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How to succeed as a junior faculty member


Innovative (seeks meaning, listens, shares ideas) ... Practical consequences of rule #6: What kind of plan do you develop? Key questions to answer: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: How to succeed as a junior faculty member

How to succeed as a junior faculty member
  • Nicholas O. Davidson, MD, DSc
  • Professor of Medicine,
  • Director, Division of Gastroenterology

How to manage your time, maximize your resources,
and still have a life
  • Dilemma Faculty are hired on the basis of
    their research accomplishments and their ability
    to articulate ideas Thomas Cech, President HHMI
  • But their ultimate success depends to a large
    extent on a very different set of skills….ability
    to hire the right have them perform
    their best work…and to build a culture of high

Rule 1 Learn to be a manager
  • Instinctive Response I have no idea what I am
    doing and no one ever trained me to do this!!
  • Reasoned Response You know more than you think.
    Trust your instincts.
  • Action Plan Develop your own style…learn from
    your mistakes

How to manage your research projects
  • Develop a business model
  • Break down work structure assignments
  • Get a schedule of expectations
  • Analyze resource availability
  • Optimize trade-offs
  • Develop a risk management plan

Power calculation in the real world
Sample size
Significance (?) (Type I)
Effect size Noise (SD)
Power (1-?) (Type II)
Funding Time Personnel
How do you select and hire RAs, students,
  • Unsolicited emails cvs. Look for grammatical
    errors and formatting publications in high
    profile journals
  • Personal recommendations
  • New college grad (med school) vs career tech
  • Personality match……do they laugh at my jokes?
  • Work hour preferences?….yours or theirs
  • How much do you want them to think?……can they
  • Earnestness factor…
  • Learning style…rigid or adaptable? Will they
    follow your protocols exactly and be willing to

How to train your research personnel?
  • One problem with coming from a crackerjack lab
    is that, when you are starting your own lab, it
    is a completely different operation. Youve got
    a technician who has to be trained and needs
    daily attention and maybe a student who doesnt
    know anything, and a postdoc who is mediocre
    because no one gets great postdocs when they are
    first starting out. The things that worked for
    your advisor are not going to work for you.
  • Anonymous, quoted by Barker, At the Helm

Rule 2 Be proactive in considering the training
needs and expectations of your research personnel
  • Learning styles may be different for different
  • Understand motivational forces
  • Dynamic (likes trial and error, active learner)
  • Innovative (seeks meaning, listens, shares
  • Common sense (learns by testing logical
  • Analytical (seeks facts, learns by thinking
    through ideas)

Rule 2 (contd) Other needs and concerns for
your research group
  • Determining authorship…discuss early and review
  • How and when to terminate an employee or student
  • How and when to collaborate…you and the group
  • Understand and communicate expectations re
  • You are both a mentor and a mentee. This
    requires very different life skills.

Rule 3 Avoid the six common research
management mistakes
  • Not delegating enough responsibility to
  • Insensitivity to the goals of students and
  • All work and no play
  • Overemphasis on competition
  • Lots of projects, not enough papers
  • Unwilling to pull plug on projects that are not

Rule 4 Understand and respect the rules
  • If you are in a clinical division, you have to
    embrace a diverse culture and understand the
    expectations for success and advancement include
  • Clinical scholarship….expected
  • Teaching excellence….expected
  • Mentorship (to receive and provide)…learn to say
  • Partnership…reliability, accessibility
  • Colleagiality….openness, willingness to share,
  • Building a research portfolio that adds value to
    the division

Rule 5 Things to avoid at all costs
  • Bringing personal/family conflicts into your
    research group…..private issues need to remain
    private…confide in a close colleague or mentor
    but keep your lab/research group out of it. They
    have enough to deal with.
  • Gossip……Just say NO. It is hurtful and will
    come back to haunt you.
  • Venting to visiting professors and other guests.
    This will DEFINITELY come back to haunt you.

Rule 6 Get a plan
  • Success as a junior faculty member (MD or PhD)
    requires that you manage your most precious
  • You gotta get a plan
  • You gotta be focused
  • You gotta be organized
  • You gotta be in touch with reality

Practical consequences of rule 6 What kind of
plan do you develop?
  • Key questions to answer
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How fast?
  • How much risk can you tolerate?
  • How much time do you have?
  • …..time to tenure family obligations teaching
    administration other commitments

Pathways and factors defining a successful career
Overcoming Barriers to success
Help with life
Mentoring others
Institutional support Mentoring
Being There
Making life work
Making work work
Creating Flexibility
Managing Change
Adapted from Kalet J Gen Intern Med 21920, 2006