My Biggest Accomplishment of 2012

Day 5: Accomplishments

Did you finally land your dream job? Did you have your first child? Did you finally find “the one?” What is your biggest accomplishment for 2012?

The biggest accomplishment for me in 2012 was successfully navigating the academic job market and landing a tenure-track assistant professor position…

…at Virginia Commonwealth University!

Yes, that is right folks, once I finish up my dissertation and graduate in May, I will be moving to Richmond, VA to start a job as a tenure-track assistant professor in strategic public relations and health communication. I am beyond ecstatic.

For those of you unfamiliar with the academic job process, it is definitely a long and exhausting one. For me, it started at the AEJMC annual conference back in August 2012, when I traveled to Chicago and conducted 13 informal interviews with different universities over the span of 3 days.

Then, in addition to taking my comprehensive exams and preparing my dissertation proposal, I also put together application materials to send to a number of different schools. All of these schools called for different things, but the majority of them asked for a cover letter, your curriculum vitae, and three references.

Then it’s the waiting game. For some schools you have an initial phone or Skype interview. Others just invite you to an on-campus interview to interview in person.

Now the on-campus interview is a beast in and of itself. Essentially you have to be ON for one to two FULL days (can be 8-10 hours), where you meet with various faculty, staff and students. Some schools have you do a teaching presentation, where you demonstrate your teaching abilities to faculty and students. Other schools also have you do a research presentation, where you talk about your research stream to faculty and students and get asked questions afterward.

A funny story is when I did my first on-campus interview, I left my house at 7:30 a.m. At 2:30 p.m., my mother asked if I was ok and if the interview went well. I had to tell her that I was still at the interview! I didn’t get home until after 9 p.m. that night!

In any case, I went through a number of these on-campus interviews and was able to be given an offer from VCU. It was a great offer, actually better than I expected, but I made sure to run this by my advisor and mentors to make sure of that (especially since, you know, I’ve never done this before!). They were all pleased with the offer, and so I called VCU to verbally accept the offer on December 20. I just signed the official contract yesterday, January 31.

And so, I was able to snag a tenure-track position before Christmas. A huge accomplishment indeed, and one that I was able to celebrate with many of my friends, and continue to celebrate today!

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About Rowena Winkler

Passionate Performer, Speaker and Writer by Calling, Dancer of All Good Beats, Yoga Practitioner and Enthusiast, Spiritual Trustee of the Universe, Traveler of Many Distant Lands, Lover of Derek the Logical but Amiable, Mother of Eponine/Dex/Teyla, Architect of Spoken Word Poetry, Trainer in the Craft of Communication, Unapologetic Individual, First of Her Name.
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