Navigating Academic Waters: Academic Job Applications Cyber Workshop

If you are a student or early-career scientist who will soon be navigating the job application process, this five-part cyberseminar series may be just what you need. This series covers various topics including (1) finding positions and starting your application, (2) writing statements, (3) job interviews, (4) startup packages and negotiations, and (5) the dirt on pre-tenure positions. Each Thursday over the course of five weeks from July 8 to August 5, CUAHSI and AGU-H3S will hold a 2-hour long session covering topics related to navigating the academic job market. Each session will have a 1-hour panel discussion and general Q&A, 5-minute break, and 55-minute breakout sessions with more targeted questions with panelists.

Following provides more details on each session.

  • July 8, 2021
    Thursday | 12:00-2:00 PM EST | Zoom Meeting

    Part 1 – Finding Positions and Starting your Application

    This is the first of two parts focused on academic job documents. Week 1 will review cover letters, CVs, and resources on where to find positions and what positions to apply to.
    Potential questions: Where do I find job postings? How do I find the place that’s right for me? When should I start applying? What should and should not be on my CV? How long should my cover letter be and what should I include in it?


    John Gardner

    Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Environmental Science, University of Pittsburgh

    Erin Hotchkiss

    Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech

    Tasnuba Jerin

    Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning, Missouri State University (Starting in Fall 2021)

    Joseph Kasprzyk

    Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder

    Watch the recorded session below.

  • July 15, 2021
    Thursday | 12:00-2:00 PM EST | Zoom Meeting

    Part 2 – Writing Statements

    This is the second part regarding academic job documents, focusing on research, teaching, and diversity statements. Potential questions: What is an appropriate balance between describing previous research and outlining future research ideas? How do I write a teaching statement if I have little to no teaching experience? How long should these documents be? Who should I ask to review these documents before submitting an application?


    Alejandro Flores

    Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, Boise State University

    Christopher Russoniello

    Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University

    Adam Ward

    Associate Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington

    Margaret Zimmer

    Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz

    Watch the recorded session below.

  • July 22, 2021
    Thursday | 12:00-2:00 PM EST | Zoom Meeting

    Part 3 – Job Interviews

    This session will cover the academic job interview process including the initial phone/video interview, and the following in-person interview that can be over two to three days. Potential questions: What level of detail should I include in my job talk? What is a chalk/coffee talk? How do I prepare for in-person interviews? What questions should I be prepared to ask? What questions should I be prepared to answer?


    Melisa A Diaz

    Postdoc Scholar, Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

    Diana Karwan

    Associate Professor, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota

    Christa Kelleher

    Assistant Professor, Earth Sciences & Civil Engineering, Syracuse University

    Diego Riveros-Iregui

    Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Watch the recorded session below.

  • July 29, 2021
    Thursday | 12:00-2:00 PM EST | Zoom Meeting

    Part 4 – Startup Packages and Negotiations

    While it may seem far away, startup packages and the negotiation process are important and preparation should not be delayed. This session will focus on creating a startup package and tips and tricks to navigate the negotiation process. Potential questions: What should and should not be included in a startup package (e.g. summer salary, student stipends, or professional organization membership fees)? When should I start creating a startup package? What is the best way to determine what a university is likely to approve in a startup package and what total amount is reasonable? How do I go about negotiating a partner hire?


    Sarah H. Ledford

    Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences, Georgia State University

    Soni Pradhanang

    Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, University of Rhode Island

    Audrey Sawyer

    Associate Professor, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University

    Tianfang Xu

    Assistant Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering & The Built Environment, Arizona State University

    Watch the recorded session below.

  • August 5, 2021
    Thursday | 12:00-2:00 PM EST | Zoom Meeting

    Part 5 – The Dirt on Pre-Tenure Positions

    This session aims to have a discussion with junior faculty about the first few years in an academic job and the expectations in a tenure-track position. Potential questions: What are the most important things to prioritize during my first few years (e.g. building collaborations within the university, applying for grants, recruiting and mentoring students, publishing)? Looking back, what advice would you give to yourself about pre-tenure employment (or, what was the best advice you were given)? How can I find a community with other pre-tenure faculty at my university?


    Rebecca Barnes

    Associate Professor, Environmental Studies Program, Colorado College

    Jennifer Druhan

    Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    JP Gannon

    Assistant Professor, Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech

    Lauren Lowman

    Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering, Wake Forest University

    Watch the recorded session below.

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