Fireside Chat — Transitions to Academia: Research, Scholarship, and the Professoriate
Lynne Schrum, University of Utah, USA
A SITE 2006 presentation

Are the things that are good for us professionally toxic for us professionally? (Tom Hammond quoting Glen Bull and Chris Dede)
– what habits of mind for graduate students do you recommend to avoid toxicity?

We all want the cap and gown at the end, but if you don’t learn through the process you won’t have be truly successful
– at Univ of Georgia, each doc student had to spend 5 hours per week doing something related to doctoral work, legitimate peripheral participation
– ask if you are always moving toward the center of the circle (doing your own research, on your own)
– saying no is really hard
— think if something is more a temporary high, or if it really supports your research


Finding balance in one’s personal and professional work is the great challenge
– you can be “sucked dry” through professional work, you have to learn to say “no” even with good opportunities
– you have to say no to get done at some point

Example: creating a website at the current time at George Mason does not count for tenure
– that is not part of evaluation
– we tend to do what gets rewarded, gets us promoted

You don’t want to follow around someone in academe ready to retire, you want to find grad students who are a little ahead of you

Smart money is building on what you have done: When you have defended that dissertation, you have become an expert on that area
– build on the research agenda you suggest at the end of your dissertation
– our search committees want clear lines of research
– looking for a research agenda that fits together, so as you are doing research you want to think how this will or will not add to your personal “corpus” of work and research

Before submitting, make sure you have read lots of articles from the journal!
– you need to do your homework about the journal, see what sorts of things are being published there
– read their website to read what sorts of things
– also look for an evaluation rubric used by reviewers (will include research base, strong literature review, all the pieces you’d find in traditional research article)
– this is true for JTRE

As I said this morning, I love it when people email to ask what your acceptance rate is, how long it will take to get an answer, etc.
– the latter is very important because you
– Journal of Teacher Education takes something like a year and a half to hear back from a journal

Tenure and review: not just important that you publish, it is also WHERE you publish
– acceptance rates are very important for tenure and review
– if more than 50% of the articles are accepted, that journal tends to be respected less
– new term is “top tiered” research journal
– if you have published 20 articles but they are in journals that are not respected by your institution, those may not bbe valued

JTATE just republished article by Dale Niederhauser on publishing articles in edtech journals
– figure out where you want to go: do you want to be in a teaching college or a research 1 institution?
– everyone who just interviewed at an institution represented by a participant had presented at conferences and published

“From Manuscript to Article: Publishing Educational Technology Research” by D.S. Niederhauser, K. Wetzel, & D. L. Lindstrom.

Lynn: one of the things you should legitimately ask of your institution is for an opportunity to participate in research, teaching and service before you leave

Organization: Preparing Future Faculty is active on many campuses

If you are teaching, get someone to evaluate your teaching so you have some EVIDENCE of the quality of that teaching

Pick those who write your letters very carefully: select some who can speak to your research, someone who can speak to your teaching, etc.

You need to be continually purposeful: thinking about what you want to do, where you want to go

When negotiating your first job, ask for protection from committee assignments or too many committee assignments
– committees can eat you up, each class you teach is a new prep
– you want to finish your first year with at least something written besides the laundry list

Keep reading, read everything, take notes on everything: you have to know the literature!

Randomized, quantitative, outcomes based are all keywords for educational research that the federal government has asked for
– the Feds are not interested in anything that smacks of mixed methods
– the questions I am interested in always lead to qualitative research
– for the journal: I am interested in good studies, have published articles with all types of methodologies

Big issues
– it’s hard to randomize kids
– if I think X is a good way to teach mathematics, is it ethical to withhold from another group of students that strategy? (like medicine: withholding a cure for some disease)

It is really important that colleges of education get involved in tracking their graduates and where they go, what they do, etc.

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