I am increasingly of the opinion that fellowships should be one-shot-and-out. too much distraction pursuing these. I mean seriously that works out to like 2 years trying to get a fellowship to work on the graduate studies? just do the work and get done!!!!


Just heard the bad news… my NINDS F31-A1 won’t be funded (20, 23%). My PO is out of town for at least two weeks, and trying to figure out if I should:

a) Submit a new F31 to another agency
b) Submit a R21 to NINDS
c) Submit an RO1 to NINDS

Of course, I am planning on modifying the proposal some, but just not sure “how different” it needs to be. I’m also worried that although my F31 scores were strong, if I move into the R-grants they may be tougher on the proposal and I may not be so successful. I really appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

HAHHAAHAHAHAHA. And there are at least two followup comments commiserating without observing that graduate students usually cannot submit R mechanism grants and even if a University was this stupid, the thing would not receive a good score.

The Dean's Hire

September 7, 2011

Once upon a time, lo these many years ago, I was watching some career shenanigans in an Academic Department of -ology dear to my professional heart. It was a time in which the University in question was trying to improve the diversity of the professorial staff for a number of reasons. This Department was blessed by the Dean with at least two Dean’s Hires.

This refers, in my parlance, to an Assistant Professor line that the University does not count against the Departmental allocation. A Department’s ability to hire new faculty is often regulated by the University and the number of ‘slots’ afforded a Department across time is jealously negotiated. Sometimes, the Dean (or Assistant Vice Provost or whatever) will pick up some of the costs that are usually assessed to the Department as well.

Resulting in a “free” faculty member.

Yay Department of -ology! Free suckers to teach the boring Intro classes. Amirite?

Yes. Well, unless the Department has a little problem with hiring diversity for a reason. However you care to characterize it or dress it up with language about “our standards”* there might just be a leeeetle problemo with the attitude of the rest of the faculty. Or at least a voting majority. Or hell, merely a minority can be a problem if the success of new faculty hinges on the enthusiastic mentoring, assisting and collaborating coming from senior faculty. And it does, my friends, it most assuredly does.

Because if there is a leeeetle problemo, the fate of the Dean’s Hire Assistant Professor is sealed before she so much as sets foot on campus and starts designing her new laboratory.

A problem because she starts getting screwed over by the failure of the Department faculty to help her out. Oh, I’m sure they are totally unconscious of their bias. Death of a thousand cuts that in isolation look like no big deal. Except for the blatantly racist and unfair whispering and not-so-whispery** water cooler campaign.

And of course, come time for promotion decisions, well, they have standards, doncha know. It is totally irrelevant that the current person surpasses the standard met by several of the older faculty upon their tenure decision years ago. Irrelevant! The standards are what we claim they are now. Well, yes, we made an exception for OldBoyJr a few years back but….well, he was good straight white folk and trained with some other good straight white folk and dammit, we just like him. Whoops, I mean, “he shows great promise of making a sustained and significant contribution to irrelevant backwater sub-sub-sub-ology that we happen to like around these here parts“.


This was all spurred by a Tweet from @CackleofRad who wondered how to advertise positions to a diverse pool of faculty candidates. It emerged that the University was unhappy with the representative-ness of a Department. My point is pressure from above to hire someone, anyone*** can be counterproductive if there are substantial and entrenched attitudes of the faculty that brought that situation about in the first place.
**hahaha, dudes you do realize that any fool graduate student can assess your CV, right?

**in the hearing of all and sundry fool graduate students, of course

***it is true that I do favor this approach of “just get some overt recognizable diversity by any means necessary”. However it is not the stopping point to hire some less-pasty faces. And it can be really friggin hard on the new hire.