New Faculty Institute - Junior Panel

Uploaded by Harvard on 19.02.2010

Thank you. So we are going to start the panel sessions.
And this year,
as you will see from our schedule,
the theme of the faculty panels is Establishing Your Professional Identity.
And I'm delighted in particular to be able to introduce
the panelists that we have for this morning to you.
They are individuals who have managed to figure out the system that is Harvard
and who have gone through the process of being promoted here at Harvard.
And I hope that they will be able to give you some insights
about the ways in which these processes occur at this institution.
So we have three associate professors in the first panel
and I'd like to introduce them briefly.
They will each have 10 minutes to make remarks
and then we will have plenty of time at the end
for conversation, discussion, questions and answers, et cetera.
So our first panelist is Nonie Lesaux.
She is the Marie and Max Kargman Associate Professor in Human Development
and Urban Education Advancement
at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Lesaux leads a research program
that focuses on the reading development and difficulties of children
from linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Her developmental and instructional research
has implications for practitioners, researchers, and policy makers.
From 2004 to 2006, Nonie was Senior Research Associate
of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Youth
and named one of five
William T. Grant Scholars
earning a $350,000 five-year award
from the W.T. Grant Foundation in support of her research
on English language learners in urban public schools.
Dr. Lesaux is a member of the Society
for the Scientific Study of Reading,
International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities,
Society for Research in Child Development,
and many other distinguished organizations.
She is also a member of the Reading First Advisory Committee
for the Secretary of Education, the U.S. Department of Education.
Dr. Lesaux received her PhD. at University of British Columbia,
and I'm pleased to say that
she recently received the Presidential Early Career Award
for Scientists and Engineers awarded by the White House in 2009.
Our second panelist is Dr. Juan C. Celedon
who is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
as well as Associate Physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Dr. Celedon's primary area of research is to identify genetic factors
and environmental exposure that influence the development
of obstructive airway diseases
asthma and chronic obstructive, pulmonary diseases
in general and among Hispanics in particular.
Juan currently leads three NIH-funded studies
of the genetics of obstructive airway diseases
in individuals of Hispanic descent.
Two of these studies employ a family-based design
to examine the relation between genetic factors and asthma and COPD
in an isolated Hispanic population living in the central valley of Costa Rica.
And the third study uses a case control design
to examine the relation among genes,
indoor allergen exposure and asthma phenotypes among Puerto Rican children.
Dr. Celedon has been leading a study of the relation between--
also between the maternal and neonatal gut flora and asthma and allergic diseases.
He received his medical degree from Bogota, Columbia in 1988,
and then PH in Quantitative Methods in 1999,
and a DPH in Genetic Epidemiology in 2001 from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Our third panelist is Sarah Stewart-Mukhopadhyay,
who is the John Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences.
Her research focuses on collisional processes including planet formation,
catastrophic disruption and surface modification.
Laboratory measurements of the equation of state
and dynamic strength of planetary materials
using shockwave techniques,
as well as experimental and computational
studies of impact processes
to interpret the resurfacing history, physical properties
and internal structure of planets, moons, asteroids and comets.
Dr. Stewart-Mukhopadhyay is a Director
of the Shock Compression Laboratory at Harvard.
She received her PhD in Planetary Sciences
with a minor in Astrophysics from Caltech in Pasadena in 2002,
and her AB in astronomy and astrophysics
and physics here at Harvard University.
Prior to coming to Harvard, she was a Carnegie Post-Doc Fellow
at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C.
And among her many numerous honors, Dr. Stewart-Mukhopadhyay
also received the Presidential Early Career Award
for Scientists and Engineers in 2004,
and received most recently the Harold Urey Prize in 2009.
So we will first start with Dr. Lesaux and we'll move forward from there.
I heard somebody say we figured out Harvard
and I felt maybe I should go back to that side of the room.
But thanks for the invite.
I think, you know, I'll start with two kind of caveats
that are really inherent in this sort of exercise.
And the first is there is something extremely personal
about the experience of being an academic,
of being a member of an academic community.
And so you do know yourself and your circumstances best,
and those are really in some ways your best guides,
so that's sort of one caveat.
The second is that the methodologist in me says,
"Well, this retrospective analysis, the sort of looking back,
is always a kind of dangerous venture."
But with those caveats in mind, I really just thought about three things
that I think you might consider as you go forward.
And the first is really that in some ways,
it's kind of the keep it simple factor, which is
--I'm sort of continually struck by the fact
that the recipe for early career success is sort of
remarkably simple and straightforward.
And that's not that it's not difficult
and that it doesn't bear on level of effort,
but that the actual ingredients that kind of go into early career success
are the same ones that probably you heard about in grad school.
They're the same ones that drove your hire here,
the reason that you're sitting here.
So my sort of sense is that you just need to stay really caught up
in your personal professional plan
that you are people with strong ideas about your professional life.
You had a plan by virtue of the doctorate
and applying here, and that plan
sells you and others around you.
You've thought about the way you teach,
you've made a choice about the academic routes.
So as you kind of move forward,
sort of remember that you do have that plan
and you have that in your hand still as you begin your career.
And at the same time, what you don't want to do,
so you want to get caught up in your own plan,
and what you don't want to do is get totally caught up
doubting or second-guessing yourself
by virtue of watching those around you,
by hearing about what's reportedly working better for them.
You know, you want to get some insights
but not to worry so much about the roads that others are taking
because in fact there are so many roads to a successful career.
And keep in mind that as President Faust said,
there are so many supports here to--
that in some ways you do have that advantage of really,
truly carrying out your plans
because as you refine and develop your skills and ideas,
you've got these tremendous supports around here to do that;
both in the research realm and in the teaching realm.
So kind of concrete things about this straightforward sort of recipe
for high impact solid work and good teaching:
I'd say every now and again reread the statement that you wrote
when you applied here.
Every now and again just reread it
and see how it's working for you, what's working for you.
I've done that since writing my statement for associate,
for promotion to associate.
It's a very clarifying experience, right,
when one sets out their plans and their philosophy
about their teaching and their goals.
And so reread that every now and again.
The second thing is, and this sort of feeds into this slight
tension between collaboration and trying to carve out what's yours,
but I personally looking back and again, this is sort of the two cents -
I think try to get something that's truly yours
in the first several years that you're here.
And I don't say that like it can't be part of collaborative work
but I do think that early on it makes sense to have a project
or some kind of initiative that feels like yours.
And I'm not--you know that might be a grant to carry out a study,
it might be a book contract, it might be launching some kind of initiative.
And here I'm really not talking about the politics
or sort of playing your cards,
but I am sort of thinking that there are
things that you need to do to establish yourself
but also to give yourself that added confidence to really say
"This is kind of what I'm working on."
Even if it's a piece of an overall collaborative endeavor
it can kind of keep you, pushing forward.
And so even in a collaborative, sort of, interdisciplinary approach,
there are still ways to kind of carve out pieces that are yours.
And in so, in my case, for example, I got a small grant from the NICHD,
from the National Institute of Health
in my second year, late in my second year.
And it just kind of practically speaking gave me a boost.
I hired some students who were here on campus.
The money was here at Harvard. It was my account.
But it was also just a boost for my career.
It was kind of a push in the right direction.
And so it doesn't have to be all that you're doing,
it doesn't have to be monumental,
but it's something that you feel like is yours early on.
And finally, on this sort of straightforward piece I'd say,
you know, I think stay as close as you can to your research and teaching.
Presumably you didn't do a PhD
to kind of think a lot about the administration of the organization,
and so I would say if you can keep the politics at an arm's length
and I actually, again, don't say this so much with politics per se in mind,
but I do say it with your own time in mind;
which is that, you know, in part I can almost guarantee
that in the next several years somebody -
a dean or a department chair or a member of senior faculty -
will tap you on the shoulder to do something in particular,
some additional service,
your participation in a new initiative that they're launching,
the development of some kind of new course,
kind of getting a course off out of the brackets and back on to the books.
And it is additional. Those kinds of endeavors can be intensive.
You will say yes when that happens because you just will.
And so what you want to do is feel like that's actually time well spent
and feel like that's sort of your chance to be--
to shape something new to contribute to the organization, to be seen.
And it ends up being constructive and productive.
And so keep that in mind as you go forward,
is that probably there'll be a time
into the administration of the organization.
So that's sort of a little about the recipe.
The second thing that I really want to kind of push a little bit on
is that this really is a marathon. It's really not a sprint.
And so don't come out of the gates and empty the tank in a really short time
because you are really going to need to pace
yourselves over the next several years.
And so I think that can be really tricky
particularly when, you know,
by year two you're preparing a package
that is for review.
But ultimately, this is kind of a long range enterprise.
Whether you're here or at any other institution,
the academic enterprise is one that sort of takes time.
And to really develop good ideas and do really solid work,
you do need the time but you also need to pace yourself.
And so I sort of think of it two ways;
both practically, this isn't a marathon--
or sorry, this is not a sprint--but also intellectually it's not a sprint,
which is that you don't want to spread, you don't want to get so involved.
It's very easy to kind of have this, your hand in this and this and this,
and not to be going sort of deep in sort of one particular area
or tackling one particular problem.
So think not just about the next one or two years
but try to think even five, seven, ten years out.
Probably five or seven is really
where you're going to be most comfortable.
And you want to think about different priorities at different stages
so that some semesters become much more about your teaching
than they do about your research,
and other semesters become much more about the
funding for proposals and that kind of thing.
And you just want to be sort of
pacing yourself so that you're not
trying to work on everything all at once.
And, um, you know, it really does work for me to liken my junior years.
I'm now in year seven to the marathon
which is one of the two big mistakes
one makes when they run a race poorly.
One is you start out too fast.
The second is you start to lose focus about half,
two-thirds of the way through.
You kind of have to dig deep,
stay really focused mentally and keep pushing.
And ultimately, you need something left in the tank.
So if we take the five or seven-year plan,
I would say what happens is over time,
in some ways the years right now can feel the most stressful
at some level because the place is new,
because you're adjusting, because it's--
you're sort of you haven't figured it all out,
you're kind of getting a sense of
the institution but also the job of an academic.
So there is that stress associated with the newness.
But by virtue of your advancing career over time,
what happens is your load kind of very gradually
but very steadily increases and becomes heavier and heavier, right?
And so in my case, for example, right over there across the street,
there's two post-docs, three fulltime research associates,
several doc students,
two large federal grants,
uh, big projects and research assistants across the country
that we're working with. And that's just a part of my picture, right,
that's the research side, which is fine beacause, you know,
as most people advance their careers, that's going to happen.
The key is that in academia,
you've got these mechanisms where actually you can find time.
And so my concrete suggestion
is to be thinking ahead about the grants and fellowships
that really do buy out your time
and let you focus because as part of establishing your reputation
is being able to carve out the time to do the good work
and be part of intellectual communities here and elsewhere,
then the trick is to find the time to do that.
So I'm not really the person to tell you all
about the different fellowships and grants in your particular fields,
but I will say to really think through and do your research on
those tailored to early career scholars.
So it doesn't mean that it has to be practical money to do research.
It's often just money to buy out your time.
And so what comes to mind for me
are awards like the NSF Early Career Award,
the Robert Johnson Scholars which is not for early careers
but it can be really well used in the early career.
The W.T.Grant Foundation Scholars Award,
which is one I have five-- that's a five-year award
that is sort of 50% of my time every year which is significant.
Foundation for Child Development,
the Radcliffe Fellowships that President Faust in part initiated.
There are a number of initiatives like that
and folks around who know that.
Some of them come with mentoring,
some of them come with networking opportunities,
and that's good visibility. But mostly
you really want to stay focused on finding the time.
And as you develop those applications,
think a little bit about your timing which is that it’s not--
it is often the case that
fellowships and grants that kick in
and give you more time kind of midpoint,
three--year three, four, five, can be really, really valuable.
It’s also the case that what happens is,
is sometimes the time later actually
is directly related to really high impact work
that’s going to affect, sort of, your career going forward.
If you’re people with a one-semester junior leave,
think too about the timing for that
because it can be tempting to use it early on
but it’s also the case that,
talk with several folks, and myself included,
who are really happy to have held on to that
until a little later
when it really does serve the value of protecting your time.
So it’s not to say the next couple of years aren’t important ones
because they are and you do need to protect your time and
get your things done.
But think through not exhausting all your, sort of,
bio and fellowship opportunities early on.
Think about sort of pacing yourselves in that sense.
And finally, I’ll just say one last thing
which is the topic for today is really
this professional identity piece.
And I think I’ll really say two things here.
One is that you’re always constructing your professional identity.
You’re always sort of casting yourself in some kind of light here at Harvard
but also equally as importantly and I think sometimes that’s easy to forget,
that you’re casting--
you are creating a professional identity
outside of the institution regularly -
in print and informally and formally in conversation.
And so you want to be seen as somebody who’s collegial,
who’s doing not just high quality work but is of high integrity,
and who’s a good peer
across different settings and in and outside the institution.
The concrete suggestions, I mean, to be
establish a positive personal and professional identity,
there are a few things.
One is you need the supports to do that.
You need supports professionally and personally.
You need supports inside of the institution
but you also need supports outside of the institution.
So that in fact one of the things I’d really recommend
is talking with others at other institutions
about professional life and kinds of issues
because it can really bring a lot more perspective
to the way that you interpret things that are happening here.
It can also give you some really good ideas
about managing your professional life.
So other juniors here on campus but also
folks outside and at other institutions.
And finally on mentoring because this came up,
sort of, as one possible topic for today:
I think mentoring is a tricky thing and I’ll say that right flat-out.
I think it’s a human enterprise. It’s one of relationships.
I think you can’t always force relationships
as we know in our professional and personal lives.
So mostly I think of it this way:
You have to be comfortable. It has to be natural.
It has to be something that evolves over time.
both the mentoring that you get
and your own mentoring of others, right,
because already you’re going to start to mentor folks here.
So I would say, you know, stay with your plan, let it happen naturally.
As things progress, there’s going to be people that you gravitate towards,
there’s going to be people that you realize
where it’s really quality, not quantity,
so you don’t need a lot of contact with good mentors.
Some of the best mentorship I’ve had is actually from someone
outside of the institution who’s a member of the senior faculty elsewhere,
who I see very sporadically.
But, you know, 20, 30 minutes, a drink at a conference,
a beer, can be really clarifying and really helpful.
That’s sort of nothing formal about that relationship,
nothing particularly ongoing or frequent.
But when it happens, those conversations are really helpful.
So I would really suggest
thinking about quality and not quantity
and sort of seeing what emerges.
And you'll have a better sense as time goes on of the kind of feedback
that you really need and how to get that.
But it takes time.
I think good mentoring relationships do take time to develop.
I’m going to stop there.
So, good morning.
It's truly an honor and a privilege to be here.
It's also quite humbling especially to our members of the panel.
I'd like to take a different path.
So, you know I'm going to start with a very wise statement
from the mother of Forrest Gump
in that Oscar-winning movie which is "Life is a box of chocolates.
You never know what you're going to get."
That summarizes my life today
So, I'm going--I believe that each faculty member,
every one of you has a unique set of life experiences
that ultimately will, if it hasn't already,
profoundly influence your academic career.
I'll have to tell you a little bit about my life and then some more.
I was born in 1964 in Barranquilla, Colombia.
That's a town on the Caribbean coast
of Colombia which is in Northwest- most far of South America.
People born in the Caribbean, which is the general region of the sea,
constitute one-third of the population of Colombia which is about 40 million.
The last president to be born in the Caribbean to be elected was in 1886.
We have over 122 years without having a Caribbean president.
We are quite different. Our culture, our accent is different.
The media, uh, often reminds us of that.
We're stereotyped on a daily basis.
I was going to come to the U.S. for college.
Those were my plans.
And when I was 15 my sister,
who was an economist at Harvard , died in a car accident.
That was the first profound event that influenced my life.
I have to change my plans. I was the youngest of five siblings.
And instead of coming here to the U.S.,
I had to go to the heart of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia.
This is the second oldest university in the Americas.
Yes, it is older than Harvard University.
It's a different school.
My class had 84 people; there were only four people from the Caribbean.
There were times when a professor would make a joke
which wasn't at all funny to us,
and my friends and I had to bide our time and walk away.
We used that as motivation.
You always have to channel your anger for positive things.
Of the four, three graduated top of the class.
Two of us are in the States.
One of them is a world authority in Straub.
So I decided that I wanted to come to this country to do research.
And I sent 400 letters of application.
I applied to every program in the United States
and territories including one in Puerto Rico.
After sending 400 letters, I got seven interviews.
One of these interviews was at Lincoln Hospital
which is in the South Bronx -
that's the poorest congressional district in this nation.
I took a taxi from Manhattan there, and there
was this Dominican man who was a philosopher.
He looked at me--had a tie, had an overcoat--and he said,
"You look like a nice boy. Why are you going to the Bronx?"
And I said, "You know , I'm a foreigner.
There's a lot of very few places who'd give me an interview.
He paused, looked at me again and said,
"The whites are sending you there to die".
Although I did survive.
I saw firsthand the effects of segregation, profound segregation.
Americans often act horrified about violence elsewhere
but they don't look at places like the Bronx, Harlem, the inner city.
Look in your own house.
I served an internship there
and then I went on to the residency at Beth Israel New York.
And then I always tell my mentees
that you cannot control who your parents are - that's a random event,
one that is either blessed or not.
But you can control who you spend the rest of your life with.
So the best decision of my life was to marry my wife.
I say that without hesitation.
Then in 1995, I wanted to the state and I had a visa called a J-1,
which is the worst visa you can have. You're better off being an illegal alien.
So I mailed again 400 letters of application.
I looked into every government agency and I got one interview
which was at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Newark, Pennsylvania
that's close to Toronto, Canada.
It's in the lakes. And I served two years
for the government there as an internist of pulmonologist,
and then they granted me permanent residency in this country,
which is when I applied to come to Harvard.
When I came here as a research fellow,
I took a pay cut of 67% before adjusting for cost of living.
My conservative estimation was the pay cut was 80%
after you adjust for that.
My first child had been born.
I moonlighted 16 weekends in a row
to have the down payment for my home which is still in Framingham,
far away from my place of work.
In 1999, I was about to submit an application
for an entry level grant to the NIH.
That was August.
I was taking a plane to go to Costa Rica
where two of my research projects are when my wife called.
And I said to my mentor, one of my mentors who was with me,
I said to him "Did somebody die?
My wife would never call me unless somebody died."
I thought of my second child who had been born two weeks earlier than that.
But in fact my only brother had been murdered by a psychopath
in a mass murder suicide,
a copycat of some of the events in Atlanta and Seattle.
He killed three or four people and then the guy blew his head.
And suddenly I had to deviate, go to Colombia, and have two nephews,
11 and 8, come and embrace me
and realized that I was the last male survivor of my family
since I had lost my father seven years earlier.
I did submit my grant in any event.
And the grant did not get funded but I resubmitted the grant,
and it was funded in 2001 when I also got my Doctorate
from the School of Public Health.
Subsequent to that, I became an Assistant Professor.
I got two large grants funded from NIH.
I was blessed getting a mentoring award,
a teaching award from medical school,
and I became an associate professor in April of 2007.
So I'll give you my few pieces of advice.
Santiago Ramon y Cajal was a Spaniard
who won the Nobel Prize-- it was a Neural Science.
He summarized this - I modified the slide a bit.
The first one is you have to have the capacity
to criticize the work of others,
but particularly your own.
The best advice that I ever got was
"Never believe any data, particularly your own."
Desire for originality -
you have to find noble things as a function of academia.
Focus - that saved me.
You have very limited time.
You have to attend to many different things.
You have to focus.
Honesty above all things even when temptations abound,
you have to love the truth.
Outstanding work habits. Passion - you have to love what you do.
There'll be no doubt of that.
Spirit of service above all things.
The should of a physician above all will serve others.
And perseverance, the most important quality.
There are so many things that I see for new faculty.
There are great opportunities.
There are outstanding educational and training opportunities.
I took advantage of several of those.
And that allows you to develop a unique set of skills.
You have to set yourself apart.
At my place, most people go for a Master's degree.
Nobody had done a doctorate.
But at the time I was doing that,
with two children and doing all this moonlighting,
I realized that genetics was the wave of the future.
And the only way I could get additional training was by doing a Doctorate.
Many people thought I was crazy and I am crazy. But I did it
Then you also have outstanding trainees.
Many people think these people sort of as disposable,
or people who can be recycled.
I view them very differently. They are the life blood of my program.
If you treat your people well,
many of these people are extraordinary bright;
word of mouth will bring more people to you.
And they come to you and they want to work with you
because you provide a good environment for them.
Never take them lightly.
You can also establish unbelievable collaborations across campus.
There are also huge challenges.
When somebody's recruited here particularly at the junior level
and particularly at the medical school,
the high cost of living in this city cannot be forgotten.
I told you how much moonlighting I had to do - that's a daily reality.
When you have somebody work for 30 hours and then ask them to do something,
it's just quite difficult for them.
It's remarkable that they can get to do something.
The quality of mentorship varies enormously.
I'm talking about the medical school again -
varies across institutions, varies across departments;
it's highly variable across divisions.
There are some people who are outstanding mentors,
almost saints in their own way, but there are also tormentors and dementors.
As a minority, I have to say this. I have said this openly.
There is a profound dearth of under-represented minorities
in senior leadership positions.
It's appalling. It's depressing.
There are no division chiefs or department chiefs in my own institution.
That has several negative effects. It affects morale.
The number of Hispanic colleagues
that I've seen leaving in the last ten years is extraordinary.
They leave because they see no clear path to a leadership position.
It affects advocacy and fundraising.
It's very hard for me, you know,
the people that I research on are disproportionately
represented among the poor.
I don't have that constituency that is rich.
If I don't have people at the top,
I'm working for that who are truly and generally and passionately interested.
And it's not lip service - that is a problem.
Finally, there is conflict.
Unfortunately, at the current time,
most of the panels
that would solve these conflicts do not include minorities.
And I can tell you that I can attest to this,
that there are instances where I really had wished
that there was somebody from the minority who was involved.
The ultimate goal of all these things,
and this was very well articulated by the previous speaker, is to establish
an independent investigative who you are, where you live.
Finally, this is a highly competitive environment.
To say that any of you can do this alone is delusional.
We're all grains of sand.
You have to find sources of inspirational support.
To me, that's been my parents who gave me two precious gifts.
One was my faith. Faith takes you over everything.
And the second one is the spirit of service, again the desire to serve.
The second is my wife. In Latin America,
people are told to pray to the guardian angel.
I did better than that. I married mine.
Third, you need mentors. You need mentors within your institution,
but mentors outside the institution as previously mentioned,
are unbelievably helpful.
And I have three people, senior people,
who took an interest in my career early on and whose advice I treasure.
Finally, in my own circumstances,
thousands of people have died in my country as a byproduct of violence.
There were many times when I was in the Bronx,
in New York, here where my will falter and my spirit are weakened.
Somehow I could see they're angels urging me to go on.
I'm very fortunate to lead a program
trying to
help elucidate causes of respiratory diseases in Hispanics.
I think this is a privilege--
the final thing is when I have a mentee,
and this is very important in an environment like this,
many people thirst for power and glory.
And they get lost. That's all they care about.
I've seen this many times. What for?
In Roman times when a general came from a Turkish campaign,
there were two slaves in his chariot;
one to hold his laurels
and the other one to whisper that all glories are for him.
Never forget that.
So, my own belief - everybody has to define what success is.
People are at their best when they are able to see beyond themselves.
Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in the major leagues
said once that "Life has no meaning
except for the impact that it has on the lives of others."
I believe in that.
So everyone we know who has his own definition of success,
to me you have to advance.
You have to be promoted. You have to aspire to leadership.
But that is to help others and to serve.
That is not for something or a reason.
So to me, success is
honoring the memory of those peoples
whom I lost by serving those who remain.
Motivating others, the young people
who will be here long after we all leave, to serve others.
Trying to be a positive influence
and most of all supporting along with my family.
Thank you very much.
Okay. What time is it?
Well, I'll speak briefly about
some thoughts that reinforce some of the things that have been said already
and focus on some other issues. many of you know what your job is?
Do you feel like you know?
And it's not really a rhetorical question. What ran through your mind?
Because when I arrived I said
"Where's the faculty handbook?" And there wasn't one at that time.
And I think there is one now.
And there was one little workshop which focused on teaching mostly
and tried to explain what Harvard undergrads were like.
And I was one, so it really was not a very good job orientation.
And so the practical matter is that you're a researcher,
a teacher, a manager of money,
of people, a psychologist of those people.
You have the service component
which contributes to the governance of this incredibly complex organization,
and you've got one little cog that you're helping turn
in your department at the beginning.
And it's an impossible job description and you've been trained
in maybe the one researcher aspect of it.
And so you've quickly got to figure out how to handle all these different hats.
And you're not going to get any formal education on it.
You can ask for advice from people around you,
you can try and model the ones that you think are most successful,
but you yourself are going to have to figure out how to divide
your own abilities
and what you're going to put some effort into training yourself on.
And I'm going to phrase it that way
because the faster you train yourself
to wear these different hats easily,
the more effective you're going to be
in that you will spend less time wasting time,
mismanaging things
or putting effort into places where there's very little payoff.
this question of how you manage your time is huge.
It's your most valuable resource.
And you're going to have to be extremely defensive
of the time that you spend on scholarship.
And everyone handles that in a different way -
they do all their work and writing at home in the evening,
which worked great for me until I had kids and that became impossible.
Some people have on their calendars,
you know, certain blocks that are sacred - the door is closed,
the phone is off, your email program is closed, and you're working.
And you don't let the world distract you.
Because all of your other aspects of your job -
especially teaching -
have shorter term deadlines that are going to try and fill all available time
And the most common mistake that I see junior faculty making,
and I was guilty,
is that you spend every day in between lectures
preparing for lectures for your first course.
And you prepare about five times as much material
as you can possibly deliver in an hour.
And you had wasted a day
where you could have spent two hours preparing the right amount of material
for one hour of lecture,
and then the rest of your day actually doing scholarship.
And so I say this, and some people say
"You can't spend only two hours preparing an hour lecture,"
but there was actually a study done at Princeton
which I ran into in about my second or third year
where they had pooled all of the successful mid-career faculty,
extremely detailed survey on how they spent their time.
And there was a very strong correlation between people who had limited
time spent away from research
and then their eventual success, which makes sense
It's just very easy to get caught up in short term deadlines.
On navigating Harvard, Harvard is a maze. It's impossible.
I mean now at least there are things like a handbook
that can help point you in directions to find things.
But resources are available for almost everything
and the hard part is trying to find them.
And so you'll ask your senior colleagues
and department chairs but things change,
and they won't know what's available to you now today.
And so then you start finding administration people who are--
you should get to know who you should ask
what things are out there and I'll just list a few.
There's a lot available for child care,
for travel; Parents in a Pinch I used today with my sick baby.
There's mortgage help.
There's a publication fund for junior faculty -
$5000 to use towards publication which I learned about this year,
and none of the other people in the department knew about.
That's an FAS, yes, so that is true.
There are differences between schools.
And there's faculty aid.
So try and find out because these things will make your life easier.
What you have at your advantage by being here are the people.
And you have an incredible quality of colleagues, quality of students,
quality of administrative staff support that I know
from talking to my colleagues at other schools that they just simply don't have
And it will save you time if you learn how to use them.
Learn how to use your assistants effectively
in management of your program and in preparation for lectures.
And the more you can do that, the more you will save time for your scholarship.
In terms of--
there's this question about mentorships
and I agree. I go back and forth.
You're going to get assigned a mentor
by someone at some time, or offered a mentor or offered to be a mentor.
And you have to think about what you want to get out of that relationship.
And you can get very good things
and at times it's so artificial that it's not useful.
So what you want to do is keep your eye out for the accidental mentor.
And then once you've found that person, nurture that relationship.
But it won't come through one of these arbitrarily assigned things.
And ideally it would be someone who's not in your--
I go back and forth on "in your department."
It would be great to also have someone outside of your department
that you can talk to
because at some point
you will need help, and you will want to admit to somebody that you need help.
And you're going to need that other person out there to help you refocus.
And if you don't have that person you'll spend a lot of time
being lost before you can get back on track.
And I say that there's an accidental mentor out there
because in your research,
in additional to staying straight arrow
in what you're doing so that you will actually accomplish something,
you want to keep yourself open -
through accidental conversations in the department, at conferences -
for those seeds of new projects that you could only do because you're here.
And you do that by talking to people.
You ask people what they're doing;
you have something that's on your mind now that you tell them about.
And every once in awhile it leads to a click and you've got a whole new project
in a new direction that you wouldn't have gotten if you weren't at Harvard.
And so keep yourself receptive to that
in addition to having your focus program.
But you're going to have to make a decision
and it needs to be a conscious decision -
are you changing your research program to take advantage of it,
or are you staying on track and saving it for later or keeping it limited?
But those kinds of decisions that you make in these first few years
need to be conscious and not--
What I'm trying to say is that you don't let your career
be a little bit of a random walk
in these early stages.
My advice on
this getting to your associate promotion
is generally not to think about it
in that thinking about tenure, thinking about promotions
is not in itself a good use of your energy
unless you're reviewing your focus
which is going to help the promotion process but not--
don't do it because of a review.
You're doing it because you're keeping yourself focused.
And the main reason why you don't want to think about it
is because the criteria is something ridiculous.
You need to be great.
My parents ask me "What's involved in being promoted?"
I have to be great in something.
And that's an impossible definition to work toward,
and it goes to Juan's very good point on why are you here.
And it's not because you want to get promoted,
because it's an impossible standard.
There's no concrete definition to measure yourself against.
And so you're doing something because of your passion
for your research and your other personal reasons.
And so,
on being great means knowing really what your contribution is,
what your main questions are,
and you're trying to develop relationships internally
so that people in the department know why you're great.
Because everyone's in a different field
they're not necessarily going to appreciate
what's so great about what you're doing, and it's okay to tell them.
And then nurturing your relationships outside of Harvard,
which will be the most important when you come up for a review
so that they know why you're great
and that you have a good established presence outside of Harvard,
which means you have to balanc e your time away from here
at meetings as well as here.
And in regards to thinking about money,
raising money, recognition, trying to get appointments on important panels,
committees those things follow good research and having good relationships.
And you don't seek them out directly.
You focus on your program and being known for something.
You focus on having good, strong, professional relationships,
and then things will follow directly from that.
The money follows the good work.
I'll say I had two kids on tenure track;
three-and-a-half years old and a half-year-old.
It's possible.
My time management skills
went through the roof once I had kids.
Before that it was a waste of time everywhere,
and after that I really got focused.
So that's one strategy but maybe not the best strategy
for learning how to manage your time.
And I'll end there.