John L. Junkins, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Member of the NAE, has written this "professional advice" book for young and mid-career engineering professors. This book provides no-nonsense mentoring that will help professors achieve success and happiness while performing well the expected volume of teaching, research, scholarship, and winning grants. Dr. Junkins has performed these functions well for four decades, directed the research of over 50 PhD students, published 7 books, several patents and ~400 other publications; he has served as Principal Investigator for ~$40M of research. Over 20 of his offspring are successful professors. Known as an excellent mentor, his advice is derived from first-hand experience and surveys of colleagues. He conveys many practical insights that will help you achieve a productive professional career and a happy personal life. Statistical data provided on successful associate and full professor promotions will help set goals and... More > calibrate your performance.< Less
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By Mohammad Naraghi
Jun 25, 2013
I‘m an assis. Prof. , so my comments will be from this perspective. I would say the book is a combination of breadth and depth. In the book, I found hints on how to do time management in an academic life, and for those of you who are in academia, I guess you know that life in “academic life” goes well beyond M-F 9-5. So time management is absolutely critical. There was very concise advice on issues about mentoring students, how to be a good teacher, and how to set your priorities as you evolve along your career. The book gives you hints on hiring students, and also how to start the unpleasant conversations, when you think a student is not committed to do the job. There were things that I absolutely loved about this book, like some statistics on papers, students, etc. related to tenure and promotion. Also given how overwhelming the academic life is, especially when you start it, let me finish with this: the book can be read in a few hours, like during a flight from Houston to DC! Also,... More > the chapters of the book have very descriptive titles and I think you can just start reading those chapters that you like.< Less
This book is an absolute gem for anyone wishing to build a successful career in academia: graduate students, postdocs, faculty members: both young and senior. The unique style of writing with personal touch, makes it a charm to read. It's easy to loose focus amid the frustrations and hardships that come with modern day competitive business of academia. This book could be an excellent place to regain the composure and in that sense, worth multiple read at various times of one's career. The only thing I wish to see in a possible future edition of this book, is a chapter on academic career and personal life balance. Nevertheless, in my opinion, any scholar will find the book way more than "very useful", if not "indispensable".
Dr Junkins writes a very interesting book with a lot of excellent advice for young aspiring professors. The humor and personal stories give it a great informal touch. I have passed the book on to several of my friends (fellow grad students) to read. I'd definitely recommend this one!
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