The Graduate College

Spring 2009

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Reflections from the Dean
Need to Know
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Program Notes: M. Music
GSO Update
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Landing Your First Faculty Position: A Case Study
Do's and Don'ts in Your First Year as New Faculty
Human Participant Research and the IRB
Finding Jobs in Tough Times

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Transitioning to Faculty

Do's and Don'ts in Your First Year as Faculty

(Many of these are good suggestions for graduate students as well!)

In General

Do be seen but not heard.

Don’t take anything for granted. Do not assume any process or any procedure works the same way as in your graduate department or previous programs.

Do volunteer for university and departmental committees and service cheerfully (especially the ones no one else wants to do).

Do produce at least one scholarly article or “x” chapters of your dissertation in your first year despite moving, new course preps, the stress, etc.

Don't express dissatisfaction with aspects of your new program, department, or university, or point out the superiority of your previous universities.

Do get a file folder and put everything "professional" you do into it: presentations, workshops attended, copies of student evaluations, publications, etc. Every time you do something, like present at a conference, list it on your vita the day after you do it. Otherwise some of the material seems to get lost in the shuffle and there's a mad rush when you need a current copy.

Do get some publication credits by writing book reviews. They're not the same as an essay, of course, but they get your name out there and give you writing and publication experience.

Do watch for local or nearby conferences and always try to present/attend. They're inexpensive, and you'll meet colleagues from your same area—and get a vita credit in the process.


Do dress appropriately. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Do be sure to pay your share of the bill, including tax, tip, and an extra dollar just in case.

Do introduce yourself and talk to high-profile professors.

Don’t hang out with people from your university only. Conferences are THE place to network.

Do write thank-you notes to everyone you meet and have a good conversation with, and to everyone that offers assistance with your research. Do this year after year throughout your career.

Don’t send an e-mail thank-you note; it's not adequate.

Don't become inebriated and have intimate relations with senior scholars; this is bad form.


Do call or e-mail ahead of time to let them know you are coming.

Do be nice to archivists. They can be your best allies.

Do bring in a treat for archivists if you’ve been there for a long time (donuts, cookies, etc.)

Do dress appropriately. For example, jeans are fine at the university library, but shorts are unacceptable at the Mormon Family History Center and Library.

Do ask if you don’t know.

Do send thank-you notes to the archivists, receptionists, and anyone else that gives you the time of day while you are researching. (Write these while you are on your trip so that you don’t forget people and hurt feelings.)

Do keep a list of all the people who helped you for inclusion in your book’s acknowledgments.

Do arrive in a timely manner: you represent your department and university to these archives. Your professionalism determines access to these collections for future scholars from your university. (And they talk about us at their conferences. Don’t become an archivist horror story!)

Don’t steal from a collection.

Don’t accidentally tear or mark ancient documents.


Do work hard on grading: this is your job and part of your chosen profession. Write appropriate comments, and always include something positive with your critique.

Do go above and beyond for students.

Don't date your students.

Don't go drinking with your students.

Do offer to do a guest lecture or lead a discussion section: your CV would probably benefit from some extra credits.

Do learn to use Blackboard and all other electronic tools used for the classroom.

Do hold office hours regularly.

Commenting on Colleagues’ Papers

Do be honest and give suggestions for improvement.

Do catch grammatical errors and typos.

Do mention areas which need to be improved. Start off positive, add a critique, then end with another positive.

Do keep in mind how you would want to be helped if it were you.

Do remember that everyone’s writing needs work, even yours, so keep it positive.


—Thanks to Gregory Glau, associate professor of English, and Melissa Hatfield Riggs, Graduate College, for the “In General” suggestions. 

Thanks to Brian Collier, assistant professor of history, and his former ASU colleague Melody Miyamoto for all the rest!