Spring 2020

The 2019-20 Academic Job Search Series is co-sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Services, The Graduate School, and the Career Center.

Thurs Jan 23, 12-1 pm 

WHAT:  Careers in Academic Administration
WHERE:  Carpenter Conference Room, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
REGISTER: https://gradschool.duke.edu/student-life/events/careers-academic-administration

You like working in academia, but you want to explore options for careers beyond tenure-track and teaching-focused positions. This overview will introduce you to major categories of employment opportunities in academic administration and help you get started in exploring the options of greatest interest.

Speaker: Melissa Bostrom, PhD, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development

Tues Jan 28,  9:30-10:30 am 

WHAT: Leaving the Ivory Tower: Managing the Emotional Side of Career Change
WHERE: Room 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: https://tinyurl.com/Spring2020Ivory

A large part of how we define ourselves and how others define us is based on what we do for a living – our professional identity. But what happens when we are no longer a [fill in the blank]? How do we deal with the loss of self, the loss of professional status, the loss of affiliation with an elite group that we’ve been aligned with as long as we can remember?

The overall loss of identity that we feel when we decide to leave academia is comparable to healing after the loss of a loved one or after the breakup of a long-term, and possibly dysfunctional, relationship. Letting go can be difficult, but we have to let go and give ourselves permission to grieve before reaching a point where we are ready to commit to making a career change.

In this informative session, participants will learn about the emotional obstacles that can keep us stuck in an academic career path that is no longer fulfilling. Participants will also learn how former postdocs and graduate students found the courage to follow a more rewarding career path.

Dara Wilson-Grant, Associate Director of the UNC Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, will discuss:

  • Strategies for letting go and moving on to form, and eventually embrace, a new professional identity.
  • Resources that can help you navigate through the transition phase and into a more rewarding career.

Weds Feb 12,  12-1:30 pm 

WHAT: Honing Your Versatility as a Future Faculty Member (for Humanities and Interpretive Social Sciences)
WHERE: Upper East Side (East Student Union, East Campus)
REGISTER: https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_51M3opaFutvaMpn

Higher education is far from monolithic, yet it’s a challenge for many doctoral students to get a full understanding of what faculty roles and teaching duties entail at different colleges and universities. In this lively lunchtime conversation, six visiting faculty—all 2019-2020 Fellows through Duke’s Mellon Humanities Unbounded grant—share an insider view of faculty life at institutions beyond the R1 university. What are the joys and challenges of these roles? What might doctoral students expect in different educational settings, and how can they best prepare to teach in a rapidly changing higher ed landscape?

Special Guests:

  • Garry Bertholf, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Wesleyan University
  • Collie Fulford, Associate Professor of English Composition and Rhetoric, North Carolina Central University
  • Craig Quintero, Associate Professor of Theater and Dance, Grinnell College
  • Eva Michelle Wheeler, Associate Professor of Spanish, Oakwood University
  • Lisa Blair, Instructor of French and Spanish, Durham Technical Community College (with Patricia Bass, Duke doctoral student)
  • Marina DelVecchio, Instructor of English and Women’s Studies, Durham Technical Community College (with Maggie McDowell, Duke doctoral student)

Tues Feb 25, 9:30-11 am

WHAT: Managing Your Research Career Using an Individual Development Plan (IDP)
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: https://tinyurl.com/Spring2020RCRIDP

For better or for worse, your experiences and the training you receive as graduate students and postdoctoral researchers can greatly impact and shape the rest of your career. However, there are strategies and resources that can enhance your chances of getting what you came for. During this program participants will learn how to develop clear and specific goals and objectives, along with a plan for executing them. Topics covered include:

  • The importance of setting goals and developing an IDP
  • Introduction to the SMART goals model
  • Resources for crafting and executing your IDP
  • Strategies for establishing expectations and effectively communicating research and career goals with your mentor/PI

Speaker: Dara Wilson-Grant is the Associate Director at the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and a National Certified Career Counselor. With over fifteen years experience providing career management education and counseling, Dara’s mission is to help individuals develop a framework for choosing a meaningful and rewarding career path, plus develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of career success.

NOTE: This seminar provides Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit. Duke postdoctoral appointees are required to have yearly RCR training, as outlined at http://ors.duke.edu/orsmanual/rcr-postdoctoral-researchers.

Tues Feb 28,  10-11 am 

WHAT: STEM Faculty Careers Beyond R1 Institutions
WHERE: MSRBIII (3 Genome Court), Rm 1125
REGISTER: Graduate students register at Career Connections; postdocs register at https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_efZ0q9QB0p5pkzz

Academic positions can take many forms depending on the institution. The average day at an R-1 institution is very different compared to a liberal arts college or a community college. In this panel session, STEM faculty from various types of institutions beyond R1 will discuss their career path, how they prepared to go on the academic job market, and how academic hiring and promotion work. They will also discuss the split between research, teaching, and service, as well as work-life balance.


  • Jason Andrus, PhD (Microbiology), Professor of Biological Sciences, Meredith College
  • Meghan Blackledge, PhD (’11 Chemistry), Assistant Professor of Chemistry at High Point University
  • Lauren Lowman, PhD (’18 CEE, ’10 BA Public Policy), Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University

Thurs Apr 9, 2-3:30 pm 

WHAT: National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity Webinar: Mastering Academic Time Management: Transitioning to a Faculty Role
REGISTER: https://www.facultydiversity.org/webinars/masteringtime20

New faculty members commonly describe:- Working long hours but making little progress on their research and writing.

  • A sense of loneliness that stems from limited mentoring and community.
  • Feeling unsupported in their desire for work-family balance and without the skills to achieve it.

Wondering whether the academic path is the right career choice.This webinar is specifically designed to address these issues and provide participants with concrete skills to successfully transition from graduate student/postdoc to professor. Specifically, participants will learn:

  • The three biggest mistakes that new faculty make in managing their time
  • Why and how to align work time with institutional and personal priorities
  • How to create time for academic writing and research
  • How to organize a network of support and accountability for writing productivity and balance

Duke graduate students and postdocs are invited to activate a free membership to the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD). Benefits include webinars, multi-week courses, a discussion forum, a resource library, a career center, and more. Visit http://www.facultydiversity.org/ and register as an Institutional Sub-account Member. You must use your Duke email address for registration.