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Raising the Bar: Landing Your First Academic Position in US Higher Education

Achieving Academic Promotion

ISBN: 978-1-78756-902-7, eISBN: 978-1-78756-899-0

Publication date: 28 January 2019


This chapter is presented in four distinct sections designed specifically to help early career scholars gain valuable insight into the complexities of preparing for and succeeding as a faculty member in the United States’ (US) system of higher education. The first section will explore the vast and multifaceted landscape of higher education across the US, anticipating that readers will be inspired to seek more regionally and institutionally specific perspectives as appropriate to their own interests. The second section offers a reflective narrative from the perspective of a doctoral candidate working strategically to help ensure a smooth transition to a faculty appointment in the US system. This section will provide perspectives on doctoral program aims and structures in the US along with the day-to-day work of a doctoral candidate working within the context of a college of education. In the following section of this chapter the authors offer guidance for engaging in impactful and innovative work to help ensure early career success. Such advice includes working across traditional academic boundaries and pursuing timely and influential research questions that deepen understandings across often distinct lines of inquiry. Finally, the authors present brief perspectives from several experienced faculty who remind us of the larger picture of what it means to truly thrive in the competitive environment of higher education.




We would like to thank our colleagues and mentors in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut for their contributions and advice regarding the content of this chapter. We would also like to acknowledge the Office of the Dean for their support of U21 activities. This chapter is dedicated to our mentor and friend Megan Staples who approaches all of her professional work – and life – with a positive attitude of success.


Izard, B. and Moss, D.M. (2019), "Raising the Bar: Landing Your First Academic Position in US Higher Education", Mahat, M. and Tatebe, J. (Ed.) Achieving Academic Promotion (Surviving and Thriving in Academia), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 57-76.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019 Blair Izard, David M. Moss