[Air-L] query: topics that don't get talked about (enough) inacademia?

Sarah Oates s.oates at lbss.gla.ac.uk
Wed Nov 10 09:34:10 PST 2010

Hi, just a few thoughts (and you might already do somethis): 
Gender issues -- I think useful for men and women to reflect upon this, you could include issues surrounding parenthood here. I think there is a lot to negotiate (timing, childcare, how it might affect your career trajectory in other practical or political terms) 
Rights, responsibilities and respect. I think we don't talk enough about respect in academia -- both in terms of one's own behaviour, but also in terms of one should expect from colleagues and the profession (for example, I will never figure out why it's OK not to send the merest note back to people rejected on job searches -- and I say this after sitting on big searches that have contacted every single person with a polite note). These are the future academics -- sometimes I think useful in terms of training not only to say 'this is how it works' but also 'this is how it could be better'. I think it just as important to warn people about bullies and teach them how to deal with them as it is to train people that there is a better way. 
Negotiating change. We are in a financial crisis right now but I think a lot would agree that change or even the threat of change is pretty constant in the academic workplace. How do you deal with the stresses of budget cuts, for example? I wish I had understood just how much uncertainty academics face about things because it can look rather static and serene from a distance. 
Knowing when to say no. (I think we all need some extra training in this). I think the biggest one is when we're asked to do something for which we are not trained, particularly in terms of counseling students on problems (academic yes, mental health no).  Being nice is often not the best option for you or the student. 
Building consensus and coalitions. Universities are complex places. I think one of the toughest things for new academics is realising that while they may have a great idea for a new programme, course, etc., that there tend to be a lot of constituencies involved with anything at universities. 
I assume the stalker training is 'dealing with' and not 'how to'!  
Sounds like you're doing a good job in helping them make the leap from student to academic. 
Sarah Oates
Professor of Political Communication
School of Social and Political Sciences
Adam Smith Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8RT
Email: sarah.oates at glasgow.ac.uk
Website: www.media-politics.com <http://www.media-politics.com/> 
Telephone: (0)141 330 5124
The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401


From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org on behalf of Nancy Van House
Sent: Mon 08/11/2010 15:57
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: [Air-L] query: topics that don't get talked about (enough) inacademia?

Spring semester I'm teaching our on-going seminar for doctoral students that
addresses various topics related to being a researcher and, to a lesser
degree, teaching.

My spring theme: topics that don't get talked about, or not enough, or not
frankly enough.


Some examples:
-conflicts over co-authorship -- who's included, how names are ordered
-conflicts among collaborators/co-authors
-dealing with colleagues who are bullies
-reviewing, and responding to reviewers
-various problems with students, in class and out.  The ordinary ones; and
the extraordinary (e.g., stalking)

**What were YOU not sufficiently prepared to face when you first finished
your PhD?** Or, as a PhD student, what would you want such a seminar to


Nancy Van House
Professor, School of Information
102 South Hall #4600
University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-4600
voice 510.642.0855   fax 510.642.5814
Office: 307A South Hall
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