Becoming faculty is a goal for many scientists in academia, but the path is littered with hurdles, challenges and lessons to learn.
According to an ASCB infographic, less than 8% of biology PhD starters in the US will become faculty. Of course, there are many that start the PhD with no aim of becoming faculty, but many do have this goal. And for them, the competition can be fierce.
When the competition is tough, it’s worth arming yourself with as much information as possible. So, my goal over the coming months is to arm all potential faculty with as much information to get them started. This podcast launches the new series about becoming and being academic faculty on the Naturejobs blog. It’s a series of anecdotes from Dori Schafer and Brian Kelch, both faculty members at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Dr Schafer is new to the whole faculty job world (she started her faculty job in April 2015) and is still finding her way around as she moves into her laboratory and unpacks her microscope. Dr Lee has been a faculty member for a few years now, has settled in, but is still learning a lot of new things, especially about how he mentors his postdocs and PhD students. They, and other faculty, stresses just how difficult the job hunt can be. Not just because of the scarcity, but dealing with the emotional roller-coaster that accompanies it. From there they both give an insight into what it’s like actually setting up their labs, hiring staff and mentoring them throughout their careers.
Now I need your help: to develop the up-coming posts I need to hear your stories. So, if you’ve got any stories, experiences, lessons learned, Do’s and Don’ts that you would like to share with a wider audience, and that you think people can benefit from, please get in touch by leaving a comment below.
Update 03/06/2015: Sincere apologies to Brian Kelch, who was originally incorrectly named as Mike Lee in this Naturejobs podcast. The post and podcast have been edited to reflect the change of name.
Check out the other posts in the faculty series: