Advice for new Faculty


Congratulations – you’ve got your first Faculty position and you’re about to start! So you know you have to put together new teaching modules, get some grants and write some kick-ass papers. But in the midst of the head-down craziness of a new position it’s important to keep your eye on the ball. How do you make sure that in two years time you’ve been doing the right things and can progress at your new institution?

1. Get hold of the promotion form for your new institution, start filling it in and update it every 3 months or so. Do the same with the annual appraisal form, hopefully it’s similar to the promotion form! That way you can start building your portfolio and you don’t forget achievements. It also keeps you focused on the activities that you will be evaluated on. Try to talk to people who have sat on the promotion and progression committees to find out if there are other things you need to be doing.

2. Make active decisions about what you want to do rather than getting given jobs. Suggest to your manager potential service roles that fit with your interests & skills. If you’re asked to do something you’d really like to do but you don’t have time for then say that. “I would really love to do that but I currently have these other service/admin roles that prevent me from taking it on – is there a way of making room in my workload for this new job?”

3. Network within your new institution, you never know who will be able to help you out. It’s often easier to ask someone how a new task is done rather than trying to do it yourself from scratch, find those invaluable people who know the ropes.

4. The first 2 years are really tough no matter how well you do so cut yourself some slack. Most of the best things about being an academic never make it onto the promotion or appraisal portfolio. Count the successes & moments of satisfaction: improvements in your teaching evaluations, seeing a student get a concept due to your explanation, getting the funding to do something you are really passionate about, getting a paper published that you’re super-proud of. Don’t dwell on the missed deadlines (there will be many), rejections (there will be many, many) and frustrations (manyn) along the road.

And if you haven’t yet got that ideal academic position we’re hiring a spatial ecology/environmental biology permanent, fully funded, Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin J closing on 18 September 2015.


Yvonne Buckley

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