Pre- and Early Career Resources

There are many resources available to help you prepare for an academic career. Former advisors, current colleagues, and friends from graduate school may offer much-needed support when starting an academic career. National and regional meetings often provide additional ideas and connections. The resources below include informational websites, teaching materials, video clips, and presentations.

Jump down to:Career Preparation and Early Career | Teaching and Course Design | Site Guides

Career Preparation and Early Career

  • Assembling Your Application contains resources for the Cover Letter, C.V., Teaching Statement, Research Statement, and Letters of Reference
  • How to Write an Effective Research Statement is a PowerPoint presentation from the Career Services office at the University of Pennsylvania that summarizes the purpose of a research statement and describing how to make both the content and the format effective.
  • Developing a Research Statement is a presentation by Armand Tanguay, Jr., at the University of Southern California, summarizing the key elements of a research statement.
  • The Academic Job Search Handbook by Mary Morris Heiberger and Julia Miller Vick, has several examples of descriptions of research interests.
  • Moving your research forward in a new setting is challenging. This collection of resources, from the "Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences" workshops, is designed to help.
  • Planning your Research Program is one of the great challenges of transitioning from being a graduate student to a PI in your own right. Here are some resources based on the workshop: "Early Career Geoscience Faculty: Teaching, Research, and Managing Your Career."
  • Stop Trying To Get Tenure and Start Trying To Enjoy Yourself is an article from Inside Higher Ed that showcases first, an alternative approach towards the tenure process once you land that job, and second, an example of how a professor's teaching and research statements helped them to realign their priorities further down the road.
  • Career Prep is an annual workshop with an associated set of web resources for graduate students and post-docs who are preparing for an academic career in the geosciences. These resources focus on key topics of interest, including the academic job search process, preparing to teach, and moving your research forward.
  • Early Career - Geoscience is an annual workshop and set of resources for those just beginning (or about to begin) a career as a geoscience faculty member. As such, you're probably wondering how to balance teaching, research, and other demands on your time, so that you can succeed without having to sacrifice your sanity. In fact, finding that balance may be the most important skill for you to master, to be successful in academia. Fortunately, you do not need to reinvent the wheel. This page is a gateway to resources you can use to maximize your efficiency with a minimum of stress.

Course Design, Teaching, and Assessment

Course Design
  • Course Design provides an online tutorial for creating - or rethinking - a course with ideas for setting course goals and writing an effective syllabus.
  • This course-design tutorial was developed as a web-only version of the popular On the Cutting Edge workshop on effective and innovative course design. While the workshop was originally designed for geoscience faculty, the tutorial provides examples from many disciplines, including those outside the sciences, and offers an easy-to-apply strategy for designing courses in any discipline. A synopsis of the tutorial is also available.
Teaching Methods
  • Pedagogy in Action provides an introduction to a range of effective teaching methods that go beyond lecture. The site describes the methods, points to the research about its effectiveness, provides hints and tips for using it well and ends with a collection of classroom activities that exemplify the teaching methods.
  • Starting Point - Teaching Entry-Level Geoscience is a SERC project that contains over 20 modules built around pedagogic approaches for introductory geoscience courses, plus hundreds of example activities.
  • 1st Day of Class provides ideas for how to engage students with course content, motivate their learning, and establish a positive classroom climate, right from the start!
  • What to do when your teaching isn't going well offers discussion of options we have when our teaching does not meet our - or our institution's - expectations.
  • Teaching Toolkit includes tips on how to incorporate active learning into your teaching. It includes a video demonstration of Greg Hancock, from the College of William and Mary, using interactive lectures effectively in his course. Another video clip of Greg describing Think-pair-share activities at the Early Career 2010 workshop is also available.
  • Keeping Research Seminars Lively and Engaging procides useful tips, including a video clip of Richard Yuretich's approaches to engage students in seminars. While this is written to graduate-level seminars, it may also be applicable to other settings.
  • Course-Based Research Projects shows you how to use course-based research projects in the classroom to integrate your teaching and research. This site includes a video clip of how Greg Hancock from the College of William and Mary does this effectively in his surface processes project.
  • The Engaging Students in Interactive Activities in Gen Ed Classes video is a presentation by Randy Richardson, Liz Ritchie, and Katryn Wiese about engaging students using interactive activities from the 2009 Early Career workshop.

See more resources, organized by topic - SERC Site Guides

Site Guides provide a list of resources available across the SERC sites that are organized by topic. The list below provides a sample of Site Guides that may be of interest to those interested in pursuing an academic career. You can see a topical list on the Teach the Earth homepage or explore the site guides below.