Graduate Students Gain Insight into the Inner Workings of Academia






On March 10, 2017, the department welcomed Abby Neely (Dartmouth College), Kyla Dahlin (Michigan State University), and Tim Kennedy (University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point) for a series of events related to “Graduate Professionalization in a Changing Institutional Climate.” These three junior faculty, representing a range of types of educational institutions, shared their experiences navigating the academic job market and transitioning to faculty positions. The event aimed to prepare graduate students for success in pursuing academic careers while also giving insight into how expectations and experiences differ across different types of institutions.

Scheduled events allowed graduate students to engage with the visitors in a number of different ways throughout the day. The day began with an informal breakfast gathering, followed by individual meetings for interested students, then brownbag lunches for each geography sub-discipline, culminating in a public panel discussion. Finally, everyone was invited to a reception and dinner for more informal conversations.

Topics covered during the day included, but were not limited to:

  • Discovering and navigating the expectations educational institutions.
  • Strategies for surviving the first year(s) on the job.
  • Developing teaching philosophies and practices.
  • Building strategies for advising and mentorship.
  • Transitioning from PhD to faculty research and scholarship.
  • Undertaking service as a junior faculty member.

It was a lively day of conversations, questions, and reflections that explored the complexities of academic employment.

The event was generously funded by the Geography Department and a professional development grant from the Graduate School. 

Article authored by Nick Lally.

Author: Geography Staff