2, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Getting ready for a career in academia can seem at times a dauting task, but after years of preparation through doctoral studies and subsequent post-doctoral work, multiple applications to open positions and interviews, finally a match is made. In many cases, however, the process leading to this point is not only the beginning of a lifetime of learning, but also (and maybe even more so) the beginning of an even bigger challenge. The challenge is that of establishing oneself as a new and independent researcher, educator and mentor… and of course, along the path, make it through the tenure process. While tenure is still seemingly the biggest hurdle to pass in the academic career, the process need not to be necessarily an obstacle. The pre-tenure and early tenure years can be instead some of the most satisfying and fulfilling time in the academic life of an early-stage scientist.
This talk will address some of the approaches to tenure – from the start of the tenure-track, through the critical review, tenure, and finally early-tenure stages – that will allow you to enjoy the process and not lose the spirit of wonder: because losing the sense of wonder is much worse than not making tenure. The author will draw on her personal experience through the pipeline, as well as some of those of her close friends and colleagues. She promises to not embellish the truth (yes, chances are things will get tough at some point!), but also not to depress the attendees with endless counts of “a series of unfortunate events”. And while there is no such a thing as “happily ever after”, she will share some of the ways of keeping the happy before and after tenure.