Archive for April, 2017

You have just received your Ph.D. and are seeking a tenure track position at a distinguished university.   Following are three ‘huge’ mistakes made by new Ph.D.’s that I have witnessed over the past four to five years.   In each case, the candidate was the search committee’s top pick until they made their faux pas.

Episode 1 – Two $60 Bottles of Wine

This candidate had it all – a degree from a top university, a budding research record, and strong interpersonal skills with faculty, students and administration.    After a full day of interviews and a well-received presentation to the faculty, the search committee took our candidate to dinner.   At the dinner table, as the search committee deliberated over what to have to drink with their evening meal, our candidate took charge and ordered two relatively expensive bottles of wine.    Not good.    As it turns out, the freely flowing wine uncovered the true nature of our candidate.   It turns out that our candidate was a highly opinionated and arrogant individual who managed to offend everyone by the end of the evening.    While I was not pleased at the search committee spending $120 for wine at a search committee meal, it turns out that this was money well spent.   We avoided a terrible hire!

Episode 2 –  Not Following Instructions for Research Presentation

Another top candidate – another disaster.   Like all tenure-track candidates at our school, this newly minted Ph.D. was given specific instructions to provide an overview of his research agenda and to discuss how this research agenda would fit with the department and school.   The department and search committee know that these instructions are not the ‘normal’ research presentation, so we go to great pains to make sure that the candidate is aware of our research presentation requirements.   What baffles me in this case is that I was the one who spoke to the candidate on the phone and went over the protocol step-by-step for our research presentation.   This candidate chose to give a typical ‘dissertation defense’ research presentation with absolutely no overview and with absolutely no discussion of our department or school.   What truly amazed me is that this candidate was extremely disappointed that he didn’t get a job offer.    Arrogance?  Inability to follow instructions?   Again, we were happy we learned this up front and avoided a bad hire.

Episode 3 – No Energy or Enthusiasm

This story saddens me.   This Ph.D. candidate was a non-traditional candidate.  He had spent 15 years working before going back to school for a Ph.D.   His research and teaching record were strong and a good fit for our department and university.   Importantly, several phone conversations with our candidate left me with the clear impression he definitely wanted to be at our university.  The interview day started off well.   Yet as the day went on, our candidate was unable to sustain energy or enthusiasm with faculty and students.   Somehow, he was quite ‘high-energy’ with all of the administrators and some of the senior faculty.   Yet to a person, our junior faculty and students just didn’t feel the energy.    Obviously, we didn’t extend an offer.   Later, I talked to a colleague at another university who interviewed the same candidate.  He related the same story – no energy, little enthusiasm.    Advice to all of you Ph.D. candidates out there – energy and enthusiasm are very, very important during the job interview process!!!

Other mistakes to avoid in the academic job search process can be found here – read carefully!

from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


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What does a Graduate Director of Enrollment Management and Student Services do?  Here is a current job description:

Reporting to the Dean of the College,

  • Oversee and direct enrollment management in the College’s Graduate Programs including:
    • Admission management – coordinate effort to advance and track students from prospect to enrolled student including recruiting, interviewing, corporate outreach, etc.
    • Marketing and communications – coordinate effort to clarify image of academic programs, establish enrollment targets to meet goals, understand the school’s differentiating factors and drive student prospects
    • Enrollment analytics – coordinate effort to collect and analyze data on internal and external factors affecting enrollment, student success (including retention), and the College’s image.
    • Retention – coordinate effort to keep and re-enroll students from one year to the next.
    • IT Management – coordinate use of information technology, including CRM and College’s web site, to maximize enrollment management effectiveness.
  • Oversee and direct student services in the College’s Graduate Programs including:
    • Experiential Learning – co-curricular activities and events that happen outside of the classroom such as leadership initiatives, workshops, student clubs, international travel, career preparation
    • Student Advising – coordinate efforta with Associate Dean of Graduate Programs to ensure that students receive high-quality advising services
    • Weekend Residencies for graduate program
    • IT Management – coordinate use of information technology to maximize delivery of student services to graduate students.
  • Coordinate relationships with:
    • University Graduate Admissions
    • University Marketing
    • University Financial Aid Office
    • University Registrar’s Office
    • Center for Career Development

Please note the high level of accountability associated with the position – this is important.   I would encourage anyone interested in this posting to learn more about NAGAP, The Association for Graduate Enrollment Management.  NAGAP is the only professional organization devoted exclusively to the concerns of individuals working in the graduate enrollment management environment.

from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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