Tag Archives: tenure

You can’t “stay in your lane”. So you have to know how to drive in your neighbour’s.

I was tidying up old paper files in my office last week (don’t ask) when I came across the records from my tenure review, 20 years ago. You’d think 20 years of perspective would make me less angry – but you’d be wrong. What 20 years of perspective has done, though, is let me diagnose exactly what I was angry about, and convince me that there’s an important lesson there for academia. And life.

First, I guess, a little history. Continue reading

Does an academic need an attention span?

I’m calling my new blog “Scientist Sees Squirrel” in anticipation.  You see, I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about tomorrow, much less next month or next year – but I’m pretty sure that it will resist nice tidy categorization.  I’m interested in insect host-race formation, of course (my research bread-and-butter these days).  But I’m also interested in phylogenetic tree shape, in the evolution of plant tolerance to herbivory, in aggregation and coexistence, and in the ecology of invasions and outbreaks.  More broadly, I’m interested in science as a way of learning (and its use by non-scientists), in the culture and sociology of science and of academia, in science outreach – and increasingly, in scientific writing, including the use of humour and beauty in technical writing.  At least, those are the things I can think of just now.

And that brings me to my topic: these aren’t the same things I would have listed two years ago, or five, or ten.  My career has hopped from research area to research area: Continue reading