, i will be publishing mine under Open Access, so no selling of it will be allowed. (my understanding, at any rate)