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Building a Career in Rhetorical Studies

Workshop Leaders:

Bonnie J. Dow, Vanderbilt University
Jessica Enoch, University of Maryland

Our purpose in this workshop is to illuminate the many implicit and explicit ways that choicemaking and goal-setting figures in career-building in all contexts. We will proceed from the perspective that academic careers can be understood in terms of stages, which, although not always distinct, tend to present different kinds of problems and possibilities among the general foci of academic life, e.g., developing as a teacher/mentor/advisor, establishing a research program, managing service/administrative roles and commitments, and achieving or attempting work/life balance.

More specifically, our goals for the workshop will be to explore various career possibilities, working with participants to consider how they might create a career for themselves that best suits their investments and interests. While our points of discussion will reflect the goals of our participants, we see the workshop conversations engaging concerns such as these: jobhunting, tenure and promotion, development and management of teaching and service opportunities, publishing opportunities and decisions, mentorship/networking/collegial relationships, work-life balance, and the challenges of life after tenure. We welcome applications from academics at various career s ages, including advanced graduate students, assistant professors (both early and advanced) and early associates, although the eventual emphases of the workshop will be tailored to the interests expressed by the selected participants. We believe people at any stage of their careers will benefit by thinking proactively about stages of academic life.

Prior to the workshop, participants will be asked to submit a 1-3 page statement of their career stage and the challenges of primary concern to them. They also will be provided with a list of readings that will be the focus of discussion. Those readings may include, but will not be limited to, selections from the following:

Lang, Life on the Tenure Track (Johns Hopkins, 2005)

Gray & Drew, What They Didn’t Teach you in Graduate School (Stylus, 2008)

Ballif, Davis, & Mountford, Women’s Ways of Making it in Rhetoric and Composition (Routledge, 2008).

Bain, What The Best College Teachers Do (Harvard, 2004)

Neumann, Professing to Learn: Creating Tenured Lives and Careers in the American Research University (Johns Hopkins, 2009).

DeMillo, Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities (MIT, 2011)

Menand, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University (W.W. Norton, 2010).

Questions should be directed to Bonnie Dow at bonnie.j.dow@Vanderbilt.Edu.


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