Archive for December, 2013

Things to avoid as a new faculty member

5 Dec 2013

The transition from graduate student or postdoc to tenure-track faculty member is hard. You discover that there are a ton of new things to learn.

Here are some thoughts on things to avoid.

  • You may see lots of ways in which your department could be improved; don’t try to fix all of them at once.
  • You may see needs for many new courses. Don’t try to develop all of them. Try to teach the same courses at least three years in a row.
  • Don’t agree to work with just any student who asks. While a good student can really help, a bad student can suck up all your time and energy. Students may be worried about money and feigning interest in order to get a research position, but if they’re not really interested, they won’t make much progress and it will be bad for both of you.
  • Don’t agree to collaborate with someone in the two weeks before a grant deadline. You might get stuck in a commitment with some total jerk. Find out if you’d really enjoy working with them, first.
  • Don’t agree to write a book chapter. It’s almost as much work as a formal paper, but not as many people will read it and it won’t count for much on your CV.
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