Category Archives: Department politics

How to do an external review, particularly of a university department

There is a sameness to human organizations. This means that if you are conducting an external review, you can probably do a surprising amount of it without knowing anything about the particular group at hand. Knowing this, then looking for … Continue reading

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Building bridges among lab groups

Some of the comments on lab group separation, mostly on Twitter or Facebook, not here, hoped for an explanation of the reasons for separation, or thoughts on the fixes for this. Here’s an effort in that direction. We might think … Continue reading

Posted in Collaborating, Collaboration, Department politics, Managing an academic career | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Feeling scared and guilty because your teacher or boss has asked for a meeting without telling you its subject?

Why when someone above me asks for a meeting without telling me why do I feel scared and guilty? I try to think of what I might have done to offend, but nothing comes to mind. It is a little … Continue reading

Posted in Department politics, Group leadership, Life in a biology department | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Let need, not ego, matter for allocating research space

Remember your first bench? Was it a place to dump field gear? Was it 6 feet of black magic with shelves above for carefully labeled and dated orange-capped bottles? Did you line up your vortexer with your pipetteman rack? Did … Continue reading

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How to change an organization, a department, a curriculum

Whatever field you are in, there will be organizations with structure and rules. In academics, departments have committees, undergraduates have a required curriculum, graduate students have their courses, exams, and theses. Sometimes these structures are very well known and standard … Continue reading

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Assistant Professor in Evolution at Washington University in St. Louis!

We have an open position in evolutionary biology right here at Washington University in St. Louis! I hope you’ll apply! We are very excited about this and hope to welcome an excellent new colleague soon to our wonderful university, department, … Continue reading

Posted in Department politics, Exploring St. Louis, New assistant professor | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Why you shouldn’t hire your colleague’s child, or be asked to do so

The whole reason we do experiments blind, have rules against nepotism, and worry about inadvertent bias is that we are humans and these things go with the species, no matter how fair we try to be. Even though there has … Continue reading

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