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A Sense of Camaraderie

November can be a long month for academic job seekers, perhaps the time when academe seems coldest. With several fields holding their national conferences shortly after the holidays, many applicants will know in these first weeks of December if they will have an opportunity to interview. Until then we wait and practice the morbid algebra of the market: x ads minus y internal candidates, divided by the number of qualified applicants equals … well, it’s not pretty. In the anonymous space of job wi…

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When the Old Rules for Success No Longer Apply

A friend of mine who recently assumed her first senior-level position asked to schedule some talk time to discuss the topic of organizational politics. She has moved around and up through the years and has generally been regarded as a superstar wherever she’s been. But what worked in the past doesn’t seem to be working now, and she’s having trouble making sense of her new organization’s culture—and, more important, what it takes to succeed in her new role.

She began the conversation by admitting…

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I Shouldn’t Have to Say It


In a developmental English class, a student said something very rude to me. I run a pretty laid-back classroom, so there are some occasions when students say things and I’m not sure if they’re rude. But I know this was meant to be rude. In her defense, I was picking on her a little. I kept asking her and her friend to answer the questions because they were the only ones chatting about the weekend and not participating in our activity. The student responded by saying, only slightly under her bre…

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No Thanks.

Maternity leave—or the lack thereof—wasn’t the only reason GracieABD, a Midwestern doctoral student in a STEM field, said no to a tenure-track job offer at a small university, but it was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she admits on Tenure, She Wrote:

“Academia is shockingly backwards when it comes to maternity leave for instructional staff. It seems like you either teach your full load, or maybe a reduced load without actually taking any leave, or you take the semester off with no pay,…

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There’s No Business Like Edubusiness

You may have gotten a Ph.D. because, like Lloyd Dobler, you didn’t want to “sell anything, buy anything, or process anything.” But if you think you can avoid the corporate world by going into college teaching (or kickboxing), think again, says Jeanne Zaino, a political-science professor at Iona College, with tongue firmly in cheek. Those people in your class who you thought were students are customers shelling out big bucks, who you must therefore please, she writes. Zaino offers a few tips for …

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Dude, Your Fly Is Unzipped!

In the wake of the latest ruckus in the scientific community over the spectacularly insensitive video by Joe Hanson, Andrew David Thaler offers some much-needed advice to other oblivious but perhaps well-meaning dudes out there who might be thinking of opening mouth and inserting camera or otherwise following in Hanson’s footsteps.

First, recognize that you’re in a position of privilege. The thing about privilege is that it’s “largely invisible to those who have it—including you,” Thaler writes….

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Is Love in the Stars?

In an academic world where jobs are fleeting and few and far between, the ideal job candidate is footloose and “family-free,” writes Katie Mack, an astrophysics postdoc at the University of Melbourne, who says she once overheard a couple of senior professors say as much while discussing a candidate for a senior lectureship. While no hiring-committee member would ever admit to such thinking, there’s little doubt that the “academic career structure is built around an assumption of mobility” that’s…

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Move Over, Roger Federer

Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin and Royal Holloway University of London, has come up with a tantalizing idea to end the financial woes of universities and the academics who teach at them. Companies are already paying huge sums for naming rights on football stadiums and campus buildings. So why not go a step further?, he asks. “Five hundred students stare at me for 1-1/4 hours 28 times each fall semester. The university could ask me to advertise—wea…

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Changing My Mind About CVs

In my most recent “Two-Year Track” column, “How the Job Search Differs at Community Colleges,” I stated that candidates need to tailor their cover letter for each job but can probably use the same CV. I think I’d like to modify that statement.

I based my original advice on the fact that, as a serial community-college search-committee member, I’ve reviewed thousands of CVs. Although in some ways they’re as unique as fingerprints, in other ways they’re all very similar. Honestly, I’ve seen just a…

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Do You Really Want to Be the Rules Sergeant?

I just can’t resist wading into the discussion started by Anthony Aycock about classroom management and its two subsequent replies, the first by Scott Hippensteel, who advocates that faculty should “be hard to get along with,” and Rob Jenkins’s subsequent response that “you don’t have to be a jerk” to be a good professor.

I’m quite interested in teaching discussions for a variety of reasons. Before I became a full-time administrator nearly nine years ago, I was an English professor for 15 years,…