- Here is an especially gorgeous and fascination-inducing natural history site called Corner of the Cabinet.
This essay called Change the Tenure System came out at the start of the year but was just brought to my attention. I think it’s the most concise and spot-on definition of the problems and false assumptions built into how universities grant, and don’t grant, tenure. One part includes the prescription: “Let’s NOT pretend that bias does not exist.” More recently in the news, a study came out showing that – after controlling for research productivity, women in sociology and computer science are half as likely to get tenure. Yes, this is a big problem.
A well-produced 2-minute video by L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science about why science needs women.
Last week, our campus had its back-to-school events. Our administrators talked about their big plans.
There was one Thing that the President talked about for a few minutes.
The Provost talked about the same Thing for a half hour.
My Dean talked about It for about twenty minutes.
When I had lunch next to my Associate Dean, the conversation was about this Thing for about fifteen minutes.
Then when my department met, the Thing was discussed for about another half hour.
So what is this Thing?
By Sarah Bisbing
I survived my first year as a faculty member. In fact, I think I even did pretty well if I consider my student evals and the number of end-of-year hugs received. I’m going to pat myself on the back. Why? Because being a first-year faculty member (or really an any-year faculty member, as far as I can tell) makes you feel like you are in a constant state of fight or flight. I did know what I was getting myself into by starting down the path to tenure, but I also really didn’t have any idea what it would actually feel like. I was exhausted from living in a constant state of undone to-dos and never-ending lists, and I felt a bit like I was drowning. This reality hit me hard about half way through my first year, and I decided that I needed to come up with a better strategy for survival. I thought hard about my experiences to-date as a new professor and came up with my own rules of the game. And, you know what, I think I made some significant strides in managing my time and surviving the uphill battle toward tenure.
I went to a bunch of scientific conferences this summer. Four of ‘em. I have a smorgasbord of reflections on the whole experience to share with you.
The semester is about to start. When your class meets for the first time, do you just go over syllabus, schedule, policies, and such? If you have some extra time, do you let your students go early or do you teach?
I teach, for a few reasons.
Editorial boards of ecological journals are far less likely to have people who principally work with insects, compared to other taxa. Simon Leather runs down the numbers for us.
Here is a great site for students about the Anatomy of a Scientific Article. Looks like great reading for students in lower-division and starting upper-division coursework.
Distractions in the classroom are a problem.
Digital devices are often a huge distraction.
Therefore, to manage distractions in the classroom, we need to manage devices.
Last month we traveled as a family to Corsica for a real honest to goodness vacation. We spent days on the beach and exploring medieval towns. It was mostly sunny and warm and relaxing.
But…I did bring my computer. I had minor heart palpitations when I realised that the cottage we were staying in did not come with internet but it helped me actually have a vacation. I was reduced down to a few hurried email sessions at cafes or restaurants where I answered the most critical emails and sent off a few promised items. I worked a little on a paper I’m currently facing down a deadline for but not nearly enough to make this week back to work a breeze. So I vacationed but I didn’t truly drop everything. I rarely do. Some might find this a horrid part of the job—flexible enough to always follow you around but for others that is some of the joy of academic life.
Like a number of other institutions, my institution offers outreach-y type programs over the summer, aimed at high school students. In the case of my institution, we offer a number of 3-week programs in different disciplines that generally follow the same format: class in the morning, and what we call “guided research” in the afternoon. The purpose is to introduce students to various fields through early research experiences, to give them a taste of college life, and, of course, to convince them to apply to my institution.
People go to conferences for a variety of reasons. Conferences are used to align future research priorities, and students and postdocs can “network.” Meetings also provide an opportunity to travel to cool places and take a vacation.
When conferences are in fancy places, they might attract more people, but only those who can afford to go. We need to have students and postdocs at conferences, for their own sakes and for the future of the field. At least in my fields, international conferences often are designed to make it very hard for students and postdocs to attend.