SYLLABUS SPRING 2021
My favorite course to teach starts now! Here's my syllabus for my graduate seminar in professional development and career planning.
SYLLABUS SPRING 2021
In my professional development seminar, we have a week on grant writing. Of course, the topic of grant writing could be (and frequently is) a course in itself, so what I cover in 2.5 hours is really only an overview and primer on thinking about grants.
Research grants are not only relevant to faculty; they might fit into your career at several different stages.
[I got really excited about PowerPoint’s SmartArt feature this past semester]
In terms of graduate students, there are a range of grants/fellowships that grad students can apply for, which I’ve covered in an earlier post, though now I have a cool new graphic.
There are also different types of postdoctoral funding, which I also covered in an earlier post.
In terms of grants that one might apply for at the faculty/research associate level, there are a range of sources one might pursue for grant funding. I am going to write about this topic separately, soon.
First, though, I want to discuss different kinds of PhD-level jobs where either grant writing is part of your expected job responsibilities, or the skills you develop during grant writing are valuable as transferable skills for that position.
I won’t argue that every job post-PhD requires grant writing skills. However, many different careers benefit from such skills, so getting these experiences early on can be highly marketable.
“Jobs where grant-writing matters first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on June 25, 2019.”
Last week I described different types of funding during graduate school. There are some students who must apply for funding external to their department during graduate school. Students in programs that don’t guarantee funding may scramble to support themselves throughout their graduate program. For these students, applying for funding outside their department is survival.
Other students, however, enter doctoral programs with 4-5 years of guaranteed funding – often in an assistantship with tuition, stipend, and access to health insurance in exchange to 10-20 hours of work per week. Students with generous departmental support may believe they do not have to apply for funding outside their department during graduate school, because they already have support. Students may also feel that spending time applying for additional funds is time they could spend getting research done. However, there are several benefits to applying for external support even if you don’t financially need it. So, before you write off getting funding external to your department (whether applying within or outside your university), consider the following.
“ Why you should apply for fellowships and grants during grad school first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on October 4, 2018.”
Although in this blog I frequently focus on advice for graduate students and early career professionals, I have occasionally written posts aimed at undergraduate students. And some of my advice aimed at graduate students – for instance, advice on writing – is applicable to undergraduate students as well. Before I was department head at UConn or graduate program director at Penn State, I had several roles at Penn State relevant to career and grad school advice for undergraduate students: chair of graduate admissions committee; director of life span developmental science program (a research-oriented undergraduate track for non-honors students); undergraduate director. So, for the next few weeks, my posts once a week will focus on advice to undergraduate students, particularly (though not limited to) students in HDFS and related fields like psychology and sociology.
Have you ever been to career counseling? Have you even been to their website? At UConn, we have the Center for Career Development, and I’m often surprised how little students take advantage of the services there.
Of course, if you are you a senior and planning to graduate in December, May, or August, you should get yourself there asap. But if you are a sophomore or junior (maybe even freshman) who is not yet sure what to do when you graduate, now is the time to start reading about careers and talking to career counselors. You don’t have to figure out your career early during college – exploring majors and careers is great. But as with many things, the sooner you figure out what you want to do after you graduate, the better you can tailor your college experiences to have the strongest record possible to obtain that job or get into that graduate program.
It's never too soon to start thinking about your future career.
Previously I discussed why you should consider not going straight to graduate school after you graduate. I think there were even a couple of parents angry at me when their kids decided to take my advice (sorry moms and dads!).
It’s possible you know exactly what you want to do when you graduate, and have started on a steady path toward that goal. Good for you!
But if not, don't worry. I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was a junior (or even by graduation). At graduation, my best idea was that I wanted to go into advertising or market research. Some of us take more time to figure out our career paths. That’s totally fine.
You may have talked to your academic adviser, and/or your faculty adviser about what you want to do. That’s great. Faculty advisers are often great for advice on going to doctoral programs, because… that’s what we did! But also know that on most college campuses, there are people who literally have degrees in how to help people figure out their careers. It makes sense to also get advice from them.
Did you know that many people around the country who are not students pay career counselors a lot of money for their services? While you’re a student, you can access these services for free.
First, you can check out their online resources, which at UConn include:
There is a wealth of information available without ever leaving the comfort of your computer screen.
But, I highly encourage you to make an appointment (link for UConn students) and talk to someone in the Center for Career Development. Actually, you don’t even have to leave your computer screen to do so – you can do it by Skype (though I still encourage you to walk over there and meet with someone face-to-face). Why meet with a career counselor?
Career counselors can help you:
I recommend that you consider visiting the Center for Career Development, or your university’s career counseling center soon, whatever part of the career planning process you are in.
Planning for the future is an exciting part of the college experience, and the more you plan for it, the less overwhelmed you're likely to feel.
“Why you should go to career counseling first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on October 2, 2018.”
People consider lots of things when writing journal article or chapter titles. Does it capture the meaning of the paper? Is it catchy enough? Is it clear? Is it succinct enough? But, there’s another issue that people may not frequently consider when writing a title, and I would argue it is the most important consideration, because unlike these other things, it isn’t specific to this paper. It sticks with you forever. And that is, how will this title look on your CV for the rest of your career?
It appears I’ve yet to write about strong titles, but I have written about strong first sentences. In that post I argued that your first sentence should be strong, clear, and interesting. All true of your title as well. BUT, your first sentence can actually get away with being catchier than your title, because your first sentence is contained within the manuscript, and does not appear elsewhere. It catches people’s attention in the context of the paper, but nowhere else.
In contrast, your title appears on your CV, in your tenure dossier, in people’s literature searches. Yes, it’s the advertisement for the paper, and thus can get people’s attention. But it’s also a reflection of you and your body of research, something that follows you forever, for better or for worse.
For instance, when I was asked to write a chapter about erectile dysfunction, I asked my students if they were interested in first authoring it. When one of my students expressed interest, I asked her to think about having the title “erectile dysfunction” on her CV. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it would be on her CV forever, and she would want to think about the kinds of institutions where she might want positions, and if that might matter at those institutions. For a lifelong sex researcher it’s probably not a big deal, but it was a consideration.
Another issue is cutesy titles. I support clever titles, but there is a fine line between clever and cutesy (or just silly) titles, and unfortunately, different scholars draw that line in different places. I sometimes do a literature search and come across a title that makes me cringe a little, and I confess, it can affect the way I think of the author. I won’t share examples, but I did find this Slate article about clever and gone-too-far journal article titles. So, before you finalize a clever title, ask a few other people what they think of it. If you're early career, make sure some of the people you ask are more senior than you, because they are the group of people who will evaluate your work for things like tenure. Because again, that title will be on your CV forever. When you study a topic like sexual health, there are a lot of ways you could go clever, and a lot of ways you could go wrong, and I’ve seen both happen.
Perhaps I’m lucky that I’m just not very good at clever titles. I think the most I’ve done are these two:
He Said She Said: Gender Differences in Mother-Adolescent Conversations About Sexuality
Never been kissed: Correlates of lifetime kissing status in U.S. university students
I’m pretty comfortable living with both of those titles, forever.
Some questions to ask yourself before finalizing a clever title:
It may help to think of article titles like the CV version of tattoos – don’t just think about whether it’s fun in the moment, but think about whether you want to live with it for the rest of your life.
“Your Title Will be on Your CV Forever first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on August 23, 2018.”
*Note: now at 80.
*9/1 Note: now over 120.
It’s early for post doc applications, but somehow I have post docs on the mind, perhaps because one of my former students recently started a new postdoctoral position.
Recently I wrote about different types of post docs, and prior to that I discussed whether you should do a post doc. Let’s say that you’ve decided to do a post doc and don’t know where to begin to look. I’ve got you covered.
I have created a list of postdoctoral positions relevant to HDFS graduate students that I have shared with Penn State students (when I was grad director there) and more recently UConn students as department head. I’ve maintained and updated that list for a few years (with the help of a couple of grad students here). I thought it might be useful to a wider audience so today I share it with you.
It is a broad list, so not all positions will be relevant for any individual (much like the field of HDFS in general). It includes postdocs related to child development, adulthood and aging, family, prevention, policy, social science methods, diversity, demography, health (e.g., substance use, HIV, cancer, nutrition), education, and sexuality. It includes different types of postdocs, including ones sponsored by NIH or other agencies at a particular university, ones sponsored by a particular university, and some individual postdocs (e.g., Fulbright, SRCD). It does NOT include onetime postdocs supported by specific grants or research labs. We do our best to keep it up to date, but sometimes things have probably disappeared and we’ve lost track. In fact, we marked in yellow ones that we don’t think still exist, but we are not certain.
I make no claims that any information, including information about citizenship requirements, is accurate.
Even with all of those caveats, I hope that you find this spreadsheet useful. I generally recommend that students check out different postdoctoral positions a couple of years before they are ready to apply for them, so they have a sense of what is out there, and what their record might need to look like when they are ready to apply. So, even if you are not on the market this year, you may want to take a few minutes and look at what's on the list (good, productive procrastination activity).
It was at 50 when I wrote this post. Hopefully it is even longer by the time you are reading it.
If you know of any others, please share them with me and I will add them.
FIND IT HERE.
“50+ postdoctoral positions related to Human Development and Family Studies first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on August 16, 2018.”
Many academics have switched from having printed notes we used during presentations to instead using the notes feature embedded in PowerPoint. Doing so decreases the fumbling through pages in our hands and can move our gaze from down to forward (though does chain us to the podium area more).
But, we’ve all been to the job talk where, as someone’s laptop is first connected to the projector, or their file is first opened, we can see the notes on their first slide that may something like, “I enjoyed meeting many of you during my visit so far.” Don’t be that person.
Previously I discussed one way to avoid this problem – saving your slides as a show. In general, I recommend that you use the save-as-show technique, particularly if you are giving a job talk or another high stakes presentation. However, I confess that I rarely take the time to use this technique anymore. And, there is a situation where this technique is not very useful – when you are presenting on a panel and the organizer wants to pull up everyone’s slides and paste them all into one shared document.
An alternative technique is to save a duplicate copy of your title slide, but delete the presentation notes from the first version of it. Then, when someone pulls up your slides, it will look like this, with a blank notes page:
But when you go up to present, you can seamlessly advance to your second copy of your title slide, which has your notes on it.
Very simple, but can save you potential embarrassment.
“PowerPoint Trick: Duplicate Your Title Slide first appeared on Eva Lefkowitz’s blog on June 21, 2018.”
Eva S. Lefkowitz
I write about professional development issues (in HDFS and other areas), and occasionally sexuality research or other work-related topics.
Looking for a post doc?
List of HDFS-relevant post docs
Looking for a fellowship?
List of HDFS relevant fellowships, scholarships, and grants
Looking for an internship?
List of HDFS-relevant internships
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