This "wiki work" has a few goals:
  • to help you think ahead and get the most out of the workshop,
  • to help our panelists know the kinds of things you're interested in learning,
  • and to help you network with other students/postdocs.

Please do the following to complete your wiki work.

(1) Register with Wikispaces and request membership in this EnvironmentalEngineeringScience wiki

Participation requires editing the content of this wiki site. To do that you will register with Wikispaces then you will request to become a member of the EnvironmentalEngineeringScience wiki. Simply click the "join" button at the top right and follow the instructions. Your request will be approved by one of the wiki moderators.

Once you are signed in as a participant, an "edit" button will be available on this page. Click that and continue with the rest of the items below. If you have any difficulties, please contact Stephanie Bolyard at For more advanced use of this Wiki including how to get notifications on changes, please visit this page.

(2) Add your name to the participants list and create your profile page

Student/Postdoc participants should add their name to the list below. Then create a profile page with a photo, brief bio, and a link to any other relevant pages. A simple way to create a page is to highlight your name (after you add it to the list) and click "link", select "add link", click on "name" in the box that will appear (warning a new page will open), and finally select edit to begin creating your page. Feel free to make your page be whatever you want it to be, and link it to any other pages/sites you have. As with any on-line resource, be cautious about sharing personal information; try and keep it professional.

(3) Add at least one question to the list below

Think of something interesting and informative to ask the panelists during the workshop. Try not to duplicate questions that have already been listed. If you need hints, look at the 2013 Student Workshop page. (But try to think of questions on your own before you visit that page; it will be more fulfilling!)
  • How many department chairs does it take to change a light bulb? (This is just a mock question, as you should be able to deduce.)
  • What advice can you give to recent PhD graduates who are competing for faculty positions with post-docs who have multiple years of experience? Do committees really value this experience? Also are all post-docs getting the expected experience in these positions (e.g., independent research, proposal writing, mentoring of students)? What experience do you expect post-docs to gain?
  • How can you tell if you are going to fit in with a department in one day and you don't even meet all of the faculty members?
  • What appropriate strategies should I consider when I apply for a position in a specific field with multidisciplinary background?
  • To what extent should you tailor your application package to the school you're applying to?
  • Should you mention potential research collaborations in your application? (Also, if so, how specifically? By program? By faculty name?)
  • How many references should you add and should any of them be people you haven't directly worked with?
  • How do you let you personality show in your Cover Letter? How do you write it to be more approachable without being too informal?
  • How far beyond one's prior experiences can one propose future research activities? For instance, if one has only ever done laboratory scale studies, can one propose field studies or industrial scale studies in one's application package?
  • Are there any specific/ additional requirements for international applicants to apply for faculty jobs in the US?
  • What is the best way to go about equipment? Should you include it in a start-up package or do you negotiate resources currently available at the university? Would this affect potential start-up packages?
  • If you would like to compete eventually for a tenured professor position, in brief what are the faculty jobs and type of university you should seek to apply? what is the general timeline?
  • Do you have any familiarity with applying to faculty positions outside the US? (Primarily in Canada and in Europe)
  • What other sources for faculty position announcements are there? (Besides AEESP)
  • In general, are more faculty positions opening in the spring or in the fall?
  • Where can we find postdoctoral positions focusing on the research of environmental sustainability? Does the learning in the fields outside environmental engineering and science, e.g., economy, social science, help to find such a postdoctoral position as mentioned in the first question that addresses sustainability? To what extent should environmental engineers and scientists learn knowledge related to humanities, economy and social sciences?
  • How much teaching experience is needed to be competitive for a PUI? Can you be competitive if your background is exclusively R1 institutions?
  • How can we make ourselves outstanding when we want to apply for a faculty position? Paper, talks, social skills, networks, which one is more important?
  • How well do we need to "fit" the job description? Shall we apply to positions that are seeking a candidate with a different background than us? For example, if the department is seeking an assistant professor with an expertise in water resources management, does someone with biological water/wastewater treatment background have a chance?
  • At what point in the interview process should you bring up a potential year delay to complete a post-doc position?
  • What are your recommendations for handling issues pertaining to spouses, both in terms of questions during the interview regarding your marital status and also when to broach the subject of potential spousal hiring opportunities?
  • Do you have any advice for considering how long to stay at a postdoctoral position? (start a new faculty position as soon as possible? or can there be benefits to extending your postdoc, say until all your papers are published and how would you weigh those against asking a position to wait a semester or two?)
  • To seek for industrial professional career, what specific certificates, skill sets, types of experiences and types of membership would be ideal to develop for a leading research position in a research-oriented company? Explain in a way of differentiating from academic career path.
  • What are the chances for international students to obtain fellowship and awards with a treatment technology focus?
  • What are the ways for a PhD student to start being active in relevant member society?
  • What should one be aware of when applying to tenure-track positions in engineering departments in the US? For example, in Canada, engineering departments inquire about your professional engineering status.
  • Did your idea about faculty job search change/evolve from when you were applying for a job, became an assistant professor but before experiencing a search committee, and after experiencing a search committee?
  • When meeting individually with faculty members from totally unrelated areas (e.g., transportation or structure in a department of CEE) in onsite interviews, what can we talk about?
  • What's your advice on identifying the research directions that are critical to the research society and have the potentials to develop into 5-10 years' research efforts?
  • What, in your opinion, are essential elements of an excellent job talk?
  • How are you, as a faculty now, and how did, when you were a student/post-doc, keep up with the "hot areas" and big trend in this discipline?
  • How does the mentoring and service experience count when seeking for a faculty position?
  • As far as teaching experience, what does a department need to see in your experience to be satisfied with your teaching experience? Are teaching assistantships sufficient, or is it important to seek out other opportunities?
  • How much "tailoring" do you expect in the application package? We should spend time on the application document of course, but at the same time we should have them submitted as many as possible. What is the balance?
  • How many first author publications does the search committee is looking for a combined Ph.D.+ a postdoc for a research and a teaching institution?
  • How does the search committee value interdisciplinary research?
  • How to write a balance research statement when I have worked in different types of projects during my doctoral and postdoctoral studies? Which topic or project (and further research on that topic) should I emphasize in the cover letter and research statement?
  • Is it true that writing more than 3 research focus areas in the application document is considered excessive or unconvincing?
  • If the applicant has plans to bring in non-traditional advanced science courses tailored for Environmental Engineering research needs, is this considered good, or bad (e.g., adding to the class-study burden of students, unnecessary, indicating of not-focused on research in an R1 school, etc)?
  • How do you evaluate the candidates who did PhD and Postdoc research with the same boss?
  • Is a postdoc experience necessary for a faculty job? If we choose to work in industry for a few years after PhD study, would that be possible to go back to academia later?
  • I am considering PI positions either in research institutes, universities, or governmental labs, in addition to "generalist" academic positions involving both teaching and research (such as the traditional TT). Would working outside of an education corporation be helpful or deleterious, in order to get a teaching+research PI/professor position later on? I see quite a few colleagues with mid-senior level of experience going to professorships, e.g. from government agencies or industry, and a lot of junior colleagues leaving faculty positions. I am happy to see career paths that make sense and can go "back and forth" across sectors, but is this a true trend? would I limit my chances by going outside of the traditional track (instead of staying 1 yr longer in a researcher position)? how do you keep options open long-term?
  • It seems that a lot of junior professor job ads (in research schools) look for "fad" areas, i.e. what's hot in the moment and buzzwords, more than solid full-spectrum training upon which to build a long-term career. How do you make yourself shine when you are very skillful and have good experience, but not the most recent buzzword in your CV? (and why do supposedly intelligent search committees fall for buzzwords?)
  • If one spends a year gaining teaching experience at a teaching university or community college, how difficult is it for one to get hired into an academic position at a school where research is an expectation in addition to teaching? On a similar note, if one accepts a faculty position at school where there are no research obligations, how difficult is it to later transition to a school with teaching and research obligations, assuming one is able to continue doing some research throughout the years?

(4) Pack your bags and join us in New Haven!