Let’s Kill Off E-mail, Together

I’m at a breaking point, and I suspect I’m not the only one. Working from home (WFH, or perhaps it’s better to abbreviate as WTF) is only making matters worse. I’m talking about the never-ending flow of e-mails and the stranglehold they have over our lives. This beast must be destroyed. But how? As aContinue reading “Let’s Kill Off E-mail, Together”

The Case Against “Trigger Warnings”

I admire resilience. Truth be told, I don’t feel particularly resilient, but I suspect, comparatively speaking, that I am mostly impervious to the incessant assaults that life levels against me. Part of this is attributable to my profession. Academia is cut-throat. We write papers only for reviewers to rip them to shreds and journal editorsContinue reading “The Case Against “Trigger Warnings””

Can Scientists (and Science) Be Trusted?

Churchill once described democracy as the worst form of government except for all other forms that have been tried. The same, I think, also applies to science as a means of understanding the world. It has severe limitations, but it is by far superior to any other epistemology of old. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t fool ourselvesContinue reading “Can Scientists (and Science) Be Trusted?”

The Key to Improving Research: More Books, Fewer Articles

Books are sublime. I’ve loved them ever since I was a little child. They represent new, exciting, and previously unexplored ideas and a crowning sense of achievement (both for the writer and for the reader on finishing the manuscript). They are the personification of the author. On the whiteboard in my office, I display oneContinue reading “The Key to Improving Research: More Books, Fewer Articles”

Academia is Just Like the Olympics

I’ve been inspired by the amazing athletes at the Tokyo 2020 (actually, 2021) Olympic games. They are truly a spectacle to behold and one can’t help but be impressed. As I watch all the running, jumping, and twisting, I am reminded that academia is like the Olympics in more ways than just one. Let meContinue reading “Academia is Just Like the Olympics”

Can Your Head of Department Ever Be Your Friend?

I hope the answer to this question is “yes” because I am a Head of Department. For my part, I can say definitively that, as a Head of Department, I am indeed friends with many faculty members whose work I oversee. But there are several unique challenges to be overcome if these friendships are toContinue reading “Can Your Head of Department Ever Be Your Friend?”

“Old” vs. “New” Universities: Which is Better?

“Old” and “new” universities are often euphemisms for “good” and “bad,” respectively. Students matriculated at, and faculty employed in, new universities are often looked down upon as less worthy than those studying or working in older, more established institutions. It is no coincidence that the “best” universities in the world are also the oldest ones.Continue reading ““Old” vs. “New” Universities: Which is Better?”

Are Early Career Researchers More Likely to Reject Your Paper than Full Professors?

I reviewed a paper this morning and it took me only 45 minutes to read the entire manuscript and write out my comments to the authors. When I was an early career researcher (ECR), I used to spend a minimum of three hours per review, and sometimes I would take days. Occasionally, as an ECR,Continue reading “Are Early Career Researchers More Likely to Reject Your Paper than Full Professors?”

How to Nail Common Academic Job Interview Questions

I am often surprised by how poorly job applicants perform during academic job interviews. The questions asked by the interview panel are mostly predictable, so there’s really no excuse for failing to prepare a set of good responses in advance. The key is to anticipate the questions so that your replies are mature and profoundContinue reading “How to Nail Common Academic Job Interview Questions”

The Problem with Privilege

Academics are quick to accuse each other of failing to recognize their own privilege. The irony, of course, is that academics are among the most privileged people on earth, generally speaking. I must qualify this statement (“generally speaking”) by pointing out, of course, that some academics are more privileged (e.g., tenured professors) than others (adjunctContinue reading “The Problem with Privilege”