Meetings, PUIs and Jobs

Deborah A. Cook dcook at CAU.EDU
Thu Feb 25 14:06:49 EST 1999

	Much of what's been said about these professional meetings is absolutely true. I haven't been to a BSA meeting in a long time, but it certainly seemed more teaching freindly to me.   It is unfortunate, but David Hershey is right about the ASPP and other plant research societies,

 >A major problem with most of the plant research societies such as ASPP is that they view teaching scholarship as a second-rate activity.<<

 The real issue is the marginilization of talented people both in teaching and research at PUIs and other mostly non Ag School faculty. 

	One of the bad things about being a plant scientist at a PUI is being marginilized in your own department.  I know, it happened to me and it continues to happen.  The animal bias is incredibly pervasive.  It's a different experience at a PUI and young Ph.Ds/faculty need to be very committed to this type of career path. It is not anything like being at a major research university. Not all PUIs are awlful places.  There are truely great ones out there and we tend to hear about those all the time.  One thing that job seekers need to understand is that there are many more PUIs and similar institutions out there than there are major research universities.  Some of these will not expect you to do much research, but concentrate on teaching alone.  These are getting rarer and rarer.    At others, you will be expected to conduct research like you did for your dissertation.  Some of these are very well endowed and are those wonderful places we tend to hear about.  Then, there's all the!

	So, what's a plant scientist to do?  Well, learn as much as you can about the PUIs you are applying to, in order to target your application materials.  The worst thing I've seen a faculty candidate do in an interview or in a cover letter is tell me that they only want to teach graduate students when they know full well that there's only 30 of them and 300 undergraduate biology majors.  Another problem is how research active is department, really? What are their expectations of you?  If you are expected to be research active, then how much teaching will you be doing?  All of this is very dicey in the long term.

	I apologize for being too long and too negative.  Spring break can't come too soon.

Deb Cook


<color><param>8080,0000,8080</param>Deborah A. Cook Ph.D.

</color>Finally Associate Professor 

Biological Sciences

Clark Atlanta University

Atlanta, GA 30314

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list