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Early Career Geoscience Faculty: Teaching, Research, and Managing Your Career
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Early Career Geoscience Faculty Bookshelf

books
This page lists books recommended by leaders and alumni of the Early Career Geoscience Faculty workshops, for early career faculty members. While by no means an exhaustive list, these books come highly recommended. If there's something you'd like to recommend that's not listed here, please suggest a book for our bookshelf.

Jump down to books about teaching or books about research

General resources

Advice for New Faculty Members: Nihil Nimus

Combining the best of several of his earlier papers and publications, including Professors as Writers and The New Faculty Member, with new research results, this book is the one to start with. Boice's research is based on interactions with 1000+ new faculty members, mostly from research and comprehensive universities, over a 20-year period, and his model has been successfully applied to new faculty in the full range of institutional settings.
Boice, Robert, 2000; Advice for New Faculty Members: Nihil Nimus, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, 319 pp.

Faculty in New Jobs: A Guide to Settling In, Becoming Established, and Building Institutional Support

Menges' book summarizes results from research at the National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment on diverse new faculty from a range of settings, including community college, liberal arts, comprehensive and research universities. Advice moves forward from settling in to getting established and building critical institutional supports.
Menges, Robert J. and Associates, 1999; Faculty in New Jobs: A Guide to Becoming Established, and Building Institutional Support, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 338 pp.

Ms. Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia

Hearing the call for a follow-up to the wildly successful Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia, Ms. Mentor now broadens her counsel to include academics of the male variety. Ms. Mentor knows all about foraging for jobs, about graduate school stars and serfs, and about mentors and underminers, backbiters and whiners. She answers burning questions: Am I too old, too working class, too perfect, too blonde? When should I reproduce? When do I speak up, laugh, and spill the secrets I've gathered? Do I really have to erase my own blackboard? Does academic sex have to be reptilian?
Toth, Emily, 2008; Ms. Mentor's New and Ever More Impeccable Advice for Women and Men in Academia, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadephia, PA, 272 pp.

Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia

In question-and-answer form, Ms. Mentor advises academic women about issues they daren't discuss openly, such as: How does one really clamber onto the tenure track when the job market is so nasty, brutish, and small? Is there such a thing as the perfectly marketable dissertation topic? How does a meek young woman become a tiger of an authority figure in the classroom-and get stupendous teaching evaluations? How does one cope with sexual harassment, grandiosity, and bizarre behavior from entrenched colleagues?
Toth, Emily, 1997; Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadephia, PA, 240 pp.

Good Start: A Guidebook for New Faculty in Liberal Arts Colleges

The book begins with the basics about selecting the right college to work at, going through the application, interview, and negotiation process, and getting oriented to the job and the college. Gibson expounds on finding one's role within the larger liberal arts tradition, how to focus on good teaching, and deciding where scholarship fits into the equation. He discusses the faculty member's role in the department, the organization, and the community. He offers practical measures to manage time and stress, while staying effective, and gives guidance on working through career phases toward promotion and tenure. Concluding with counsel on "how to stay good" as a teacher, scholar, and citizen, Gibson demystifies the process of getting the job, being a good colleague, contributing to a vital department, and developing a life-long plan of personal and professional growth.
Gibson, Gerald, 1992; Good Start: A Guidebook for New Faculty in Liberal Arts Colleges, Amazon, 264 pp.

Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future

This book (a quick read) highlights the importance of scientists communicating to others the significance of their work and then goes on to suggest that unfortunately we, the current generation, are doing a poor job of it. Do not fear though as the authors have identified a variety of solutions to get you motivated to communicate and improve the understanding among the public of what exactly it is that you do and why they should care.
Mooney, Chris and Kirshenbaum, Sheril, 2009; Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future, Basic Books, New York, 240 pp.

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead

This book is written for the "business world" but has valuable lessons (and clear parallels) with careers in academia. It would be a good book for both men and women who are interested in questions around work/family balance, and how people and institutions make decisions that have some basis in cultural expectations of gender.
Sandberg, Sheryl, 2013; Lean In, Knopf, New York, 240 pp.

Every Other Thursday: Stories and Strategies from Successful Women Scientists

This book describes a professional problem-solving group that has met for more than 25 years to provide its members practical and emotional support in their careers. The group includes high achieving individuals (including a member of the NAS, a senior scientist at a prestigious research institute and university professors and administrators) and each woman discusses how they have found the support and advice from the group an essential part of her own success. The book provides examples and solutions that worked well for members of the group and offers practical advice for guidelines for those who who like to start a group of their own.
Daniell, Erin, 2006; Every Other Thursday: Stories and Strategies from Successful Women Scientists, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 296 pp.

Eloquent Science: A practical guide to becoming a better writer, speaker and atmospheric scientist

This is a fantastic book with 4 major sections: (1) Writing and publishing scientific research papers, (2) Editors and peer review, (3) Preparing and delivering scientific presentations, and (4) Communicating throughout your career.
Schultz, David M, 2009; Eloquent Science: A practical guide to becoming a better writer, speaker and atmospheric scientist, American Meteorological Society, Boston, MA, 448 pp.

Are You Really Listening?: Keys To Successful Communication

From Natascha Chtena, a PhD student in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles: "Listening can tremendously improve the quality of communication with our students and yet, it's not taught and most of us are really, really bad at it. I used to think of myself as a "good listener," but reading Donoghue and Siegel's book made me wonder whether I am only good at listening to the people I like. As a teacher, no matter how much you love your job, you can't like all your students all the time. And you won't necessarily always like what they're saying, either. This book examines the different levels of "listening" and includes concrete, helpful advice on how to build one's listening skills."
Donoghue, Paul J and Siegel, M., 2005; Are You Really Listening? Keys To Successful Communication, Sorin Books Notre Dame, IN, 224 pp.

How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read

From Natascha Chtena, a PhD student in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles: "Far from a permission to dismiss reading, this book is an honest appraisal of what it means to be a "cultured individual" and, by extension, someone well-positioned to function as a teacher. It's also a tremendously comforting read for anyone who's ever been forced to express their opinion on a book they haven't read. Bayard argues that far more important than having deep knowledge of a book's content is the ability to situate it in relation to other books in our "collective library." More provocative is his assertion that you don't have to be familiar with something to talk about it accurately. I'd highly recommend this one to anyone leading a discussion section—your perception of what it means to read, discuss, and lecture might be altered forever."
Bayard, Pierre, 2009; How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read,Bloomsbury, New York, NY, 208 pp.

Books about teaching

On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching

An Early Career workshop participant writes: "This book was given to me by the professional development center when I started my teaching position.... I do have to say more than one of the situations portrayed in this book I actually experienced during my first semester teaching! [It] not only portrays the situation but also gives you advice on how to approach each one." This week by week guide to your first semester addresses preparing your syllabus, classroom management, grading and plagiarism, students evaluations, balancing your personal and professional commitments, and common situations new faculty members face.
Lang, James, 2008; On Course: A Week-by-Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching, Harvard University Press, 336 pp.

How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching

According to a review by Jennifer Berg, assistant professor of Mathematics at Fitchburg State University: "How Learning Works aims to leverage the research on what factors influence learning into principles that faculty can use to make choices in their teaching. The authors, who are from the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence at Carnegie Mellon University, distill decades' worth of research into seven such principles. The principles are derived from the authors' own research in cognitive science and hands-on work with faculty. The book thus manages to balance the academic and the practical."
Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, and Norman, 2010; How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 336 pp.

Scientific Teaching

An Early Career workshop participant writes: "This book is an invaluable tool for understanding how to effectively teach science by utilizing results from educational research. While geared towards biologists, most of the ideas and exercises in the book are easily transfered to a geoscience classroom. The book is clear and concise, providing concrete tools with just enough justification from learning research to be satisfying without getting too far off track."
Jo Handelsman, Sarah Miller, and Christine Pfund, 2006; Scientific Teaching, W.H. Freeman, 208 pp.

Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers

This book by Thomas Angelo and K. Patricia Cross provides a practical guide to help faculty develop a better understanding of the learning process in their own classrooms and assess the impact of their teaching upon it. The authors offer detailed how-to advice on classroom assessment - from what it is and how it works to how to plan, implement, and analyze assessment projects. Their approach is illustrated through numerous case studies. The book features fifty Classroom Assessment Techniques, each presented in a format that provides an estimate of the ease of use, a concise description, step-by-step procedures for adapting and administering the technique, practical advice on how to analyze the data and other useful information.
Angelo, Thomas A. and Cross, K. Patricia, 1993; Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 448 pp.

Discussion As A Way of Teaching

From Natascha Chtena, a PhD student in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles: "The students who talk too much, the students who won't ever talk, and the students who keep hijacking the conversation—we all have to deal with them at some point or another. Here, Brookfield offers a broad spectrum of strategies that can be used to promote insightful, prolonged dialogue, covering everything from ground rules to questioning techniques and dealing with the unexpected."
Brookfield, Stephen D. and Preskill, Stephen, 2005; Discussion As A Way of Teaching, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, 336 pp.

The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom

Brookfield has led many workshops on the topics of teaching in the classroom and online. This book compiles years of insights and honest advice.
Brookfield, Stephen D., 2006; The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, 320 pp.

Teaching What You Don't Know

From Natascha Chtena, a PhD student in Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles: "This book gave me a tremendous boost of confidence when I was TAing for a course whose subject matter I really didn't know that well (but was very passionate about). It helped me get my impostor syndrome under control and reassured me that not having all the answers is OK, really. Although not a teaching manual per se, it does include plenty of advice and strategies on how to "teach what you don't know": how to earn students' respect and look credible, how to prepare material, how to handle questions you don't know the answers to, and how to use your time efficiently. Having said that, Huston's book is illuminating even for those teaching within their expertise."
Huston, Therese, 2012; Teaching What You Don't Know, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 320 pp.

Books about research

Lab Dynamics: Management and Leadership Skills for Scientists

An Early Career workshop participant writes: "This book is valuable for geoscientists who will be running a research lab. It focuses on all of the things scientists are usually not taught in graduate school - management, conflict resolution, dealing with difficult personalities, leadership, and negotiation. The authors come at the issues with perspectives from both the lab and from behavioral psychology. I found the book very helpful when I was dealing with a difficult research collaboration and often remind myself of some of the main points of the book when I find myself getting frustrated, defensive, or angry in professional situations. The book is very concrete and provides a lot of examples and case studies on all the topics presented."
Carl M. Cohen and Suzanne L. Cohen, 2012; Lab Dynamics: Management and Leadership Skills for Scientists (2nd edition), Cold Spring Harbor Press, 280 pp.

At the Helm: Leading Your Laboratory

An Early Career workshop participant writes: "This book is not written explicitly for geoscientists but the majority of it is applicable to anyone starting a career in science. It discusses tips for interviewing and hiring personnel, variations in learning styles, lab culture, keeping students motivated, timelines and expectations."
Kathy Barker, 2010; At the Helm: Leading Your Laboratory (2nd edition), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 372 pp.

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