Resources for Interdisciplinary
Early-Career Development

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U.S. National Postdoctoral Association

General Recommendations

Meeting Ph.D. Graduates' Needs
in a Changinig Global Environment

Susan Weiler receives 2007 ASLO Distinguished Service Award

National Science Foundation Geoscience Directorate's
Recommendations for Postdoctoral Policies and Practices

Job Hunting

These days, the majority of aquatic science PhDs take postdoctoral positions as a first job. Most symposia have included individuals who have recently been hired into permanent or potentially permanent positions as well as postdocs. Over the years several groups have compiled advice to assist graduate students recent PhDs in locating and landing a job.

Academic Job-Hunting Tips: Summary from the 2001 DIALOG IV Symposium. This paper includes some terrific general advice on applying for jobs. In addition, two participants who were in permanent positions at the time of the symposium (Reide Corbett and Jennifer Klug) graciously allowed their successful application packages to be included as models.
Baker, A., J. Benoit, R. Burks, M. Castillo, R. Corbett, D. Hoskins, J. Klug, R. Shipe and F. Wilhelm. 2001. Academic job hunting tips and advice: Summary of DIALOG IV Symposium Working Group discussion.

Job-Search Strategies and Tips: Summary from the 2002 DIACES Symposium. This document represents the collected wisdom of participants in the 2002 DIACES symposium. While the report is centered on academic positions, there is general advice that should be useful for those seeking careers in industry, government and NGO's. Special thanks go to Joe Warren for taking the written notes from one of the sessions and transforming it into an html document.
Conde, D., A. Ferrara, S. Gerken, J. Julius, J. Martin, C. Natunewicz, D. Nemerson, E. Parnell, J. Warren and D. Zawada. 2002. DIACES 2002 Job search strategies and tips.

Writing and Requesting Letters of Recommendation: Recieving a good recommendation can tip the scales when applying for a grant, fellowship, or job.  As well, anyone involved with the supervision of students, etc., will eventually begin to recieve requests for letters of reference, and there are not many resources available on the topic of what exactly consitutes a "good" letter of reference. Writing those first few letters can be a difficult task.  Below are some resources for both writing, and receiving, a good reference letter, put together by DIALOG VI Symposium participant Rob Campbell from discussions at the DIALOG VI symposium and suggestions by four more experienced colleagues.
Campbell, R.W., M. Boersma, J. Dower, G. Muller-Parker and C.S. Weiler, 2005. In pursuit of the perfect letter of reference.

Professional Development

While academic institutions are increasingly providing students with training related to professional development, most graduates need more training than is currently provided as part of their graduate education. The resources below were developed to fill this need.

What Ph.D. Graduates Want: Strategies for Building Successful Interdisciplinary Careers. This PowerPoint presentation was given at the February 2006 Ocean Sciences Meeting. It contains ideas for quick, easy and effecctive mechanisms for enhancing professional development.

Navigating Promotion and Tenure: Strategies for the Newly Employed
W. M. (Monty) Graham developed this resource when he served as a mentor for the 2003 DIALOG symposium.

Graham, W.M. 2003. Navigating promotion and tenure: Strategies for the newly employed. L&O Bulletin 12(4): 85-86.

Balancing Priorities in the Academic Workplace
This paper summarizes a discussion held at the 2005 DIALOG VII Symposium. This paper focuses on balancing work priorities rather than work and family issues, although both are recognized as important.
Menden-Deuer, S. and N.J. Grigg. 2006. Balancing priorities in the academic workplace.

A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty This very useful resource was prepared by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The entire book (13 chapters on topics ranging from negotiating a faculty position to managing a lab and gettiing funded and published) is available on-line at no cost.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Burroughs Welcome Fund, 2004. Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty. 231 pp.

On the Cutting Edge Project for Geoscience Faculty and Post-Docs
The NAGT/DLESE On the Cutting Edge project helps geoscience faculty stay up-to-date with both geoscience research and teaching methods. The workshop series and website combine to provide professional development opportunities, resources, and opportunities for faculty to interact on-line and in person with colleagues around the world who are focused on improving their teaching. An integral aspect of the project is development of an expanding community of geoscience educators with a strong and diverse leadership.

Resources for Scientific Presentations recommended by DIALOG and DISCCRS participants.This resource was developed to help participants prepare for presentations at DIALOG and DISCCRS symposia. It should be of interest to anyone looking for general guidelines for scientific presentations. Most of the resources are for oral presentations, but there are some tips for poster development as well.
Weiler, C.S. 2004. Resources for scientific presentations recommended by DIALOG and DISCCRS participants.

Proposal Writing

While anyone wishing to pursue a research career can expect to write proposals, concrete skills are not always taught in graduate school. This section has been developed to assist new proposal writers.

Practical Guidelines for Proposal Writers Deneb Karentz developed an overview for new proposal writers for a presentation she gave at the DIALOG IV symposium. At the time she was serving as a "rotator" at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). This resource has been extremely popular, and used at successive symposia. Deneb very kindly updates it even though she has now returned to her position at the University of San Francisco. While it focuses on the NSF, the recommendations are quite universal and should be useful in most situations.
Karentz, D. 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005. Practical guidelines for proposal writers.

Model for a Collaborative Research Proposal Proposal writing can be intimidating and collaborative proposals, where one or more researchers from different institutions are involved, is particularly challenging. In order to assist new proposal writers, Ron Kiene (University of Alabama) and David Kieber (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) kindly agreed to share a successfully funded collaborative proposal for use as a model.
Keine, R. and D. Kieber. 2002. Model for a collaborative research proposal.

Mentoring and Teaching

Recent PhD graduates are in a period of sharp transition--they still need to be mentored, but they are increasingly taking on the role of advisor and mentor to others. Many are teaching for the first time. These reports were developed to ease the process.

Mentoring: Summary Report from the 2003 DISCCRS Symposium This resource focuses on academic settings, but much of the recommendations are universal. The report is quite thorough, and even includes a set of guidelines/expectations for undergraduate and graduate students that could be used as a model (see Appendix II of the report). Both faculty and students are strongly encouraged to read this report.

Chiang, J.C.H., G.A. McKinle and K.M. Arzayus, 2003. Mentoring: Summary report of a Working Group from the DICCRS 1 Symposium.

Ecology teaching tips for first-year professors: This paper, written by Karen Wilson and Stephanie Hampton, resulted from discussions at the DIALOG VI symposium.
Wilson, K. and S.E. Hampton, 2004. Ecology teaching tips for first-year professors. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 85 (2): April, 2004.

Aquatic Science Teaching Slides: This webpage was developed by DIALOG V participant Stacey Etheridge, to make slides developed by the DIALOG V symposium participants available to a larger audience. DIALOG symposium participants are each required to develop a 10-minute oral presentation in plenary format, to make their work understandable to scientists outside their own discipline. So many of the DIALOG V participants were requesting slides from each other's presentations for teaching purposes that Stacey kindly volunteered to put the slides together as an electronic resource. This page will be expanded with each symposia.
Etheridge, S. et al. 2004. DIALOG V educational slides: Interdisciplinary topics in aquatic science.

Illustrated plankton resources: An annotated list This document was prepared in 2002 in order to provide illustrations for teaching purposes. The hope is to update this as new resources become available . Please send suggestions to
Weiler, C.S. et al. 2000. Illustrated plankton resources: An annotated list.

Advice to Students wishing to Pursue Aquatic Science Careers The reflections in this document come from a 2002 survey of 171 Ph.D. graduates who participated in the first four DIALOG symposia. This resource is most appropriate for middle- and high-school students.

Weiler, C.S. 2002. Reflections of recent Ph.D.'s: Advice to students wishing to pursue aquatic science careers.

Graduate-Education Recommendations

DIALOG and DISCCRS symposium participants come from a variety of academic institutions, within and outside the U.S. As recent PhD graduates, they generally have strong opinions on their graduate experiences and are eager to share the best aspects of their programs. These reports share their perspectives and recommendations.

The Right Stuff: Graduate and Postgraduate Training for Interdisciplinary Research Careers. This page contains some of the papers which were presented in a session by that name at the Feb. 2006 ASLO/AGU/TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, including one by Margaret Leinen, NSF Assistant Director for Geosciences.

Perspectives on Graduate-Education Experiences in Aquatic Science The 42 participants in the 1999 DIALOG symposium participated in working groups to discuss their individual PhD programs and make recommendations for aquatic science PhD programs that included the best elements of the programs represented by the participants.
Weiler, C.S., S.E. Beaulieu and other DIALOG III participants. 2000. Perspectives on graduate education experiences in aquatic science. ASLO Bulletin 9(2) :20-22 and

Research challenges at the land-water interface.
This article was prepared by one of the Working Groups at the October, 2002 DIACES symposium.

Talley, D.M., E.W. North, A.R. Juhl, D.A. Timothy, D. Conde, J.F.C. deBrouwer, C.A. Brown, L.M. Campbell, T. Garstecki, C.J. Hall, F.J.R. Meysman, D.M. Nemerson, P.W. Souza Filho and R.J. Wood. 2003. Research challenges at the land/sea interface. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 58:699-702.

The 'Ideal' Climate-Change Ph.D. Program The 43 participants in the first DISCCRS symposium (March, 2003) were asked to reflect on their graduate education and come up with an 'ideal' program for students wishing to pursue research and careers related to climate change. This document is a result of that process.
Drobot, S.D., D. Porinchu, K.M. Arzayus, V.A. Barber, L.J. Delissio, L.M. Smith and J.M. Warren et al. 2003. The "ideal" climage change Ph.D. Program. DISCCRS Working Group Report.

Meeting the needs of interdisciplinary Ph.D. Graduates in a changing global environment. This report is from a workshop supported by NSF's Biocomplexity in the Environment initiative. The workshop brought together new and established aquatic science and climate-change researchers to make recommendations concerning the needs of Ph.D. graduates wishing to pursue interdisciplinary research that encompasses both the natural and social sciences.
Weiler, C.S. 2004. Meeting the needs of interdisciplinary Ph.D. graduates in a changing global environment. Report from an October, 2003 workshop.
Click here for Poster presentation in JPEG format.


C. Susan Weiler

This page was developed with support of
NSF,NASA, NOAA and ONR through grants to Whitman College, C.S. Weiler, PI.



since 01/04/06