Professional Development for Graduate Students and Faculty

Graduate Student Resource Center

Time Management and Productivity
Guides on How to Thrive in Grad School
The Work-Life Balance
Conference-Going and -Presenting
The Academic Job Search
Best of the Blogosphere

Time Management and Productivity

If feel like you can't keep track of what you are doing with your time and feel desperate about getting your work done, it may be worth investing some time in creating a system for planning your tasks. I recommend the following sites, although I do think it's important to tweak them to suit your own purposes and approaches.

David Allen's "Getting Things Done" System—What is most useful about this system is that it outlines a system of list-making that is designed to be most flexible about using all of your time.

Lifehacker—Lifehacker has loads of good ideas, particularly tied to technological tools. However, it is not cohesive or comprehensive and can therefore lead to hours and hours of procrastination.

43 Folders—Merlin Mann's website, which positions itself as having a life-coach-like approach, is well-organized and generally helpful.

Apartment Therapy—This is actually a design website, but it occasionally has some helpful advice for design bloggers—people who, like many graduate students, organize their own time and don't have a specific office workspace.

There are also a variety of free software programs that can help you track your time on the computer or block out distracting sites for periods of time:
Rescue Time
Leechblock (requires Firefox)
Invisibility Cloak (requires Firefox)

Egg timers are useful tools for doing "sprints" of writing:
EggTimer Widget (for Mac)
Egg Timer Plus v3.0

Q10—This free Windows application has a timer, provides live-text statistics, lets you work full-screen, and has a bunch of other neat features:

Guides on How to Thrive in Grad School

Two books are very useful for thinking about your graduate school career, one for north campus, the other for south campus:

Gregory M. Colon Semenza's Graduate Study for the Twenty-First Century: How to Build an Academic Career in the Humanities. This book discusses the various aspects of a graduate career--from coursework to job market—through the lens of the grim statistics of graduation and placement. Advice for how to position oneself for success can therefore come across as warnings of "what-not-to-do."

Patricia A. Gosling's and Bart D. Noordam's Mastering Your PhD: Survival and Success in the Doctoral Years and Beyond. Geared primarily towards science students, this book aims to explore the obstacles that graduate students are likely to confront and offers strategies for how to deal with them.

Steven Stearns and Ray Huey's commentaries, "Some Modest Advice for Graduate Students." These two commentaries are short and brutal about what to prioritize in your grad school career and your place in the academic food chain.

The Work-Life Balance

Robert Boice's books are great for thinking about how to weave writing into a variety of other (scholarly) activities. I especially recommend Professors as Writers: A Self-Help Guide to Productive Writing and Advice for New Faculty Members.

Joan Bolker's book, Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis is clearly about the process of finding a dissertation topic and writing it, but it is generally a book that encourages productive writing alongside a sane existence.

Conference-Going and -Presenting

Claire Potter writes brilliant advice at the blog Tenured Radical, and this entry is a step-by-step explanation of what to do to give a good conference paper.

The Academic Job Search

Kathryn Hume's Surviving Your Academic Job Hunt: Advice for Humanities Ph.D.s chronicles the different aspects of the job search and how the tasks change throughout the academic year. Although the sample documents and the websites offered for help are all tailored for the humanities, the advice would be helpful for anyone who is an applicant.

Julia Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong's The Academic Job Search Handbook is the most complete book on the topic.

And again, the excellent Claire Potter on the job market—addressing the psychological aspects of the process much better than the above books.

Best of the Blogosphere

Many bloggers, often pseudonymous assistant professors, sometimes grad students, sometimes tenured, a few administrators, write about their lives and their work within academia. It's nice to have this multiplicity of voices. Those below tend to think through the culture of academia as they experience it in a way that I have found illuminating. (Note: Many of the writers work in the humanities.)

The Professor is In
Kate of Academic Ecology
Sisyphus of Academic Cog
Gay Prof of Center of Gravitas
Dean Dad of Confessions of a Community College Dean
Flavia of Ferule and Fescue
Historiann, History and sexual politics 1492 to the present
Undine of Not of General Interest
Dr. Crazy of Reassigned Time
Oso Raro of Slaves of Academe
Claire Potter, the Tenured Radical
Notorious Ph.D. of the Adventures of Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar
Horace of To delight and to instruct

This page was created by Jeannine Murray-Román. To suggest a resource or report a broken link, email the GWC at