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The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career: A Portable Mentor for Scholars from Graduate School through Tenure Paperback – January 15, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Guides to Academic Life
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (January 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226301516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226301518
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Is a career as a professor the right choice for you? If you are a graduate student, how can you clear the hurdles successfully and position yourself for academic employment? What's the best way to prepare for a job interview, and how can you maximize your chances of landing a job that suits you? What happens if you don't receive an offer? How does the tenure process work, and how do faculty members cope with the multiple and conflicting day-to-day demands?

With a perpetually tight job market in the traditional academic fields, the road to an academic career for many aspiring scholars will often be a rocky and frustrating one. Where can they turn for good, frank answers to their questions? Here, three distinguished scholars--with more than 75 years of combined experience--talk openly about what's good and what's not so good about academia, as a place to work and a way of life.

Written as an informal conversation among colleagues, the book is packed with inside information--about finding a mentor, avoiding pitfalls when writing a dissertation, negotiating the job listings, and much more. The three authors' distinctive opinions and strategies offer the reader multiple perspectives on typical problems. With rare candor and insight, they talk about such tough issues as departmental politics, dual-career marriages, and sexual harassment. Rounding out the discussion are short essays that offer the "inside track" on financing graduate education, publishing the first book, and leaving academia for the corporate world.

This helpful guide is for anyone who has ever wondered what the fascinating and challenging world of academia might hold in store.

About the Author

John A. Goldsmith is the Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor in, and former chair of, the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago.

John Komlos is a professor of economics, chair of the Institute of Economic History, and a former chair of the economics department at the University of Munich.

Penny Schine Gold is a professor of history at Knox college and past chair of the Women's Studies Program.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By J. Larson-Hall on March 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
I personally love this book and find it to be much more interesting, and in some ways informative, than a similar book I have which is a bit more clinical in its approach. It's full of personal anecdotes and lots of advice that I enjoyed. And why should anyone get mad just because the two white, male professors said they have not noticed any discrimination against women in their fields? They don't say there isn't any, and indeed, give some statistics and information to say there probably *is* discrimination, but of a more covert manner than in the past. This book has a chapter that my other book doesn't on counteroffers and moving around in academia, how to negotiate family and the 'two-body' problem, and other more intimate advice than some other books give. The authors seem to recognize that academics is not all about publishing, teaching, and service. It involves many other aspects of your life, and they touch on them. That said, a 3-hour chat with 3 of your own professors may be just as informative as this book, but the problem is getting your professors to sit down and have that chat with you! Here you get those 3 hours for a low price and can consult them later. I like the fact that these 3 don't hold themselves up as ultimate authorities, but simply as 3 different viewpoints of an academic life.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Erica C on March 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a PhD student, I would say that this book is more useful for two groups of people: 1) those who are thinking of going through a phd program and becoming professors, and 2) for advanced phd students who are getting to the job market. This book is lacking in useful advice for funding, staging the phd progress and conducting research, which is why I originally bought it. (It might be better titled as "guide to the academic job market and working conditions")

Also, the conversational style of dialog between the three professors straight-up bugs me, like they couldn't find an editor to synthesize their opinions in a clear fashion. Sometimes the attribution of stories and experiences to the particular professor is good, but most of the time, it's just distracting.

Good points are things like the major major concern about going for all kinds of funding and not racking up a hundred thousand dollars in student loans if you're not in law or medical school. Also problems of being a female academic and balancing career track with marriage/family goals.

So in all, good advice, but you really have to wade through the tedious conversational style to get to the gems. (Now some people might like that format, but ask any good ethnographer- you shouldn't include every single part of what people say when you write up your research.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By lmcclosk on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
The authors share their experience in the development of their own careers and the observations they have made along the way for American research universities (U of Chicago) and four-year colleges (Knox). I have recommended this book to a number of my doctoral students or young assistant professors, and it is full of sound advice and insight. Of most importance is that the authors offer an analysis of the social and intellectual context of an academic career. It is this guidebook to thinking about one's own role, place, department, ideals that is invaluable: for instance, what is the "culture" of the institution you've joined (which may be quite different from your graduate program)? Find an area in your teaching or research that you are excited about, and focus on your passions. Beware of the demands on your time in your role as a professor which are irrelevant to your earning tenure. it is unrealistic to expect that anyone will have candid mentors every step of the way in their career, and these authors lend you a bridge from job seeking as a graduate student to tenure. The book compiles interviews with the authors, and is highly readable. Although it was published more than a decade ago (2011), things haven't changed too much. They have changed, some, however: showing skill in on-line education, for instance, is a plus because most older faculty don't want to offer on-line courses but in response to administrative pressure they know their department will be expected to meet this demand; appearing entrepreneurial in winning external funding, with federal funding in virtual decline; publishing in on-line only journals - it is very important for authors who have published in these outlets to be able to demonstrate a peer review process. Also, fewer and fewer departments are hiring tenure-track faculty, as they did in the 90's', and a "career" as adjunct or "clinical" or lecturer has become more common.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Thompson on December 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Earlier this year, I was having trouble deciding whether what I could get in academia was what I wanted out of life (I have been out of college and working for 2 years).

This book was a very big help in making that decision. The multiple perspectives from all 3 authors helps place the emphasis on the fact that you need to weigh all the factors to make these decisions about your academic career.

After seeing some of the positives and negatives of academic life in this book, I am convinced that the positives of what I can do in my career will far outweigh the negatives. And in the future, I will be able to refer back to this book when I need to be reminded of things about the dissertation, the job search, etc.
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