As a grad student, I used to the think longingly about the day when I would finally hold a tenure-track job. I could almost taste the thrill of the teaching and the joy of faculty resources. You mean, someone will pay for my copy of [insert software you’d like to use legally]? And, textbooks will be free? I also fantasized about how wonderful it would be to not be under the thumb of my advisors. Of course, I thought I could live like a queen on a faculty salary, too. The tenure-track position was my white whale.
Three months into the job, however, I wanted to give my white whale back. Everything in my life seemed like a mess – my relationship with my SO was rocky, I hated teaching, I just knew I would never get anything published, and I felt like I had no time for anything fun, ever. I’ve talked to other first year professors over the years and I think this is a common position to be in during the first year on the tenure-track. And, like all the other loads of unsolicited advice I’ve doled out on the Duck, I thought that I’d spread the word about the “first-year” blues. Although everyone – EVERYONE! - I’ve ever met is so thankful for the tenure-track position, a lot of us feel the learning curve is pretty steep. Perhaps if I had had realistic expectations about what to expect that first year, I would have been better able to deal with all of the changes that come that first year.
There are some strategies I’ve heard for improving your transition from grad student to professor. Here are a few of them. Michael Flynn, a current first-year professor at Kansas State University was extremely helpful in providing me comments on this post. His suggestions are also included below. Hopefully, others can leave their advice in the comments section.
Before APSA last week, I had the privilege of attending a small conference put on the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project at William and Mary. The conference was a chance for researchers in different research areas to write about the policy-relevance of their issue area and compare research and researchers in their area to the larger IR community. It relates to the discussion going on the last couple of weeks on ISQ's blog. All of the participants had the opportunity to use the TRIP project data on journal articles in top-IR journals and survey data from IR researchers around the world. I learned lot about how interactions with the policy/practitioner community differ across issue areas.
As I was traveling back from APSA on Sunday, I completed all of the journal reviews that I had on my desk, ran some regressions for new projects, and then completed all the revisions my coauthors are requesting from me currently. With the remaining few hours I had on the flight, I noticed a Cosmo magazine in the seat-pocket next to me and quickly went to work finding out what kind of female I am and how much I really know about Beyonce. The quizzes got me thinking: we don’t have a lot of personality quizzes for us as academics but – based on my participant observations at this past APSA - we really need some.
Many graduate students are expanding their job searches outside the academy. As an advisor, I'm horribly underprepared at offering job advice outside of the academic job market – besides work you can get off of Craigslist, I've never held a real job. Recently, I had a student come to me with questions about finding a job in the DC policy world. I asked my great friend (and former student) Kate Kidder for her thoughts, which she agreed to allow me to post at the Duck.
Greetings, PhD Class of 2019. Welcome. We are excited for your arrival on campus later this summer. As you enjoy your summer, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write you with some advice for your next adventure. My comments are just based on my personal experiences but I thought maybe they would be of use to you as you start your PhD.
My first set of comments all revolve around one basic point: this isn’t an extension of undergrad. The early course work you do in preparation for your PhD should be thought of as something completely different from your past experiences. Even though the campus might look like your undergrad institution, even though there might be a football team and drink specials on Thursday nights – your days as a high-achieving undergrad are over. For some of you, you might be 10 or 20 years post-undergrad. You might have multiple master’s degrees and real-world experience. For others, you might have graduated just this summer. For everyone, however, graduate school - at this program – is just beginning. There are going to be lots of differences from your past experiences. Let me highlight a few:
Please consider putting in a round-table, paper, or panel submission for the 2014 International Studies Association -Midwest Conference, to be held November 7th through the 9th at the Hilton-Ballpark in St. Louis. The deadline for proposals is July 1st.
I'm sure most of you have seen this nice Change.Org petition concerning the dates of the annual APSA meeting. I really like all the reasons given
Sorry, faithful Duck readers, for the radio silence – I’ve been traveling for much of the last month and then – ugh – just started teaching a daily undergrad class. I promise – real blog posts are coming! In the meantime, I wanted to fill you in on some information I’ve been digesting in the last month. The information should be enough for all of us to “rant” about.
Dear Kansas Board of Regents,
Greetings. I don’t know if you received my first open-letter to you in December. My parents have pretty slow Internet
It’s that time of year again: the magical time when my 10 page undergraduate research proposal deadline is enough to cause a health scare among the geriatric population of mid-Missouri. As the semester comes to a close, my office is typically filled with both undergrads and grads coming to tell me a plethora of problems and stories. Many times, these problems preface a request for an extension of some sort. Can I please have an extra week? An extra day? An extra 20 minutes?
I'm currently the program chair for ISA Midwest 2014. The conference will take place from November 7th to 9th at the Hilton Ballpark in St. Louis. This is a fabulous conference - one I'd really recommend for all scholars but one that is especially inviting for junior scholars. Here is the call for proposals:
This week’s installment of An Academic Woman’s Rant of the Week concerns self-promotion and self-citation differences between men and women.
The idea for this installment came to me while I was having a celebratory drink with K. Chad Clay and Jim Piazza at ISA. We were celebrating our recent Political Research Quarterly article (also coauthored with Sam Bell). Chad had just presented a new Bell, Clay, Murdie paper at a panel that I wasn’t able to attend. When I asked Chad if he had any questions from the floor, Chad said that he did get some questions but that he was able to answer them with reference to our forthcoming International Studies Quarterly article (coauthored also with Colin Barry, Sam Bell, and Mike Flynn).
“Doesn’t that make you feel bad?” I said, “It always embarrasses me to have to reference one of my other pieces.”
“No,” Chad replied, “Given all of the recent stuff about the citation gap, I think that's a gendered-thing.”
A gendered-thing? Really?
Like any good protestant preacher, I’ve decided to start a multi-week series where we can examine a topic in depth from multiple angles. My chosen topic: women in academia. This is a topic that has been written on extensively in peer-reviewed articles and on the blogosphere (see The Monkey Cage's wonderful discussion for a recent summary). However, to my knowledge, most of those writing on the topic have been senior: the perspective of a woman “in the trenches” (ie junior) has been somewhat missing in the discussion. I want to add my two-cents to the discussion and I’ve purposely decided to make the tone of this discussion somewhat light. Yet, make no mistake, I’m very aware that there are some very nasty, horrible, and life-altering components to this topic. Maybe one day I’ll talk about those aspects as well.
Anywho – with an eye towards making the tone somewhat light, I’ve decided to title this series “An Academic Woman’s Rant of the Week” – this is a nod to Jo Dee Messina’s song “A Woman’s Rant,” which I love. My first rant: academic titles and gendered (mis)perceptions.
I’m leaving for the Midwest Political Science Association conference this afternoon, a wonderful 3 days since I returned from ISA. I’m a little (*cough*) “conferenced-out” – it wasn’t a good idea to do both conferences so close to each other. I am excited, however, to see all the fabulous IO panels at Midwest.
As I finished up the last of my conference slides this morning, I was reflecting on the “conference-ese” we all use and what our phrases actually mean. To the untrained participant, the phrase might not get noticed. For the seasoned conference participant, however, it is obvious what the phrase really means. Let me translate some of these:
As I’ve been preparing for the conference these last couple of weeks, I’m also preparing to be “blessed” with an unexpected visit from my grandparents in-laws today. One of the "bonuses" of having them in my life has been their annual family reunion, held on a hot summer’s day outside of a town of 500 in Kansas. There are many similarities between this event and ISA (or other major academic conferences). Let me give you a few:
This morning, I woke up with a very nice notice about the 50th Anniversary Issue of Journal of Peace Research in my inbox. The issue is worth checking out – there’s some good stuff in there.
As a human rights scholar, I was really interested in the “A Social Science of Human Rights” piece by Emilie Hafner-Burton. While I'm happy to see human rights get a mention in this important issue, I think there is some significant literature that has been missed by Hafner-Burton's review. I want to bring attention to this not as a “wait, why wasn’t I cited?” but because the piece raises a few questions and makes some claims to which we already have some increasingly solid answers. Let me bring attention to a few of the statements from the review piece:
Today, I fly to give a talk at my alma-mater. As my advisor told me, it’s a victory lap. It feels good – 5 years post PhD, great job, excitement about the future, and my family still intact. However, the thought of going back also has me a little anxious: you see, I don’t have good memories about life in grad school. My university was great, my advisors were fantastic, and my colleagues were super smart. However, the whole experience was wrought with periods of anxiety, stress, and depression. In short, my mental health really sucked in grad school.
It’s been a big and extremely depressing week for the rights of sexual minorities. Despite some minor victories in Texas and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto, anti-gay bills remain on the agenda in many US states. Things continue to get worse in Uganda and Russia. What can be done to help stop the abuse?
The following is a guest post by Joel R. Pruce, a post-doctoral fellow in human rights studies at the University of Dayton.
The transnational movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel continues to capture headlines and prompt crucial debate on the status of Palestinian claims to national self-determination and individual human rights protection, and the global public’s moral responsibility with respect to the ongoing conflict. Recent episodes, including the academic boycott passed by the American Studies Association and the SodaStream/ScarJo/Oxfam love triangle, signal that BDS is penetrating discourse and influencing decisions of prominent actors. Since sufficient vitriolic ink on this topic has been spilled prior to the current contribution, the approach here is to propose a critique of the BDS movement from a universal human rights perspective, in order to provide a consensus-based reference point with which to orient reasonable debate, while engaging with the movement itself in its own terms.