Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: The Professor Is In

The Professor Is In
Karen Kelsky PhD

If you are thinking about a PhD, in the process of completing a PhD or have one and find yourself looking for the elusive tenure-track position, then this is a book you can't afford to miss. Dr. Kelsky demystifies the process of a tenure-track job by explaining how it actually works, from the onset when a department decides to create an open position to what the selection committee is looking for, right up to how a possible candidate is selected.

This book is full of good advice, from how to improve documents such as a professional CV or grant proposal, to what to wear to a job interview. This type of advice is not always readily available from advisers, mentors or academic departments and what makes it more reliable is the fact that Dr. Kelsky was a tenure-track professor. She therefore has the inside information that graduate students and post-doctorates need.

For those of you who think you have become a bit of a failure because you haven't found a permanent position or a tenure-track position think again. Dr. Kelsky gives some advice about seeking employment outside the academic world. In fact, she has a list of skills you may have acquired in your pursuit for a higher degree that may translate well in the nonacademic world.

Hopefully, future students will read the chapter entitled "Debt and Ethical Advising", which should make one think long and hard about how much debt one can reasonably expect to incur and actually pay off. While I wouldn't want to discourage someone from attempting a graduate degree, I think these days it has to be done with some realistic financial planning and a realization that the tenure-track jobs that used to be readily available, are no longer there and the positions that are may not make the financial investment worth it.

If this book taught me one thing, it is the fact that graduate students and post-doctorates must not rely on others, be they academic advisers, financial advisers or mentors, they must make sound judgments based on their own experience and research. For that reason alone this book is invaluable.

Review copy provided by in exchange for an honest review.

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