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u/tchufnagel · 3 pointsr/AskAcademia

Speaking as a faculty member in an R1 institution, I've had a fair amount of experience on both sides of the desk.

First off, congratulations on landing the interview—that's the toughest part of getting an academic job. Now all you have to do is convince your prospective department that they want to hire you more than the four or five other people they will be interviewing.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the people who will be interviewing you are your potential future colleagues; focus on what they are looking for in hiring someone who might be working with them for the next thirty or more years. At an R1 university, they are going to want to hire someone who will be (1) an excellent researcher, (2) at least a passable teacher, and (3) a good colleague. If you can satisfy them on all three counts, you will have an excellent chance of landing the job. Fail on one, especially the first, and you'll have basically no chance.

Maybe the best thing I can recommend is that you get a copy of Tomorrow's Professor. It is full of excellent information on the faculty hiring process, and will give you a lot of insight into what things will make you an attractive candidate.

With regard to your specific questions: When speaking with the chair, you should be prepared to talk about your research and teaching interests. Feel free to ask pretty much anything you like that will show you are serious about the opportunity. General questions about the department and university are fine, as well as specific questions about what their expectations are for your visit. Stay away from more sensitive topics like salary, tenure, start-up packages, opportunities for your spouse, etc. There will be plenty of time for those questions later, once they are serious about you as the candidate they want to hire.

About attire: A suit is fine, although it may even be overdoing it a little bit for academia. More important is your demeanor; if you come across as a stuffed shirt, a suit will accentuate that; on the other hand, if you are confident yet relaxed, a suit will be fine. A perfectly acceptable alternative would be a blazer or sport coat, tie, and dress slacks. Whatever you wear, make sure that you and your clothes are well kempt. This is no time for frayed cuffs or badly worn shoes...not that these would necessarily disqualify you, but they go against the image you are trying to portray of a person who has his or her act together.

About knowledge of the faculty: You should absolutely peruse the department website and get at least a passing knowledge of all of the faculty and their general research interests. Pay particular attention to people with interests related to yours, or with whom you could see yourself collaborating, and dig a little deeper on those. (If there are people in related areas in other departments, it would pay to know that, too.) A bonus would be if you can identify particular things (areas of expertise) that you would bring to the department that they are currently lacking. Besides research, you should also think a bit about courses you'd like to teach, and how they would fit into the department's current offerings.

For an R1, the most important thing will be to convince them that you have exciting yet realistic plans for establishing an outstanding research program. Probably the single most common mistake here is to think too small; many candidates have plans for the experiments they want to do over the next couple of years, but many have not thought about the bigger picture of the kind of research program they want to establish that will carry them over the six or seven years to tenure. One of my favorite questions is to ask candidates what they see themselves doing 10-15 hence; you'd be amazed at how many people have not really thought about this at all. A specific answer is, of course, almost impossible, but having a general, big-picture idea is important.

Be sure that you can place your research in the proper context. It may be the neatest thing in the world to you, but you have to be able to give people a reason to care about it (this applies to funding agencies after you are hired, as well). Make sure that whatever you propose is reasonable. It helps to have given thought to how you will fund your program (e.g. be sure you know what an RO1 grant is).

About your talks: I am not sure what the distinction is between a "job talk" and a "chalk talk", but here's some general advice. First, when discussing your own research, be sure to present it at a level that most of the faculty will be able to follow (advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate); most of them will not be experts in your particular area, and they will appreciate not being left behind (it also gives them the idea that you can be a good teacher). On the other hand, you also need to convince them that you really are an expert, and that you have a firm grasp of the details. So at one or two key places you will want to dive down deep for a few minutes, before returning to the surface. Make sure your presentation is doesn't have to be slick, exactly, but you also don't want to be stumbling through your slides. Even if you don't usually practice your talks, practice this one!

Hope that helps. Feel free to post a follow-up if you have other specific questions. Good luck!

u/HickyAU · 2 pointsr/AskAcademia

They are tricky questions to answer because the process and people's experience are likely to vary a fair bit and the funding options are different for different countries. I am a PhD candidate in Education in Australia, so I can share my experience finding a supervisor/funding and what I have seen of other student's experiences, your experience could be completely different. I'd recommend borrowing/getting a book that discusses how to find and apply for a PhD program or looking for guidelines/suggestions for applying a PhD on the website of the institution you would like to do your PhD at. I found Getting What You Came For really useful. However, that book is fairly old, targeted towards US programs which you may not be applying for, and is pretty 'real' (bleak) about how tough a PhD can be and the lack of academic jobs. Someone else may be able to provide a better recommendation for a similar book.

What country are you in and planning to do your PhD in? In the institution I am in (in Australia) most Education PhD students seem to be either funded through a government scholarship (called an RTP here) or do not have any funding. I would not say an RTP is easy to obtain, they are pretty competitive here and I was lucky to have research experience and a publication when I applied for one, which would have helped me get it. It seems like PhDs funded through projects are not as common in Education as they would be in the natural sciences, engineering etc but they are out there. If you find a scholarship advertised as part of a project, then it would probably be easier to apply for that then finding funding for your own PhD project but then you don't have much choice about what topic to research. At my institution, when you apply for a PhD, you have to submit a short proposal about the topic you intend to research and a brief research plan. If you don't have particular researchers listed on the application then the university would allocate you supervisors. This may be different in your country though.

As for approaching supervisors, there is probably a few different ways you could do this. The book I mentioned above has some suggestions. I worked for my current PhD supervisor as an undergraduate student and knew that they would take me on as a PhD student when I applied, so I didn't have to seek other people out. One of the most important things was that they are interested in my research topic and we can collaborate well, so we work on projects/papers together. I know other students that have been allocated supervisors rather than choosing their own when they have started and that can not work out, particularly when the student's research interests don't align with the supervisor's research interests or they don't have a good working relationship. I would suggest looking up different researchers at your local institution/s (assuming you want to stay where you are) and see if anyone researches in the topics you are interested in. If the university's faculties don't have a list of the academic staff, you can try looking up the institution and faculty on researchgate. You can reach out to staff with similar research interests and let them know what you're interested in and ask them what your options are.

Also, I think with your background and qualifications, you will be a valuable person to have around an Education faculty as well. In my experience, there is a need for Educational researchers with mathematical skills (particularly expertise in Statistics). You could try reaching out to staff from Education faculties or keeping on your eye on the jobs at your local university/ies and seeing if there are opportunities to help out with data collection and analysis. This could be a good way to 'dip your toe' in research before committing to a PhD and it may help you meet potential supervisors.

u/themeaningofhaste · 5 pointsr/AskAcademia

Griffiths is the go-to for advanced undergraduate level texts, so you might consider his Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Introduction to Particle Physics. I used Townsend's A Modern Approach to Quantum Mechanics to teach myself and I thought that was a pretty good book.

I'm not sure if you mean special or general relativity. For special, /u/Ragall's suggestion of Taylor is good but is aimed an more of an intermediate undergraduate; still worth checking out I think. I've heard Taylor (different Taylor) and Wheeler's Spacetime Physics is good but I don't know much more about it. For general relativity, I think Hartle's Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity and Carroll's Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity are what you want to look for. Hartle is slightly lower level but both are close. Carroll is probably better if you want one book and want a bit more of the math.

Online resources are improving, and you might find luck in opencourseware type websites. I'm not too knowledgeable in these, and I think books, while expensive, are a great investment if you are planning to spend a long time in the field.

One note: teaching yourself is great, but a grad program will be concerned if it doesn't show up on a transcript. This being said, the big four in US institutions are Classical Mechanics, E&M, Thermodynamics/Stat Mech, and QM. You should have all four but you can sometimes get away with three. Expectations of other courses vary by school, which is why programs don't always expect things like GR, fluid mechanics, etc.

I hope that helps!

u/Ishmael22 · 2 pointsr/AskAcademia

I work at a community college, and we definitely have a significant number of students who are people of color and/or live in economic precarity. So, it sounds like we are interested in working with similar populations of students. Here are a few resources I've found helpful:

Reading on critical pedagogy for a theoretical framework. Freire and Giroux are where I'd start.

The idea of backward design for semester-length planing

I'm having trouble finding a good resource to link to quickly, but the idea of transparency in lesson design seems important to me.

"How Learning Works" and "What the Best College Teachers Do" for more day to day things:

"In The Middle" for a good outline of a workshop approach to teaching writing

I haven't found a good single book that talks about teaching active reading, but there are a lot of resources online, and I've found teaching it explicitly and modeling it for my students as part of a whole class discussion to work pretty well.

As far as the critical theory aspect of reading (which I do think should be taught early on and even to people who are just beginning to read at the college level) I like "Texts and Contexts" and "Critical Encounters"

Hope that's helpful! Good luck to you!

u/TrustMeIAMAProfessor · 6 pointsr/AskAcademia

The (now classic) book to read is Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D. by Robert Peters. I remember reading this in grad school but don't remember too many of the details.

There are mixed opinions out there on The Professor Is In, so don't use that as your only source, but she has a lot of free information available on preparing for the job market, giving job talks, and interviews, etc.

Good luck! Play the long game. Try to have some fun. Take care of your body.

u/crust_and_crumb · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

I am not familiar with the book ommm232 suggested (although it is certainly one I will be looking into as well), but I would also highly recommend Eric Hayout's The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities, which also delves into the differences between seminar papers and articles and how to transform the former into the latter. It has been immensely helpful in my own work as I try to improve both global and local elements of my writing.

Best of luck!

u/Plavixo · 5 pointsr/AskAcademia

Not a direct answer, but your question reminded me of "The Craft of Research" which is a fantastic book. It might be something you'd like to read through. I think I had second edition - it now runs to forth. You could pick up a second-hand, early edition inexpensively.

If reading journals isn't sparking ideas for you, I'd perhaps consider reading something more mainstream and consumer grade. Perhaps BBC news, CES reports, things like that. Find a problem that's being reported, and that no one is solving. Find a problem that is being solved, and propose an alternative solution, or refine a solution that exists.

Good luck!

u/IndyMapper · 2 pointsr/AskAcademia

The ordering of questions and even the ordering of options to answer questions can have interesting effects on decision making. The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making by Scott Plous offers a nice introduction with some information that makes it really interesting to evaluate surveys once you know what to look for. Here's the Amazon link but hopefully you can find it in your library.

Surveys always require IRB, at least here in the United States, so taking the time to have someone look over your questions before you submit your proposal for human subject research will be well worth your time if you're new to this type of research design.

u/dowcet · 14 pointsr/AskAcademia

This book is an absolute must read for humanities and social science students, maybe useful for others as well: The Professor Is In by Karen Kelsky. It’s all about how to prepare yourself and navigate this hellish job market.

I think of tenure track professors as approaching something like professional athletes or artists at this point. You have to be both exceptionally talented and determined to make it, and even then may need a bit of luck. Know what you’re getting into, and only bother if you’re ready to give it 100%.

u/bitparity · 10 pointsr/AskAcademia

I just bought this book, which is less a narrative, but rather more of a hard, truthful, as well as insightful look into the problems of humanities academia, and how best you can survive them.

My only tip for you regarding imposter syndrome, is that everyone has it. However, you keep that truth buried deep in yourself. When it comes time to talk about your work to others, or in a job interview, YOU PUT ON THAT IMPOSTER MASK AND NEVER BLINK OR TAKE IT OFF until you're back home.

We all wear masks to function. Learning to live with them is an essential life skill.

For other examples of why this is essential, I'd also like to cite Dr. David Chappelle:

u/Jalapeno2257 · 3 pointsr/AskAcademia

Freedman, Pisani, and Purves is the text I have used for teaching undergrads. Maybe start there for a refresher on probability theory, then move to Degroot and Schervish after if you have time/desire. FPP is very basic and mostly intuition, then DS gets more technical.

You should also brush up on calculus. At least be able to take (and understand) first and second partials. This will save you a lot of trouble later. Then work on linear algebra. Although you’re a psych person, a very good text that will give the basics of both calculus and linear algebra is Chiang and Wainwright, a math Econ book. Despite the difference in substance, it’s the most lucid as well as basic of texts I know of on the subject. So if you’ve never done calculus or linear algebra, this is a good place to start. Chapters 4-7 for basics, 8-10 for more fun.

You can definitely find used, older editions, and international versions that are relatively cheap.

u/PROPHYLACTIC_APPLE · 6 pointsr/AskAcademia

Make an appointment with your university's career guidance councilor. They're paid to think about this for you and should be able to help you establish a plan.

The Professor is in is also a pretty decent book, although it's primarily geared toward securing an academic position:

Network with folks outside academia and try and do a research project with broader topical and methodological relevance.

Once you identify a career you'd like work to develop strong transferrable skills for that area.

u/cosmospring · 3 pointsr/AskAcademia

Read a lot and practice writing have already been mentioned, and those are great and necessary practices that should continue throughout your academic career. Getting external feedback is also great advice. I'll add the following: Writing and editing your writing are two different jobs, so don't edit and write at the same time.

A few books I recommend regularly to Ph.D. students in the social sciences: How To Write A Lot has some tips and tricks about writing routines of academics. If you're writing ethnographic works: Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes and Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography are worth reading.

u/bokertovelijah · 7 pointsr/AskAcademia

Also, you were smart enough to get into the program, and that's the bottom line. Good enough gets the same degree as everybody better.

I was advised to read Feeling Good by a friend who felt the same way, and the activities in there helped me tremendously.

u/jlec · 2 pointsr/AskAcademia

I too am a PhD student in Japan. The open secret is that academic publishing is kind of a joke here, and just self-publishing your thesis and pumping out crap it in your university's Kiyo is enough to come off as respectable.

But of course, just because you can get away with doing very little doesn't mean you should. Here's what I would recommend:

  1. Find journals you like in your area and read them religiously. There's no "right" journal to publish in; remember, *you are the one that decides that part. But whatever you pick, aim high and go for the top ones in that subfield, and make sure you have four or five you read as a matter of habit. Gradually you'll get a feel for the subject matter, terminology, paper structures, hot research topics, etc etc. The important thing is that you have role models to emulate, in terms of authors, papers and journals.

  2. Buy this book. It'll baby-step you through writing your first paper in 12 weeks. Follow the regimen religiously:

u/Michel_Foucat · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

I teach a course in writing for publication in STEM. I use excerpts from the following books: Writing Scientific Research Articles, Academic Writing for Graduate Students, and Research Genres. The last one can be a bit of a dense read, but many of my STEM students find it especially interesting because it's data-driven. A linguistics researcher collected a big corpus of well-cited articles and identified the most common features. These findings are often a big part of other more practical guides to academic writing. CARS, IMRAD, Swales' Moves are very common writing tips identified by this research. But it gets much more fine grained and nuanced than that.

u/herennius · 5 pointsr/AskAcademia

What is it you're looking for, if you feel like books on writing won't help?

If it's academic writing in particular that you want to improve, why not look at something like

u/wteng · 3 pointsr/AskAcademia

How comfortable are you with math and at which "level" do you want to understand the concepts of weather? I.e., do you want to learn the physics behind it, or just know what fronts, cyclones etc. that they talk about on TV are?

For the former the book Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey is a comprehensive introduction, but I wouldn't recommend it to laymen who are just interested in weather.

u/dapt · 2 pointsr/AskAcademia

As with many other commenters, it seems to me that anxiety is something that is getting in your way.

This book is a great introduction to the ways in which we can learn to handle anxiety and similar moods to better achieve want we want out of life.

u/fog_in_eucalyptus · 2 pointsr/AskAcademia

I had a yearlong seminar in undergrad for thesis writing and we used this book, [The Craft of Research](The Craft of Research, Fourth Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
It was pretty helpful.

u/ProfAbroad · 4 pointsr/AskAcademia

Old but still worth reading early in the process of you are interested in possibly getting a phd.

u/DarwinDanger · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

I would suggest getting Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or Ph.D..

This book is very easy to read, down to earth, and provides invaluable advice.

u/Dr_Pizzas · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

I happen to teach compensation at the grad level, so I wanted to suggest you get a copy of this textbook or find it at the library. Used, old edition, whatever. It has a lot of discussion on pay structure and some citations to important research articles. It might help you structure your ideas a little bit more, like what aspect of pay structures you want to look at and their effects on which outcomes.

u/googlypug · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

I have a friend who uses these. She loves them, but I know they're a little on the expensive side.

Additionally, you could punch one hole in each corner and loop 50 on one binder ring then those on a larger binder ring.

u/JangleAllTheWay · 4 pointsr/AskAcademia

Read this for a sense of the discipline:


Are you going to do British, American, or something else? If you're going to do American, for example, I would go through the Shorter Norton Anthology of American Lit and read anything you haven't read yet.


Then I would read this for a sense of the market and job prospects:

u/ommm232 · 41 pointsr/AskAcademia

So this is a good book to look at:

It’s specifically tailored to helping you make your longer papers (dissertation/thesis) into an article for publication. I’d start there !

u/c875654 · 1 pointr/AskAcademia

A very kind person recommended me this book the other day on this sub

I have already learned SO much and I am barely a quarter of the way through. The woman who wrote it also has a blog that is absolutely stuffed with advice.

u/Allocentric · 3 pointsr/AskAcademia

McKeachie's Teaching Tips is a long-running classic in higher ed, too. It would eat up most of your budget, though.