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'Figure it Out'

Writing at Inside Higher Ed's Career Advice blog, Kerry Ann Rockquemore says that often in academia, new tenure-track faculty must learn fundamental skills and strategies to be successful on their own. Rockquemore says new faculty are not explicitly taught non-discipline-specific skills for success, such as:

•How to align my time with the criteria by which I would be evaluated for tenure
•How to establish a healthy and sustainable writing routine
•How to cultivate a broad network of mentors, sponsors, collaborators, and opportunities
•How to keep moving forward in the face of numerous and inevitable rejection that come frequently from academic journals, presses, and funding agencies

Most new-hire assistant professors have to learn these things by figuring them out "through the most ineffective, painful, and time consuming ways possible: trial and error, making humiliating mistakes, and cobbling together bits and pieces of information from assigned mentors," Rockquemore says, later adding "if someone had taught me some foundational skills and strategies before I started my first tenure-track job and walked closely with me through my first year to challenge my limiting beliefs and bad habits as they arose, I would have not only had a fundamentally different physical and emotional experience, I would have been a far more effective teacher, colleague, and scholar than I was having to 'figure it out' as part of some test I didn’t even know I was taking," she adds.
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