Dear Engineering Faculty and Staff:
The beautiful days definitely make the rainy, chilly days more bearable. While the cycles of rain sure help plants (and weeds) grow in the garden, I personally could use a few more Memorial Days! I hope your transition into summer research and scholarship is going well. Years ago, when I first started applying for academic jobs, I read an excellent book (which I still recommend to my students) titled, “Tomorrow’s Professor: Preparing for Careers in Science and Engineering” by Richard M. Reis (http://tinyurl.com/znquluf). He bridged from this into a weekly online post/email (https://tomprof.stanford.edu). The latest post is about being “Maxed Out”. I highly recommend it since it is a short read and helps one pause and reprioritize time and how we spend it to align with career goals. The goals of our office are to help each of you thrive and achieve your career aspirations. Please check out the following opportunities and take advantage of those that align with your priorities and career aspirations!
The research development team in the VPR, new faculty, and I visited Federal Agencies in DC. This annual trip is an excellent opportunity to learn how each agency functions and to learn to align your own research to make it compelling for each agencies mission. Presentations given at Federal Science Partners (http://federalsciencepartners.squarespace.com) as well as at agencies are available at: https://drive.google.com/a/mtu.edu/folderview?id=0B8jpDpcUTiLrdWxmWVJKcE5Ta0k&usp=sharing
In response to both national events and recent “red flags” in Michigan Tech laboratories, the university is pushing to promote and develop a pervasive safety culture. This starts with each of us and our graduate students and of course covers mechanical, chemical, and biosafety. Two faculty fellows, Larry Sutter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rudy Luck (email@example.com) have been focusing on different aspects of university wide resources and processes. Dean Pennington recently circulating two documents to chairs in our college: One is a document from the National Research Council, published by the National Academies Press, titled “Safe Science: Promoting a Culture of Safety in Academic Chemical Research”. The other is from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, titled “A guide to implementing a SAFETY CULTURE in our universities”. Please take this summer to update your lab’s training, safety manuals, and other resources (university resources are here: http://www.mtu.edu/oshs/safety-programs/required/safety-manual/ ). Seek out opportunities to talk with your students about safe practices, how to prevent accidents, and any processes or procedures that they are uncomfortable performing in order to improve them and make them safer. Suggestions to reward proactive behaviors and efforts to make our campus laboratories safer are welcome.
June and July are of course big proposal writing months (or dissertation reading/editing months). NIH proposals are due late June while NSF CAREER proposals are due mid-July. Every Monday, an informal lunch gathering meets at noon at the library café (or just outside) for anyone writing proposals. For some weeks, a brief discussion topic is planned (e.g. educational integration for career proposals, broader impacts, etc.). Most sessions are open discussions or one on one discussions tailored to your questions. Come brainstorm ideas with your colleagues, seek out collaborations, and help cultivate our vibrant, supportive research culture! For those more experienced, consider offering to read drafts of objectives (goals/specific aims) and offer guidance on rephrasing the compelling strengths and brainstorming on perceived weaknesses so these can be directly addressed as the proposal is being developed.
Please continue to visit the engineering research blog, http://blogs.mtu.edu/engineering-research/ which is updated regularly with requests for proposals, workshop/award, and innovation opportunities. With the addition of Sue Hill in the COE office, we have been brainstorming and beginning to implement improvements to the website. These will be rolled out as the summer unfolds. If you have ideas to feature your group, your students, your collaborative team or center, please email us.
I hope your June is filled with highly productive stretches as well as fun-filled times with family/friendsenjoying the multitude of adventures in this wonderful region.