“You need to assume that the demand for you will be less than you like and supply of people like you will be greater than you like. Act accordingly.”
That is the career preparation advice that Professor Rick Reis—known around the world as “Tomorrow’s Professor”—offers to grad students and postdocs.
Reis has a broad overview of graduate students’ professional development, particularly for academic careers. He has published the “Tomorrow’s Professor” e-newsletter for nearly 20 years. He has given a lot of thought to how grad students are prepared for faculty careers, and has a view of what is changing.
During our interview he broke down “Act Accordingly” into three specific pieces of advice:
- Start early and develop multiple options
- Think next stage
- Cultivate breadth-on-top-of-depth
Development as a teacher should be part of every doctoral student’s program and every graduate student should expect to become a proficient teacher. Doctoral students are usually obliged to focus on their research at the expense of broader career preparation. As a result, it is difficult for doctoral students to learn about the science of effective college teaching.
A newly released report, from a groundbreaking seven-year longitudinal research study, provides evidence of the value of teaching development (TD) for doctoral students. It provides ammunition for those (like me) who want to put teaching-preparation front and center in doctoral studies.
My three take-aways from the report are:
- Teaching Development (TD) is happening! It is widely used and widely available.
- It matters. TD has a positive impact on students’ teaching ability and confidence.
- It’s time to integrate TD into doctoral programs.
The most important things are people and ideas. They are transcendental. People working at their full capacity can do anything. Ideas can change everything.
Deji Akinwande stressed people and ideas in our interview. He is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and was awarded a 2016 Presidential (PECASE) Award by President Obama.
His three pieces of advice for graduate students:
- Invest in and nurture your ideas
- Networking is critical
- Communication, communication, communication