Friday, July 26, 2013

Mentoring New Faculty in the Chemical Sciences, Part I (#ResearchCorp #ACS)

So far this summer, I have played a role  in events mentoring graduate students and postdocs planning to enter the professional ranks, training faculty at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions planning to incorporate computational tools in their classrooms, speaking to the public abut the importance of supporting science, supporting science in Santo Domingo, affirming the value of education among my Cottrell Scholar peers, and mentoring my own students. So who else is left to mentor?

How about the lucky few who are just starting faculty positions in chemistry this Fall or last August? Good news is that they have a job. The bad news is that the pressure is truly on them. They have five years to create a research group (that is world-class) from scratch, publish many papers (in high-impact journals), deliver presentations (at the important meetings and several universities), be awarded prizes, obtains small and large grants, and generally be recognized as an expert in something. Meanwhile they must teach their courses, serve on committees in their universities, serve on panels, review articles and grants, organize conferences and workshops, etc. All the while, they should avoid annoying anyone who might sink their case. It might therefore not be surprising that new faculty —no matter how good— need some help in navigating their tenure run. This  is why they need mentoring and the $20,000 question is where do they get it from?

One possible answer for new faculty in the chemical sciences lies in the New Faculty Workshop being held in DC this week for just the second time. I'll say more about it in Part II!

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