The Life of a Wannabe Academic

Detail of the life a new academic. The progress from graduate training to professor. Includes reflections on the job hunting process, research in technology and education, and what it is like to be a new college professor.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Giving Psychology Away

This week has been a busy one for me. There is an old saying and I cannot remember who said this but as a field we must be willing to give psychology away. Meaning, that we should openly disseminate our research findings to the public and not keep our "trade secrets" so to speak. For me these past two weeks have been all about giving psychology away. Tis the season for conference presentation submissions. This month our deapartment will hold our annual Northern Lights Undergraduate Psychology Conference. This is a small regional conference dedicated to having a welcoming atmosphere for undergraduate and graduate students present their research. A good starter conference. This year I am only presenting a poster, but in the past I have often given short talks.

In addition to preparing my poster for Northern Lights, I have also engaged in the exercise in brevity that is submitting abstracts to the Midwestern Psychological Association. This submission requires that you send a 400 word abstract to be reviewed and a 50 word abstract for publication should your presentation be approved. It may not wound so difficult, but it is really hard to shorted a whole research study into 400 words in a way that convinces a reviewer that it is worthy of their conference. However, it is done and now I have one more abstract to write for APA which is due December 1.

I have also been working on a draft of my jab talk. When applying for academic jobs, it is customary to be asked to "give a short talk" on your research. This short talk is usually about 45 minutes long with about 15 minutes of questioning. However, the trick is to try to relay your program of study to an audience who may have little to no background in your research field in a way that is both academic and engaging. No small task....but I am up to the task. The graduate student organization I am in is giving students a chance to practice their talks in a non-threatening environment tonight. I committed to doing this pretty much to get my butt into gear and to have some sort of presentable topic. This will surely not be my final version of my job talk, but I am hoping that this practice and the critiques that I will receive will be useful for preparing the final product.

Now I just need an interview in which to give my talk.

But this encompases the idea of giving psychology away, at least to the psychological community. Most of these events are geared toward psychologists and students of psychology. To truely give psychology away we must package our information in a way that the public as a whole can have access and, more importantly, understand. But that is as science has been. We get so specialized and so technical that we can often forget that this knowledge might be useful to the public.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home