• October 30, 2014
October 30, 2014, 12:05:00 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Changing research areas post tenure at R1  (Read 7185 times)
sharing
New member
*
Posts: 3


« on: March 20, 2012, 12:19:12 PM »

Has anyone here considered and/or changed research areas post tenure at an R1 institution? I am feeling pretty stuck in my current area and need something to reinvigorate my thinking. I just can't seem to find the energy, motivation, and interest to complete current research projects or propose new projects in my area. I know this will impact my ability to secure grants, but I am a lifelong learner who is craving something new. I am considering going back to an area that I am still pretty familiar with and which was the focus of my dissertation.

I should also mention that I am just returning to full time work after parental leave associated with the birth of my first child.

Has anyone done this and have feedback about the potential pros/cons? Comments?

Appreciate any words of wisdom you may be willing to share.
Logged
toothpaste
Senior member
****
Posts: 823


« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 6:51:24 PM »

Perhaps you could say a little bit more about why you think that this is enough of a problem you need advice about it. Isn't that what tenure is for, to allow you to take intellectual risks?
Logged

Oh, this is how you get a signature line.
seniorscholar
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 7,504


« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2012, 2:32:03 PM »

Your point about securing grants leads me to suspect you're in a science area in which (1) grant funding is essential and (2) your record with committees/agencies in your subspecialty is important in getting the next grant from the same folks.

In humanities, where grants are very rare and, in my experience, your history of completing and publishing projects is the key factor in getting a small grant to work in an archive or, eventually, a NEH fellowship, changing areas, methodologies, centuries, genres, etc. is what keeps the brain alive . . . and ultimately provides enough new skills and resources to return to something done very early in a career and build a grand new edifice that publishers are quite eager to take a look at.

(There is nothing more depressing than reading a senior colleague's 7th book on the same author; really, we've already read everything this colleague has to say about the topic and can only hope the classroom lectures aren't as tired as the scholarship.)
Logged
menotti
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,347


« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2012, 2:36:13 PM »

Have you looked into K02 awards? 
Logged
mellonia
Member
***
Posts: 117


« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2012, 6:12:26 PM »

I did this, in a science field, and it was a great decision. The new work is satisfying and fun and what the heck, when research stops being at least a little bit fun, why keep doing it?  I want to keep learning new things too, so I really relate to what you are feeling, and given all the posts on post-tenure angst/depression/feeling stuck, it's pretty normal to want to make a switch at this point. 

You just need to be strategic, just like you probably were pre-tenure.  You need to keep publishing in the 'old' field for a little while so your apparent productivity stays up reasonably well;  you need to plan for at least a small paper in the new field that won't take long to get out, to show that you can do it;  and it's probably best if it's a related field so people who review papers and grants, and know your old work, don't say 'what the...?' when they see what you've moved into.

Given that you are just back after parental leave--which likely affected your CV (and yeah, I know it isn't supposed to count against you, but still)--the only thing you might need to be strategic about is ensuring that your CV reflects continued productivity.  Take a bit of time to think about that, and then I say go for it!
Logged
sharing
New member
*
Posts: 3


« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 8:26:16 PM »

Thanks, everyone, for all of the thought provoking feedback, kind words, and encouragement here. You all made several good points, and I will take care to consider my record and productivity while considering this change. A small paper in the new area sounds really reasonable to me and I will look into the K02 funding mechanism to see if that might be a possibility.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.