How and When to Say ‘No’

In my weekly newsletter I have written about alleviating stress and explained why saying ‘no’ is essential to health and long-term productivity. But this is easier said than done. When do you say no? How do you choose between many promising-sounding opportunities? And how do you say no without seeming like a prima donna? The [Read More…]

How to Write an Excellent Statement of Purpose for Graduate Applications

Fall is the time for students to put together their applications for graduate school. Many of these applications require an enigmatic-sounding “statement of purpose.” With due regard for differences between disciplines, here are the top three mistakes in statements of purpose by graduate applicants: 1) Failing to be specific enough. “I am interested in the [Read More…]

Should You Pursue a Ph.D.?

I routinely get questions from undergraduate and Master’s students, at Baylor and elsewhere, about applying to Ph.D. programs. Here is some of my standard advice. How do I choose a Ph.D. program? I had a wonderful experience in my graduate program at Notre Dame, especially because of the particular historian (George Marsden) with whom I worked. [Read More…]

Advice for the Dismal Academic Job Market

Over at Slate, Rebecca Schuman imagines an awkward scenario from a family gathering, which includes a newly-minted Ph.D.: You’re just making polite conversation, so you ask him: “Want to come visit us next Christmas?” Why on earth did his sallow face just cloud over at your kind and generous offer? Because he has no idea where he’ll be living [Read More…]

Giving Thanks

Professors tend to be a grumpy lot. The pay is not exactly stratospheric. University bureaucracies can be a nuisance. My own personal gripe is that I have to pay for the privilege of parking. I would understand if I had to pay some sort of fine for because I bring such an eyesore of a [Read More…]


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