A tweet from @NatureNews alerts to a poll they are running.

Is your career advancement tied to article metrics? What else are administrators looking at? Take our poll http://bit.ly/b9Hib9 Please RT!

I feel confident that my readership would like to have its viewpoint included.
The weirdest thing I noticed about it is that they have options for “Assistant Professor” and “Professor” but no “Associate Professor” on the job title question. Just sloppy? or does Britland academia lack that step?
Actually I noticed that they fail to mention any IRB oversight as well. Since they state they intend to publish the results of the survey this seems an error.

A tweet from @NatureNews alerts to a poll they are running.

Is your career advancement tied to article metrics? What else are administrators looking at? Take our poll http://bit.ly/b9Hib9 Please RT!

I feel confident that my readership would like to have its viewpoint included.
The weirdest thing I noticed about it is that they have options for “Assistant Professor” and “Professor” but no “Associate Professor” on the job title question. Just sloppy? or does Britland academia lack that step?
Actually I noticed that they fail to mention any IRB oversight as well. Since they state they intend to publish the results of the survey this seems an error.

Some academic departments have internal sources of funding to keep the research programs of their faculty limping along if the PI experiences a gap in extramural funding. This is great. It can be a bit of an issue, however, trying to decide who deserves the (most) money.
One way to look at that is as an investment strategy. Your mini-state Department of -ology might be smartest to invest the internal funds in that laboratory that has a chance of regaining extramural funds in short order.
Odyssey has a few thoughts in Bridges to Nowhere:

Many, including myself, would like to see “actively” and “recent” quantified. The current popular suggestion is that recipients need to have submitted at least two proposals in the last twelve months. I don’t think that’s enough. I would make it at least three in the last six months. I’m not necessarily talking about NIH R01-level proposals here. Pretty much anything that would help keep a lab going should count. I don’t see this as too onerous a burden for someone with a viable research program.

Go read and comment.

What a tragedy. Absolutely horrible that someone concluded that the best response to being denied tenure was to shoot the other members of the department.
update: Prior thoughts on the tenure process:
Tenure Criteria During a Downturn in the NIH Budget
PiT on The tenure track and the economic downturn
A Post-Tenure World
Denial of Tenure is not the End of the World

Discussing Talent and Luck

November 16, 2009

Some Twitt chain or other that I was following had me eventually landing on a NYT book review by Steven Pinker which takes a critical approach to Malcolm Gladwell’s new book of essays “What the Dog Saw: and other adventures“. I was particularly struck by this passage:

The common thread in Gladwell’s writing is a kind of populism, which seeks to undermine the ideals of talent, intelligence and analytical prowess in favor of luck, opportunity, experience and intuition. For an apolitical writer like Gladwell, this has the advantage of appealing both to the Horatio Alger right and to the egalitarian left. Unfortunately he wildly overstates his empirical case. It is simply not true that a quarter­back’s rank in the draft is uncorrelated with his success in the pros, that cognitive skills don’t predict a teacher’s effectiveness, that intelligence scores are poorly related to job performance or (the major claim in “Outliers”) that above a minimum I.Q. of 120, higher intelligence does not bring greater intellectual achievements.

Not only because it is the source of some of my own queasiness when reading (and trying to discuss) Gladwell, but also because I fall into this trap when talking about science careers.

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