Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back in the saddle again

Well, time to once again try to restart the blog posting bit. A few weeks ago, we had out Enrico Bertini, for a faculty interview and he pointed to the wonderful things he has done on his blog. Needless to say, I was quite impressed and somewhat ashamed for having let this blog largely go without a post for what, now a year or more. Ouch.

Related to this, there have been a few topics as of late that have been pushing me to get back into the spirit of blog posting. Particularly, the issue of communication is one that has really stuck out, human communication and the art of the proposal and faculty interview. The inspiration to comment on these things was largely drawn from our last round of faculty candidates. Although I am technically on sabbatical this spring (sort of, you would have a tough time telling from my actual schedule), the free time has given me the opportunity to pay a bit more attention to our faculty candidates.

Beyond the fact that the bar for faculty candidates is much, much higher than when I interviewed, one of the things that struck me was that there is not a lot of advice about how to give a good faculty interview / talk. It especially crystallized with one of my colleagues (not at ND) who is out on the interview circuit who had been out in industry. For that person, the academic job interview was a huge shift as the quirks of academia can be very confusing.

Now having sat on the faculty search committee for more years than I can remember, I wanted to offer bits of advice that I have gleaned from process, where folks who seemed to be easy shoo-ins fell short, and how folks came in and surprised us. My plan over the next month or two is to focus first on the job talk itself and then to walk through the nuances of the interview and interactions with the chair / dean.

Having recently come out of a NSF panel that was underwhelming, I wanted to also pepper in various bits about how to write a good proposal. Plus, it will give me a bit of inspiration to get off my duff and finally post a slew of proposals and their reviews (yes, really, their reviews) to provide a few more resources for starting PIs.

Above all, the topics give me a bit more of a push to get back into semi-reasonable blog posting intervals. Who knows, there will probably be some neat technical observations coming from our cell phone study and various comments tossed in beyond that. Until then, enjoy.