In The Academic’s Handbook, L. Gregory Jones reflects on his graduate education, writing that it prepared him more “for a particular field of scholarship” than the “larger contexts and issues of academic life.” Even though his father had “spent most of his adult life serving as an academic administrator” Jones says he “had very little sense of what he actually did or how academic institutions really operate.”(p. 1). His reflective essay discusses academic life as a “shared vocation” and the “importance, and the fragility, of institutions.” Not your typical survival guide to academia!
Instead, this book of essays, edited by Leigh Deneef and Craufurd Goodwin, is a thoughtful and engaging analysis of academic life and academic culture that challenges readers to think critically about the roles and functions of academicians. Readers will gain insight into the academic structure of university governance, the tenure system, the role of departments within the university, and the impact institutional mission has on faculty work expectations.
The book also features essays on topics related to the academic job search as well as the various roles faculty members fill, including teaching and advising, funding and publishing academic research, and mentoring. It is an essentialread for both graduate students planning a career in academia and those of us who have chosen academic life as our vocation.