Remember when I was saying that junior scientists of color are more likely to get ignored when they send their CVs to PIs they want to work with? A couple weeks ago, a paper came out with some substantial data validating concerns about this problem. Not that a new paper was necessary — this has been documented for quite a while.
A while back, I wrote thread on twitter that made the rounds about how we should use proper hiring methods for junior scientists:
But I wasn’t satisfied with letting it lie there, and I thought the argument needed a bit more meat inside its exoskeleton, so I wrote an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education about the problem. Here it is! PIs who care about this problem might be doing it the right way, but for those who aren’t, I hope y’all change your practices along with your mind. And the PIs who don’t care will need to be held accountable by their institutions, at the departmental, college, or university level. Ultimately, equitable hiring is an institution-wide issue, so I hope this piece makes it into the hands of the people on campus who are empowered to make sure that PIs and departments aren’t skirting best practices when it comes to recruitment of students and postdocs. Who are employed by the university, after all. If you agree that this is a solid argument for having better recruitment practices in your institution, please feel free to send this up the line?
Even you might not think of your college students as adults, it would help if you treated them as if they were. Continue reading
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite animals, Aphaenogaster araneoides, and a major league screwup of mine:
image: Benoit Guenard
A wave of graduate programs drops the GRE application requirement, with biology programs leading the way.
Can you really do humanities research with undergraduates?
Taiwan considers going double blind for grant review
“If you’ve ever been at a wedding or conference or on board a United connection from O’Hare, and been cornered by a man with Theories About It All, and you came away thinking, ‘That was a great experience,’ have I got the book for you.” So begins what I think is a generally Important Review of the most recent Jared Diamond book. It’s important, for the broader academic community, because it puts stark light on the absence of fact checking of popular academic nonfiction. It’s also an entertaining review to read, unless you’re uncomfortable with scrutiny of the more specious ideas forwarded by Jared Diamond. Continue reading
Summer is go-time for research, particularly in undergraduate institutions. But yet, when I walk across the desolate campus in summer, I inevitably get from the first person I see, “What are you doing here?” If classes aren’t in session, most folks campus can’t imagine why we’d stick around. Continue reading
For a lot of academic scientists, the currency of research is productivity. Continue reading
For most grad students in the sciences, their doctoral advisor has an extraordinary level of power over their professional and personal life. This is long overdue for an overhaul. No single person should have that much power over another, particularly in academia where institutions chronically overlook and enable misconduct. Continue reading
You are sending students to a conference. What’s the best way to pay for it? Continue reading
I don’t know about you, but I’m used to hearing academics talking about how some people are just inherently brilliant. That there are people with oodles of raw talent, that just needs to be molded, and it’s our job as academia to find them and raise them up. Continue reading
When I visit other universities and chat with grad students, I love fielding questions about career stuff. I realize that’s part of why I was invited. Since I often get the same questions, I suppose I should also answer those questions here, too. Because if I get asked a question every time I visit an R1 department, it must be a really common question. Continue reading
This is my ninth day of being sick. I think it was a flu. (Yes, I had this year’s flu shot.) It caught everybody in my home.
I’ve been back at work for a couple days, though I’m still coughing regularly, and my brain remains foggy. I’ve dropped so many balls. Fortunately, none of them are glass, though there are enough of them bouncing that I can’t quite keep up. There are a few things I am waaaaaay too late on. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again. Congrats to the 2000 students who are recipients of the GRFP! From talking to so many panelists about their experiences, it’s clear that they could fund so more people, and every single one of them would be quite worthy of the support.
If there was such a thing as a Blog Citation Classic™ list for this site, then discussions about equitable distributions of NSF graduate fellowships would definitely be on there.
I can concisely encapsulate these concerns: Your odds of personally knowing someone who got a GRFP from your undergrad years might be best predicted by the size of the endowment of that institution. NSF is working hard to be inclusive with respect to gender, ethnicity, and various axes of diversity, but the bottom line is that students attending wealthier and more prestigious undergraduate institutions are more likely to end up with fellowships. Continue reading
How do you explain what research is?
My go-to metaphor has been a jigsaw puzzle. Continue reading
I had a great time in grad school. I absolutely loved it. But I’m quick(er than some) to recognize that my experience can’t be generalized. If you listen to enough grad students, you’ll hear far too many hair-raising stories about abuses of power. Continue reading
Does your spring break overlap with your kids’ spring break? If you’re like me, the answer is usually “no.” Which is annoying and a pain in the butt. Continue reading
Since the news broke about the college admissions bribery sting by the FBI, I’ve had a lot of thoughts. And so has everybody else, it seems. (If you have not looked at media in the last 1.5 days, here’s the LA Times page that collects the many articles they’ve already assembled about it.)
This story is a singularity of problems in higher education in the United States, a convergence of drama into a single high-gravity point. Continue reading
In the midst of the rush to drop the GRE, I think it helps if we spell out exactly why the GRE is considered to be a problem. Continue reading
Have you ever gotten student evaluations back after the semester is over, and had some surprises? Some of these surprises are avoidable. Continue reading
If you’ve known me for a good long while, then you would know I’m not a morning person. Continue reading
It is stunning to learn that so many people think that we are paid to be sources for journalists. [update: I misread this. The piece reports that a majority of people think that sources pay journalists to be included in their stories. Which is perhaps even more outrageous?]
How getting 8 hours of sleep gave me the energy to overcommit again Continue reading
The entire point of this post is in the title. This idea crossed my path yesterday, and I’d like to share it as widely as possible:
Let’s talk about “fit.” They say you get a faculty job offer because of “fit.” What does “fit” mean? In what ways do job candidates need to fit? How does “fit” work? Continue reading
I started this blog back in 201cough because I was fed up with so many people in the broader research community not understanding what happens in teaching-focused universities. And people who think they have an understanding, but that understanding is filled with stereotypes, bias, and misinformation, driven by a lack of direct personal experience.
I was fed up with being Othered, mostly because of how this translates to the perception of our students. Continue reading