Life in the Ivory Tower: Those who can, teach; Those who can’t, do.

Behzad Razavi Electrical Engineering Department University of California, Los Angeles

teach. do. those who can’t."Those who can." George Bernard Shaw .

supervise grad students. Research: Try new ideas. prelims. faculty candidates. admissions and fellowships. write proposals.What do profs do?      Learn the fine art of juggling. seminars. write papers. Write books. maintain lab facilities. Teach. network with peers. quals. maintain CAD tools. University service: courses and curriculum. school-level committees. serve on conferences and journals. . schmooz with companies and other funding agencies.

But why?! “America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.” Evan Esar .

etc. Like teaching. Can't find a job in industry. Like the flexible style of academia  consulting. .Why Go to Academia?      Like the freedom of research that academia offers. starting companies. Like the dynamic and rejuvenating nature of academic life.

Will others duplicate our results? .Research    Crack a real.What is our novelty? .What is the problem? Why do we care? .Can others duplicate our results? . difficult problem by an elegant. Need to pose these questions at the beginning and at the end: . . novel solution.How do we compare with prior art? Requires that we constantly identify or invent interesting topics.  Both creativity and vision are important.

Publish or Perish Conference papers give immediate visibility. (Many universities “count” only journal papers.)  Need to remain visible: travel around the world and present new results  10 trips/year  .  Journal papers create long-term archival record that enables others to duplicate results.

Need to shield the student from pressures of sponsors.PhD Students      Need to apply a great deal of scrutiny in selecting students. creativity. persistence. (Will the student pass the prelims?) Need to understand the psychology of each student and treat him/her accordingly. independent thinking. . Professor often worries more about the work than the student does. communication skills. Look for intelligence.

Professor knows nothing about everything.Difference between PhD Student and Prof.   PhD student knows everything about nothing. .

Professors Funding Agencies . Writing proposals and managing contracts takes about 20% of professors’ time.Funding   It’s tough.

Need to revise and update the material each time.Teaching      Rewarding experience. A great deal of thought goes into designing homeworks. takes 10 hours of work for one hour of lecture. . and course projects. Teaching undergrads much tougher than teaching grads. First time. exams.

Expert Witness On the average.Financial Prospects    Professors who are good at what they do are typically in high demand outside university as well: .Starting Companies .Teaching Short Courses . . profs and engineers in industry are on roughly equal financial footings. 20% of profs start companies.Consulting . 1 out of 4 may become successful.

Publications .Teaching and Communication Skills . Your CV and statement say a lot about you.Finding an Academic Job     It is preferable to work in industry for a few years. Universities look for these components: . There are certain windows for entering academia.Vision .Innovation .

(But remember: first impressions are important. Work on your writing and presentation skills.) Talk to your advisor and seek additional activities that can enhance your qualifications. .Preparations – Phase I     Starting a couple of years before graduation. look through every issue of IEEE Spectrum and monitor which university is looking for what type of expertise. Give seminars at different universities once you have presentable results.

Do your homework thoroughly: . .Present yourself as someone who can bring new exciting areas of research to the department.Preparations – Phase II   Target departments whose faculty do NOT have much overlap with you. .Learn about the research of every faculty at that department (in your area and related areas). but also as someone whose expertise complements other faculty’s work.

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