Mentoring Discussion Series

Mentoring Discussion Series, Question 3: 

What is the most important thing you learned that helped you finish your dissertation?

Once again, we want to thank everyone who has participated in our discussion series.  Participating is a great way to share your experience and wisdom with hundreds of other scholars.

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

Many people will say this, but setting a schedule is key. My last year of grad school I spent 10am-3pm, Monday-Thursday, in my library carrel writing away. Even on the days when I was stuck, I still went for at least a couple hours to try and move things along. It's your job, and needs to be scheduled that way.

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

Jean is absolutely right! (I just posted a longer reply, but H-net ate my homework!) Pacing is everything. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by assigning too many long papers in too short a time! When I taught 15 hours a week, giving students a first-draft option for term papers, and letting them re-submit an improved version, was noble but ill-advised. Plan your syllabus with the utmost care, and have fun. That's why we chose this path, yes?

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

One mistake/learning experience I had in my first semesters on tenure-track was in deciding what kinds of assignments to give and how much reading to assign. As a Teaching Fellow graduate student, I taught two classes of about 40 each. Moving on to tenure-track, I went to teaching about 300 students per semester. With that many students, requiring the same amount of written work meant grading for days. Also, my students in a regional public university rebelled against the amount of reading I had assigned at the R1 where I attended grad school.

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series

I was helped to avoid a major mistake made by many new professors. When I got my PhD, I could not find a job right away so my alma mater hired me as an adjunct. They gave me an office on a floor away from the rest of the faculty and graduate students. At the time, I was a little miffed because I could not see my friends as easily. Only late in the semester did my mentor explain to me that this was done on purpose, so that I wold learn to behave as a professor instead of as a graduate student. When I moved on to other jobs, I had already made this difficult transition.

Mentoring Discussion Series

Mentoring Discussion Series, Question 2: 

What is the biggest mistake you made (or that one can make) as a new professor?

We want to thank everyone who responded to our first discussion question two weeks ago.  We hope that this exchange will continue and be rewarding for both junior and senior scholars.

Re: Mentoring Discussion Series Launch

You may also end up at a community college. -The course sizes will be smaller but the number of sections will be higher. The base load for my department is 21 contact hours (or 7 sections) per semester. - Smaller sections will allow for more personal interactions with students but you will encounter few history majors, as you'll mostly be teaching survey courses for students needing a gen-ed requirement.

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