All posts by Katharine E. Stewart


On the Right Track

Many faculty candidates and graduate students look on a tenure-track job as their ultimate goal. Of course, getting tenure is usually their ultimate goal, but given the small number of tenure-track openings, just getting a job is a victory. However, getting a job is no assurance of being awarded tenure, as many of us know from painful personal experience or the experiences of our friends or colleagues.

I conduct workshops on the tenure-review process for aspiring and new faculty members and I’v…


Show Us the Grant Money!

Brian Taylor for The Chronicle

In the medical and public-health schools where I’ve spent my career, one of the criteria that we consider when hiring new faculty is their potential for success in obtaining external research funding. Scientific productivity — as measured by research grants and publications — is an important marker of faculty quality in these schools and departments, so search committees are most interested in candidates who show they can compete in these areas. Also, faculty lines …


What’s Taking Them So Long?

Like many midcareer academics, I’ve been an applicant in several job searches and served on several search committees. Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve noticed that my answer to the question “How much information should search committees share with applicants over the course of the search process?” varies, depending on which side of the table I happen to be on.

When I’m the applicant, I want to know as quickly as possible when the search has progressed to its next stage. Has the committee selected…


Perfecting Your Pitch

Some academics are contemptuous about the idea of “selling themselves,” saying that their work should speak for itself and that quality will always be recognized. Perhaps it’s the behavioral scientist in me, but I’m convinced that developing the ability to “sell” or “pitch” a “product” is vital to success in the higher-education world.

Academe is characterized by constant competitions, whether for a coveted full-time faculty position, a long-term grant award, a book contract, or a publication i…


Negotiating With ‘Scientific Eyes’ (or Dad Really Did Know Best)

My father was an engineer and an analytical problem solver. He taught me a lot about how to be a scientist, including how to see with “scientific eyes.” For Dad, that meant seeing what was in front of him: not what he wanted to see, not what was implied, but what was there. “If you’re not sure what you’re seeing, start asking questions,” Dad would say. This lesson has served me well in my research, but I admit I didn’t always apply it to my career decision making.

In my first faculty job search,…