recommendation letters/alternate careers

Valerie Cardenas Nicolson valerie at
Mon Nov 25 17:38:08 EST 1996

Sarah Boomer wrote:
> changing fields for experience, moving around, etc. that this woman isn't
> queen bee.  But it seems there is a double edge fo the blade:  conformity.
> This woman has someone become perceived as too rogue in her nonchalant
> career path, or lack thereof. Her broad interests in education and

I agree that this is a problem for *anyone* (man or woman) who wants an 
academic career or a career supported through grants.  One of my advisers
had very broad interests, and had published in many different fields,
but hadn't developed a huge body of work in any of them.  He felt it had
definitely hurt him in his career.  I think we all know how important
it is to have a research reputation and lots of publications when it
comes to getting grants funded.  He was denied tenure in the 70s
because his "work wasn't important" (I just did a medline search on
an early discovery of his and turned up 126 citations, go figure) and
switched to medicine, although he continued doing research throughout
his career.  

> want you do to... because your NOT pursuing an academic career is somehow
> an EMBARRASSMENT to them.  I think a lot of these gray cases fall into

Maybe it shouldn't be this way, but it is definitely a huge disappointment,
if not actually an embarrassment.  As far as I can tell (I do not have
a faculty position, so I can't speak from experience) the academic 
success of your advisees has an enormous impact on tenure and promotion


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