Mapping Your Academic Career

I had set myself on the path of a PhD when I picked this book up at Urbana 2015, and hoped to read up on some guidance. When finally getting a chance to read it a year later, however, I found myself flipping through the life of professor — not a discussion of how best to center my life around Jesus while navigating graduate studies! In a conversational but direct manner, Burge describes the life trajectory of a faculty member in three main stages, each with their own goals, challenges, and successes. Taking the position of an amateur developmental psychologist (himself a professor of New Testament theology), he divides the three main cohorts of professors not by age, but by maturity.

Cohort 1 is concerned with finding security, Cohort 2 with finding success, and Cohort 3 with finding significance. Burge fills out a structured outline for each in his short text, first discussing the marking characteristics of each group, then warning against a series of common failures and difficulties, and concluding with the moments that define the closing of a cohort. It’s a helpful collection of list-like information, which makes searching for information easier.

Coupled with conversations with my advisor on the academic life, Burge provides a good framework for understanding a faculty’s personal and professional progression. While not all of it is anywhere near relevant to me right now, it acts as a high-level road map for understanding what’s to come.



Book (Nonfiction)
Release Date
July 9, 2015
Joshua J. Daymude
Joshua J. Daymude
Assistant Professor, SCAI & CBSS

I am a Christian and assistant professor in computer science studying collective emergent behavior and programmable matter through the lens of distributed computing, stochastic processes, and bio-inspired algorithms. I also love gaming and playing music.