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Tomorrow's Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering



Tomorrow's Professor: Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering

Richard M. Reis

ISBN: 978-1-118-38712-2 March 2012 Wiley-IEEE Press 440 Pages

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Tomorrow's Professor is designed to help you prepare for, find, and succeed at academic careers in science and engineering. It looks at the full range of North American four-year academic institutions while featuring 30 vignettes and more than 50 individual stories that bring to life the principles and strategies outlined in the book.

Tailored for today's graduate students, postdocs, and beginning professors, Tomorrow's Professor:

  • Presents a no-holds-barred look at the academic enterprise
  • Describes a powerful preparation strategy to make you competitive for academic positions while maintaining your options for worthwhile careers in government and industry
  • Explains how to get the offer you want and start-up package you need to help ensure success in your first critical years on the job
  • Provides essential insights from experienced faculty on how to develop a rewarding academic career and a quality of life that is both balanced and fulfilling
  • <NEW> Bonus material is available for free download at
At a time when anxiety about academic career opportunities for Ph.D.s in these field is at an all-time high, Tomorrow's Professor provides a much-needed practical approach to career development.

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

PART I Setting the Stage 1

Chapter 1 The Academic Enterprise 3

Unlike Any Other Institution 4

Key Characteristics 6

Governance and Decision Making 13

Institutional Issues 18

A New Look at Scholarship 20

Seven Sample Schools 22

Vignette #1: A Place for Scholarship in Undergraduate Education 27

Chapter 2 Science and Engineering in Higher Education 37

Comparisons Across the Institution 38

Departments of Science 47

Departments of Engineering 48

Interdisciplinary Collaboration 51

Scholarship Across the Disciplines 53

Vignette #2: Science at a Metropolitan University 54

Chapter 3 New Challenges for the Professoriate 59

Forces for Change in Teaching and Research 60

Implications for Faculty Scholarship 71

Vignette #3: The Laboratory Without Walls 76

PART II Preparing for an Academic Career 81

Chapter 4 Your Professional Preparation Strategy 83

The Decision to Pursue an Academic Career 85

Supply and Demand—What is Going on Here? 90

The Three-Pronged Preparation Strategy 95

Vignette #4: A Ph.D. Career in Industry 102

Chapter 5 Research as a Graduate Student and Postdoc 107

Choosing a Graduate School or Postdoc Institution 108

Choosing a Research Topic 111

Choosing a Dissertation Advisor/Postdoc Supervisor 118

Writing Your Own Research Proposals 123

Carrying Out Your Research—An Example 125

Publishing 126

Attending Conferences and Other Professional Meetings 129

Presentations 131

Supervising Other Researchers 133

Managing Research Projects and Programs 1 35

Networking 137

Vignette #5: The Research Continuum 137

Chapter 6 Teaching Experiences Prior to Becoming a Professor 143

Why Teach as a Graduate Student or Postdoc? 144

Types of Teaching Experiences 148

How to Find the Right Teaching Opportunities 155

Preparing for a Successful Experience 156

Your Teaching Portfolio 157

Vignette #6: Teaching as a Postdoc 160

PART III Finding and Getting the Best Possible Academic Position 165

Chapter 7 Identifying the Possibilities 167

Explore Now, Search Later 168

Deciding What You Want 170

Researching What Is Out There 173

Preparing for the Search 176

Vignette #7: From Industry to Academia 177

Chapter 8 Applying for Positions 183

Setting the Stage 185

Preparing Your Application Materials 192

The Application Process 206

Positions Outside Academia 214

Vignette #8: Diversity Issues in the Hiring of Science and Engineering Faculty—An Illustration from Astronomy 216

Chapter 9 Getting the Results You Want 221

Your Negotiating Approach 222

General Principles for Responding to Academic Job Offers 224

Dual-Career Couples 232

What to Do if You Do Not Get the Offer You Want 233

Vignette #9: The Dual-Career Job Search 237

PART IV Looking Ahead to Your First Years on the Job - Advice from the Field 241

Changing Gears 243

Chapter 10 Insights on Time Management 245

Setting the Stage 245

Vignette #10: Establish Your Absence 246

Vignette #11: Set Long-Term Goals 248

Vignette #12: Keep Something on the Burner 250

Vignette #13: How to Help New Faculty Find the Time—One Department Chair's Approach 252

In Addition: Sources of Faculty Stress, Faculty Efficiency, the Urgency Addiction, and Achieving Balance in Our Lives 253

Chapter 11 Insights on Teaching and Learning 261

Setting the Stage 261

Vignette #14: Five Elements of Effective Teaching 266

Vignette #15: Developing Engaged and Responsive Learners 268

Vignette #16: Team Teaching in an Interdisciplinary Program 271

Vignette #17: The Upside-Down Curriculum 272

In Addition: Characteristics of Successful Teachers, Course Planning, Teaching, and Learning with Technology, and Developing a Teaching Portfolio 275

Chapter 12 Insights on Research 289

Setting the Stage 289

Vignette #18: Keeping Your Research Alive 294

Vignette #19: A High-Leverage Approach to Industry-University Collaboration 296

Vignette #20: Multidisciplinary Research and the Untenured Professor 298

Vignette #21: Cross-University Collaborations 300

In Addition: Writing Research Papers 302

Chapter 13 Insights on Professional Responsibility 309

Setting the Stage 309

Vignette #22: Service to Your Department and Your Profession 313

Vignette #23: Consulting and Other Industry Relationships 315

Vignette #24: Teaching and Learning Standards 318

Vignette #25: Professional Responsibility and Academic Duty 320

In Addition: Appropriating the Ideas of Others, Conflict of Interest, and Freedom of Information? 322

Chapter 14 Insights on Tenure 327

Setting the Stage 327

Vignette #26: Leveraging Wherever Possible 333

Vignette #27: Understanding the Priorities 335

Vignette #28: A Second Chance at Tenure 337

Vignette #29: Taking Another Direction 340

Vignette #30: Lessons Learned 342

In Addition: The Ten Commandments of Tenure Success, Tenure as a Political Process, and Getting Help Along the Way 344

Chapter 15 Insights on Academia: Needed Changes 351

Helping Graduate Students and Postdocs Prepare for Academic Careers 351

Helping Graduate Students and Postdocs Find Academic Positions 354

Helping Beginning Faculty Succeed 353

PART V Appendixes 363

Appendix A Possible Items for Inclusion in a Teaching Portfolio 363

Appendix B Statement of Personal Philosophy Regarding Teaching and Learning 367

Appendix C Professional Associations for Academic Job Seekers in Science and Engineering 369

Appendix D Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Faculty Position 373

Appendix E Sample Offer Letters 381

Appendix F Elements Found in Most Successful Proposals 387

Appendix G Common Shortcomings of Grant Proposals 391

Index 393

About the Author 415

Addition Material for Tomorrow's Professor E-book
a. Preface to the E-book b. Chapter 16: Recent Changes in Higher Education That Can Impact your Preparation for an Academic Career c. Hopeful Internet Links for Chapters 1-15