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Posted 8/18/2021, last updated 4/27/2022

I've read many articles and books over the years, and the following were impactful enough that I kept them and recommended them to others. Some offer advice that differs from my own, and that's good! For tricky situations without straightforward answers, seek multiple perspectives and find advice that fits your values and priorities.

Challenges facing minority and first-generation students

The Struggle to Be First: First-Gen Students May Be Torn Between College and Home Stories and statistics describing the many hurdles faced by first-generation students that may be invisible to other groups.      

Addressing White Privilege in Higher Education A concise summary of white privilege, its adverse impacts on students of color, and its invisibility to privileged groups.

New or aspiring grad students

A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum A great entry-level book for new or aspiring graduate students, as it covers lots of getting-started type issues. It is also quite affordable.

Michael Ernst web page A wealth of great articles for scholars ranging from undergraduate students to faculty. A few pieces are specific to computer science, but most have excellent advice for anyone. 

Adam M.-A. Simpson web page A thorough guide on applying to grad school, including guidance on practical logistics and detailed example documents. The materials were written with minority students in mind. He also creates YouTube videos presenting academic advice and interviews with scholars from under-represented demographic groups. 


Advice for New Faculty Members Results from research by Robert Boice on what makes faculty productive writers. It is equally relevant for grad students.

How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic WritingLots of practical productivity tips.

Technical Writing in Two Hours per Week An interesting guide to improving your technical writing. It has more hands-on activities and is designed to be done in a group, though from my read it would also seem to work well for a motivated individual.

Mirya Holman's paper pre-submission checklist A useful checklist-style document that you can use when preparing to submit your paper. It's complimentary to my list, with some good ideas I hadn't considered.  

Job searches

Tomorrow's professor: Preparing for academic careers in science and engineering The book I relied on as a grad student. Although it is older, most of it is still accurate. It has valuable ideas about planning for both industry and academic careers, and calibrating expectations about the job search process. The list price for this book is high, so look for a used copy. Stanford Libraries has a free electronic license to this book, so you might be able to find a free electronic copy from your library. 

The Professor Is In A book focused exclusively on navigating the academic job market. It came out since my time but seems to be the go-to book these days. An accompanying website has a blog, podcast, and other sources of information. 

The Academic Job Search Handbook book I used this classic book during my academic job search, and it is still used at Stanford to coach postdocs on the academic job search. Real-world examples and guidelines from successful applicants can help guide your development of application statements.

New and aspiring faculty

The Awesomest 7-Year Postdoc or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tenure-Track Faculty Life This article on finding balance in academic careers was revelatory for me. I recommend it to anyone who fears the lifestyle costs of an academic career.

David Evans web page His how to live in paradise guide is a thought-provoking reminder that grad school and academic careers can be great, despite the problems and stresses. The page links to many other thought-provoking items, even if I don't agree with all of them.

Academaze An accessible, humorous, and personal book describing life as a professor at a research university. It is easy to read a few pages at a time, or end-to-end. The author provides frank comments about the extra pressures and challenges of being a female faculty member.


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