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inspirational books/biographies about the non-fiction writing life?

I'm neck deep in writing an academic book at the moment, and on the worst days I lose the will to live. To dislodge myself from the daily temptation to nuke the whole manuscript, slit my wrists and be done with it all, I've been trying to keep motivated by reading good accounts of the life of writers. I would love recommendations! Details inside. [more inside]
posted by starcrust on Jul 18, 2014 - 4 answers

how can I kindly reject PhD students?

I have just begun as an assistant professor in the humanities at a prestigious university, and I am getting more emails from prospective PhD candidates than I can handle, gracefully or otherwise. I am presently a total n00b (read: incompetent at my job) and can't realistically take more than one a year. But I have no idea how to deal with these emails. Any suggestions on how to handle them, from anyone in similar but wiser positions? Agonized details below. [more inside]
posted by starcrust on Jun 30, 2014 - 21 answers

Twitter feeds from academic departments/programs.

I'm looking for examples of high-quality (official) Twitter feeds from academic departments/programs that are particularly informative (either to students or non-students, ideally both). I'm especially interested in departments or programs in healthcare/medical science-related fields, but all suggestions are welcome.
posted by Ufez Jones on Jun 23, 2014 - 4 answers

Leaving Academia, but Sticking it Out for the Degree

Assuming nothing goes catastrophically wrong (which might not be a good assumption to make, unfortunately), I should be getting a PhD in about 18 months. I'm about 90% sure that I don't want to stay in academia. What steps can I start taking now to have a smoother career change? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 20, 2014 - 11 answers

What to expect at a university comms/marketing position?

I've been hired to be the Director of Marketing for a humanities faculty at a small but prestigious North American university. I've spent the last nine years at a mid-sized national ad agency. I start in two weeks. What should I expect in my new position? [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Jun 16, 2014 - 22 answers

Turns of phrase for thesis defense. Help!

Defending my thesis next week and need help with turns of phrase to kick off complicated answers to difficult questions. Have flopped in conferences past. [more inside]
posted by hollypolly on May 27, 2014 - 11 answers

Starting a software company, as an academic

I am an academic about to get tenure, but I'm thinking about an alternative career trajectory. In particular, I have an idea for software that (I believe) could be revolutionary, related to my field of study. I'm thinking of quitting my job to pursue this. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 24, 2014 - 13 answers

What to expect as part of a university hiring committee

My anthro department will hire a new PhD student and invited me to be on the committee as I am a potential supervisor for this individual. But as a relatively new prof myself, I am not sure how these things work. What tips can you suggest to help me seem like I know what I am doing? [more inside]
posted by mateuslee on May 11, 2014 - 5 answers

Academic Job Dilemma: My PI screwing me over?

I have a staff position in academic research. I received a verbal job offer two and a half weeks ago for a higher position in a different lab, and I gave notice to my current PI (my boss) immediately. I haven't gotten the official job offer yet, and I think my PI might cause me to lose the offer... Also, I'm kind of just freaked out in general and need some fresh eyes. Am I freaking over nothing, or is trouble brewing here? [more inside]
posted by your mom's a sock puppet on May 11, 2014 - 14 answers

"Peer" Review

I have a very strong amateur interest in a niche subject (the history of computational labor processes). I think have a somewhat novel idea for research that builds on ideas that seem to be gaining currency in journals like Technology and Culture. I'm not an academic, and have very little academic background. What should I know if I decide to prepare an article for submission to a peer reviewed journal for the first time? [more inside]
posted by wobdev on Apr 28, 2014 - 7 answers

Left wing copyright, intellectual copyright scholars?

Who are the most well known academics in the field of intellectual property, and especially copyright law? Especially academics active in the last 5-10 years? The more radical, the better. [more inside]
posted by skewed on Apr 22, 2014 - 16 answers

Leaning...backward? Better lifestyle, not-better job?

We'd like to move to another city for family reasons, but it will likely require a step back for me career-wise. I'd like to hear about how that worked out for other people. Can you help me get excited about it? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 17, 2014 - 16 answers

Journal paper, conference paper, book chapter

[academic-filter] Let's say I've done some snazzy research from which I want to produce two journal papers, a conference paper and a book chapter. How different should the conference paper and book chapter be from the journal papers? Is there an order in which I should publish them? [more inside]
posted by hannahlambda on Apr 16, 2014 - 11 answers

Rebranding or repairing a broken PhD student

This seems to be a week for academia-related questions. I am an ABD student in the humanities at a prestigious university. The job prospects in my field are grim, and they are grimmer still for me because I have not performed well in my program. My history is one of late papers, lingering incompletes, delayed time to qualifying exams, and poor rapport with faculty. I am in the beginning stages of writing a dissertation that I know will serve me no real purpose. So what do I do now? [more inside]
posted by redfishbluefish on Apr 8, 2014 - 16 answers

To patent or not to patent, and if so when?

I am a research student who may have inadvertently invented something commercializable. What do I do now? [more inside]
posted by cestlavie on Apr 7, 2014 - 13 answers

Getting a job at a private HS -- 1-2 years in the future.

Piggybacking off of this question to a certain extent -- what can I do now to make myself more attractive for teaching positions at privates high schools when I finish up my Ph.D.? [more inside]
posted by munyeca on Apr 7, 2014 - 9 answers

Non-academic career options for PhDs?

My partner is finishing a PhD in a social science next year and is unsure about staying in academia. Have any MeFites been in a similar position? [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Apr 6, 2014 - 11 answers

Need a job, almost any job will do

As I near my 3rd and final year of my postdoc grant, it has become time to fish or cut bait. But I'm horrible about making decisions, but yet, don't have time to do it all. Can you help me sort out my future employment plans? Part of this may involve simply assuring me that leaving academia is the way to go. Or not. [more inside]
posted by katers890 on Apr 1, 2014 - 10 answers

Family Medical Leave for Graduate Students

Does Family Medical Leave cover graduate students on .50 FTE? If so, does it still allow for tuition reimbursement or would I be on the hook for that? [more inside]
posted by mrfuga0 on Mar 24, 2014 - 8 answers

A minor question about transgender nomenclature and etiquette.

A former distant colleague of mine is a trans woman. I'm pretty clear on the importance of not misgendering people, but I'm running into one or two slightly awkward practical issues in making sure I don't screw that up. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Mar 21, 2014 - 21 answers

Am I making the right decision? (Plus bonus negotiation questions)

I am an academic in Australia, in a social sciences/humanities field that I have mentioned before but would rather not repeat here for googleability reasons. I am currently employed until the middle of this year. I have a job offer in another city that I think I'm going to accept. I'm worried it might be the wrong decision. [more inside]
posted by lollusc on Mar 18, 2014 - 20 answers

PhD-level conservation careers for maximum real-world impact

I'm in a PhD program pursuing a degree in conservation biology. When I finish (and possibly after completing a postdoc or two) I'd like to end up in a job where I can maximize my real-world conservation impact. I'd like to hear some suggestions on how I can do that; lots more detail to be found inside, as well as my reasoning on the subject so far. [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Mar 18, 2014 - 5 answers

A parachute for jumping off the Ivory Tower

Another humanities-grad-student-meets-real-life question. Finishing a linguistics Ph.D., have a classics M.A.; my academic job search is drawing a blank, so I'm looking further afield. What are some specific skills I could acquire that would make me more employable, and how do I go about acquiring them? Complications: I'll need visa sponsorship for any kind of employment, and time is a factor. [more inside]
posted by zeri on Mar 17, 2014 - 17 answers

Have I been plagiarized? If so, what do I do?

I wrote a lengthy scholarly article last year, put a preprint of it on my university's institutional repository, and thought no more about it. In January this year, a British journalist published a piece of popular military history with a major British trade press that appears to contain about 6 pages of very, very close summary and paraphrase of my article. What to do? [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Mar 4, 2014 - 11 answers

Tenure and promotion letters for college faculty

Academics, what is your institution's policy about tenure and promotion letters? Specifically, once the decision to award or deny tenure is made, does a candidate standardly get a letter detailing the committee's reasons? What is the letter like and who reviews it? Looking also for pointers to faculty handbooks where the letter process is described, and links to policies/recommendations from professional associations like AAUP or MLA on this. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 26, 2014 - 12 answers

How can I come to terms with mistakes I made in my 20s?

I am in my late 20s, and I have increasingly found myself preoccupied with regret about how I have squandered my 20s. [more inside]
posted by ClaireBear on Feb 25, 2014 - 35 answers

Effective learning: looking for the best academic skills and techniques

What are some effective academic skills, techniques, and tools for effective learning and succeeding academically? — Looking for uncommon, highly effective techniques that aren't the oft-repeated ones ("don't procrastinate!") but more like "use spaced repetition software to review the major concepts all throughout the semester". — I'll share some of my own. [more inside]
posted by markbao on Feb 20, 2014 - 22 answers

[academic/reading-geek filter] how to take notes on books within books?

My apologies for this very convoluted question...tl;dr: I guess I'm asking how people deal with taking notes from books, not just on the book's content and structure etc, but mapping bodies of literatures mentioned in those books. I would love to hear if you have a system that works for you. More after the jump. [more inside]
posted by starcrust on Feb 19, 2014 - 10 answers

CS academia vs. industry, with snowflakes

I'm graduating this spring with an undergrad degree in computer science, and I'm lucky enough to have two great postgrad opportunities on the table. But how to choose between a safe and enjoyable industry job vs. attempting the grad school grind to (maybe hopefully) do what I love? [more inside]
posted by serelliya on Feb 15, 2014 - 10 answers

European (para-)academic job search

I'm finishing a Ph.D. in linguistics and am considering looking for a job in Europe, either in the academy or in a related sector such as education, language instruction, academic publishing, etc. What other fields should I be thinking about? And where are such jobs advertised? [more inside]
posted by zeri on Feb 13, 2014 - 4 answers

What do you (temporarily) do with an MA in History?

I'm currently enrolled in a History Ph.D. program and will be eligible to leave with an MA in a couple of months. I've applied to finish my doctorate elsewhere, but, given some recent developments in my department, have decided that I would really rather leave after my MA regardless of whether I get in elsewhere this cycle. Help me brainstorm options. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 8, 2014 - 6 answers

Should I send this letter to a search chair at a SLAC?

I am considering rescinding my application for employment at a SLAC - I am fairly certain they have invited candidates to interview since my initial follow-ups, but have been wholly unresponsive to my questions. The goal of this letter is to change their behavior so that they are not rude during future job searches. I think I would have liked this job, but do not want employment there if the search process is indicative of department dynamics. Letter enclosed. If you think I ought to send it, any suggestions for revision are welcome. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 31, 2014 - 72 answers

The researcher is the subject.

Social science research: How does researching a subject that affects you very personally impact your professional reputation and long-term employment prospects? [more inside]
posted by tippy on Jan 25, 2014 - 9 answers

What should I ask at an academic job interview?

I am starting a two day academic job interview tomorrow. What questions should I ask? Bonus question: Do I want this job? [more inside]
posted by pseudonick on Jan 15, 2014 - 10 answers

Midlife crisis: Suggestions for a career path out of media?

I'm nearly 40 years old and by some measures, successful. I graduated from a top university and have been employed by major companies for nearly 20 years of my professional life. I've grown increasingly dissatisfied with my chosen career though, and I was hoping some of the wise minds here could give me some advice. Details follow. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 13, 2014 - 6 answers

Rethinking being a PhD candidate: whether, when, how, why, & what next?

I am a doctoral candidate and have become increasingly convinced that I no longer want an academic job, and possibly not a PhD either. When/how do I tell my supervisor? (Particulars inside, and apologies in advance about the length.) [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 10, 2014 - 15 answers

Moving beyond Sokal?

I am interested in articles that try to analyze and explain the conflict between the hard and soft sciences. In my casual web surfing I have come across e.g. highly-trained scientists who yet express a deep disdain for fields as open-ended and far-ranging as sociology, feminism, queer theory, postmodernism, and so on, sometimes even economics, psychology. I find such attitudes hard to comprehend, and even disturbing since my educational background is in the applied sciences. Which are the important works that have been done to better understand this ongoing social/intellectual gap, and that are presented in a readable manner for a non-expert?
posted by polymodus on Jan 4, 2014 - 10 answers

Exiting Academia

I just finished up my third semester of a PhD program in information studies. There are parts I like, but as I get deeper into it I'm beginning to realize that those aren't in the majority to the parts I dislike. I have a masters in Library and Information Science and have been keeping an eye on job openings and it seems like there are a number that I would be a great fit for. I'm remembering how much I liked the job when I was in it, and I'd like to exit academia before sinking too much time into it. However, my GAship is providing a steady salary and health benefits. How do I do this in a way that works out well for both me and my adviser? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jan 2, 2014 - 7 answers

High income options for life science PhDs

I am graduating within the next year. I will have my PhD in Pharmacology - 4 first author publications, 1 patent. Several presentations at national conferences in my field. I also have an MS in Biochemistry and a BS in Math. 1 year of experience working as a research specialist in academia. Various extra curricular activities that demonstrate leadership. I want to make 100k a year or more. I want to do this reasonably quickly (within the next 4 years). I do not want to go back to any schooling of any type. What options are available for me?
posted by sickinthehead on Dec 31, 2013 - 11 answers

Low-cost tablets for academics

I would like a low-cost tablet for academic work. Mainly reading and annotating PDFs and scientific papers, note-taking, and brainstorming/checklist-type activities. I have a Nook and barely use it because it's terrible with PDFs and can't do graphics and figures at all, even in the ePub format. I don't know anything about tablets--I don't even own a smartphone--so I have no idea where to start looking, what's appropriate, or what's a reasonable budget to expect. [more inside]
posted by schroedinger on Dec 30, 2013 - 31 answers

Transitioning from academia back to a former job

I'm coming to think that, while I don't hate academia, I'm beginning to like it less and less and have apprehensions about continuing through to my dissertation. I'm in my second year of the PhD program, and have a masters with practical application in the field that I was working in before deciding to continue on to my PhD. The place where I was working, a public library, is now hiring for a position similar to the one that I was in before I left. Typically my master's degree would command a higher salary, and I think I would probably need a little bit more than what they're offering to live comfortably and start paying down my extant debt accrued during my masters (I'm not taking on any new loans, thankfully). I left on great terms, and feel like a really strong candidate for the job with the skills I've gained in the interim, but would only be able to take it with slightly higher salary than they offer now. I loved this job, and it's looking more and more appealing compared to my current experience in academia. What steps should I take to contact the HR department of the library system to a) let them know that I'm interested and suss out how interested they might be in me, and b) talk about flexibility in salary? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 28, 2013 - 2 answers

Is it best to continue my career in academia, or take a different path?

I am a 25 year old woman, and handing in my thesis tonight for a Master’s in English. I am at a crossroads in my life, and it’s making me very confused. My original plan was to go on to complete a Ph. D and become a college professor of English, while working as an adjunct instructor to gain teaching experience. But with the expense of living being what it is, as well as the student debt I’m in, I’m not sure if it’s worth it. Not only will a Doctoral program take me to greater debt, but working as an adjunct wont pay very well at all, and doesn’t come with benefits. I would need to take a handful of other part-time jobs to supplement the adjunct salary, just to pay the bills. [more inside]
posted by summertimesadness1988 on Dec 13, 2013 - 28 answers

From "Did you play football in highschool?" to "Are you up for tenure?"

AcademicClothesFilter: MetaFilter, help me (20ish dude) find a store that sells awesome tweed or professorial-like sportscoats/jackets! I am a beginning academic who hates suits, but soon I will start to teach and go to conferences and will need to "look the part." Thus, I need to update my wardrobe with something thematically between "formal" and "wannabe hipster causal." The hitch is: I am sort-of built like a linebacker, with a very broad chest and very wide shoulders but with a not-quite-commensurately-large bottom torso, and thus sizing can often be an issue for me (i.e., getting more fabric "up top" in generic sizes ends up with billowing fabric down below). Is there any store that sells hot to trot professorial tweed that might fit someone with my body build? Or will I need to get a loose fit and then get it tailored? (Is that... what tailoring is?).
posted by Keter on Nov 28, 2013 - 14 answers

Turning unpublished report into conference paper - self-plagiarism?

I'm trying to turn my masters report into a conference paper. This mainly involves shortening it by many, many pages. Masters reports in my department are not published or even listed online or at the library. The only way anyone could ever read it or even know about it is to ask me or my advisor for a copy. Instead, the way I am sharing the work is to write a conference paper on the same subject. Do I need to cite my own unpublished report? [more inside]
posted by Gravel on Nov 25, 2013 - 9 answers

How soon can I get back in the classroom after giving birth?

How soon can I realistically expect to go back into the classroom after giving birth? [more inside]
posted by mrfuga0 on Nov 6, 2013 - 44 answers

Black turtlenecks, cigarettes, red wine, and Derrida

I'm defending my dissertation next week and the process has wrung all enthusiasm for academia right out of me. The whole enterprise has come to seem like nothing but an anxiety-ridden grind. In my small amount of free time before the defense and during the break I'm allowing myself afterwards, I'd like to read some novels that will delude me into thinking that being an intellectual is kind of, well, hot. Examples and extended description below. [more inside]
posted by pretentious illiterate on Oct 26, 2013 - 19 answers

I'm (no longer) hot for teacher, can I attend his class?

How bad of an idea it is to attend a university class given by a lecturer I've secretly dated? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 15, 2013 - 33 answers

Need help with a difficult professor

I'm a first-year masters student taking a course that is supposed to be the core curriculum of my discipline. My program is in systems ecology. I find myself increasingly frustrated with this professor and increasingly unable to hide it, and now he wants to "meet with me to talk about student-instructor dynamics". I need some help coming up with some strategies to deal with this professionally. Difficulty level: I'm a new graduate student, and he's the director of my program. The program is brand-new (just started spring semester of last year) and this is one of two core courses, both of which are taught by him. His course is so terrible that I'm considering transferring to another program within the university. Excruciating detail inside. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Oct 1, 2013 - 45 answers

Academics: Explain open-access publishing in your discipline!

I'd like to know more about SSRN, Arxiv, PLOS, and other open-access publishing platforms and how they work in your discipline. Do you publish in them? Do they keep you from publishing in other (more prestigious) journals later? Etc. [more inside]
posted by carolinaherrera on Oct 1, 2013 - 9 answers

Moving from academia to consulting

I recently left a tenure-track position(!) for geographic reasons (spouse's job). At this point I am not wedded to staying in the faculty track, and have been applying for admin positions as well as faculty ones. However, I recently saw an ad for an analyst job in a higher ed consulting firm in a topic area where I have experience and interest, and I am very seriously considering applying. I have some questions about how to format my resume and cover letter . [more inside]
posted by pamplemousse of love on Sep 27, 2013 - 8 answers

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