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More Time in the Ivory Tower?: Pursuing Graduate School

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  1. More Time in the Ivory Tower?: Pursuing Graduate School AICHE Brownbag Wednesday, September 28, 2011

  2. Today’s Brownbag • Is graduate school for you? • What does a professor actually do? (Prof. Ferri) • Faculty panel • Slides will be available on Lafayette chapter AICHE sites (sites.lafayette.edu/aiche)

  3. Why Choose Graduate School? • Graduate school is not for everybody. • On average, a 4.5-6 year investment of time • People who enter grad school should be: • Self-motivated • Inquisitive about engineering AND science • Interested in why things are happening, not just what is happening • Willing to handle failure and learn from it • Unafraid to ask questions

  4. Undergraduate vs. Graduate • UG is (primarily) closed-ended problems where a solution is available following some procedure. • A Ph.D. involves solving open-ended problems where the solution is unknown and the path to solving the problem is often murky at best. • Graduate school will enhance and develop your analytical skills to allow you to solve any problem.

  5. What are the Requirements of a Ph.D.?

  6. Am I Going to Accumulate Loans? • In virtually all ChemE programs (and most other science/engineering), no. (For Ph.D.) • Research is funded by a wide range of entities. • Covers cost of “employees” (grad students et al.) • Tuition/fees • Stipend (~$25-35,000, dependent on school) • Health care (typically) • Attendance at conferences (% coverage varies)

  7. Will I Like Research? • The best way to find out is by actually completing research. • At Lafayette • Excel program (the earlier, the better) • Can go outside of the major • Externally • Summer REU programs (http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/list_result.cfm?unitid=10006) • Other federal/university level organizations (NSF, NIH, etc.)

  8. Applying For Grad School • Typically due around January 1 (variation exists)

  9. How Do I Pick a Grad School? • Researching schools is important • Most to all research groups have a group website where a flavor of their work is available. (upkeep) • What are your research interests? • Any particular area of interest (energy, bio, etc.)? • Experimental? Computational? Both? • The school • Prestige (be careful) • Location (size/weather/rural vs. urban) • Number of professors interested in (be careful)

  10. Senior Year Timeline • Research potential schools • Ask faculty or others for advice/insight • Look into fellowships (NSF etc.) • Take GRE • Ensure letters of recommendation have been completed and sent • Submit application • Recruiting weekends • Narrow list of potential schools • Ask for letters of recommendation • Send e-mails to faculty you are interested in. • Prepping applications (GRE, personal statement) • Notification of acceptance • Notification of award package Sept. Dec. Jan. Feb. Apr. • Final decisions

  11. What Can I Do with a Ph.D. (Besides be a Professor)? • Remember, your thesis research will a little slice of science/engineering that you are the expert. • You may be expected to run experiments or oversee others completing experiments. • Senior Engineer • Research Scientist • Consultant

  12. Where are They Now?: Postdocs

  13. Where are They Now?: Jobs

  14. A Few Parting Words • Don’t choose grad school solely because finding a job is difficult. • Grad school will change the way you think and approach problems. • Even though it’s not industry, networking is just as important in grad school. • What you get out of grad school is directly related to what you put into it.

  15. Chemical Engineering in Academia What does a professor do? James K. Ferri Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Lafayette College

  16. Faculty Positions Non-tenure Track vs. Tenure Track Adjunct, Visiting, Instructor One to three year appointment Generally non-renewable Assistant (Associate) One to three year appointments Renewable during probationary period “Up or out” Salary Scale: PUI Research (R-1) + $8,000-$12,000 Assistant ($59,150, $86,600) - $74,000 Associate $88,600 Full $115,700

  17. Job Description 20

  18. Teaching Course Load: (varies by institution) Teaching-oriented: (3/3) Most (all) teaching and grading done by faculty Research-oriented: (1/1) Lectures taught by faculty; laboratory and recitation/quiz sections by graduate assistants Occasionally, lectures taught by adjunct or other non-tenure track instructors (Nearly) all grading done by assistants Example: A College in Easton, Pennsylvania 3/2

  19. Teaching: evaluation of job performance Student evaluations: Written comments Student comments Peer observation Educational materials development Academic advising Good is not good. This seeks to provide perspective This is how to excel. Valued but not quantified.

  20. Scholarship • Dissemination • Publications • peer reviewed • non-peer reviewed (conference papers, book chapters) • Presentations • invited seminars and public lectures (think LSS) • conference presentations • Support • Grants • NSF, NIH, DOE, DOD, NASA • EPA, FDA, … • Industry cooperation • sponsored fundamental and applied research • Professional development

  21. Scholarship: evaluation of job performance • Dissemination • Publications • peer reviewed 1 paper per year is annual expectation • non-peer reviewed • Presentations • invited seminars and public lectures • conference presentations • Support • Grants • NSF, NIH, DOE, DOD, NASA • EPA, FDA, … • Industry cooperation • sponsored fundamental and applied research • Professional development Anything here is good Anything here is good (and might be necessary; see above)

  22. Service Departmental Service: Standing committees: Outreach, Student Experience, etc. Operational activities (open houses, outreach, individualized learning experiences) Institutional committees: Standing committees: Judical, Compensation, Policy, …Ad-hoc (“for this”): faculty searches, special appointments Professional service: Organization of professional meetings Peer-review of journal articles and grant proposals

  23. Job Description 30