This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on ways an academic institution or department can demonstrate that they are family-friendly.

There’s a well-known gender-based pipeline problem in academia: women earn 50% of PhDs granted to American citizens, but get fewer tenure-track jobs and achieve tenure less often. People who study the problem theorize the reason may be because academia has variable hours, but those hours can be long. A caregiver—be that a mother, a father, or somebody caring for an aging parent or sick family member—pays a price. Luckily, departments can take significant steps to retain caregivers as faculty. Here are a few suggestions. 

Make expectations extremely clear.

In an Inside Higher Ed interview about their 2012 book on academic motherhood, Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel reported some surprising findings. Although you might assume that professors at research universities would find parenthood most demanding, their book found that these larger universities have more support structures for (and around) research. Having well-defined structure and clarity was a benefit to working parents. 

The study found that professors at schools without these well-developed guidelines suffered more. Often, it was exacerbated when these same schools also had a strong culture of faculty campus presence. You take a big chunk out of your parenting faculty’s mental load (and your non-parenting faculty’s, as well) if you can be more specific about what’s needed and expected. 

Be open about caregiving while recruiting

Of course, you shouldn’t ask about people’s family responsibilities (current or hoped-for) in the interview process, but you can make a point to talk to potential faculty about all the things that your institution does to make those responsibilities easier. Faculty with children on a hiring committee can be open about their experience, as well. 

Be extremely careful not to penalize caregivers during reviews

This can obviously have a directly negative effect on the faculty under review, but comments like “You had maternity leave, you should have gotten more writing done” will also travel by grapevine through your department. The next person contemplating taking advantage of a family-friendly policy or program may think twice. 

Schedule important events between the hours of 9 and 5. 

Academia is great at flexibility, but small children (and the preschools and daycares that care for them) are not. After about 5 pm, schools close, and parents need to get frazzled children on the dinner-bath-bed train. Try to offer lunchtime talks, or even breakfast seminars. If you must sometimes convene colloquia including dinners after 5, make it very clear to parents that their presence is not required—and try to schedule the events as far in advance as possible. 

Make sure your expectations about email and text responsiveness are clear. 

Clearly defined boundaries around electronic communication help caregivers relax about their work obligations when they’re home—and socializing these expectations is  helpful to non-caregivers, as well. 

Don’t allow a culture of resentment to develop among the rest of the faculty. 

Negative comments about a caregiver’s absence or non-participation should never be allowed to pass unremarked—even if they’re couched as humor. You’ll know the difference!

These are only a few ways that a department or institution can demonstrate that they are family-friendly to employees. What are some other ways you have experienced that helped you manage both your personal and professional responsibilities? Tweet us using #familyfriendly.

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Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, containing tips on working from home with kids.

With coronavirus lockdowns, quarantines, shelters-in-place, and social isolation situations proliferating across the globe, odds are that most academics with children will end up working from home with kids for stretches of 2020. Hopefully, academic employers will come to see how impossible this is, and (as some already have) relax their standards for tenure and promotion and grad student advancement during this time. In the meantime, here are some tips for ways you can do two demanding jobs at once, without losing your marbles—well, most of them. 

Split care hours into blocks

If you have a fellow caregiver at home, split the day into blocks. Many are finding it easiest to have one parent on duty in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Kids like this kind of predictability, and work goes better when it’s totally separated from caregiving, to whatever degree that’s possible. 

Keep work informed

If you have core work hours when you’ll be expected (or available) to return emails or take calls, be proactive in planning that with your supervisor. For many academics, this kind of proactive planning may involve telling your remote students what hours of the day you can respond to their emails or queries—and then sticking to your policy. 

Make a plan

Meet with your family in the morning and talk about what is going to happen that day: 

  • When the parents will switch (if that applies)
  • When lunch and snacks will be served
  • When outside time will happen (this might be different every day, depending on the weather)
  • When schoolwork will be done

Having a family meeting (many are doing this at breakfast) may be easier for older kids to understand, but even three- and four-year-olds may get a kick out of seeing a visual schedule with drawings of your activities, and derive some reassurance out of knowing what’s happening when. 

If you’re on, you’re on

Make sure that the caregiver who is with the kids is not scanning his or her phone, or trying to work, while they’re on duty—except, maybe, in the case of a work emergency. Kids have a sixth sense for adult distraction. Instead, while you’re “on,” when your younger kids are playing or your older kids are absorbed in schoolwork, find housework that leaves you (in the words of Faith Collins, author of Joyful Toddlers and Preschoolers), “busy but available”—things like cooking, dishwashing, organizing, and laundry. Younger kids can join in if they would prefer that to playing independently. This strategy has the added benefit of allowing you to complete housework during “kid time,” leaving more hours to yourself for work and (hopefully) self-care. 

Take them outside

A walk or backyard time in the late morning can really improve everyone’s mood, including the caregiver who’s acting as shepherd. This way, childcare time can double as self-care, which will improve your state of mind when you do get to sit down to work. 

Quiet time

For some families with slightly older children, this idea may be hard to re-implement, but if you have a preschooler or kindergartener who no longer naps, try to create a tradition of “quiet time” after lunch. Set them up with activities—books, stickers, audiobooks or podcasts—and let them know that everyone in the house will be in their room for a little while every day after lunch. If you have an “ok to wake” clock or nightlight that changes colors (like this one), you can use that system to let them know when they can come out. Expand the time you expect them to be in their room as time goes on; some people find they can get up to an hour and a half of quiet this way. 

Physical separation

Do everything you can to put a door between yourself and your child while you are trying to work. Can you put a heater in a three-season sunroom and wrap your legs in a blanket? Can you carve out a desk area in the basement, even if it’s a little dank down there? It’s worth it! If you absolutely can’t close a door, try a visual cue like wearing a hat or glasses to let the child know that you are “on” and aren’t to be bugged. The caregiver in charge then has to be completely on top of the task of keeping the children away from the working parent; this part may not come naturally, but it’s key. 

Your own distraction

The world is a mess right now, and it’s very hard not to waste work time reading Twitter and texting. Use a program like Freedom for Mac to keep your social media and news-reading time to a minimum. 

Screens

Especially if you’re caregiving for younger children all alone, you may not be able to avoid doling out more Paw Patrol than you normally would. That’s fine! We are in a ridiculous situation. We can do what we need to do. 

What other tips do you have for working from home with kids right now? How are you managing (and hopefully) finding balance?

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on presenting non-traditional work for academic promotion or tenure.

It’s early on in your career on the tenure track, and you hope to create scholarship that has real public impact—the traditional monograph or articles, to you, doesn’t feel like enough. But will the work you do help you reach your goal of promotion inside academia? Here are some tips to help you achieve that goal, while producing the museum exhibit, podcast, or social-media page of your dreams. 

Find out what policies, if any, your department or institution already has on the books.

And do it early—before you invest too much energy in a project that might not be legible to those in charge. 

Plot out ways to connect your non-traditional work to the more traditional categories of research, service, and teaching. 

Maybe your students participate in the podcast you’re producing; maybe you mount an exhibit at a local gallery and invite the neighborhood to an opening, with musical performances; maybe you use archival material you’ve uncovered in more traditional research as the backbone for a website, or a series of articles in newspapers or magazines. Then, in your statements for the tenure file, be prepared to describe how these connections have worked. 

Build external evaluation into the process. 

When you’re working on a plan for non-traditional work, make sure that you plan ahead to include a survey—formal or informal—of users or visitors, so that you can find out what your impact has been. 

Keep good records.

This advice applies to most aspects of the tenure file, but goes double for non-traditional work: try to take notes as you go along. Remind yourself, in a text file that lives in a prominent place on your computer, of the names of people you’ve encountered along the way who might be able to provide supportive commentary on your project’s strengths and impact. Excerpt any helpful comments that you get from users or readers during planned evaluations. Consider other ways to quantitatively or qualitatively measure the impact your work has had, like:

  • Download numbers for a podcast? 
  • Emails from others who’ve used a tool you’ve created? 
  • Numbers of retweets for the viral thread you wrote for Twitter?

If so, save every bit of that evidence, too!

Reach out to professional organizations and colleagues outside of your school who might be able to help

If you are the only person at your institution who does the kind of work you want to do, this step may be even more important. Hearing stories from other people who’ve successfully—or unsuccessfully!—included non-traditional work in their own dossiers can help you plan your course. And professional organizations like the National Council on Public History and the Modern Language Association have been considering the question of how to evaluate non-traditional scholarship for tenure and promotion for years, and may have guidelines available that you can share with your institution. 

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Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on places to look for and find your next academic job.

It’s October, and academic job-seekers are a few months into the Web-combing part of the cycle, hoping to see new postings pop up that fit their profile. A few years ago, we shared a brief list of job-board websites, meant to serve as an intro to those new to the market who might need more sites to haunt. Here are a few others to add to the pile. Because when it comes to the job market, more options are definitely merrier! 

  • California’s community colleges maintain a job board that lists open positions across the state. You can search these opportunities by job types or counties; the listings include staff positions as well as instructorships. This board is particularly robust, but what if you’re not trying to get a job in California? Try Googling your target state and “community colleges jobs” to find a job board that fits you better. 
  • If you’re open to jobs outside of the United States, AcademicJobsOnline.org is a portal built by the Department of Mathematics at Duke, that aggregates jobs in the United States and beyond. Departments from 45 countries have put up ads on the site in the past year, so if you would jump at the chance to teach in Rome, Botswana, or Tokyo, you should check it out.  
  • Also for the globetrotters, Times Higher Ed’s jobs board is heavy with jobs in the UK, but also offers positions across all continents. (Well, not Antartica; sorry to the penguins.) The site also offers career advice, including a series of posts, aimed at those on the global market, that explain the structure of academic careers in places like Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia. 
  • Minority Postdoc’s job listings include ads for academic jobs, as well as for positions in government, non-profits, and industry. This site is targeted to current minority students in postdoctoral positions in STEM, and the job ads come from employers who have diversity action plans in place and would welcome minority applicants. 
  • Academic Keys is a recruitment site that puts adjunct jobs in a separate category from other job ads. This may give you the ability to exclude these from your search, if you wish to do so—or, if you need to find short-term work in a specific place, to search only for adjunct work. 
  • Finally, if you are Christian (or, enough of a believer to teach at a Christian school!), there is a job site run by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that puts those positions together in one place for you to search. At last count, there were 169 jobs on the site; if this is a fit for you, adding this slightly-more-off-the-beaten-track option could pad your list of “good leads” considerably. 

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Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on considering postdoctoral fellowship options & whether or not you should apply.

In the past few decades, as it’s gotten harder and harder to land a tenure-track job in the humanities right out of school, more early-career scholars (especially in fields like history and sociology) have joined scientists—who have long been accustomed to taking temporary jobs after getting a Ph.D.—in assembling a string of short-term postdoctoral positions, while looking for something permanent. But when should a grad student, or recent grad, apply for postdocs, and when should they stop? There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but here are some considerations. 

Make sure the postdocs you’re applying for are worthy of the name.

There’s no industry-standard definition of “postdoctoral fellowship,” especially in the humanities. That means that some of these positions—the most prestigious ones—require no teaching at all, while others ask recipients to shoulder a 3-3 or even a 4-4. At that point, they’re really “Visiting Assistant” jobs in sheep’s clothing. 

So what should you look for? A postdoc should give you ample time to do research and promise access to a new network of scholars at the host institution. Ideally, you should have enough money to attend conferences and acquire the research materials you need. 

In newer types of postdocs, like those that have proliferated in the digital humanities over the past decade, the need for applicants’ vigilance is still higher. In many situations the institution offering the gig might be well-meaning but have very little idea of what they want from the person who fills their position. Miriam Posner, an assistant professor of information studies and digital humanities at UCLA, has a good blog post outlining questions people should ask when they’re applying for an unconventional postdoc—some of these apply to other fields, as well. 

If you are looking at taking more than one postdoc in a row, have something to show for it

In a 2014 series on postdocs for Chronicle Vitae, reporter Sydni Dunn interviewed experts who agreed that extended postdoc-hopping didn’t have to be a black mark on a resume—but added that the early-career scholar who had taken more than one such position should be able to provide ample evidence that their time in “limbo” had allowed them to: 

  • Produce X number of articles 
  • Learn a new skill 
  • Get a book well into the publication process

Essentially, at the end of the postdoc, you will want to have a tangible and transferable outcome.

The chance to research without distraction (which you should get, in a good postdoc) will be difficult to come by later on in the race for tenure, so make the most of it. 

Ask yourself: Can my family, finances, and mental health handle another move?

These are not small matters for people looking at adding another short-term position to a CV. Especially in the sciences, the typical salary for postdocs isn’t great. And even if you’re a humanities scholar and are getting slightly better funding for short-term jobs, the opportunity cost of another year (or more) of your adult working life spent trying to get a permanent position in academia should be a consideration. If the idea of moving now makes you feel like screaming, or you’ll have to put off having a baby again, or you’re going to be separated from your partner to take this job, you may not be willing to make the sacrifice. 

Every academic has some anecdotal evidence that argues for persistence—a friend, or acquaintance, with a new-ish Ph.D., who “hung in there” through a string of postdocs and visiting positions and finally grabbed the brass ring: a tenure-track job. But there isn’t much data on the topic of postdoc outcomes, so here’s one good way to think about it: If you don’t feel like you’ll be able to be productive in your third postdoc anyway, because you’re so stressed out about the sacrifices you’re making, that may be an indication that it’s time to step off the treadmill. 

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Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on mentoring and advising graduate students.

In many fields, the academic job market gets worse and worse, year after year. In this climate, where even excellent candidates fail to land tenure-track jobs, faculty members tasked with advising graduate students on job-market matters could be forgiven for feeling like the role is impossible. Here’s some advice on how to be a fair, honest, and supportive advisor to the students who are relying on you. 

Find out what your student really wants. 

In a post about mentoring grad students facing the job market, Jenna Lay writes that students and faculty can gain a lot of clarity from a few honest conversations, conducted very early in the process. “What are your core values?” Lay recommends advisors ask. “How do you see a career relating to those values, if at all? Do you value family? Location? Time? Money? Structure? Freedom? Do you desire a career that provides the central orientation for your life, or are you looking for a career that fits into a certain kind of life?” These kinds of big-picture questions—certainly not ones to be resolved in the course of one conversation, but rather revisited over the years—can help a student understand whether or not they actually want to commit to the academic job market. 

Recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. 

If you haven’t been on the job market for twenty years (or more), understand that you may not have the clearest picture of its vicissitudes. If you’ve never held a non-academic job, or not for decades, know that you may not know how to help your student prepare to apply for something alt-ac or non-traditional. Make sure that you have a true picture of what’s going on, and tap your network when you don’t.

Arm yourself with data—and share it. 

Try not to fall into the trap of guiding your students by anecdote. Tales of the experiences of your friends and former students may or may not be helpful to someone who’s looking at job listings in 2019. Find (and pass on) information about job placement rates and trends in your discipline. And see whether your department maintains records of former students’ placements; if they don’t, you should prod them to start. 

Bring up alt-ac options tactfully

For some students, a very frank conversation about the restrictiveness of the academic job market and its possible future impact on their lives and finances may lead them to explore non-academic options. Be open to this! But consider that (as Lay writes) this kind of conversation about non-academic options may be better to have with a student early on, when advisees are less likely to perceive an advisor bringing up non-academic paths as a vote of “no confidence” in their academic potential. 

Make a master plan together. 

Start advising students who are aiming for the tenure track early—years before they hit the job market—on things like building relationships that can lead to outstanding recommendation letters, picking the right journals for submissions, and selecting conferences worth attending. As Karen Kelsky has written, faculty should realize that landing a tenure-track job is so difficult now that students must “professionalize” much earlier than their forebears. “For those students who wish to try” to get a rare tenure-track job, “the effort requires years of methodical training and calculation of career chances, from the point of arrival in the graduate program through the dissertation defense and beyond.” Advisors can help by demystifying the process, and save students time by flagging which CV lines are worth their investment. 

In all things, aim for honest and supportive.

This is not the time to sugar-coat the prospects of any student who’s looking for a tenure-track job—even the very brightest star, who you hope will reflect on you well. Try not to make promises. “Be rigorously honest with them and with yourself that no matter how good their work is—no matter how good—the academic job market is not a meritocracy,” Lay writes, “and there are not as many jobs as there are good people.” Above all, if a student determines that their family, finances, or mental health can’t weather years of post-docs, VAPs, and cross-country moves, and decides to leave academia, it’s an advisor’s job to support them in their choice. 

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Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on the best blogs for academic inspiration and higher ed advice.

The beginning of the fall semester is a great time to read up on academic productivity, writing strategies, and work-life balance, so you can slide back into the busy season full of new ideas and energy. In the past, academic blogs have been a great place to find this kind of general advice, which applies across disciplines. Although many of our favorites seem to have stopped posting as frequently in recent years (come back, blogs!), the archive of wisdom they pulled together is still evergreen and vital. Here are a few places to start. 

The Thesis Whisperer

The Thesis Whisperer, run by Inger Mewburn, is all about advice for people who are in graduate programs and trying to finish dissertations. The blog has distinguished itself by being super-consistent and high-volume (it had many contributing writers in its first almost-decade of existence), offering post after post on a wide range of matters of concern to doctoral students from:

Get a Life, Ph.D.

Pair The Thesis Whisperer with Get a Life, Ph.D., run by Tanya Golash-Boza. This blog has slowed down somewhat in recent years, but a lot of the advice—on maintaining an exercise habit as an academic parent (yeah, right!) or on restarting a practice of everyday writing after a long time away—still applies. 

The Research Whisperer

The Research Whisperer, which was originally inspired by the thriving Thesis Whisperer, is run by Australians Jonathan O’Donnell and Tseen Kho. The blog focuses on all aspects of doing academic research—not, as the site’s “About” page stipulates, just the matter of finding funding (though that topic is definitely in the mix). Some sample posts include topics like: 

Writing for Research

On his blog Writing for Research, Patrick Dunleavy takes a craft-specific approach, offering posts on such topics as writing abstracts to go along with journal articles and efficiently turning articles into blog posts

Profhacker

ProfHacker, which was hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education for years, has migrated to its own website. Newer posts include reflections on:

ProfHacker always found the sweet spot between writing advice, productivity tactics, and tech geekery, and although posting seems to have slowed down recently, the deep archive of posts is still gold. 

Blogs and social media (here are 10 great academic Twitter accounts) that speak to the academic community can be invaluable as you navigate the nuances of higher ed. What are your bookmarked sites and go-to blogs? We’d love to hear your recommendations. Tweet us @Interfolio.

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Interfolio

In case you didn’t know, Interfolio’s website has several sections of academic content relevant to  individual scholars and academics in research or administration. They partner with academic thought leaders, clients, and others to explore topics in higher education.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now humanities academic-at-large, on interesting #academictwitter accounts to follow.

If you’ve considered getting on Twitter, summer is a great time to take the plunge, and we’ve still got a few weeks left! If you’re already on Twitter, and are looking for some new academic follows to enrich your timeline, here are a few recommendations. Our favorite academic Twitterers mix subject-specific tweets from their disciplines with observations about current events, politics, and policy as it affects academia.

Thirteen years after Twitter was founded, and two years into the Trumpian hyper-speed news era, many people have gotten great at this art of the mix; these scholars really have it down.

Dan Drezner (International Affairs, Fletcher School, Tufts University): A high-volume account with over 100K followers. Politics (lots of politics!), baseball, foreign relations, GIFs and jokes. 

Tanya Golash-Boza (Sociology, University of California, Merced): Golash-Boza tweets on academic writing, the future of sociology, and diversity in the academy. Her insights on immigration are particularly key in 2019. 

Sara Goldrick-Rab (Higher Ed and Sociology, Temple University): Essential account for coverage of the intersections of class, money, and higher ed. 

Kevin Kruse (History, Princeton University): The dean of viral history Twitter regularly publishes long, primary-source-laden threads on historical matters related to the news. Kruse also retweets other historians who write in this mode, which means the account is a great discovery machine for further follows. 

Trevon D. Logan (Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara): Logan offers coverage of race, diversity, economics, history, and culture. We regularly discover important new papers in the field via this Twitter feed. 

Tressie McMillan Cottom (Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth University): This account ranges far and wide, over topics like race, class, money, diversity, higher ed, for-profits, pop culture, and food. Cottom is an accomplished writer, and her tweets are informative, opinionated, and funny all at once.

Mark Anthony Neal (African and African-American Studies, Duke University): Neal’s account places a heavy emphasis on historical content, with wonderful use of vintage visuals, music, and film. 

Raul Pacheco-Vega (Political science and geography, CIDE Region Centro): Pacheco-Vega started the discovery hashtag #ScholarSunday, and has made his account into a hub for conversation on academic writing and pedagogy. 

Jeffrey Sachs (Political science, Acadia University): Sachs tweets about politics and the finances of higher ed in Canada and the United States, and offers extensive coverage of campus “free speech” debates from the left. 

Real Scientists (Group account): Because we’re working in the humanities, we have less of a sense of what’s going on over in science Twitter. This account rotates among working scientists, who have a week to share their work, so you can find plenty of new follows as time marches on. 

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Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on the future of student evaluations.

Previously on this blog, we talked about ways that you can make the most of the common practice of using student evaluations to assess instructors’ job performance in higher ed. Since then, the recognition that student evaluations are inherently flawed—data show that they don’t reflect what’s truly being learned in a class, may have contributed to widespread grade inflation, and often result in lower scores for women and minority professors—has become ever more widespread. Last summer, an arbitrator in Ontario, looking at this evidence, ruled that Toronto’s Ryerson University must stop using student evaluations in measuring teaching effectiveness in cases of promotion and tenure.

The recommendations we made in the earlier blog post about making the most of a bad system, and procuring solid student evals that can help you along, still stand:

  • Give students plenty of time to fill out the forms
  • Talk to them about the forms’ purpose
  • Try, if you can, to give them specific questions that reflect the course materials

But if the evidence that student evals are counterproductive and unfair has you sufficiently convinced that the whole practice needs an overhaul, perhaps it’s time to push for your institution to change its policies.

In a comprehensive review, published earlier this year, of the way that some universities are already altering their relationships to evaluations, Kristin Doerr of the Chronicle of Higher Education offers some models for reform:

  • The University of Southern California has largely moved to a peer-review process, whereby teaching evaluations from other professors take primacy over student assessments in the course of promotion-and-tenure decision making. Peer reviewers must take anti-bias training to reduce the subjectivity of their judgments. The University of Oregon is following suit in implementing a more comprehensive and standardized peer-review program.
  • At Berkeley, in the division of mathematical and physical sciences, instructors under review write reflections that are considered alongside evaluations, to give context to their students’ input. (This is similar to a practice earlier described by David Perlmutter, a dean at Texas Tech, who reports that his institution allows professors to give students supplemental evaluations that add more information to the picture that standard evaluations paint.)
  • Also at USC, the school has made revisions to the types of questions asked in student evaluations, making questions more specific in a bid to minimize bias.
  • At Oregon, the university is moving away from numerical “circle the 5”-type evaluations, and toward questions that ask about specific elements of an instructor’s teaching, and then ask students to provide written comment.
  • Oregon also offers a midterm student experience survey that only the professor can access, offering the opportunity for professors to learn about things that aren’t working in that semester’s classes before it’s too late to change them.

Maybe your university is among those rethinking student evaluations right now. If not, maybe 2019 is the year to suggest some change.

Tweet us your thoughts on ways you can harness your institution’s current policies on student evals, and/or ways you would reform them and include #Interfolio.

Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.

This post continues our series by a onetime academic job seeker, now academic-at-large, on where to look for a summer job.

Summers in grad school can be an awkward time for the large percentage of grad students whose funding doesn’t stretch to cover twelve months of rent. And by “awkward,” we mean “extremely stressful and upsetting.” This problem is seldom discussed outside of grad student circles, and so the summer income gap can come as a shock, particularly after your first year. You may have academic obligations that don’t pay—conference attendance, research, and later on in your career, job market prep—but that doesn’t mean you don’t need groceries. So here are some ideas for steps you can take now to make sure you have income in August.

Look inside your school first.

It’s May, and deadlines for opportunities within your department (summer research assistantships; summer teaching) may already have passed. If they haven’t, great! Look there first. But you may need to think outside the departmental box. Try querying libraries, writing centers, or centers for teaching and learning. Visit the office of career services, or their website, to see if they maintain a list of summer jobs inside the university for students. You’ll have an advantage applying to these jobs, as a student; this is an easy way to begin.

Ask friendly professors.

Faculty may know of summer gigs that don’t show up on official lists. A colleague of theirs may have recently landed a grant and may be suddenly in need of research support, for example. It’s worth sending a few polite emails to any faculty members you know well to see if they’ve heard anything through the grapevine.

Try other universities and community colleges in the area.

These institutions may have summer classes that need teaching—especially if they don’t have grad programs in your areas of study. An email to the appropriate department coordinators could turn up an open spot.

Look for teaching jobs outside of your university.

Tutoring, summer programs for high-school students, even academic camps for younger kids: all of these may pay you a good wage, while offering a way for you to embellish your CV in the future. This side benefit may be especially helpful if you are in a research-heavy department that doesn’t offer many opportunities to teach during the year, and if you want to apply to teaching-focused jobs when you graduate. Summer experiences—even if they’re with ten-year-olds—can help you see whether you truly do feel comfortable and happy in a teaching role, and can offer good fodder for a reflective teaching-philosophy statement.

Try temping, freelancing, or the gig economy.

Yes, driving for Lyft, taking on dog walking or babysitting, or doing some freelance graphic design work can be inherently unstable and exploitative, and it’s hard to know how much income to expect from these pursuits. That’s why we’re putting this idea last! But temping, freelancing, and gigging have some advantages for a graduate student during the summer, because you have more control over the amount of work you do, and where and when you do it. This flexibility may come in handy if you get to late July, realize you really need to work on that dissertation chapter, and have enough money in the bank to do it.

What other recommendations do you have for finding a summer job? Tweet us and use the hashtag #Interfolio to share your ideas.

Interfolio’s Dossier enables scholars to collect, curate, polish and send out their materials at all stages throughout their academic professional path. Learn more about Dossier here.