How are the human and institutional systems fundamental to succeeding in academia?
In graduate school we are trained how to be scholars, and maybe how to be effective teachers. But there is much more to being a college or university faculty member – and most of it is left to figure out on one's own. This job isn't hard because the core scholarship is hard, but because of the complex mix of activities that scholars must figure out how to juggle. These are dominated by human and institutional structures within departments, universities, societies, and professional communities. Succeeding and thriving as an academic calls for developing wider, "non-academic" insights and skills into how these operate and how to operate effectively with, and within, them. Functioning as an academic is about the relationships we develop with our communities of students, campus colleagues, professional peers, and our university administrative and support staff – the people who enable faculty members to function.
Your Future on the Faculty: How to Survive and Thrive in Academia is organized into four sections, each focusing on one aspect of the human systems that are fundamental to succeeding as an academic. Section 1 starts in the center with new professors, as they build their career. Section 2 looks at university administrative systems and the staff who manage them. Section 3 focuses on teaching and training roles. Finally, Section 4 looks at wider professional networks outside of university, publishers and academic communities.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Nature of Academe
Section 1 Intro: Your Individual Path as an Academic
1. Postdoc: A Postdoc's Job Is to Get a Job
2. Assistant Professor: Making It to Tenure
3. Success: Tenure
4. Thriving in Academe When You Are Not a White, Heterosexual Man
5. Non-tenure Track Teaching Faculty
Section 2 Intro: University Operations
6. University Administrative Systems
7. Working with the Staff
Section 3 Intro: The Next Generation
8. Mentoring 1: Vision and Philosophy
9. Mentoring 2: Specific Challenges
10. Teaching: Being Good While Surviving
Section 4 Intro: Professional Communities
11. Publishing Ecosystems
12. Who Put the Peer in Peer Review—Being Part of the System
13. Professional Communities
14. Conclusion: Thriving in Academe
Appendix 1: Useful Resources
Appendix 2: Mottoes for Memorable Mentoring
Joshua Schimel received his PhD in soil science from the University of California, Berkeley, and became an assistant professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, before moving to the University of California, Santa Barbara. He studies how soil processes regulate ecosystem function, particularly in the Arctic and in dry California systems. He has served in many roles including Chair of the Environmental Studies Program, Chair of the Univerisity of California Systemwide Council on Planning and Budget, and as Associate Dean of Sciences. He is the author of Writing Science: How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded (OUP, 2012).