Spring 2016

The 2015-16 Academic Job Search Series is co-sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Services, The Graduate School, and the Career Center.

Note: Most of the seminars will be videorecorded and added to the Duke Postdoctoral Services YouTube Channel. As each video becomes available online, the link will be added to the corresponding seminar description below.

Science and Engineering Seminars

Tues Feb 9, 9:30-10:30 am

WHAT: Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Careers in Academia for Science and Engineering PhDs
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016NonTenure

Want to keep doing research in an academic institution, but not sure you want the same kind of career as your tenured or tenure-track PI? What if you love to teach, or are thinking about an administrative career? Our panel will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of non-tenure-track faculty appointments in the sciences and engineering.


  • Sherilynn Black, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Medical Education, and Director, Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity
  • Tyler Bletsch, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Jennifer Carbrey, Assistant Research Professor, Cell Biology
  • Arthur Moseley, Associate Research Professor and Director of Proteomics, School of Medicine

Watch on the Duke Postdoctoral Services YouTube Channel


Thurs Feb 11, 1-2:30 pm

WHAT: The Postdoc Search for STEM Graduate Students
WHERE: MSRB 1, Room 001
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016PostdocSearch

Are you considering doing a postdoc after graduation? A postdoc is a temporary position that helps you to build skills and resources, gain independence, and develop a professional network in order to obtain a full-time position. Most students are familiar with academic research postdocs, but did you know that there are also postdoctoral positions that involve teaching or working in industry R&D? In this workshop, we will discuss how to conduct a postdoc search, how to find positions, what to look for in a postdoc experience, and how to apply.


Thurs Mar 10, 9:30-10:30 am

WHAT: Non-Faculty Careers in Academia for Science and Engineering PhDs
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016NonFaculty

Teaching and academic research aren’t the only career opportunities at colleges and universities. PhDs are employed in departmental administration, proposal development, science education, student affairs, and career services, to name just a few options. If you have a PhD in the sciences or engineering, this panel will provide a wealth of information about academic career paths you may not have considered.


  • Stephanie Freel, Associate Director, Outreach and Mentorship, Duke Office of Clinical Research (PhD, Oral Biology and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology)
  • Devyn Gillette, Program Director, Duke BioCoRE Program (PhD, Immunology and Microbiology)
  • Jeni Reininga-Craven, Research Development Associate, Duke Office of Research Development (PhD, Genetics)
  • Jory Weintraub, Science Communication Director, Duke Initiative for Science & Society (PhD, Immunology)

Watch on the Duke Postdoctoral Services YouTube Channel


Weds Apr 6, 9:30-11 am

WHAT: “Speaking about Science” with Scott Morgan
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016Science

In evaluations, postdocs say that this workshop is one of the most useful they have ever attended!  This interactive seminar addresses the main issues of good scientific presentations. The core of the workshop is a 7-step preparation process that will help you deliver a clear and engaging talk for a variety of audiences. Topics include:

1) Identifying the theme and focus,
2) How to create effective visual aids, and
3) How to begin and end a talk.

SPEAKER: Scott Morgan has been teaching presentation skills for over 10 years to a variety of clients including the National Institutes of Health, Merck, NASA, and universities including Cornell, Maryland, Minnesota, and UNC-Chapel Hill. He co-authored the book Speaking about Science, published by Cambridge University Press (2006).


Thurs Apr 21, 9:30-11 am

WHAT: Careers in the Duke Surgery Office of Research Development
WHERE: Rm 143 Jones Bldg
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016Surgery

Do you want to stay in a university environment and stay involved in research – just not as a PI? Do you like analyzing and evaluating grant ideas/resources/experimental design? Are you often counted on to be an objective, critical thinker when reviewing documents to make sure there are no gaps in logic or presentation? The Department of Surgery at Duke University has a job opportunity for PhD researchers to remain actively engaged in developing groundbreaking original research in a wide range of topics through our Office of Research Development.

Come to this info session to learn more about the current job opportunity in Duke Surgery’s Office of Research Development, as well as how PhDs can build careers in other areas of academic research development. The speakers will also discuss translatable skills that are sought-after qualities for these types of academic jobs.


  • Lauren Anderson, PhD, Research Development Project Manager, Department of Surgery
    (former Duke postdoc)
  • Gina Della Porta, MHS, DHSc, Director of Research Development, Department of Surgery


Thurs Apr 28, 9-10:30 am

WHAT: Choosing a Postdoc Position: What to Know Before You Go
WHERE: Rm 103 Bryan Research Bldg
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016Postdoc

Do you have a postdoctoral position lined up for after you graduate?  Or are you wondering if doing a postdoc would be worthwhile for your career?  In this panel, current postdocs will share their experiences on applying for postdocs, what to look for in a mentor, and preparing for going on the job market afterwards.


  • Alex Marshall, PhD, SPIRE Fellow, UNC-Chapel Hill (teaching at NCCU)
  • Kathryn Dickerson, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke Neurobiology (winner of the 2015 Outstanding Postdoc at Duke Award)
  • Tony Parolari, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Shoresh Shafei, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, Duke Chemistry


Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars

Weds Feb 24, 11-1 pm

WHAT: The Dialectics of Life History Research: Reflections from Pauli Murray’s Biographer
WHERE: Rubenstein Library, Room 153 (Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room)
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016Pauli

As part of the Pauli Murray Project, The Graduate School will host a workshop, book-signing, and reception featuring scholar and author Patricia Bell-Scott for students, postdocs, and faculty. Bell-Scott, who is professor emerita of women’s studies and human development & family science at the University of Georgia, has studied the life of Durham civil rights activist Pauli Murray for 20 years. She has shared her findings in academic articles, book chapters, the foreword to the 1999 edition of Murray’s family memoir Proud Shoes, and most recently the dual biography The Firebrand and the First Lady: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice, which will be released February 2.

Drawing on the lessons learned in her 30-year career as a scholar and from Pauli Murray’s life, including Murray’s decades-long friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, Bell-Scott will address the following questions:

  • What are the challenges of doing life history research?
  • What are the rewards of this kind of work?
  • How might one’s relationship to the subject change over time? For example, how and why might one shift from scholar-as-observer to scholar-as-advocate or participant-observer?
  • What factors might influence one’s methodology, as well as the form(s) in which one’s findings are shared?


Mon Feb 29, 2:30-4 pm

WHAT: Faculty Careers Beyond the Tenure-Track in the Social Sciences and Humanities
WHERE: Perkins Library 218
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016NonTenureFaculty

Are you looking for a way to maintain your involvement in research, teaching, or service in an academic institution, but not sure you want the same kind of career as tenured or tenure-track faculty in your discipline? Our panel will discuss the opportunities and challenges of faculty positions beyond the tenure-track in the social sciences and humanities.


  • Joan Clifford, PhD, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Romance Studies; Service-Learning Consultant and Director of Community-Based Language Initiatives, Affiliate Faculty, Global Health Institute, Duke University
  • Sarah Crittenden Fuller, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Education Policy Initiative at Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Daniel Vermeer, PhD, Associate Professor of the Practice of Energy and Environment; Executive Director – Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment, Duke University
  • Victoria Szabo, PhD, Associate Research Professor, Art, Art History & Visual Studies and International Comparative Studies; Program Director, Information Science + Information Studies; Director, Digital Humanities Initiative at the Franklin Humanities Institute; Core Faculty, Wired! Lab for Digital Art History & Visual Culture, Duke University

Watch on the Duke Postdoctoral Services YouTube Channel

Weds Mar 2, 3-4:30 pm

WHAT: Managing Your Faculty Career Once You Have a Job with Karen Kelsky (for Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Students and Postdocs)
WHERE: Perkins Library 217
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016Faculty

One of the most elusive achievements of the tenure-track period is work-life balance. With a clear sense of the obligations and challenges of the tenure-track period, you can improve your chances of achieving this balance for a career that is satisfying and life-sustaining. This 90-minute talk explains the basic organization of a successful academic career, and how to avoid the most common pitfalls besetting the naive new assistant professor. Our speaker is Dr. Karen Kelsky, author of The Professor Is In and the blog Pearls of Wisdom, who will join us via webinar.

The talk will address such important topics as learning to say no, understanding departmental politics, handling service obligations, managing your image, and carving out time for research and writing. It will also help you consider how to create and maintain your national reputation and aim for the next job.


Weds Mar 30, 2:30-3:30 pm

WHAT: How to Network Your Way to an Academic Position
WHERE: Perkins Library 217
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016HTNetwork

In today’s increasingly competitive academic job market it is necessary to leverage your networking skills in the job search. Being bright and interested is no longer enough to help you achieve in your academic career – relationships and networks are key to securing the position that is right for you. What rules apply for academic networking and what strategies have proven effective?


Thurs Apr 7, 1-2:30 pm

WHAT: Non-Faculty Academic Jobs in the Humanities and Social Sciences
WHERE: Perkins Library rm 217
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Sping2016NonFaculty

Are you a humanities or social sciences PhD interested in learning more about non-faculty career opportunities in academia? Join our panel discussion to find out what these careers are like, how to locate job opportunities, and how to apply for these types of jobs.


  • Molly Goldwasser, Assistant Vice Provost and Manager of Institutional Assessment and Accreditation, Duke Provost’s Office (EdD, Education Leadership and Policy, Vanderbilt University)
  • Li-Chen Chin, Director of Intercultural Initiatives and Director of Duke International House (PhD, Music Education, University of Oregon)
  • Steve Hicks, Associate Director for Education, Duke University Energy Initiative (EdD, Adult Education and Higher Education Administration, North Carolina State University)

Watch on the Duke Postdoctoral Services YouTube Channel


Seminars for All Postdocs and Graduate Students

Thurs Feb 4, 12-1:30 pm

WHAT: Who’s Getting Tenure-Track Jobs? Research from Chronicle Vitae‘s JobTracker
WHERE: Perkins Library 217
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016Tenure

JobTracker, a new tool created by the Chronicle of Higher Education, is a study of the academic job market for 11 disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences. In this talk, Dr. Maren Wood, lead researcher for this project, will present findings from the first year of data collection, the 2013-14 job cycle.*

The goal of JobTracker is to bring greater transparency to the academic job market by answering key questions:

  • How many tenure-track assistant professor jobs at four-year institutions in North America are listed each year?
  • How many of these jobs are at research-focused institutions? How many at teaching-focused institutions?
  • Who is landing these positions?
  • Can we learn anything from these data about optimal timing for candidates to go on the market—while they’re still ABD, or a certain number of years after finishing the PhD?
  • Do adjunct and visiting jobs ever “turn into” tenure-track positions?

By answering these pressing questions, the findings from JobTracker can help graduate students and recent PhDs make informed decisions about their careers.

SPEAKER: Maren Wood, PhD, is a research consultant and professional development specialist, working exclusively with graduate students and PhDs. She founded Lilli Group Consulting and serves as a research consultant to the American Historical Association and the Chronicle of Higher Education/Vitae, studying academic employment trends and tracking PhD career outcomes. She earned a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

*Target disciplines for this cycle include Anthropology, Communications & Media Studies, Ecology, Economics,  English Literature/Composition and Rhetoric, History, Mathematics, Musicology, Philosophy, Psychology, and Religious Studies.


Fri Feb 5, 12-2 pm

WHAT: Going Public: A Workshop and Discussion with Professor Lee Badgett
WHERE: Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016GoingPublic

Duke faculty, staff, and graduate students: Join us for a workshop and discussion with Professor M. V. Lee Badgett based on her recently published book, The Public Professor: How to Use Your Research to Change the World (NYU Press). Light lunch served.

The Public Professor offers scholars ways to use their ideas, research and knowledge to change the world. The book gives practical strategies for scholars to become more engaged with the public on a variety of fronts: online, in print, at council hearings, even with national legislation.

“Your work can matter, and you can be influential at a public level. But the path to becoming a public professor, influential policy advisor, scholar-activist, valued community resource, or go-to person on an issue is not one that we’re trained to walk as scholars. Using this book to repurpose what you already know about how the world works plus acquiring a few new skills will position you for engagement— being involved and hoping to make a difference— and for impact— actually making a difference.” (from the Introduction to The Public Professor)

Lee Badgett, a veteran policy analyst and public intellectual with over 25 years of experience connecting cutting edge research with policymakers and the public, offers clear and practical advice to scholars looking to engage with the world outside of academia. She shows scholars how to see the big picture, master communicating with new audiences, and build strategic professional networks.


Mon Apr 4, 12-1:30 pm

WHAT: The Teaching Statement and Online Teaching Portfolio: Developing a Professional Online Presence
WHERE: Perkins Library 217
REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/Spring2016TeachingStatement

An electronic web-based professional portfolio is far more practical, portable and more easily kept current than a paper binder for graduate students to be visible to potential employers (such as faculty search committees.) In this hands-on session, led by Dr. Hugh Crumley, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, you will explore the elements of a teaching statement and build the framework for an online portfolio that can include embedded video, links to your teaching materials and consistent navigation that will help search committees review your position applications. You will also look into acquiring your own domain name to professionally brand yourself and prepare to enter a job search. Bring your laptop.