The Advance Project

Enhancing the academic careers of women in science, technology, engineering, & mathematics

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Issues to Consider

The following are issues typical, though not all inclusive, of the type that may be of consideration to a new faculty member:

  • Which subfields are expanding or contracting in my field?
  • How do people in the field find out about, get nominated for and win grants, awards, and prizes?
  • What are the leading journals in the field?  Have any colleagues published there?  How should co-authorship be handled?  Who can bring a submission to the attention of the editors?
  • What organizations are the most important to join, what conferences are the ones to attend?  How does one get on the program?
  • What is the best way of getting feedback on a paper?
  • How are student assistantships assigned?  How do I apply for a research/teaching assistant?
  • What aspects of a contract are negotiable?
  • What are the appropriate and accepted ways to raise different kinds of concerns, issues and problems (e.g., verbally or by memo) and with whom?
  • What are the department’s formal and informal criteria for promotion and tenure?  Who can clarify these criteria?  How does one build a tenure-file?  Who sits on the relevant committees?  Who can effectively support a nomination?
  • What departmental and institutional decisions are pending that might affect positions in the department?  Who can influence these decisions?
  • How does one establish an appropriate balance between teaching, research, and committee work? How does one say “no”?  When is it okay to say “no”?
  • What funds are available from the department / University? Start-up funds, graduate scholarships, travel / conference, small equipment funds, etc.
  • How is the department organized? How are decisions made? What infrastructure is available to the new faculty member?
  • What should the professional profile be after 3 years?
  • What criteria are used for teaching excellence, how is teaching   evaluated, and what is a teaching dossier?
  • What are the grading guidelines for courses?
  • How does one obtain feedback concerning teaching?
  • What resources are available for teaching enhancement?
  • How does one become a member of the graduate faculty?
  • What should graduate students expect from their major professor?
  • What should be included in the annual activity report?
  • Will there be feedback about performance from the Chair?  If so, how often?
  • What are the policies concerning maternity, family or personal leaves?  How genuinely supportive is the department regarding work-life balance issues?
  • Which professors or administrators have contacts at places with appropriate openings for spouses/partners?

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