About Karen Kelsky

I am a former tenured professor at two institutions--University of Oregon and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. I have trained numerous Ph.D. students, now gainfully employed in academia, and handled a number of successful tenure cases as Department Head. I've created this business, The Professor Is In, to guide graduate students and junior faculty through grad school, the job search, and tenure. I am the advisor they should already have, but probably don't.

Thoughts On Throwing In the Towel

Today’s promised post is another Special Request post, at the behest of a number of readers, about knowing when to “throw in the towel,” or, in the words of one requester, “knowing when to fold ’em,” on an academic career. … Continue reading

Negotiating Your Tenure-Track Offer(s)

(Wednesday Post Category:  Getting Your Tenure-Track Job) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [Today’s post is an excerpt from “Taming The Academic Job Market: The Professor’s Guide.”  The Guide is on sale in The Prof Shop.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Congratulations! You did it! You got the tenure … Continue reading

Challenges for Graduate Students of Color in the Academy

You’re probably looking at the title, and then at my photo, and thinking, “Isn’t she white?” Yes. Yes, I am white. I was never a graduate student of color in the academy. So, my insights are limited, and I don’t … Continue reading

Humanities Graduate School: Go? Don’t Go? What’s a Would-Be Ph.D. To Do?

William Pannapacker has published, over the last several years, a number of widely influential pieces in the Chronicle of Higher Education and, this past week, in Slate, criticizing the ethics and economics of graduate programs in the humanities. His most … Continue reading

How to Tell Your Department About a Family Crisis–A Special Request Post

Today’s post is requested by Shane.  Shane wishes to know about the etiquette for academic workers in vulnerable positions–particularly adjuncts–to inform their departments about family crises that might impact their work.  For example, if a parent is dying, how do … Continue reading

What Not to Wear, Assistant Professor Edition: Fashion for the Academic Set

(Thursday Post Category–Here’s How You Get Tenure) Egged on by the redoubtable Martina of TheLifeAcademic, I have agreed to do a series of posts on What Not To Wear (Campus Edition).  She is on a mission to de-depress academic fashion, … Continue reading

Using Rage to Stay Motivated, Part Two

(Tuesday Post Category–Strategizing Your Success in Academia) Last Tuesday I wrote Part 1 of “Using Rage to Stay Motivated,” a Special Request post for Allen.  He asked how to stay motivated while writing his thesis.  Staying motivated through the long … Continue reading

How to Write an Email to a Potential Ph.D. Advisor/Professor

***Please note that I no longer respond to comments/questions to this post!  For additional help, see a list of individualized services to help you in your path to graduate school, and the Guidance Package, both offered below the post*** (Monday … Continue reading

Here’s What Goes in Your Tenure Portfolio–A Special Request Post

(Thursday Post Category—Here’s How You Get Tenure) This is a Special Request Post for Joan.  She wishes to know how to create a tenure portfolio. While every tenure process differs slightly by campus, and you should confirm all expectations with … Continue reading