So I know what being a professor at this large state university in the school of engineering is like. I need to bring in money ($200k+) or I’m deadwood and I don’t get tenure. Everything else (student evals, service, even papers to some extent) is extraneous. And writing a book chapter or getting a teaching award may well be the kiss of death because it shows a lack of focus. What’s it like in other disciplines? Do you really not need to beg anyone for grant money? What are the pressures that drive your time then? I feel like this is a game of Career, that old boardgame…where at the beginning you picked what you needed to get to win so that different people were striving for different things.
Great question, Rumpus!
#1 will start off. In my social science, student evals are only important at some schools, generally liberal arts colleges or colleges that do not require much research. Similarly with service– you need to be a good citizen, but not that good a citizen. Grants are a bonus but they are definitely not necessary. I have several book chapters and a teaching award so I hope they’re not the kiss of death! Though I do understand at the top 10 schools they look a bit askance at you if you win a teaching award prior to tenure. The pressures that drive me are to get papers in top general interest journals (I haven’t) and top field journals (I have).
#2: I feel like if you chose to be an engineering faculty at a large school, you know ahead of time that you depend on grants to keep your job. It is somewhat true in my field, but only at some schools. That’s why I’m not at those schools, because I don’t have the grant chops (much as I would like to). I absolutely beg people for grant money (which is beneficial for my career) but rarely get it (which is why I’m lucky that it’s only encouraged, not required, where I am). Publishing is the pressure that drives my career, but I can get a lot done on very little money.
Grumpsters, what’s it like in your discipline?