[EAS]Future Professors Workshop

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Thu Sep 27 00:04:44 EDT 2001

Subject:   Future Professors Workshop

Dear Colleagues -

For the junior faculty readers of this list, but also for all
who care about them. 

The last paragraph mentions an interesting teaching technique.
Another technique that in recent years has ranked highest among
suggestions from faculty and students is the "one minute paper."
Richard Light in his important book "Making the Most of College:
Students Speak their Minds" (2001) describes it thus:

"Conclude each regular lecture or discussion session a couple of
minutes before the end of class. Ask each student to take out a
sheet of paper and write down, anonymously, brief answers to two
 1. What is the big point, the main idea, that you learned in class
 2. What is the main unanswered question you leave class with
    today? What is the 'muddiest' point?"

Students drop the anonymous  papers into a box by the door. Five
minutes of riffling through them will give you surprisingly good
insight into what students understood and what wasn't clear, and
may give you some good ideas about how to start the next class. The
technique is now widely used at Harvard and rapidly spreading to
other campuses. Even experienced professors comment on it as the
best high payoff for a tiny investment they have seen in years. I
have used it and agree. The point is you get feedback throughout
the semester, allowing you to make corrections, not just
evaluations at the end.


Date: 9/26/2001 7:28 PM
From: Rick Reis

"Teaching pressures are immediate, and the rewards are concrete. 
 Research pressures are extremely non-immediate, and the rewards are
 subtle -- there's no thunderous applause -- and very slow in coming."


	  "desk-top faculty development, one hundred times a year"

          Note: Previous Listserv postings can be found at:


The posting below is a report on a workshop on held every June at 
Stanford University for current and past students in the Future 
Professors of Manufacturing program.  It offers some excellent 
insights on getting started in academe.  The article is by freelance 
writer, Bruce Goldman, and appeared in the  Stanford Report, 
September 5, 2001 http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/report/ Reprinted 
with permission.


Rick Reis
reis at stanford.edu
UP NEXT: Inspiring Students

			Tomorrow's Academic Careers

	  ------------------- 1,075 words ------------------



The cartoon projected on the screen behind Kyle Cattani's back 
consists of a single frame: A worried young man wearing a gown and 
mortarboard sits in the back seat of a cab. The driver, an
avuncular  smile gracing his grizzled face, is saying, "Frightened
by the real  world? Hey, I felt the same way when I got my Ph.D."

That sentiment is certainly familiar to any college graduate. 
Academic smarts, valuable as they are, get you only partway in this
 world -- even when your career unfolds within the walls of
academe.  So, at a workshop held on Stanford's campus June 21-22,
Cattani, an  assistant professor at the University of North
Carolina's business  school in Chapel Hill, N.C., was doing his
best to ease the  transition for some of his soon-to-be peers.
During the workshop,  which was marked by the easy, frank exchanges
of a dormitory bull  session, he and several other academics at
various stages along the  professorial trajectory tossed around
tidbits of "tacit knowledge" --  a rather academic-sounding
designation for what's known in the  vernacular as "the things they
don't teach you in school."

The workshop was organized by Stanford's Future Professors of 
Manufacturing (FPM) program and sponsored by the Alliance for 
Innovative Manufacturing (AIM). AIM is a Stanford-based joint
venture  initiated by the Graduate School of Business, the School
of  Engineering and corporate partners to promote the exchange of
technical ideas and techniques between academia and  industry. As
part of that mission, AIM created the FPM program  several years
ago. At present, close to 20 students participate in  the program,
with an additional 35 to 40 dual-degree students working  toward
master's degrees in other engineering programs.

Cattani, a 1997 FPM graduate who teaches courses in operations and 
supply chain management at UNC, confirmed what may be the
worst-kept  secret of the tenure-review process: It's not your
teaching, but your  research, that gets you a permanent perch.
After their third year, Cattani told the  audience, assistant
professors at UNC must submit a "renewal packet"  containing
summaries of their research, professional activities and  career
plans, as well as a sampling of research papers and list of 
courses they've taught. In the seventh year, this is followed by a 
"tenure packet" -- essentially an updated renewal packet, along
with  a list of leaders in the field of interest and letters to
those  leaders asking for comments on the importance of the young 
researcher's work. The reality, Cattani said, is that "the tenure 
committee asks you for a list of leaders, and then they send
letters  to whomever they  want."

Cattani served up a sophisticated formula, the upshot of which was 
that you get more credit for co-authoring two papers with another 
researcher than for single-authoring just one -- and even more for 
co-authoring three publications with two other researchers. At the 
same time, he said, "you need to include some single-authored
papers to show you did your own work."

This emphasis on publishing has an almost inevitable, if
unintended,  result. Michael Harrison, a veteran of 30 years on the
faculty of  Stanford's Graduate School of Business, where he is
Gregor G.  Peterson Professor of Operations Management, estimated
that perhaps 10 percent of published articles in his field stand
out on grounds of intellectual scope and depth, and another 10
percent because of specialty contributions. Still, the  other 80
percent may be necessary, he said -- although perhaps not so  much
for the readers as for the writers. "You have to keep moving, to 
warm up," said Harrison, likening research momentum to a flywheel. 
"Academics do better research as they go along. Be patient with 
yourself. If you don't crank out the less-than-stellar stuff early 
on, you may not advance your career enough."

The pressure to teach can overwhelm a young professor's survival 
instinct to hit the research accelerator. Harrison offered one
reason for this tendency: "Teaching pressures are immediate, and
the rewards  are concrete," he said. "Research pressures are
extremely  non-immediate, and the rewards are subtle -- there's no
thunderous applause -- and very slow in coming.  I co-wrote a paper
in 1979 that today has 400 citations. In the first five years, I
received zero comments of acknowledgment whatsoever except from my

Joe Hall, a 2000 FPM graduate who taught operations and management 
last year in his first season as an assistant professor at 
Dartmouth's business school, pointed out two virtues of not
knocking  yourself out teaching at the outset: "First and foremost,
you'll get more research done. And also -- no  small thing in the
eyes of your departmental judges -- you'll have an  easier time
showing improvement in subsequent years." On the other  hand, there
are some compelling reasons for paying attention to the  quality of
your teaching from the get-go. For one thing, Hall said, "student
impressions can persist for years, and student assessments  of your
teaching performance do matter." At Dartmouth, at least, "you  can
literally get yanked out of class" if your performance is subpar.

Along with the favorable impact of a solid teaching performance on 
your ego and self-esteem, Hall continued, is a practical payoff: 
"Giving it your best shot right from the start makes it much easier
to re-use the material later -- you get the 'fixed cost' of
gathering  and synthesizing your lecture materials out of the way."
A positive  buzz in the hallways concerning your teaching skill
means that  "enrollment in elective courses you're teaching will be
higher," said  Hall, and that's nice. The downside, he noted dryly,
is that  "enrollment in elective courses you're teaching will be
higher," and  thus, presumably, demand more of your time and

Hall's observation that "if you're overly harsh in your grading, it
can cause problems" prompted David Kazmer, a University of 
Massachusetts associate professor of mechanical and industrial 
engineering and a 1995 FPM graduate, to serve up this tip for 
teachers: "Be sure to hand out course evaluation surveys way before
grading time, so there's no connection between the two."

To encourage classroom participation, Andy Hargadon, an assistant 
professor of management at the University of Florida's business 
school and a 1998 FPM graduate, offered a diabolical method he has 
employed to advantage: "I tell them that every student, at the end
of the semester, is going to rank the  top five student
participants -- and, to make sure they're not just  backing their
buddies, they'll be graded on how well their answers  correlate
with the consensus."


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