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Professional Development Initiative News

Ask Dr. Universe: Are there volcanoes on other planets?

dr-universe-logoPULLMAN, Wash. – The answer to your question takes us out into our solar system and deep below the surfaces of other moons and planets. » More …

Student News

WSU President Kirk Schulz on Barber court reinstatement

PULLMAN, Wash. – We respect today’s decision by the Whitman County Superior Court and immediately will reinstate Robert Barber as a student at WSU in good academic standing. We look forward to a final decision by the court early next year. » More …

Nov. 18: Piano concert of Bach, Beethoven, more

anna-prykhodkoPULLMAN, Wash. – Award-winning undergraduate piano student Anna Prykhodko will perform a free, public recital of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Robert Muczynski at 4:10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, in Kimbrough Concert Hall. » More …



Tools and Resources

Registration Is Open for the 2017 Great Colleges to Work For® Survey
Great Colleges to Work For is the most comprehensive workplace survey in higher education, distinguishing the highest-rated campus workplaces in America as recognized by their faculty and staff. Could yours be the next Great College? Sign up today for our free 2017 survey.


The Professor Is In! 
Dear Readers: Have a question about the academic job market that you’d like to see answered on Vitae? Send it to The Professor Is In! Karen welcomes any and all questions related to the job market, preparing for the job market while in graduate school, coping with the adjunct struggle, and assistant professorhood. Send questions to


Use the Top-Rated Recruiting Practice
Learn why 94 percent of recruiters use, or plan to use, some form of social networking, such as Vitae, for their recruiting. Schedule your demo.


Your Guide to the Ins and Outs of Negotiating in Academe
Kudos on having an offer in hand. But that’s just the starting point for negotiations. Our experts tell you how to weigh the terms and broker a better outcome. Download it here.


By Robin Wilson

When making their case for tenure, minority professors say they feel penalized for one of the reasons they were hired: being different. If colleges are to succeed at diversifying the faculty, this might be the sticking point.
The Board of Regents acted perfectly within its statutory powers and internal guidelines with regard to hiring Georgia’s former attorney general.
The organization cited statements and proposed policies of the president-elect to support its position.
Vitae — for Your Academic Life

Here is how I’m reviewing your job documents and what I’m looking for in your candidacy.
It’s possible to care about your students and make allowances for them without fear that they’ll walk all over you.
And why we have difficulty even getting started.
Private Facebook pages created by students for your course are the new cyber watercooler.

Recent Highlights From The Chronicle and Vitae

By Josh Boldt

Find a marketable talent that is specific enough to limit your competition but still has a big enough client base to grow.

By Karen Kelsky

You can try, but the conditions under which you will succeed are fairly narrow.

By Terry McGlynn

You need to talk about assigning credit — before the research project gets started.

By Leonard Cassuto

Part 2 in a series on how to pick the professor who will guide your dissertation.

By Kristen Ghodsee

It wasn’t until I took a sabbatical overseas that I realized how deeply ingrained workaholism is in the American psyche. 

By Carrie J. Preston

Why I began to rethink my views on classroom decorum.

By Karyn Lacy

Why the content of your job talk matters less than how you handle the Q&A afterward.
My top five books on teaching.

By Rob Kramer

How to plan a faculty and staff retreat that people will actually find valuable.
Also in our weekly roundup of conversations from The Chronicle’s discussion forums: hiring-committee hijinks; charting a path to administration; how to respond to students who ask you to review what they missed in class.

Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) Invite

Dear Graduate students,
You are invited to an ice cream social and to be a part of the newly restored Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC).  This committee will serve as a liaison between Health & Wellness Services and the student body, covering a wide variety of health related topics.  The goal of this committee is to garner feedback and perspectives, from both undergraduate and graduate students, in regards to how Health & Wellness Services can better serve the WSU community.
If you are interested in this committee, you will have the opportunity to:
·         Develop leadership and professional skills
·         Gain experience in the health field
·         Be the voice of the students
·         Add a great resume builder
·         Network with other health professionals
·         Be a part of the decision making process about your wellness and health care services
The initial SHAC meeting is set to take place in Health & Wellness Services (Washington Building – Programs & Outreach entrance on the corner of Nevada St. and Stadium Way) on December 1st from 2:15 – 4:00 PM.  During this meeting, we will discuss visions, goals, and purpose themes for SHAC.  We will also have free ice cream from Ferdinand’s!
If this committee interests you, please RSVP by filling out the information on our online form.
if you have questions or if you want more information, please contact Taylor Schwab at or (509)-335-0106.

Intro to WordPress – November Pullman & Virtual Edition

By Clint Young on Nov 04, 2016 04:02 pm

WHEN: November 10th @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

If you are on the Pullman campus –
please come in person


If you are not on Pullman campus –

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (408) 650-3123

Access Code: 977-028-845

This will be a general introduction training. Anyone who is new to WordPress here at WSU, or who may need a refresher, is welcome to attend.



By Dr. Isaiah Hankel, the Cheeky Scientist

For more information on this topic, go to the following website:

1. Listen first, speak last.

People like to talk about themselves and their own interests.

The best way to build rapport is by asking open-ended questions and actively listening.

Be curious and genuinely interested in what they have to say.

You get more insight and deeper communication with open-ended questions.

Start your questions with “WHAT”, “HOW”, “WHEN” and “WHO”.

Questions such as, “Did you enjoy the conference?” will only receive a “yes” or “no” answer and will leave you fumbling for additional points of discussion.

Instead ask, “What did you think about the guest speaker?”

In this way, you will learn about their interests and point of view.

Pay attention to their responses so you can use them to personalize future communications with them.

Make a point to take notes after you part so you can follow up in meaningful ways with relevant information later.

2. Value their advice.

A room full of industry professionals can feel very intimidating.

To make up for their lack of industry experience, PhDs may feel the need to show off their own intellect.

It’s a good way to have your efforts backfire.

By pretending you know everything, you will come off as pretentious and will fail to build a strong relationship.

Instead, be interesting by being interested.

Acknowledge their experience and expertise by asking industry professionals for their advice.

Choose a topic that you know is near and dear to them and will bring them pride to discuss.

What is their opinion on the future of drug discovery?

What is the hottest trend in biotech at the moment?

What was their secret to success?

What advice would they give to young industry professionals who are looking to follow in their shoes?

Taking their opinion in high regards adds value to them while allowing you to gain from their experience.

This can be done at a networking event or you can set up an informational interview for a more personal approach.

3. Be authentically thankful.

“Thank you” is a magical word in networking.

It seems so simple, yet it is a huge differentiator.

Be appreciative of the time the person has made for you.

Be genuine.

Not only does it show respect, it shows you acknowledge their busy schedule and the effort they took to chat with you.

Go that extra step further and write a handwritten thank you note (very few people do this, yet it’s commonly listed as the number one reason why a networking connection decided to refer a particular person for a job and the number one reason why an employer hired a particular job candidate).

Personalize it by mentioning a topic you discussed.

Thank them for any advice they gave you and tell them the outcome of their support.

If they mentioned they are traveling somewhere, Google a good coffee spot, local restaurant, or tourist attraction and advise them to check it out.

Be sincere in your thanks and never ask for any favors in return.

4. Introduce them to people in your network.

By listening to your contact, you will get to know their interests and what professional challenges they are facing.

From there, you can introduce them to people with common interests and goals, or simply expand their network in a new city or company.

In turn, you will strengthen your own network by making an introduction between two people who would benefit from knowing each other.

You are putting their needs ahead of their own.

Introduce them over email and be specific about who your contact is and how they will benefit from meeting one another.

Trumpet their achievements so they both feel like winners.

Show that you have a personal connection with your contact, making it more likely they will trust the other person and respond positively.

Demonstrate commonality and proactively suggest what the next steps should be: for example, to follow up over email.

The more you give to your network, the more you will receive back.

5. Share content and value their contributions.

Once the networking event is over and gratitude has been exchanged, you may struggle with how best to keep in contact without pestering.

You should send an email once every 1 or 2 months to maintain your relationship.

Add value in these emails by sending them a piece of content that could be of interest to them, either personally or professionally, based on your past discussions.

If they are working in a particular biotech sector and you see an article or breaking news story that is relevant to them, pass it along, stating you immediately thought this would be of interest.

FierceBiotech is one excellent resource for this strategy.

If they are on Twitter, you can easily share content with them and re-share content.

LinkedIn groups are also a valuable source of content and discussion forums where you can engage in conversation with industry professionals without filling their inbox with emails.

Endorse their skills and share their own content such as blogs or news items related to their company to show you value their contributions.

This all relates to building a rapport and staying within their radar for future job opportunities.

Referrals are the number one choice for job hires but obtaining these referrals takes time, and requires networking and adding value to industry professionals.

Don’t wait until after graduation to take this on.

Make the investment in networking and building industry relationships early and tend to them often.

Offering value to your industry connections will help build meaningful connections and increase your chances of getting a referral.

Adding value can be as simple as asking for advice, sharing interesting content online or creating a beneficial connection with someone else in your network.

PhDs are valuable industry commodities, so prove your worth by reaching out and adding value.

Visiting Writer Series

The Department of English at WSU invites you to a free public Q&A on the current state of publishing.▸

Taryn Fagerness

“How to Get a Literary Agent/How to Be a Literary Agent”
Wednesday, November 9
12:00 Noon
Honors Hall Lounge, Room 110
Taryn Fagerness is the owner of Taryn Fagerness Agency, a literary agency based in Tacoma, which she founded in 2009. Prior to starting her own agency, she worked at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency in Del Mar, California as an agent and subsidiary rights manager. She graduated from Washington State University’s Honors College in 2002 (Go Cougs!) and went on to attend the New York University Summer Publishing Institute.

This event is cosponsored by the Honors College and the English Club.

Editing and Publishing,
a weeklong one credit course

November 7–9
6:00–8:30 p.m.
Meets in the Bundy Reading Room, Avery Hall. In this hands-on class, veteran literary agent Taryn Fagerness will teach students how to attract a literary agent to their work and the pitfalls to avoid on their journey to publication. Topics covered include: the art of writing a proposal, how to put together a list of agents to approach, current trends, and how to write the all-important query letter. Ms. Fagerness will also discuss how to get started in the publishing business as a career, sharing insider tips and offering insights from her 18 years in the industry.

Photo of Taryn Fagerness
  Taryn Fagerness


Spring 2017

Rebecca Gayle Howell

Poetry Reading/Performance
Thursday, February 23
5:00 p.m., WSU Museum of Art
Rebecca Gayle Howell is the author of Render/An Apocalypse, a 2014 finalist for ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year. She is also the translator of Amal al-Jubouri’s Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation. The book was named a 2011 Best Book of Poetry by Library Journal and shortlisted for Three Percent’s 2012 Best Translated Book Award. Native to Kentucky, Howell is the poetry editor at Oxford American.

This event is cosponsored by the English Club, the Common Reading Program, and Lewis and Clark State College.

Common Reading stamp available.

Photo of Rebecca Gayle Howell
  Rebecca Gayle Howell

Rachael Mason

“Women in Comedy”
Performance and Discussion

Wednesday, April 5
5:00 p.m., CUB Auditorium
Rachael Mason is head of advanced improvisation for The Second City. She began her career in improvisation at Skidmore College, home of the National College Comedy Festival, with the Ad-Liberal Artists, and then moved to Chicago to study improv comedy with Del Close. She trained and performed at The Second City, The Annoyance, and iO. Currently she performs with The Second City Improv All-Stars and The Boys.

This event is cosponsored by the Common Reading Program and the English Club.

Common Reading stamp available.

Comedy Writing,
a weeklong one credit course

April 3–6
6:00–8:30 p.m.
Meets in the Bundy Reading Room, Avery Hall. In this course, comedy writer and improv teacher Rachael Mason will lead students in comedy writing, from creating memorable characters who drive the scene to the building blocks of comedy structure. Mason will touch on universal comedy techniques as students create sketches, monologues, and character pieces through writing exercises. She will build on her long expertise as one of the best comedy teachers in Chicago.

Photo of Rachael Mason
  Rachael Mason

Sharman Apt Russell

Science Fiction Reading
Thursday, April 20
5:00 p.m., Bundy Reading Room
Sharman Apt Russell is an award-winning science/nature writer who also writes science fiction. Her ecoscience fiction novel, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, came out in 2016. Her new nonfiction book, Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World, won the 2016 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing, the WILLA Award for Creative Nonfiction, a New Mexico/Arizona Finalist Award, and was listed by The Guardian as one of ten top nature books in 2014.

This event is cosponsored by the University of Idaho English Department.

Photo of Sharman Apt Russel
  Sharman Apt Russell