Where I left off last week… Let me add a side note that yes I said “last week”… I had talked about the wonders of creating this great plan for the next 5 years of my life in academia that I would follow to the letter of the law. Yes, I would follow it and use it to save my life from too much work or anything that did not fit into my vision of a successful journey to promotion and tenure… Well,I went to a nearby university to meet with several science educators for a week of advising. Prior to visiting, I sent a copy of my CV and my 5-year plan. (If you want to review the basis of the document and a small excerpt click over to my previous post.) When we sat down to talk about this document, they said you need to cull the document. WHAT!!! It is so doable. I mean 13 pages of work and 7 or 8 research ideas with the outreach ideas and of course the kitchen sink was obtainable because I’m Super Woman. [Right now I really want a Super Woman outfit!!!!. Maybe those really cute Superman socks that RG3 has made famous or let’s go with the Wonder Woman socks.] Now if you are wondering, what does a Super Woman science educator look like I suggest you look at the work of Julie Luft, Dale Baker or Carla Zembal-Saul . [The male version might be Jon Pedersen, Troy Sadler or Jan van Driel.] These and many more educators (just in case someone else super awesome is reading my blog…) that seem to be superhuman by juggling all that they do: teaching, research, service. Yeah, my position has me doing that but I can’t seem to do it at the same level as these superhuman individuals. One thing my fellow assistant professors, WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THEM. At least not yet.
The advice I received from the science educators was invaluable. I had never once considered that my role models (many listed on this page) had been at this for years. My plans were appropriate if I was of one of them but I’m not. Here is what they suggested that I do to narrow down my items:
1. Year 1: Focus on only getting out your dissertation. Don’t collect any new data, start a new agenda nor a new project. Save it till you get the dissertation out the door.
2. What is your research interest? Stick to it. Don’t deviate from this idea in your teaching, scholarship and service. Or whatever your appointment is for. Focus on that one/two ideas.
3. What do you like to do? Pick something that you could pursue for a long time. The others are fillers and may take you further from your research agenda in the long run.
4. Be careful of who you work with. You may have been invited into something super awesome but you may do tons of work and it is not in your area. Or they are in your area but it is not exactly what you are super excited about. Know if you can work with the other person(s) to finish the task.
I know there is probably a few more things that they suggested but this is a nice start. If you want more ideas, let me know and I’ll be sure to pass on more things as I think of them.