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  • A Survival Guide for New Faculty Members: Outlining the Keys to Success for Promotion and Tenure by Jeffrey P. Bakken and Cynthia D. Simpson
  • Neete Saha and Mark Kretovics
Jeffrey P. Bakken and Cynthia D. Simpson (2011). A Survival Guide for New Faculty Members: Outlining the Keys to Success for Promotion and Tenure. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publishers, 258 pp. Paper: $55.95. ISBN: 978-0-3980-8629-9.

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A Survival Guide for New Faculty Members: Outlining the Keys to Success for Promotion and Tenure by Jeffrey Bakken and Cynthia Simpson is a must-read monograph for new faculty members, recent Ph.D. graduates looking for faculty positions, and Ph.D. students interested in the pursuit of professorship. Charles McGuire, Associate Vice President for Academic Administration at the Illinois State University, begins the foreword: “It’s the book that we all wish we had available when we first entered the job market” (p. vii). Yes, it is indeed.

A Survival Guide for New Faculty Members is comprised of numerous practical tips based on the many years of professional and personal experiences of the authors in academia, which are eloquently presented to guide the newcomers in the field. This volume contributes to the limited scholarship available in the area of tenure and promotion and is undoubtedly a valuable resource for doctoral students and new faculty members.

Bakken and Simpson divide the book into three parts: “The Basic Fundamentals,” “The Nuts and Bolts of Success,” and “The Final Steps.” “The Basic Fundamentals” section covers how and where to search for faculty positions, how positions vary by institution types, what should be included in the application materials, what types of questions are expected during a phone interview, what to ask during a campus visit, and finally, how to respond to a job offer. This section provides information on practical resources such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, Higher Ed Jobs (), and Academic 360 ( in searching for jobs and how to use indexes to narrow down one’s job search.

The authors divide institutions into three types: Research I, teaching, and institutions that are a combination of teaching and research. However, it is important to note that there are other types of institutions that potential faculty may wish to consider, most notably liberal arts colleges, community colleges, historically Black colleges/universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions (Hirt, 2006).

Those with a job offer will benefit from this section as the authors discuss class load based on institution type and provide insight into the “hidden or unspoken rules” that new faculty members should understand (p. 43). For instance, “One of the often ‘hidden’ rules of the university is that you are visible to tenured faculty. Remember, it is the tenured faculty that will eventually vote on your own tenure status” (p. 43). The authors also recommend that new faculty members learn about the curriculum, programs, and external and internal funding opportunities available in their respective college or department. In addition to being aware of the campus culture and what is available at the program and college level, the authors urge learning about faculty training, faculty mentors, and faculty evaluation.

“Teaching, Research, and Service” were the topics for the Part 2, cleverly titled “The Nuts and Bolts of Success” due to the weight these three components carry for promotion and tenure. The chapter on teaching focuses on several important topics such as class load and schedule, course teams, syllabus development, assessments, teaching style, technology and support, student issues, faculty expectations, and how to fulfill these responsibilities successfully. For instance, Bakken and Simpson suggest that being part of an instructional course team can be beneficial in helping new faculty members learn how other faculty members teach the same course including such topics as content covered, choice of text, type of assessments, and grading standards. If such teams are not available, they suggest talking to faculty members who are also teaching the same course and perhaps starting a new instructional course team.

Bakken and Simpson strongly emphasize the importance of research and scholarly activity by staying focused on teaching, publications, presentations, and grants. For new faculty at institutions where scholarly...


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