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.

Using Rage to Stay Motivated, Part 1–A Special Request Post

This is a post originally published in July 2011. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [This post, parts one and two, is for Allen.  Allen asks for advice on staying motivated as he completes his thesis. I have been thinking about this since he asked. … Continue reading

Getting Schooled for My Sexism

(Friday Post Category: Yes, You Can: Women in the Academy) When I was a brand new assistant professor, the chair of my department put me in charge of the department’s speaker series. This was actually a good thing.  Being in … Continue reading

It’s Your Fault. Or, Who Gets Turned Down for Tenure?

(Thursday Post Category:  Here’s How You Get Tenure) For this week’s “Tenure” post, I was planning to write a post called “Playing the Percentages,” about knowing your department’s  expectations for your time and effort breakdown as an assistant professor.  The … Continue reading

“So You Want to Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities”

This video makes all other posts on graduate school obsolete. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop posting, though. (Thanks to Leaving Academia blog http://www.leavingacademia.com) … Continue reading

How-To(sday): How to Write a Paper or Conference Proposal Abstract

(Tuesday Post Category: Strategizing Your Success in Academia) Tuesdays I will occasionally feature “How-To(sday)” posts,  short  guides to certain genres of academic writing.  I’m happy to take requests for these. Just email me at gettenure@gmail.com. Today we look at the … Continue reading

What is Assertiveness, for Women?

(Friday Post Category: Yes, You Can: Women in Academia) I get so frustrated when I see the female students and colleagues I work with sabotage themselves and undermine their own authority and effectiveness because of an inability to be assertive. … Continue reading

Hooray for Elite White Men! External Reviewers for Tenure

(Thursday Post Category: How to Get Tenure) Today let’s talk about your external reviewers for tenure. First, since this blog is new, my credentials. In my 15 years as a faculty member at two major research institutions, I worked on … Continue reading

Dr. Karen’s Foolproof Grant Template

An expanded and updated version of this post can now be found in Chapter  51 of my new book, The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job. I am keeping a shortened version here, … Continue reading

Why You Must Never Ask Your TA for a Letter of Recommendation, Part One

In my work with undergraduate students helping them apply to graduate school, one of the biggest problems I encounter is the student’s lack of appropriate people to write their letters of recommendation.  All too often the student will come in … Continue reading