Career Profile: David Budd


University of Colorado at Boulder is a university with graduate programs, including doctoral programs.

David Budd
is one of the conveners and leaders of the 2013 Preparing for an Academic Career in the Geosciences Workshop. Prior to the workshop, we asked each of the leaders to describe their careers, for the benefit of workshop participants, by answering the questions below.

Click on a topic to read David Budd's answer to an individual question, or scroll down to read the entire profile: Educational background and career path * Current job responsibilities * Best part of the job * Challenges and strategies * Qualifications * Balancing work and life * Advice

Briefly describe your educational background and career path.

BA, 1976, The College of Wooster; MS, 1987 Duke University; PhD, 1984 The University of Texas at Austin; ARCO E&P thru 1986; faculty at University of Colorado at Boulder since 1987.

Briefly describe your current job responsibilities, perhaps by describing a typical day, week, or semester.

Officially the job is 40% teaching (courses and supervising grad students), 40% research (write grants, administer grants, lab work, write, write, write), and 20% service (department & college committees, review papers & grants, sit on other professional committees). The service and teaching consumes ~80% of the week (and I work 6 days per week) during the academic year (class prep, lecture, grading, office hours, email, meetings), so the summer is 100% research.

What do you like best about your work?

I came to an R1 university to do research and work with grad students. I still count both as high on my list of "likes", but I have also learned that working with, and impacting the education and lives of undergrads is also very rewarding.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work? What strategies have you developed for tackling that challenge?

Efficiency (which I am often not), which in turn makes time management an issue. Best strategy for me -- bloc out time for those specific aspects of the job that are more likely to be postponed and resist the urge to take care of the little things needed "now" during those blocs.

What qualifications do you think made you competitive in your job search(es)?

My research specialty matched perfectly with my department's desires, and I guess I had sufficient interpersonal skills to interview well.

Many of the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in these workshops are interested in balancing a family and career, in dual career couple issues, and in how other personal choices affect the search for a fulfilling career. Please share information about your situation, your ideas and experiences.

I married after starting a tenure-track position. My wife is a professional but not in academia and her career allowed for maternity leave with no penalty. I had secured tenure by the time we had children. Our dual income made daycare affordable (but more expensive than the mortgage). While the kids were young I cut back on research at the cost of staying at the associate level for longer than normal. I subsequently renewed my research program and was promoted to full. I don't regret the delay.

What advice do you have for graduate students or post-docs preparing for academic careers in geoscience? What do you know now that you wish you had known as you started your career?

I wish I had known more about how students learn, and how I could teach more effectively. Universities are increasingly looking for excellence in teaching within their science faculty, yet R1s still fail to really prepare grad students and post-docs to teach.