Why Trust Me?

By ‘opening the box’ and showing what actually works (and all that doesn’t), you destroy that cloud of vagueness and misinformation that too often surrounds academic jobs and makes academia similar to Mount Olympus: a place for the few privileged who know their way in.
2012 Ph.D., Political Science

Dr. Karen, pondering your candidacy

I am Karen Kelsky, aka, The Professor. I’ve been a tenured professor at two universities (Oregon and Illinois) and a Department Head. I’ve advised many, many graduate and undergraduate students, and the students I’ve worked with have been very successful in their professional endeavors. I’ve also mentored junior faculty before and during their successful tenure cases.  I can most likely help you if you are trying to navigate the rough seas of the academic world.

Read my Uncensored Bio to learn all about my experiences in the academy and why being pissed resulted in my starting The Professor is In

The fact is, I’m still pissed as hell. I am furious that the professoriate so shamelessly and unapologetically neglects its duties to train Ph.D.s for actual jobs.  I am furious that academics put their egos first—by admitting huge numbers of new Ph.D. advisees each year–and the students’ welfare second.  I’m outraged that faculty know perfectly well that their students can’t even hope for a tenure track job without an epic record of grants, refereed publications, and conference presentations, but all too often rarely lift a finger to help them accomplish these.  I’m disgusted that faculty are so invested in preserving the illusion that their work is a “higher calling” that is “above” the concerns of filthy lucre, that they cannot acknowledge their own students as potential members of a labor force. Because doing so would destroy their illusion about themselves.  This is what Thomas Benton/William Pannapacker called “The Big Lie of the Life of the Mind” in his now-famous Chronicle of Higher Education essay that finally blew the lid off of the shameful ethics of graduate education.

And to be sure, I am supremely irritated with graduate students who myopically obsess about this term paper, that dissertation chapter, the next meeting with their professor…. instead of asking real, hard, urgent, immediate questions, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, about their real potential for real, permanent employment.

Knowing what I do now, after my stint in administration, made it easy to walk away from academia.  But it has not changed how pissed off I am and how committed I am to helping students and young faculty.

I created The Professor Is In  to make an intervention for any ABD or Ph.D. who wants to be told the truth about academic work, who wants to get through the veil of silence around money and jobs, who is seeking an advisor who is focused on their professional, career success. They need it. I can do it.

I have no patience with “learning for learning’s sake.” I’m from Pittsburgh, for crying out loud. Who’s paying the bills?  If you’re into spending 6-10 years and massive funds (assuming you’re not fully funded, madness in itself) to pursue an intellectual goal with no thought to financial security….  The Professor Is In is not for you.

No, this website, blog, and set of services that I offer are for people who want to be funded, who want to finish efficiently, and who want jobs, and who want the job security of tenure.  There aren’t enough jobs for everyone.  I can’t guarantee you’ll get one of them.  But I do guarantee that I will cut through the bullshit and tell you how job searches “work,” and what you need to do to be competitive.

Want to read what my clients think? Read their testimonials HERE.

Want immediate advice? Read what I have to say to graduate students and junior faculty on “Pearls of Wisdom: The Blog”

And get in touch—I want to hear from you, and I want to help.

Contact me at:  gettenure@gmail.com.



Why Trust Me? — 5 Comments

  1. Dear Karen,

    It was nice to come across your website at a timely moment when i am applying for jobs and getting no responses.
    How can i avail of your services?. I would like your feedback on my CV and cover letter for academic jobs.

    Please let me know.

    Warm Regards,


  2. Pingback: Academic job seekers’ free webinar is Dec. 17, 2014 | African Studies library

  3. Too late to resurrect an academic career. Got Ph.D. in Geography in 80s, a terrible field for women, and realizing that everything I had done to make myself viable (published in peer-reviewed academic journals in my field, given papers at at academic meetings) was told that I had exhausted my “potential” and invariably lost academic jobs to non-PhD, non published males, because, having done nothing, they had “a lot of potential.” So I went to law school, got a clerking position with a federal judge, opened my own office, and specialized in representation of women who had suffered job harassment or job discrimination. Made a lot of money and never had to charge clients: Congress had passed a fee-shifting provision for such litigation and the corporations tolerating the hostile environments paid me; I made a bundle. But to this day resent that I was locked out of a promising and possibly enjoyable/rewarding academic career as a tenured prof in a field that I had loved.

  4. Here is my testimonial. I stumbled on your site 4 years ago and studied the post about ‘the art of the academic cover letter’, used the knowledge, and got invited to interview. Thereafter, I bought the interview intervention and worked with Kellee. I thought I would ace it but sadly I failed. I later got invited to 2 other interviews but failed both. I knew I needed to keep learning so I bought all the relevant webinars and kept updating myself using the blog posts while referring to my notes from the session with Kellee. Meanwhile, I worked at a small liberal college but I knew I deserved better. After 4 years I managed to get a jo of my dreams – Tenured Associate Professor. I can say it was worth it. Thanks to theprofessorisin!

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