Tips for Early-Career Professors

Decorative: "What I wish I knew then what I know now"


"What I Wish I Knew as an Early-Career Professor" (online article): "Just starting out? Worried about your lectures, your students, your time-management skills and more? Eight academics offer up their advice."

The article further elaborates on each of the following suggestions:

1. "Don't underestimate administrative tasks."

  • "My biggest surprise was the diversity of tasks that you become responsible for, and then how little time left there is to accomplish anything."

2. "Less note-grinding, more discussion."

  • "[T]teaching is, to a large degree, performance-based."
  • "[A] discussion would have helped the students understand the texts better than any guided formal textual analysis ever would."

3. "Keep an open mind."

4. "Value your time wisely."

  • "[B]eware the 'chapters in a book syndrome,' whereby you agree to write a chapter for someone else’s edited collection ... taking time away from book-length manuscripts or peer-reviewed journal articles."
  • "[B]ooks and journal articles ... achieve the best visibility, whereas book chapters – while useful for building friends and networks in the discipline – tend to be easily passed over." 

5. "Keep in touch with your mentors."

  • "[M]entors have not only a wealth of experience but a vested interest in the success of their graduates." 
  • This section includes the "“Ruse Three-Point Plan for Success in Academia.”

6. "Nurture a life beyond the academy."

  • This "will help with long-term endurance in meeting professional goals, building towards a reasonable work-life balance, and maintaining mental and physical health."

7. "The importance of being earnest."

8. "Be prepared and seek feedback" (Covers training, time management, and preparation).

  • On training: "[P]rofessional development sessions at your university’s teaching centre ... are great opportunities to talk to colleagues and gain valuable advice about effective course-planning strategies, making large classes interactive and using technology in class."
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