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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tomorrow's Professor: The Best of Both Worlds - Industry and Academia

The Best of Both Worlds - Industry and Academia

Choosing to work in industry does not preclude a return to academe. But the move back takes some planning and finesse.

Plant geneticist Harry Klee always assumed that, after finishing his postdoc, he?d pursue an academic career. But one afternoon in the mid-1980s, he opened up an issue of Science to find a paper reporting the first ?transgenic plant in the history of mankind,? he recalls. It wasn?t the accomplishment so much as the fact that the paper was written by scientists at Monsanto that blew him away.

At the time, industry was considered the career path for scientists who couldn?t cut it in academia, he says. Yet, although he?d gotten a job offer as an associate professor, when the time came to set out on his own, Klee decided to join the agricultural science company. ?All the stuff Monsanto was doing was what I wanted to do,? he says?and when he visited the facilities, his inclination was confirmed: ?It was clear that they were the best lab to do plant molecular biology in the world, bar none.?

However, after a decade of research that he ?wouldn?t trade for anything,? Klee hit a glass ceiling. He felt pressure to leave research for management roles. Instead of succumbing to the inevitable in industry, he decided to put out feelers. He found the perfect spot at the University of Florida, working on a project to improve the tomato using genetic engineering. But the jump back to academia wouldn?t have been possible without his publication record and dedication to a focused research topic, Klee cautions.

For advice on how to transition from academia into industry and back, The Scientist interviewed recruiters on both sides and researchers who have made the round trip, to learn how they did it?and how they?d do it better next time.


* Don?t stress about your slides

Far more important than glossy slides, says Megan Driscoll, founder and president of PharmaLogics Recruiting, is the quality of your presentation to the interview panel. The interviewers will want to see how you work through a scientific problem. ?It?s more about how you present your data, think critically, present problems, field questions,? she says. ?How good your presentation is has very little to do even with the topic or the data.?

* Network, network, network

Having contacts who can vouch for you at the company you?re applying to can substantially increase your chances of landing the position. Recent or soon-to-be grads should ?network with the people who graduated ahead of you: anyone who is in industry and who has graduated in the previous 5 years,? Driscoll says?both for advice and for recommendations.

* Revise your resume

Add a ?skills summary? section that gives a good overview of your expertise, including specific methods at which you excel. But be honest. ?Don?t put analytical methods in your skills sections that you?ve done one time,? Driscoll cautions.

* Do your homework

Make sure the interviewers know why you want to work for their company in general, and what attracts you about their research in particular. Study their website, and if you know which representatives you?ll be meeting, read their papers and familiarize yourself with their research. ?[Companies] want someone who has done their homework, and who knows what they can contribute to the team.?

* Prepare some real-life experiences

It?s common in interviews, Driscoll says, to be asked for an example of how you?ve handled conflict in your lab. She says it?s best to have a few scenarios ready to share. For example, if there was a disagreement about lab equipment use, explain how you showed leadership by creating a sign-up sheet and starting a discussion about expectations for the tool?s usage.


* Keep publishing

It?s unanimous: continuing to publish while working in industry is absolutely vital if you want to return to academia one day. ?What makes it possible to jump back and forth is publishing, and if you can?t publish in industry, you?re not going to be able to jump back to academia,? says molecular physiologist Sue Bodine, who transitioned from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to the University of California, Davis. Publications prove that you?ve continued to do quality science, can produce publishable data, and can ultimately win grant money.

But if you want to publish, you may have to push yourself to make it happen. While many companies encourage publication, ?the problem is that there are no rewards for publishing, so you really have to do it on your own time,? says Klee. That means doing experiments with positive and negative controls beyond what your supervisor requires; taking beautiful photos; and remembering to go back and publish after patents are filed, he adds.

* Do a PubMed search

If you think you might want to return to academia one day, ensure from the outset that promises of a publication-friendly environment aren?t empty. ?Every company says that 20 percent of the time you can work on whatever you want,? including publications, says Martin Seidel, the head of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation. But don?t take them at their word, he says; instead, do a PubMed search to see just how frequently the company publishes, and assess the quality of the journals. Then search for the section you might be interested in joining and look up the records of researchers in that area to make sure you?re ?joining a part of that company where [publishing] is a tradition.?

* Choose your meetings carefully

?It?s tricky when you?re in industry: if you?re spending all your time [attending meetings], then you?re the first one to go? when layoffs come around, says biochemist Patrick Griffin, a former research director at Merck who now directs the Scripps Translational Research Institute in Florida. Companies are businesses, so if you spend too much time working on presentations and attending meetings, you are less valuable. But it doesn?t mean you shouldn?t attend any conferences. His advice: scrutinize agendas ahead of time to select the conferences attended by those people most likely to help you in the future, such as potential collaborators, academics working on similar projects, and administrators of programs that interest you.

* Build a scientific narrative

Just as the career of an academic researcher is, at heart, a scientific narrative, so should your industry science follow a single thread. For Klee, that thread was working on transgenic plants and eventually honing in on the tomato. Eva Chin, a molecular kinesiologist at the University of Maryland, College Park, spent time in several branches of Pfizer?s research and management?but, ?except for my two years as a project manager, I always focused on the same theme,? she says. When applying for academic jobs, she presented her story about molecular signaling in muscle, beginning with her postdoctoral research; added in data from industry abstracts and presentations; and ?integrated what I had done with what people at the universities had done.?

* Old acquaintances should not be forgotten

A good way to keep one foot in the university once you?ve gone into industry is by ?maintaining contacts with classmates of yours that went into academia,? says Griffin. Those people can not only help you find a position in the future, but can speak to the quality of your science to potential employers. Attend the same meetings, and even develop collaborations. Chin, for example, sent transgenic mice she developed at Pfizer to her colleagues in academia?and later, they helped her secure her job. ?Having known these people throughout my earlier career, they knew I had done really good work,? and her continued contact helped solidify her scientific reputation in the field.

* Get experience with grants

Klee started reviewing grants for the US Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation through contacts he made at meetings. ?I had read and been on grant panels for a hundred grants before I ever had to write one, so I had a good idea of what a good grant looked like and what a bad grant looked like.? This, says Klee, reassured the search committee that he would be able to win funding, despite never having written his own grants. And it wasn?t all show: it really did keep him from floundering. ?My first grant was funded,? he says. ?I knew what they were looking for.?

* Keep your eyes open

Finding the right academic position to make the switch to is the hardest part. ?You have to be surveying the landscape constantly,? says Griffin. For example, in recent years many academic institutions have taken an interest in developing translational research programs, where industry-learned skills are esteemed?a development that helped Griffin land his job. Another selling point might be a screening technique you picked up in industry that could be applied to a burgeoning area of academic research. These kinds of opportunities are often found at medical or technology-focused schools that are ?very entrepreneurial and oriented towards having an impact on biomedical research,? he adds.


* Negotiate a good start-up package

When Chin reentered the academic lab, she assumed that with her data and big plans for research she?d be able to quickly secure a few grants. But 3 years into academic work, she has yet to rake in big bucks from government funds. ?It takes time to get a research lab running, and you need to know that it may be 3 to 4 years in before you can land a grant,? she says. She wishes that she had known this before she returned to academia, because she would have negotiated a better contract. ?Your department should be supporting you through that time,? Chin says. Many associate professor jobs only cover 9 months out of the year, so make sure you negotiate summer pay on top of that, she adds.

* Find a grant-writing mentor

?One of the hardest parts when you come back?even if you come back as a full professor?is getting back into the mode of writing grants,? says Bodine. It?s not only about carving out time to write grants, but also about learning how to structure them. ?You need a good mentor to help you get your grants: how to write them, how to approach them, and how to sell your ideas,? she says. ?I had one mentor that I think acknowledged the difficulty and helped me a lot and, in hindsight, it was more difficult than I thought it was going to be.?

* Keep your lesson plans

When Bodine left academia, she never thought she would return, so she tossed all of her lecture notes and lesson plans?a huge regret. ?All of sudden, you?re developing all these new courses and lectures, teaching stuff you haven?t touched for a while, and relearning everything,? she says. Keeping those old notes can help tremendously, both for remembering how to best structure lectures and for refreshing one?s memory.


22nd Annual Legal Issues at UVM's Davis Center—October 8-10—Save Your Seat!

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22nd Annual Legal Issues in
Higher Education Conference
October 8 -10, 2012

This year's sessions will be held on campus at the University of Vermont's Davis Center and will include:

New Business Models for
Higher Education
Title IX Investigations
Affirmative Action in Student Admissions and Faculty Hiring
Ensuring the Safety of Children
on Campus
The Basics of Conducting Investigations
Developing a Bystander
Intervention Program
and many more…
Please check our website for the latest updates to the agenda.

3 or more colleagues from the same institution, one payment, one registration.
This year's early registration discount expires on July 15th. REGISTER NOW!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us
at or call 800.639.3120.

ASSOCIATION SPONSORS: ACPA - College Student Educators International, Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA), University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA)

UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT SPONSORS: College of Education and Social Services, Division of Student & Campus Life, Continuing Education


Contact UVM Continuing Education at 800.639.3210 or 802.656.2085 | Email:

The University of Vermont Continuing Education | 322 South Prospect Street | Burlington, VT 05401 | United States
Unsubscribe from future marketing messages from The University of Vermont Continuing Education

Inside Higher Ed Articles: May 29, 2012

Some California community colleges have 1,700 students per academic adviser. But a state law designed to protect faculty jobs may help prevent the hiring of more counselors.

Community college leaders say "completion agenda" has been good for the sector, even when painful, but they worry that the focus could have unintended consequences if it becomes a fixation.  

Instructor raised concern about separation of church and state at a public university. The day she went public with the threatening e-mails she received, her courses for the fall disappeared.

New study -- in challenge to a 2007 finding -- says black graduates of historically black colleges fare better in their careers than do those who earn degrees from other institutions.  


CALL FOR PROPOSALS CLOSING SOON...The 13th Annual Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching

Please note the Call for Proposals for Lilly Traverse City, Michigan will be closing this coming Sunday.  If due to travel schedules or summer course load you need a few extra days to complete your submission, please let me know ASAP.   


Please consider submitting your scholarly work on enhancing student learning.

The 13th Annual Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching - TC will be held in Traverse City, Michigan at the Park Place Hotel, September 20 – 23.

Proposal submission will close June 3, 2012.

The overall conference theme is Evidence Based Teaching and Learning, and includes four subthemes: Engaged Learning; Promoting Social Responsibility; E-Learning; and Creating Communities of Learners.

An integral part of the Lilly Conferences on Teaching and Learning is the number of high-quality presentations by faculty from throughout the United States and abroad. Come share what has been successful in your classes and what you have discovered about facilitating student learning.

For more information about the Lilly - TC Conference:

We hope you'll join us and experience firsthand why "Lilly Conferences" are remarkable opportunities to network and share information with colleagues who are passionate about good teaching and student learning.


Todd Zakrajsek, Conference Director

Deb Van Etten, Conference Coordinator


Todd Zakrajsek, Ph.D., Director

Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching - TC


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TLT-SWG: LTA Snipping Tool - [Windows Vista, 7, free, easy screen shot] #TLTGltas see:

Posted: 29 May 2012 11:12 AM PDT

LTA=Low-Threshold Applications/Activities.  See
"Snipping Tool captures a screen shot of anything on your desktop, like a picture or a section of webpage. Snip a whole window, a rectangular section of the screen, or draw a freehand outline with your mouse or tablet pen (or your finger, if you're using a PC with a touchscreen). Then you can annotate, save, or e-mail the image using buttons right in the Snipping Tool window."  

Avail for Windows Operating Systems Vista & 7, not for XP or earlier.
The image at the right was captured using "Snipping Tool" from browser view of Web page  I then used the annotation tool to add the subheading.  The quality of the handwriting reflects my clumsiness with my right-handed mouse (I'm left-handed).
This is the easiest to use, simplest screen capture tool I've found to date.


EduDemic: 50 Higher Ed Admins Worth Following On Twitter
Posted: 29 May 2012 08:58 AM PDT

Colleges haven’t been shy about embracing social media sites, especially Twitter, as a means of promoting their programs, finding new students, and sharing big events on campus. Professors, students, and staff haven’t been the only ones getting in on the action, however, as a number of college big-wigs also have great Twitter accounts that are worth checking out.


Inside Higher Ed: May 30, 2012

Asian-American group urges Supreme Court to bar race-conscious admissions, renewing debate over the impact of such policies.

Founder of UT-Austin's community college leadership program, the field's big fish, is moving to a for-profit, fueling worries about the future of the program's affiliates, NISOD and CCCSE.

Health promotion programs that use rewards to try to change student behavior invariably fail, speaker argues at annual meeting of college professionals.

Scholarly group focused on study of the Bible is creating new organization for those who study the Koran.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates delivers opening plenary speech at conference of international educators.

Foundation selects Daniel Greenstein, a top official in the University of California system, to lead its higher education program.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TLT Group Event Announcement: Workshop: There's an App for That - Apps in Education, 05 Jun 2012

Workshop: There's an App for That - Apps in Education
05 Jun 2012 1:00 PM EDT

 Bookmark and Share   

There's an App for That - Apps in Education

Tuesday and Thursday June 5 and 7, 2012
1:00 - 2:00pm EDT

Leaders: Matthew Evins, Miami University of Ohio, Steve Kaufman and Tim Lombardo, Ashland University

There is no shortage of apps on Apple's App Store or Google's Chrome Store. However, how does an instructor sort out which ones are great to use in the classroom? This workshop will showcase some amazing apps and ideas for assignments that can be created using them. We will provide attendees with a breakdown and description of each app, as well as some examples for specific assignments / lessons that be used in your classroom. A variety of different subject areas will be covered.

This workshop is free to TLT Group Individual Members.  Check your institution's status here if you have your membership through an institutional subscription.

Participants for this workshop should sign-in 15 minutes early for tech instructions and to meet others in the group; they also have the option of remaining online for a half-hour follow-up discussion immediately after the workshop.

All of the TLT Group’s online offerings include use of “low threshold” tools, examination of controversial issues, options for participants with a range of experience, and suggestions for assessment as you integrate what you’ve learned into your repertoire. 

More information and online registration:
Workshop: There's an App for That - Apps in Education

Hope you can join us!


The TLT Group, A Non-Profit Organization    301-270-8312


Call for Papers - International Journal of Arts and Commerce

Call for Papers 

ISSN: 2219-1896

International Journal of Arts and Commerce

International Journal of Arts and Commerce is a high quality open access peer reviewed research journal that is published by Center for Enhancing Knowledge, UK. International Journal of Arts and Commerce providing a platform for the researchers, academicians, professional, practitioners and students to impart and share knowledge in the form of high quality empirical and theoretical research papers, case studies, literature reviews and book reviews. International Journal of Arts and Commerce welcomes and acknowledges high quality theoretical and empirical original research papers, case studies, review papers, literature reviews, book reviews, conceptual framework, analytical and simulation models, technical note from researchers, academicians, professional,  practitioners and students from all over the world.

The Journal Publishes in both print and online version.

International Journal of Arts and Commerce publishes research paper in the field of finance, accounting, banking, economics, marketing,  management, human resources management, entrepreneurship development, Industrial Relations, operation management, international business, hotel and tourism, business ethics, international relations, law, development studies, population studies, political science, history, journalism and mass communication, corporate governance, visual arts, music, linguistics, cross-cultural studies, public administration, psychology, philosophy, sociology, women studies, religious studies, social welfare, anthropology, education.

IJAC is inviting papers for Vol. 1, No. 1 which is scheduled to be published on June 30, 2012.

 Send your manuscript to the editor at, or

For more information, visit the official website of the journal:

With thanks,

Chief Editor

Dr. Stephen West


School of Social and Political Sciences

University of Glasgow, UK

Submission deadline: 15 June 2012


CHEA 2012 Summer Workshop: Accreditation Today and Challenges of Tomorrow - June 21 - 22, 2012

Description: 2012 CHEA Summer Workshop Logo

Council for Higher

Education Accreditation
One Dupont Circle NW
Suite 510
Washington, DC 20036
(tel) 202-955-6126
(fax) 202-955-6129

CHEA 2012 Summer Workshop

Accreditation Today and Challenges of Tomorrow
June 21 - 22, 2012

Washington Marriott Hotel
1221 22nd Street NW - Washington, DC
NOTE: The special guest room rate of $239 per night (single/double) at the conference hotel is available only until the room block is filled. Reserve your room now by calling (202) 872-1500 or use the online reservation form (the group code "cmecmea" is already entered on the online reservation form).

The CHEA 2012 Summer Workshop will bring together presenters and participants from colleges and universities, accrediting organizations, higher education associations, government and the public to exchange ideas and information on accreditation and its future.
Sessions at the Summer Workshop will address:
  • Congress and accreditation
  • Accreditation, the NACIQI report and the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act
  • State authorization and accreditation
  • Student performance, data collection and the responsibilities of accreditation
  • Outside-the-system credits and degrees
The Workshop's preliminary program - including times and topics for sessions - is available on the CHEA Website. You can register by mail, fax or online.

Make your plans now to be with us in Washington, DC and be a part of the conversation on the challenges and opportunities ahead for accreditation.

A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. For more information, visit CHEA's Website at 

Share/Bookmark Become a Better Proposal Writer!

The deadline to apply for CUR's Proposal Writing Institute is this Friday, June 1. 

This CUR Institute will be held July 15-19, 2012 at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls.

The institute will bring together faculty and administrators interested in preparing proposals for submission to external funding agencies. This four-day institute will consist of one-on-one work with a mentor, small group discussions, writing and critiquing of proposals, and plenary sessions. The institute has been developed to assist novice to experienced proposal writers in drafting complete proposals for submission. Deadline is June 1, 2012.
More information available by visiting:

MeLisa Zackery
Conference and Meeting Services
Council on Undergraduate Research
734 15th St, NW, Suite 550
Washington, DC 20005
(202)783-4811 fax


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tomorrow's Professor: UPDATE 2012: Recent Changes in Higher Education That Can Impact Your Preparation for an Academic Career

UPDATE 2012: Recent Changes in Higher Education That Can Impact Your Preparation for an Academic Career
Section topics

(1) Severe and Persistent Budget Constraints
(2) Significant Growth of Non-Tenure Track Positions
(3) Growth of Interdisciplinary Research Programs
(4) University-industry Partnerships
(5) The Presence of Social Media and Information Technology in Everyday Life
(6) Growth of Online Education
(7) New Developments with Respect to Teaching and Learning
(8) Continuing Increases in Foreign-born Ph.D. Students and Postdocs Studying in the United States Who Aspire to Become
Professors at American Universities
(9) Career Opportunities for Ph.D.s and Postdocs at Community Colleges
(10) Non-Academic Careers for Ph.D.s and Postdocs

(2) Significant Growth of Non-Tenure Track Positions
The sine qua non of academic careers for over a hundred years has been the tenure track position leading in about six years to tenure and promotion from assistant to associate professor and then to life-time employment at a particular institution. Tenured faculty serve on academic councils and other governing committees and are the pool from which department chairs, deans, provosts, and presidents are drawn.

By having a system that encourages longevity, which tenure clearly does, the institution benefits from the reduced costs associated with not having formal annual reviews (as found in industry) and in having senior people available for administrative, governance, and mentoring responsibilities. Additional financial advantages of tenure for the institution become clear when we remember that tenure is a benefit just like health care and vacation time. Tenure, or more accurately the promise of it, is part of the total compensation package that candidates negotiate at the time of employment, and if the university did not provide its faculty with the security of tenure, it would probably have to compensate them with a higher salary.

It is also the case that in these difficult budgetary times employees everywhere become more risk averse and show a greater willingness to accept excessive or inappropriate demands from management. This is true in higher education as well, making tenure protection all the more important.

For these and other reasons, tenure is not going away. However, the number of new tenure track positions at all higher education institutions across the United States is decreasing significantly. In 1975, almost 57 percent of faculty were tenured or on the tenure track, yet today that percentage has been almost cut in half, and the percentage of new non-tenure track faculty has gone from 43.2 percent to 68.8 percent. [10, 11] Note that phrases such as fixed-term, limited-term, contract, and contingent, are often used in place of "non-tenure track," but they all mean essentially the same thing.

The main reason for the increase in non-tenure track positions is the budget constraints referred to above. In spite of the financial advantages to the institutions of having at least some tenured faculty, when it comes to adding new faculty, having a significant number enter off the tenure track can result in significant savings to the college or university. Paid sabbaticals, research and travel budgets, housing assistance and so on are rarely offered to non-tenure track faculty. Thus, new non-tenure track faculty, as opposed to those already in the system, are often significantly less expensive, some averaging about half as much per credit hour of teaching as their tenure track counterparts. [10]

Hiring non-tenure track faculty also gives the institution more flexibility in meeting supply and demand shifts in student interests. Other motives, as noted by Gross, might include "temporarily replacing tenure track faculty on leave, the use of 'adjuncts' who bring special knowledge and experience into the academy, the expanding need for 'remedial' education, and the employment of a partner in a dual career recruitment." [10] Of course there are also negative impacts on the academic culture from having such a large number of non-permanent faculty. These include such things as a loss of community, lack of shared sacrifice, and the difficulty of creating a long term vision. However, in these financial times many institutions are willing to pay this price.

No matter the reasons, the reality is that today there are simply far more graduate students and postdocs seeking tenure track positions than there are such positions and there is every reason to believe that the same situation will continue throughout the coming decade. Some graduate students and postdocs will certainly want to pursue tenure track positions and they should be encouraged to do so, hopefully using some of the techniques and approaches outlined in this book. Yet, while the benefits of becoming a tenured professor are obvious, they do come at a price, and one that may not be worth the cost for some segments of the graduate student and postdoc population seeking academic positions. Furthermore, there are, believe it or not, some real benefits to not seeking a tenure track position.

What might you gain by not being on the tenure track? One way to answer this question is to consider the other things you could do if you were not worrying about getting tenure, such as spending more time teaching, doing research at your own pace, whether faster or slower, exploring options at other academic institutions, taking advantages of long-term opportunities in other countries, considering possibilities outside academia concurrent with your faculty position such as other part-time employment, consulting for you and your partner, and doing more things with your family and friends. With the strong emphasis today on research, even at many master's and liberal-arts colleges, being free from such pressures to concentrate on teaching might be a real plus.

In particular, non-tenure track options have advantages for graduate students and postdocs who aren't sure if they want an academic career and would like to try it out without the full-time, intense probationary period that the tenure track requires, although going from a non-tenure track position to a tenure track position later on may be difficult. It also offers those individuals, especially in science and engineering fields, the opportunity to work part-time while continuing with full-time employment in industry or government with the eventual possibility of full-time academic positions.

Stanford University, for example, has a non-tenured faculty category called "teaching professor." One such professor teaches a number of classes ranging from small sophomore seminars to large introductory lectures of up to 500 students in his specialty, environmental sciences. With a reappointment every five years, he has been doing so full-time for the last 20 years.

In another case, also at Stanford, a professor teaches two specialized courses in a field called "smart product design" while also being employed half-time locally at one of the best product design firms in the country. His wife is a full-time tenured professor at Stanford. They would both have liked tenured positions, but finding them at the same institution is difficult for any academic couple. Their willingness not to insist on this path led to an excellent academic and industrial combination for him, and it gave her a full-time career at a prestigious university.

The same situation can also apply to research. In this case, however, it is important that you make sure that your non-tenure track position gives you the authority to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) which allows you to author proposals, receive external funding, and supervise graduate students and postdocs. Often such appointments come with titles like Research Professor, or Senior Research Scientist. An inorganic chemist I know, after a very successful career in government, went to the University of California, Los Angeles as a senior research scientist. In such a role she was able to direct research and supervise graduate students without the service and teaching responsibilities associated with tenured faculty members.

It also turns out that tenure can actually limit your freedom of personal choices, particularly if both you and your partner are academics -- something far more common today than just a few years ago. As an associate professor of psychology at the University of Chicago put it to me a few years ago: "My wife and I both just got tenure in our respective departments. We're glad, but now we are really trapped. Now we can't go anywhere!"

Yes, you can always walk away from a tenured position. Yet, after the investment you and your partner put into getting it, that would be very difficult to do and more often than not you would stay where you are. This is particularly true when you realize that even for successfully tenured faculty members the likelihood that as a couple you can leave one institution and both find tenured positions at another one is quite low.

There is also the notion that if you have tenure you are more likely not to do things that will make you more attractive to other academic institutions or to industry. After all, if you can't be fired, why put in the effort to stay at the cutting edge in your field? Most tenured faculty do in fact keep up with their teaching and research, and in fact excel in later stages, but we all know of several situations where that is not the case. [11]

According to Tower, there are three kinds of Ph.D. and postdoc candidates who prefer non-tenure track jobs. They are: (1) The strategists, those who are willing to trade tenure track for a better location, more prestigious institution, opportunities for spouses and quality of life, (2) The pragmatists, those who need a job now and can't wait for the unlikely possibility of a tenure track job later, and (3) The nonconformists, those who just like the freedom to work at their own pace, to switch employers as needed, and who are simply not impressed with the idea of tenure. Tower goes on to point out that in some cases you can actually negotiate a higher salary - as a trade-off against benefits - than if you were on the tenure track. For still others, a non-tenure track position is a way to prove to themselves - without the clock running ? that their qualifications will improve for a tenure track position that may open up at a later date although as noted above this is not a sur
e thing at all.[12]

The strategies for applying for non-tenure track positions are essentially the same as those outlined in this book for tenure track jobs. The differences are that: (1) if you take such applications seriously the likelihood of being successful goes up considerably over those many others who will treat the effort as a throw-away afterthought or a ?backup plan?, (2) your chances of success increase simply because there are so many more such positions than tenure track positions and, (3) your bargaining position goes up if you have an accompanying spouse being considered for a tenure track position since such couples are greatly sought after by institutions and thus you can be more assertive in raising questions and issues that will be important to you.

What specific factors should you pay attention to in non-tenure track negotiations?

According to Porac there are several considerations to at least raise in your negotiations. [13] Since you are likely to have a large, often undergraduate, teaching commitment, you should see if you can reduce the number of different classes you teach and thereby reduce your class preparation time. This will be particularly important in your first year when you will be doing all you can to be successful. In addition, be sure to check on possible teaching assistant help. Also, see if you can arrange to not teach classes on certain days, T/Th or MWF for example, since this will free you up for other activities.

Find out as much as you can about how your teaching will be evaluated and use this information in your course planning. You also want to find out about other aspects of the support you will need to be a successful tenure candidate. Are there resources to guide junior faculty along the path to tenure, what are they and are they effective: does the institution have faculty support programs or services to provide resources and training in teaching (eg., pedagogy, instructional technology, curriculum development), does the department or school have a mechanism for young faculty to be mentored by more senior ones in similar disciplines, whether in academic or non-academic aspects of faculty life? This may be particularly important for women faculty in disciplines where they are a minority, or at institutions where there is a premium placed on acceptance by the department faculty. If your tenure decision will entail a review of your research productivity, as it usually does, you wo
uld want to know if you will have a research budget and what the customary practice is as far as allocating research dollars at the institution. For example, particularly in science and engineering, are you expected to generate all of your research dollars through external funding or are means within the institution to support your research program financially, at least in the early years of your position? The former means that you will be making significant effort writing and submitting grant proposals in order to generate the necessary resources for you to kick-off a research program, while the latter can jump-start that process with internal competition to worry about. The same applies to research assistants; who pays for them?

You will certainly want to know the length of your contract and how you will be evaluated for possible renewal. You need to find out who will make the decision regarding the renegotiation of your contract. As Porac notes, "at some universities contract renewal decisions regarding limited term faculty are made solely by the department chair while at others it is the decision of a committee. You should know whether you must please only one colleague or a committee of colleagues." [13]

Naturally, you will want to know if there is a possibility that your non-tenure track position could be converted to a tenure track appointment. You are not likely to get a firm answer to this question, certainly not one that is binding, and in any case you can be sure that a public search will take place for the position. Your familiarity to your colleagues will have both pluses and minuses in this regard so it is best not to count on such a conversion in your planning.

Finally, remember, a poor, for whatever the reasons, tenure track offer may not be as good as a better non-tenure track offer, at least at the beginning of your academic career. For many potential academics this is an option well worth considering.


* Is the Tenure Path the Best Route for You?

* Negotiating the Non-Tenure Track

* Overexposed? The Questionable Life of a Science Professor

* Variations on the Theme of Academic Careers: The Non-tenure Track Position

* Why Hire Non-Tenure-Track Faculty?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 Connecting Literacy Skill Development to the 21st Century

By: Dr. Katherine McKnight

When we were in high school and college, we learned how to use the Dewey decimal system, note cards, microfiche, and setting the margins in an electric typewriter. We were the last generation of students that actually pounded out papers and research on an electric typewriter and actually memorized the abbreviated guide in the Periodic Guide of Literature as a means to save time.

The embodiment of a “good” student in our generation was the ability to ferret out morsels of information that were buried in the library shelves and microfiche drawers. This took an exceptional amount of time. Some fellow educators argue that this is actually rigor and teaches academic discipline. Perhaps it did, or at least we’d like to think so.

As literacy educators, we know that school is very different than our experience as teenage students in the 1980s.

Today, what took us hours to accomplish in the library, our students can accomplish in minutes. A Google search will produce millions of informational pieces that students need to quickly analyze and synthesize. We would argue that this takes an rigor and academic discipline just as we did in the dusty library stacks. But there is a very marked difference. Out students can do this in minutes or even seconds.

Applying Modern Literacy Skills to Bloom's Taxonomy

As educators we are quite familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy for understanding. If we look at the bottom levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, we know that the lowest level of understanding include recall and the harvesting of information.

As teenagers, we spent hours harvesting information because we went to school (a crazy thought) without the Internet! Now, that stage is almost eliminated.

As a result, we would contend that our 21st century students spend far more time in higher levels of understanding (according to Bloom’s Taxonomy) that include analysis, synthesis and representation. This is an essential difference in our 21st century students than what many of us may have experienced as students.

Modernizing Teaching Techniques for Using Texts

The ways, in which we read text, create text, use text, and how text effects us has completely changed. As we readily know, we are now in the midst of the technology or digital age and as educators, we often talk about 21st century skills and what these mean now for our students (as most recently articulated in the Common Core State Standards).

If our students are spending more time and focus analyzing, synthesizing, and representing what they know and understand (rather than collecting and memorizing information) we know that this is far more rigorous. Instead of facts and storing massive amounts of content, our students need to develop skills that facilitate the higher-level skills of analysis, synthesis and representation. Effectively integrating technology in literacy learning so that students are creating expanded and original expressions of comprehension and understanding.

Effectively Integrating Technology to Develop Student Literacy Skills

Start small and build. Integrate a few technology tools and build. The following short list is meant as a means to get started.

This list of suggestions is meant to be a starting point and is no means exhaustive.


Encourage your students to read blogs as well as teach students how to write blogs. Warren’s students use blogs to research, learn, and comprehend new information. They also use blogs to share their work.

Here are some sample student blogs from Warren’s students:

Use a Backchannel

When you have large group discussions or when the students are engaged in small groups, you can use a back channel like as a platform where students can report, question, and present what they know and understand.

Google Docs

Warren regularly uses Google docs with his students as a tool for collaboration, classroom discussion and sharing information and ideas. What is particularly exciting about Google docs is that students can see each other’s thinking as they all contribute to the document.

Web 2.0 with Edmodo

Think Facebook for education when you explore the possibilities with Edmodo This web 2.0 tool is social networking site that can further classroom discussions. In the work that Katie has done in schools across the country, she has seen teachers use Edmodo as a means to organize and share group work as well as continue and expand classroom discussions.

Remember, as you rethink and revise your literacy curriculum to develop 21st century “literacy skill ready” lessons, start by using applications that are familiar and build from there. For example, you’re likely to use Facebook in Education if you’re already using Facebook for social media.

Similarly, if you use Google as a search engine, and Microsoft Word to type and share reports then you are likely to find Google docs an accessible and worthwhile investment. In any case, we need to continually evolve the ways in which we effectively develop literacy skills in students.

How do you integrate 21st century skills and technology to teach literacy skills? Share in the comments section!