While most people who decide on a career in
academics understand that three major elements
are factors for achieving tenure, namely, service,
teaching and research in chemistry or chemical
science and teaching.
This entry highlights several topics discussed in
a workshop held both in programs for Preparation
for Life After Graduate School and at national
meetings…First Year on the Job- Academic
Focusing on principally undergraduate
institutions PUIs and research intensive R1
programs, although nearly half of chemical
education occurs at other schools, we provide
insight into the gap between what most people
who enter the field know and what you should
know to succeed.
“Research notebook” - begin a detailed new
ideas and concepts book upon which one
develops her(is) research proposals and concepts.
What is your research philosophy? discovery,
exploration, observation, analysis, collaboration,
independence. Who should be involved and
how should they be aligned?
Plan to get something done quickly. One does this
by working in the lab and inviting visitors into
the lab. Consider collaboration to leverage
your skills and develop future students.
Network and get known in the field.
attend significant meetings (Gordon conferences)
give seminars, mail reprints, organize symposia,
keep an updated website, even write or
co-author a book with an experienced person.
Know the literature.
- people locations, applications, theory,
- competitors and ethical concerns
Remember names, faces and history.
Know many sources of funding.
Teach a senior level course and or first
year grad school course.
Start with well-defined projects that can
be done by first year students.
Seek out people who can discuss ideas
and review proposal draft ideas.
RESEARCH - PUI
Research and publications are important.
the focus is on training students.
Remember that undergraduates cannot
work in the lab alone.
There is a low chance for post-docs.
Networking is critical to permit
“mining for gaps”, seeking out pverlaps
and avoid work areas with specialized equipment,
areas with low probability of success or
Being able to teach more than one principle
area and take it seriously.
Be aware of and proficient in novel
Be involved in outreach, interdisciplinary
Study effective teachers and become
skilled with technology.
TEACHING - PUI
Develop organizational skills– people,
communication to multiple audiences and
become effective and efficient.
You will have a large effect on students.
The variations in preparation and motivation
will be greater than you expect.
Finally, Academia runs on a set of
- Learn by observing and listening
- Work within the system
- Trust but verify
- be aware of institutional cultures
Rule of thumb: “Do unto others, as you
wish done unto you…”
Be a problem solver and someone who
comes up with new solutions.
Remember some answers are often concealed
in the question.