Stuff Your Mentor Will Tell You
Here are my thoughts about three basic topics: where to look for jobs, how to get involved, and how to structure a tenure letter.
Get Involved Now
- IEEE-USA addresses a broad range of science and policy issues. Select the correct committee and get involved. The Computer Society is the oldest computing society in the US.
- ACM TPC addresses the issues most closely related to computing and public policy. USACM is focused on the computing sciences.
- AAAS has public policy fellowship, an amazing annual meeting, and a long-standing commitment to policy.
Where to Look
- CRA has jobs http://www.cra.org/ads/
- Academic Keys has a mailing list http://www.academickeys.com/
- ACM has a list http://jobs.acm.org.
- Everyone knows to look at The Chronicle, http://chronicle.com/ but not everyone knows that it is too expensive to post jobs there for postdocs, lecturers, and other faculty entry options. So in any faculty search it is important to be on all the relevant mailing lists.
- In security, look for postdocs on IAS Opportunities http://groups.google.com/group/ias-opportunities; the PETS mailing list http://lists.links.org/mailman/listinfo/pet; IACR http://www.iacr.org/news/index.php?p=mailreg; and if usable security is your thing make sure you are on the the little list focused on security and privacy and CHI-ANNOUNCEMENTS@listserv.acm.org the big list.
- There is a site focused on the UK: for jobs in tech
- For industry, in general, do NOT begin with contacting human resources for an opportunity. Use social networking. Use Linked In both to find opportunities and to connect with people in the company.
HR departments, as far as I can tell, exist to keep companies from being sued when telling people,
no. If they want to work with you an actual person (not a
human resource) will contact you.
This is an inclusive, not ordered list. Each of these are questions which have influenced a person`s experience and ability to thrive.
- Appointment unit including when the appointment is shared, adjunct, or courtesy
- Service expectations for joint appointments (shared, adjunct, or courtesy).
- Evaluation or tenure for joint appointments who does annual reviews? Will you have assigned mentors in both departments (shared, adjunct, or courtesy)?
- Tenure standards documents and processes, and statistics. Have they ever tenured a person of your type?
- Starting date is amazingly negotiable. We understand, we had dissertations to finish.
- Start-up ask what has been given in the past. If you know people who graduated 2-3 years before you, ask them.
- Living expenses moving cost, housing allowances. Usually moving requires three quotes from three movers, but sometimes there is a cap. Even if the secretary is clueless, get three quotes.
- Benefits What are they and what percentage is paid by the university?
- Retirement Benefits Under what conditions does the University contribute (e.g., matching, vested, etc.)? When are you vested?
- Leaves Fulbrights, sabaticals, invited leaves, pre-tenure research leaves.
- Tuition benefits for family for those with or planning kids.
- Travel budget and travel policies for when that budget runs out.
- Two body problem help as needed, but this may also be an indicator of culture.
- Facilities & space if you do not ask for it during the negotiation stage you will never get it. The answer will also indicate if the place is well-managed. Are there clear ways to ensure space? Do all doctoral students automatically have space? Are there lab space policies or is it based entirely on whims of chairs and deans?
- Computers and updates on the computers - after the first do you have to raise your own money?
- Office furniture yep, some places take it out of start-up.
- Staff support you can only get theory on this but the theory is an important starting place.
- Salary options twelve month payments for ten months need to start immediately.
- Admitting doctoral students is critical. If you cannot admit doctoral students, your research is at risk. Can you admit a selected student?
- If you have funding can you admit the students for which you have funding?
- Are students committed to faculty upon entering or is there a year or so of open exploration? On one side, when you walk in will there be a student pool from which you can recruit, or will it take a year? Conversely, if you admit a student can you reasonably expect that student to remain on our projects? Either way is fine but planning is different.
- How much funding is required for an admission? Domestic or international tuition? One year or more?
- What are the mechanics of admission? How are students admitted?
- If you have no funding but teach, can you allocated your teaching assistant slots to the doctoral students?
- Normal teaching duties not only specifics to negotiate, but what is the baseline?
- Teaching relief given how often and under what conditions? Is it common?
- Teaching distributions, will you get the graduate seminar in your first year or semester to recruit good students?
- Teaching assistants, can you choose your own TA? Can you use the TA support for your classes to support your students or does the department distribute them all as aid?
- Service what would be considered average, minimal and excellent service? Are junior faculty encouraged to seek excellence in service? How is it documented?
- Consulting is usually alowed but is it supported? How does consulting interact with the intellectual property policy?
- Want to start a company?
Considering which questions apply to your research goals, perceptions of belonging, and requirements. One way to ask the questions is to query the Dean about how things are handled, then ask
some of the more mundane questions to the faculty (e.g., furniture, computing) to evaluate his negotiating stance and transparency. Asking about service can provide insight to the departmental culture,
particularly if service for diversity, inclusion, and belonging is invisible or rewarded.
- What support is in the unit? The larger organizational units? How about the city and state?
- Is the unit integrated with the local entrepreneurial community? How? Can you access that network?
- How is the intellectual property office in terms of responsiveness and support? (For this you must ask other faculty, the Dean will say it is just wonderful.)
- Who else has started a business? Can you meet or talk on the phone with him or her?
- Can you support students with business funds? Has it been done? What changes (e.g., do you have to pay for student space)?
For the Company
I would welcome comments, improvement, advice.
- Appointment title or titles in business titles are never permanent but they do have profound organizational complexity.
- Career Path includes forking options for example, technical versus management long term paths.
- Appointment unit are there five dotted lines?
- Evaluation who actually decides your salary and resource requests? What is the role of those dotted lines?
- Starting date amazingly variable to the degree to which they are negotiable.
- Living expenses moving cost, and housing allowances are all part of living expenses. Usually moving requires three quotes from three movers, but sometimes there is simply a grant.
- Benefits dental, spousal, and if there exist any choice?
- Leaves Fulbright and other wards can be for professionals too, but also to work in the academy or in government.
- Travel policies although corporate travel budgets appear strangely inexhaustible to the academic.
- Two body problem help again ask as needed, but this may also be an indicator of culture.
- Facilities/space because if you do not ask for it during the negotiation stage you will never get it.
- Staff support is something you can only get theory on this but the theory is an important starting place.
- Research support includes ability to obtain interns and jointly supervise students. Can you hire post-docs? What is the budget and who decides?
- How will you be evaluated? in the academy the measures are citations, publications, reviews, and impact. A CAREER grant if often the gold standard. What are the bronze, gold, silver standards for your job?
- Pay is obvious, usually vesting is obvious but always ask for more than the initial offer in terms of salary.
And how your publications are likely to be evaluated, here are three lists:
This is a nice blog post that has some recommendations on how to prepare a package. I particularly like the cover letter recommendations: http://mommyscientist.blogspot.com/2006/08/faculty-packages.html
Also for scientists,with a focus on negotiating salary http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/2006_06_16/tooling_up_salary_negotiation_part_1. (it wasn't my naming scheme, blame me not.)
Congrats! You Got Tenure. How to Write a Promotion Letter
The first semester you are happliy tenured you may get the first request for a tenure letter. Alas, you have not seen many of these. Pay attention to content and form when reading other tenure letters as you participate in reviews.
- State your recommendation up front.
- Introduce yourself, and identify area overlap and differences in terms of reasearch areas.
- Put in a general paragraph about interaction with candidate, identify any Conflict of Interest.
- You get three papers. For each paper, one paragraph includes a two sentence description of the work, a sentence or so about how it fits in the body of knowledge. What is unique? Define its contributions.
- Repeat for paper 2 in one paragraph.
- Repeat for paper 3 in one paragraph.
- Unless you have particular insight, something polite about why do we ask people from outside the institution to talk about this person's teaching? This remains a mystery to me.
- What is the person's overall impact? You may include your thoughts about impact trajectory particularly if you are requested to do so in the letter from the Dean or Chair. Venues of publication, participation in the community, and funding may be discussed here as appropriate for research area.
- Repeat recommendation in closing.