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The Scholar's Survival Manual

A Road Map for Students, Faculty, and Administrators

Martin H. Krieger

Publication Year: 2013

The product of a lifetime of experience in American universities, The Scholar’s Survival Manual offers advice for students, professors, and administrators on how to get work done, the path to becoming a professor, getting tenured, and making visible contributions to scholarship, as well as serving on promotion and tenure committees. Martin H. Krieger covers a broad cross section of the academic experience from a graduate student's first foray into the job market through retirement. Because advice is notoriously difficult to take and context matters a great deal, Krieger has allowed his ideas to percolate through dozens of discussions. Some of the advice is instrumental, matters of expediency; some demands our highest aspirations. Readers may open the book at any place and begin reading; for the more systematic there is a detailed table of contents. Krieger’s tone is direct, an approach born of the knowledge that students and professors too often ignore suggestions that would have prevented them from becoming academic roadkill. This essential book will help readers sidestep a similar fate.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Praise, Title Page, Copyright, Contents

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pp. 2-6

Quick Guide to Contents

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pp. vi-7


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pp. vii-xiv

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pp. xv-xxiv

You know everything in this book. My job is to remind you of what you already know, make you more likely to do the right thing the first time. Here is occasional advice about how to survive and thrive, to do your personal best, and to recover from mistakes – from graduate school through an academic career in the professoriate and university...


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pp. xxv-xxvi

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A Way into This Guide

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pp. xxvii-xxviii

The advice and counsel I offer is contextual, arising in particular situations, with some sensitivity to your nature (although that is quite difficult to achieve for an unknown reader, and that advice is not too forgiving). In the academic life, there are a small number of questions that recur again and again, and so there are parts of the book...


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pp. xxix-2

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1. Graduate School (Essays #1–54)

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pp. 3-51

Hans Bethe (1906–2005) was a Nobel Prize–winning physicist known for his capacity to solve problems, moving through them much as would an armored tank. He was conservative and cautious in choosing problems and areas in which to work. He recognized his strengths and his limitations. And he believed that the empirical data and the theory must...

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2. Writing (#55–95)

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pp. 52-84

Learn to write clear prose, with grammar and diction that do not call attention to your writing. It is perhaps remarkable that some doctoral students cannot write straightforward sentences and paragraphs, but it is unimaginable that they do not learn as soon as possible how to do much better. I am told by colleagues in the natural sciences, engineering...

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3. Getting Done (#96–112)

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pp. 85-103

Moses did not make it into the Promised Land, but it is better that you get done, file your dissertation, and get a suitable academic or nonacademic position or pursue your other goals. If you plan to have an academic job in the fall, you really need to be almost done by mid-summer, so you can have your oral defense. Looking for a job is demanding. A year early, you...

4. Getting the First Job (#113–150)

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pp. 104-142

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5. Junior & Probationary Faculty (#151–174)

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pp. 143-170

Universities are bureaucracies. They provide for five-to-seven-year probationary periods for new professors (assistant professors), although a small number of universities or departments have longer periods. (And many European universities have shorter probationary periods, but much more demanding subsequent promotion criteria.) There is...

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6. Grants, Fellowships, & Other Pecuniary Resources (#175–183)

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pp. 171-180

“Incentivizing research” typically means faculty bringing in sponsored research contracts and grants, time off from teaching to do research, research assistance, and, crucially, overhead. This may have little to do with much important work...

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7. Your Career (#184–219)

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pp. 181-218

You are more in control of your career and grades than perhaps you imagine.
1. If you want to do excellent work, you need to do more, and with more care and attention to detail, than is normally expected. Excellent work is not just a bit better, it is much better. (If you think it is a matter...

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8. Tenure & Promotion (#220–290)

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pp. 219-294

Tenure is lifetime employment at your university (no guarantee of pay level or advancement), with an obligation to teach and write well, once you have proven yourself during a probationary period.
1. Say you are hired as a new assistant professor soon after finishing your PhD or a postdoctoral appointment or some other terminal degree...

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9. After Tenure – Associate & Full Professorship (#291–307)

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pp. 295-309

What do professors do during the summer, when they are not teaching? They are doing their research. Since most are on a nine-month salary, they may well be spending the time at their summer cottage, or their lab or an archive, or their office and the university library, working. The...

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10. Scholarly & Academic Ethos (#308–391)

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pp. 310-357

Some of you may wonder if it is you or your professor who gets you a job. First of all, no one in academic history ever got a job purely “on their own merit.” Others who had authority had to put the weight of their experience and authority behind them. Second, there are many strong candidates for any single position. The chosen one is to some extent arbitrary...

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11. Stronger Faculties & Stronger Institutions (#392–420)

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pp. 358-380

The Shape of the River (W. Bowen and D. Bok, 1998) is about selective colleges and race-sensitive admissions. College admissions at non-selective colleges admit any qualified applicant; at selective colleges, admission is based on a very wide variety of factors, academic qualification being in effect a minor factor. Post-college success is directly related to the selectivity...

About the Author

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pp. 381-416

E-ISBN-13: 9780253010711
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253010551

Page Count: 416
Publication Year: 2013