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This new, revised, and expanded edition of the popular Academic’s Handbook is an essential guide for those planning or beginning an academic career.
Faculty members, administrators, and professionals with experience at all levels of higher education offer candid, practical advice to help beginning academics understand matters including:
— The different kinds of institutions of higher learning and expectations of faculty at each.
— The advantages and disadvantages of teaching at four-year colleges instead of research universities.
— The ins and outs of the job market.
— Alternatives to tenure-track, research-oriented positions.
— Salary and benefits.
— The tenure system.
— Pedagogy in both large lecture courses and small, discussion-based seminars.
— The difficulties facing women and minorities within academia.
— Corporations, foundations, and the federal government as potential sources of research funds.
— The challenges of faculty mentoring.
— The impact of technology on contemporary teaching and learning.
— Different types of publishers and the publishing process at university presses.
— The modern research library.
— The structure of university governance.
— The role of departments within the university.
With the inclusion of eight new chapters, this edition of The Academic’s Handbook is designed to ease the transition from graduate school to a well-rounded and rewarding career.
Contributors. Judith K. Argon, Louis J. Budd, Ronald R. Butters, Norman L. Christensen, Joel Colton, Paul L. Conway, John G. Cross, Fred E. Crossland, Cathy N. Davidson, A. Leigh DeNeef, Beth A. Eastlick, Matthew W. Finkin, Jerry G. Gaff, Edie N. Goldenberg, Craufurd D. Goodwin, Stanley M. Hauerwas, Deborah L. Jakubs, L. Gregory Jones, Nellie Y. McKay, Patrick M. Murphy, Elizabeth Studley Nathans, A. Kenneth Pye, Zachary B. Robbins, Anne Firor Scott, Sudhir Shetty, Samuel Schuman, Philip Stewart, Boyd R. Strain, Emily Toth, P. Aarne Vesilind, Judith S. White, Henry M. Wilbur, Ken Wissoker
A Retrospective Appreciation of the Colloquium on The Academic's Handbook
L. GREGORY JONES
I accepted the invitation more out of flattery and curiosity than anything else. I had been invited to participate in a colloquium about the academic life and academic culture that would culminate in the first edition of this handbook. It sounded intriguing, but I also accepted because I thought it couldn't hurt to have participation in such a colloquium on my CV when I applied for jobs (I had already been acculturated at least that much into an academic vocation!). I could hardly have imagined, however, just how significant that colloquium would be for my own vocation: it helped me see the larger contexts and issues of academic life, to begin to realize that my doctoral education had been increasingly focused on mastery of my field, rather than on acculturating me to a particular profession. To be sure, I had picked up some tips from faculty advisers and other graduate students on practical matters that would help me get a job: reading papers at scholarly conferences, publishingan essay or two in scholarly journals, making sure I had some teaching experience. But the general focus of my graduate education was preparation for a particular field of scholarship. If I thought at all about the institution in which that education took place, it was little more than an enabling structure.
Ironically, one might have thought that I would have been keenly aware of broader institutional issues. After all, my father had spent most of his adult life serving as an academic administrator, including positions as president of a free-standing seminary and then as dean of Duke Divinity School. And while I appreciated my father's academic positions, I discovered through the colloquium that I had very little sense of what he actually did or how academic institutions really operate.
Now, almost two decades after the colloquium, it turns out that I have devoted the last portion of my life to the work of full-time academic administration. Why did I do such a thing? What factors have shaped my own sense of vocation? And what role did the colloquium play in preparing me for my academic career? These were the questions that occurred to me when I was asked to provide a brief retrospective glance at the impact of that initiating colloquium and the volume that followed from it. It seems to me that three broad themes emerged in the original discussion: (1) the significance of the particular; (2) academic life as a shared vocation; and (3) the importance, and the fragility, of institutions.
Graduate school, of course, already educates us to attend to the significance of particularity. In part, this is the result of a developing awareness of the perspectival character of all knowledge; one could hardly study in the humanities or the social sciences without becoming aware of how particular identities and histories affected people's perspectives and arguments. Many of us also benefit from having gifted mentors whose scholarly expertise pressed us to pay attention to the subtle details that reshaped disciplinary issues and reframed patterns of inquiry.
Ironically, however, it was precisely because of the scholarly and pedagogical gifts of my mentors that I failed to attend to the particularity of their vocation. They were so good at what they did that it masked the very concrete, practical steps that had enabled them to become masters of their craft.
For example, one of my mentors, Tom Langford, was a masterful teacher who made teaching look effortless, not unlike watching a concert pianist or a superb athlete in performance. He would walk in to class, begin lecturing (without notes), engaging the class for a full hour on the topic at hand. If a student asked a question, whether on- or off-topic, he would pause and typically respond with care and insight. Often his responses drew from a reservoir of reading that enabled him to cite from a dauntingly diverse set of sources. Only later, in the light of the colloquium's discussions about teaching and learning, did I pursue a conversation with him to ask how he had developed his teaching style and his "art" of lecturing. He described how his office hours were crucial to shaping his lectures, as he learned about the questions and issues that were on students' minds. He further described the connections between his reading and his writing and the courses he taught, showing me how one can cultivate an intersection of research and teaching rather than seeing them as alternatives. The colloquium's discussions helped me to think about the academic vocation as integrally connected to learning as well as teaching, to an intellectual conversation as much as conveying information.
Another of my mentors, Stanley Hauerwas, wrote an essay for the handbook. As he prepared that essay, and then as I talked with him about the issues, I found myself engaged with him in an extended conversation about vocation and the skills necessary for wise teaching. He told me about how, as a graduate student interviewing for jobs, he was astounded to discover in his first job interview that his interviewers wanted him to talk about syllabi and his approach to teaching. His description of his failures even to think about these issues was illuminating and both informed my participation in the colloquium and helped me see the importance of syllabi in shaping a scholarly vocation. Yet he also helped me understand that the best teaching is fed by an intellectually vital research agenda. I remember vividly a colloquium discussion in which one of the participants suggested that a fresh research discovery, or reading an excellent new book in one's field, would contribute more to a dynamic classroom than trying to perfect a teaching technique. It is an insight I have verified in my own teaching and have passed on to others.
The colloquium also helped me understand the significance of other particulars: how gender issues shape the dynamics of certain classrooms, how internal political issues shape the culture of different departments, and how the relationships between research and teaching differ in diverse academic disciplines. I also learned, for the first time, the particular expectations of distinct academic job markets and the challenges of getting even to the on-campus interview at different kinds of schools, the realities and differences in tenure expectations, and the vast range of academic salaries and benefits. What became apparent in those conversations, at first only as a faint reality, is the radical diversity of institutions of higher education. The challenge of finding a job that pays an adequate wage seems to most graduate students sufficiently daunting, but a small liberal arts college is a very different context from a major research university, and a publicly supported institution is quite different from one supported by religious commitments.
Yet graduate students are not often encouraged to think about the complexities of institutional particularities. Too often graduate students are expected to focus only on the mastery of their field, and then to think in blunt economic and self-interested terms about the realities of the job market and finding a tenure-track job. The agenda of the colloquium, including the essays that constitute this handbook, fostered an attentiveness that enables us to discover a much healthier way of envisioning our vocation, including even the challenges of finding a good vocational fit amid the realities of the job market. This involves our recognition that the scholarly life cannot be adequately understood or lived apart from attention to diverse kinds of particularity.
The colloquium also nurtured a related healthy awareness: the academic vocation is a shared enterprise. Graduate study, especially in the humanities and social sciences, is often a highly individualized activity. As a student moves toward writing the dissertation, the task of graduate study becomes highly specialized, requiring extensive research and writing. As one works increasingly independently, it is often easy to envision the scholarly life in individualistic terms.
Yet the very structure of our colloquium, as well as the topics we discussed, invited us to see how academic life is intrinsically a shared vocation. This is true even of graduate study, and it becomes even more important as people finish their doctorates and begin teaching in diverse institutions.
The first seeds of my discovery of the academic vocation as a shared enterprise emerged within my doctoral program itself. Stanley Hauerwas, who was director of the graduate program in religion at the time, told the graduate students that we would provide for each other some of the most important education and formation we would receive. He was right, and his mentioning it explicitly invited us to be more intentional about educating one another than we might have otherwise been. A group of us, in several different subfields of the program, began to gather together every week to read important works-both in our field and across the disciplines in the humanities. We then pledged to offer one another feedback on dissertation topics and issues, turning even the individualized tasks of research and writing into more of a communal endeavor. Those conversations formed friendships that have continued through the years.
This shared sense of vocation was nurtured more broadly in the colloquium. Here were graduate students from across the university, discovering in conversation that-despite the significance of diverse particularities among us as well as divergence among our fields-we had a lot in common. We were all trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of what it means to be a full-time professor rather than a graduate student, and how we would navigate the complexities of universities, departments, funding agencies, publishers, and personal life decisions.
Through the colloquium, and the discussions that were fostered there, we began to discover that administrative attentiveness is intrinsic to academic flourishing. Whether it is mentoring younger faculty, serving on an editorial board or even editing a journal, chairing a search committee or a department, or serving on universitywide committees and task forces, academic life depends on a shared commitment to collegiality among faculty from diverse fields. The colloquium helped me to understand that, while we must attend to the diverse particularities of the academic's vocation, we also need to attend to the commonalities that cultivate a shared commitment to the academic vocation.
The colloquium's attentiveness to these issues helped me appreciate the gifts I received in my first teaching job at a liberal arts college: an institution that encouraged, and institutionalized a commitment to, collegiality across the disciplines. I was blessed with excellent colleagues in my department. In addition, one of my earliest and best colleagues was a junior faculty member in political science, and another was in English. We were encouraged to read drafts of each other's work, and to talk with each other about teaching and learning.
This sense of a shared vocation developed in a new way when in 1990 I was invited to become the coeditor of a scholarly journal. I learned the mysterious art of accepting and rejecting essays for publication, helping me to discover that to some degree the mystery isn't why some excellent essays are rejected but rather how any essay manages to get through the labyrinth of fallible editors and reviewers. Yet more important was the joy I discovered in working with authors and reviewers to improve essays and then to see the contribution they made to ongoing conversations and debates. I took as much delight in seeing a colleague's essay appear, and in editing an excellent issue, as I would have had I written the material myself. We were involved in a shared enterprise.
Directing a center for the humanities, and then chairing a department, only added to the sense of a shared vocation and the delight of friendships sustained, often amid intense disagreement about matters that matter (and sometimes about matters that didn't really matter that much). As I participated in administrative tasks as a full-time faculty member, my appreciation of the shared life of the academic vocation deepened. The kinds of relationships forged in the colloquium, and its attentiveness to our common vocation, enabled me to see the significance of relationships in ways that would otherwise have remained occluded. I discovered that the tired clichés about "faculty vs. administration" were dangerous and destructive-for even those people entrusted with more, rather than less, administrative leadership were still fundamentally engaged in intellectual work that is fundamentally important to the scholarly vocation.
Eventually, I was faced with a significant decision-should I make a move into full-time academic administration? To be sure, it was not an easy decision in one sense, but in a more profound sense it was an obvious one. For the trajectory of my life had been leading me to understand the intellectual significance of institutional leadership, and to be willing to take on those positions when they presented themselves. The colloquium that led to The Academic's Handbook helped me to identify key issues involved in the art and craft of an academic's vocation and also to target crucial issues, thus enabling me to be more successful and attentive than I might otherwise have been.
Yet I suspect that it was at heart a third dimension of the colloquium's discussions, namely, its attentiveness to the importance and fragility of institutions, which helped me understand the critical importance of full-time academic administrative leadership. It is one thing to appreciate that the shared life of the academic vocation requires all of us to participate in administrative tasks as well as those more particular to our own disciplines, fields, and teaching and research. But appreciating the significance of institutions, and of the importance of full-time academic administrative leadership, required a much deeper sense of the academic's vocation. Fortunately, I had been prepared for that deeper sense by discussions with administrative leaders through the colloquium.
The colloquium's discussions challenged the familiar but false alternative that a person either becomes an excellent scholar or makes a detour into administration. The latter choice is typically taken to be an implicit admission of a failure to achieve the first rank of scholarship. Several underlying presumptions converge to make these appear to be mutually exclusive options. The first, and most obvious, presumption is that one has to make choices about how time is spent-the more time one spends in attending to administrative matters, the less one has for reading and writing and research. Yet the colloquium challenged this presumption in its starkest form by helping us to see that everyone needs to be involved in administrative tasks if the academic life is to flourish.
There are at least two other, even more dubious presumptions at work in this sense that scholarship and administration are mutually exclusive alternatives. One is that institutions are simply necessary evils, and thus "making the institution work" seems to be a lesser value than "real" scholarship and teaching. Such a view has been a dangerous legacy of some intellectually prominent views in the twentieth century, which in effect equated institutions and administrative work with bureaucracy. This became culturally popular in the "anti-institutional" aspects of the 1960s, with the effect that institutional leadership was devalued as a vocation. This has heightened the level of sneering that often goes on when someone "leaves" the professoriate to become a dean, provost, or president.
The other dubious presumption, closely related to the association of administrative work with bureaucracy, is that administrative work is not itself intellectually demanding or creative. We have too often presumed that making an institution work is a form of low-level paper-pushing, rather than recognizing the ways in which effective administrative work requires a high level of practical wisdom and intellectual creativity.
I began paying more attention to the dangers of these presumptions as I experienced, both directly and through scholarly friends, the consequences of ineffective as well as effective institutional leadership. I have watched in agony as friends' lives, and whole institutions, were torn apart by either bumbling, ineffective leaders or malicious ones. Yet I knew, especially in my early years as a full-time academic, that I was flourishing as a scholar and teacher, in significant part thanks to a wonderfully supportive department chair and dean who offered the advice and encouragement I needed to grow as a scholar, teacher, and colleague.
I also became acutely aware of the fragility of institutions, and the damage that bumbling or malicious leaders do to people's lives and to the ecology of whole institutions. It didn't take long to damage a person's life or a whole institution, but it would take a very long time to repair the damage that was done. It seemed to me increasingly obvious that providing wise stewardship of institutions is important in trying to preserve institutions and prevent damage from occurring in the first place. That involves attention to the themes and issues we had discussed in our colloquium that became The Academic's Handbook.
Excerpted from THE ACADEMIC'S HANDBOOK Copyright © 2007 by DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS. Excerpted by permission.
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|Preface to the Second Edition|
|1||A Taxonomy of Colleges and Universities||3|
|2||Small Is ... Different||17|
|3||The Morality of Teaching||29|
|4||Women in Academia||38|
|5||Minority Faculty in [Mainstream White] Academia||48|
|6||On Being a Political Animal in the Academic Zoo||65|
|7||Fads and Fashions on Campus: Interdisciplinarity and Internationalization||73|
|8||Free Speech and Academic Freedom||81|
|9||Anticipating and Avoiding Misperceptions of Harassment||91|
|10||The Responsible Conduct of Academic Research||104|
|11||On Getting a Job||115|
|12||The Job Market: An Overview||128|
|13||The Tenure System||136|
|14||Some Tips on Getting Tenure||150|
|15||Academic Salaries, Benefits, and Taxes||158|
|16||The Nuts and Bolts of Running a Lecture Course||179|
|17||Why I Teach by Discussion||187|
|18||The Classroom Climate: Chilly for Women?||192|
|19||New Faculty Members and Advising||199|
|20||The Problems of Special Admission Undergraduates||211|
|21||Securing Funding from Federal Sources||219|
|22||New Academics and the Quest for Private Funds||236|
|23||On Writing Scholarly Articles||249|
|24||Publishing in Science||263|
|25||The Scholar and the Art of Publishing||273|
|26||Effects of the Networked Environment on Publishing and Scholarship||286|
|27||University Governance and Autonomy: Who Decides What in the University||297|
|28||The Role of the Department in the Groves of Academe||315|
|29||The Academic Community||334|
|Selected Further Readings||341|