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Career Options

Career Options

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Career Options

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  1. Career Options Gordon Emslie Oklahoma State University

  2. Outline Career Path Options • Company • University • Getting Hired • Making Progress – Role of Research • Tenure – Concept and Reality • Government General Discussion

  3. Graduate Student

  4. Graduate Student Company

  5. Graduate Student Faculty Member Company

  6. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Company

  7. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company

  8. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company

  9. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration

  10. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire

  11. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire

  12. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire Play Golf

  13. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire Play Golf

  14. “Post-Doc” • Also known as • Research associate • NRC Fellow • Postdoctoral Fellow • Midway between being a student and working with students • Not common in other fields (engineering, humanities), but • Golden opportunity to identify yourself

  15. Career Contrast Company/University/Government

  16. Company • Can hire “spontaneously” in response to applicant availability • Generally pays quite well! BUT • No tenure! • Often doing “other people’s work” • Job generally split between centrally and externally funded tasks

  17. University • Typically hire in response to department/university needs • Teaching • Growth • Research initiatives • Opportunities not necessarily well-timed to your availability

  18. Universities (US) • Research I • Research II • 4-Year • Community College • 9-month vs. 12-month; summer salary • Tenure!

  19. University Positions • Research Scientist (affiliated with Research Center) • Research Faculty • Tenure-track faculty (“professor”) • Administration (solving other people’s problems)

  20. Steps to Getting Hired at a University • Graduate (no ABD!!) • Post-doc • Attend (and be noticed at) meetings • Visit institutions in advance (e.g., seminars) • Talk to colleagues; let them know you are/will be available • Try for institutions in the “family”; use advisor’s connections • Review announcements (Physics Today, SolarNews, Chronicle of Higher Education, other) • Secure reference commitments • Prepare “teaching philosophy” and “research goals” • Write thoughtful, institution specific, cover letter (2-3 pages is fine)

  21. The Interview They are in charge! • Seminar – substance and pedagogy • Conversations with future colleagues • Interviews with students • Interviews with administrators • The Department Head

  22. Finalizing the Hire You are in charge!! • Salary • Research Support (students, facilities,…) • Colleagues • Startup Package • Understand the periodic review process • Graduated Teaching Load? • Define expectations clearly

  23. Starting Out as a Faculty Member • Teaching (preparation!) • Graduate student supervision • Seek mentoring by senior faculty • Research • papers • proposals (PI or CoI?) • Accept offers from journal editors, agency directors • Gauge service role (science, university, public) • Time management • Stress management

  24. Tenure • Academic Freedom! • 6-year clock – “eigenstate forcing” • Preparation • Keep comprehensive file updated • Maintain “uniform” productivity • Life after tenure

  25. University Administration • Department Committees • Graduate Coordinator • Department Chair/Head • Dean (College, Graduate) • Center Director • Vice President for Research • Provost • President • Chancellor

  26. Government Laboratory • NASA (GSFC, MSFC, ….) • NRL • NOAO • NOAA • Typically more “project-driven” than university

  27. Government Laboratory (GS) • Hiring by announcement • No salary negotiation! • 1-2 year “probation period” – almost instant tenure! • May have to perform other tasks related to lab operations: • Proposal administration • Mission management • New – Full-Cost Accounting!

  28. The Interview They are in charge! • Seminar – substance, relation to mission of group • Your long-range research plans • Conversations with future colleagues • Interviews with administrators • The Branch Head

  29. Finalizing the Hire You are in charge!! • Salary • Research Support (students, facilities,…) • Startup Package • Understand the periodic review process • Graduated Teaching Load? • Define expectations clearly

  30. Finalizing the Hire You are in charge!! • Salary • Research Support (students, facilities,…) • Startup Package • Understand the periodic review process • Graduated Teaching Load? • Define expectations clearly

  31. Finalizing the Hire You are in charge!! • Salary • Research Support (students, facilities,…) • Startup Package • Understand the periodic review process • Graduated Teaching Load? • Define expectations clearly

  32. Government Laboratory (Contractor) • Most hires are in this category • Company • University affiliate • Hired by/working for company/university • Perform tasks related to mission objectives: • Hardware development • Software development • Subcontract work • Tasks originate/assigned by Government civil servant →Interesting employer/employee relationship!

  33. Government Laboratory Administration • Branch Head • Laboratory Chief (SES) • Science Director • Set goals and direction for laboratory • Still solving other people’s problems

  34. Other Roles in the Community • Government Agency • permanent • “rotator” • Observatory Director • Education & Outreach • Societies & Divisions • Committee member • Officer • Executive Director

  35. Serving Many Masters • Your institution • Teaching • Helping institution realize its goals • Supervision of Graduate Students and Postdocs • Your community • Paper review • Proposal review • Hosting meetings • Forming collaborations • Mission development • Service on Advisory Committees (MOWG, Universe Working Group, Roadmap, Decadal Review,…) • Yourself

  36. Role of Research • Varies by career type • In some fields, not always gauged by funding rate, but… • In Solar Physics, it is! • University • Summer salary • Tenure (and post-tenure support for others) • Government – job assignment • Company – job security

  37. Funding Research • With full-cost accounting, now necessary in virtually all career options • Required $$ ~2  gross salary ~1.5  other • Travel • Publication • Equipment • Subcontracts • Supplies, materials • Requires steady diet of grant-writing activity!

  38. AGE – a timeline/case study

  39. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire 1976-79 Play Golf Glasgow, Harvard

  40. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire 1979 Play Golf Stanford

  41. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire 1981 Play Golf UAH

  42. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire 1991 Play Golf UAH

  43. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire 2004 Play Golf UAH

  44. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire 2004 Play Golf OSU

  45. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire ???? Play Golf

  46. Graduate Student Postdoc Faculty Member Government Laboratory Company Administration Retire ???? Play Golf

  47. Points to Remember • Your professional goals are largely self-motivated However,…. • Paid employment usually entails service beyond your personal and professional goals • Weighing these “extra” obligations is paramount in deciding on a career path • “It’s a wonderful life”