Thursday, December 24, 2015

I need a 3.5 to get into the XY Degree. Also, Arguing about grades and grade points

1. When students tell me at the end of the semester, grades having been submitted, that they need a 3.5 grade-point average, say, to get into a certain degree program, and all I need do is change their grade from A- to A, or B+ to A-, my immediate thought is what were they doing in their other classes--not doing well, telling their instructors the same story, suddenly discovering they were not where they needed to be. Students who tell me they "always" get As, may well be just lucky, and ought to have gotten at least one A- or B+, or again did they tell all their instructors such stories. We always talk about the 4.0s at graduation, or sometimes the 4.0+s, but what I keep wondering is whether those persons are really good at something. They surely deserve their summa cum laude. I just don't know what I should take from such a grade point average. 

2. I received the following argument, from a student who received As on five projects and a B on a sixth, the projects to be weighted equally in the final grade. My point here is that such arithmetic is highly suspect, and there are arguments that are both reasonable and not at all inconsistent that come to a different conclusion.:
What this survey of the university regulations shows is 
A = 4.0 points
A– = 3.7 points and so on

This indicated that an A- is 3.7 out of 4 points, which is a 92.5. 

I received a 96! percent in your class (23/24), an A, not A-!

The analysis is defective, since there is a mixing of percentages with grade points. If we look at the chart above, it is surely the case that you would get an A if you did 3.85 or better work (3.85 is halfway between 4 and 3.7), which is as little as 96.25% of the maximum grade, and if you got as little as 3.5 you would still get a A-, which is 87.5% of the maximum. You assume that an A means 100% but it could mean 96.5% in percentage terms. And a B might be as low as 2.85/4 which is 71.5% of the maximum. I have here assumed linearity, but in my experience excellent work is much much better than good work--you see that in your most distinguished professors who are much better than your quite good professors (who are very strong indeed). You really do not want to get to percentages when asking about excellence.

Actually, it is likely that your A's, were you graded in percentage terms, might well have been 95%.  Virtually no one does a perfect job. (Nor do we give A+ or say 110%, for spectacular.) So the letter grades tend to be a bit more generous than percentage grades, at this end of the scale.

If we were to go to the middle of the range of A's, that would be 3.925 and the B's would be 3, so the total of 5 As and 1 B would be 3+5x3.925, or 22.525 grade points, and dividing by 6 it is 3.777, well in the range of the A- (3.5 to 3.85). You might well have been in the upper tail or lower tail of the distribution, but that is not known here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"Obstructions" Laziness, embarrassment, slowness, cynicism, digressiveness...

from the description of a new book by Nick Salvato (a prof of performing arts at Cornell...):

that for those engaged in scholarly pursuits laziness, digressiveness, and related experiences can be paradoxically generative. Rather than being dismissed as hindrances, these obstructions are to be embraced, clung to, and reoriented.  . . .  Salvato finds value in five obstructions: embarrassment, laziness, slowness, cynicism, and digressiveness.... Salvato expands our conceptions of each obstruction and shows ways to transform them into useful provocations. ... Salvato demonstrates the importance of these debased obstructions and shows how they may support alternative modes of intellectual activity. In doing so, he impels us to rethink the very meanings of thinking, work, and value. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Doing Your Best may not lead to Excellence, and That is All Right

1. Some of you wish to see me about your work, so that you can have the benefit of my counsel about how to make it better--a few days before the Final.  Whatever advice I can offer now will not necessarily lead you to a much higher grade--for you have set up your projects and done the fundamental work already. I have tried over the semester to help you, but many of you have not had your preliminary work ready to show in class. More to the point, no matter what I say and what you then do, your work may not in the end be very strong. That you come back to me more than once at this time of the year only means that your work, as it is, will be better--but it may be a very good B rather than an A-.

2. (No matter what I do, I cannot achieve my son's stature of 6'5", since I start out at 5'7". I could stand up straighter, wear clothes that emphasized height, maybe even elevator shoes (Adler Elevator Shoes were surely available once and may still be available), and I can buy the right clothing at Jimmy Au's. But none of that will make me look even close to 6'5. No matter what I do, I am unlikely to achieve an A in a graduate course in algebraic geometry, either, and probably not in a course in Torts or Contracts. Talent and aptitude are differentially distributed. 

(As for your GPA and getting into law school or wherever: The best way of getting a leg up in the admissions world is for you to have good grades and lots of relevant experience. So if you want to become a dentist, perhaps you can work in a dental office. A lawyer, maybe even office work at a law firm, etc. Then there is a sense of your purposefulness and there is a chance that someone in the profession or field can write a letter of reference for you that is informed by their experience of your performance.

(One last point. In no sense has many a university been considered a nationally-ranked university prior to the previous 30 years, although each has grown and improved significantly in that period so that its prestige and ranking are much stronger now. Yet its earlier graduates, whose grades may not have been stellar, have gone on to distinguished careers. The campus and the distinguished professors you encounter are a consequence of their generosity. )

3. I appreciate you kind words, such as "I hope you have had a good weekend," or that your Hanukkah was good, or your ..., but that does not help you when you ask for something. It is much better to be direct. If you are in some difficult situation why not write something like, 

Dear Professor Krieger,
I am being forced into marriage by my parents, and my psoriasis has flared up. Might I have an extension of one week for handing in the work.
OR  I screwed up, overslept, and missed a crucial deadline. I will get the work in tomorrow.
OR  It is hard to believe, but three of my grandparents are in different hospitals. I am close to all of them. I will need a two-day extension.

By the way, most successful people rarely ask for favors. Rather they extend favors to others, so that when they really need a favor it is a matter of others owing you rather than you owing them. Very powerful people are in a different realm.

4. And, by the way, showing up in class, participating, showing up on time, is actually noticed by instructors even if they do not take attendance and the class is large. If you are regularly late, or if you show up infrequently, and do not appear before holidays and the like, you become a stranger--and when you want a favor you are pressing your luck. People who show up, on time, participate, and in general are good academic citizens, will find that the world is more likely to grant their special requests. None of this need affect your grade directly, but the question always being asked is whether the professor could trust you with a major task. You often act as if you are anonymous and not noticed. And perhaps that is the case. But in a class of 45 students that is only rarely the case. And students who are good citizens are noted in conversations among faculty.

Put differently, you are always being noticed, watched, evaluated. Even at a large university. 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Learning to Walk in Las Vegas. "Traffic Calming" in Action.

There is a famous book Learning from Las Vegas, by Venturi and Scott-Brown.

There is more to be learned. Las Vegas, on The Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), is actually one of the most programmed walking experiences I know of. Yes, there is the snakelike path you make through an IKEA store, with little chance of cutting across, or getting to just the furniture you wish. You have to see it all. Usually on two levels. And there are attractions at amusement parks that are also so programmed. And many a museum exhibit is also without a way of cutting across various rooms.

Las Vegas shows what can be done with "traffic calming," the term of art from city planning, but now with an ironic twist-- For there is now compression and congestion, frenzy and disorientation.

In LV, they have made traffic calming appear much less programmed, but it is actually much more deliberate. If you want to cross a street, there are elevated walkways between buildings/across-streets, reminding me of the elevated walkways in Minneapolis downtown among the buildings (especially useful when it is very very cold). The walkways in Minneapolis create a whole second level of commercial activity.

In LV, in order to allow for the fluid flow of vehicles on LV Blvd, The Strip, much of the time you need to use an elevated walkway to cross the street E/W. Often, you cannot cross a side-street, N/S, unless you use another elevated walkway. And these elevated walkways guide you to floors of commercial establishments, and you can look down on the ground floor for more such establishments. Of course, it helps that the environment on the street and in the signage/buildings/iconicity there is much to see through the windows of the walkways.

Moreover, in most of the hotels on The Strip, you cannot get to anyplace without going through the gaming/casino area. Often, you have an entryway on The Strip, but you will go through the gaming area to get to the Registration or other such, and even then you may also have to go through the commercial areas as well. Many of the hotels are actually about a block in from The Strip, and you are really entering a low rise building housing gaming and shopping, before you can enter the hotel. (You may be able to enter the hotel from the rear of the complex, about two blocks to the east or west of The Strip, and go directly to Registration.) Sometimes one hotel's complexity is directly linked to another (Paris to Bally, so you get a second dose of gaming and commerce).

It gets better. While hotels are arranged so that it is difficult to find your way out to the street (usually The Strip), with no significant signage (no big EXIT signs), since you are buried by commerce and gaming--once you are on The Strip, you find nothing but more hotels, more gaming, more ways of expending money, time, energy. Moreover, the highly articulated ground floors are often accompanied by further articulated second or third floors. If you ask for directions, they will get you to the next step, but at that point it's not so clear where to go next. There is always temptation--gaming, shopping, eating, gawking--at every such decision/walking point.

The hotels share many of the same high-end shops (sort of Rodeo Drive/Fifth Avenue), the same food-court eateries, and for all I know the same slot machines. So if you cannot find just the exact Louis Vuitton purse you want, another hotel's Louis Vuitton might have it.

If you choose to use the elevated monorail, you will find that it connects with the rear of hotels, and often the monorail station is sufficiently out-of-the-way, you may get tempted and distracted further, never to leave your hotel. But if you do get to the monorail stations, you will get a tour of backstage LV, so for example you see a very large parking structure just for the employees of Wynn LV, at the back of the back of the back of the site. And if you go to one end of the monorail, you find yourself at the SLS hotel, wondering why it is so far from the main action. But there is even more. If you walk out of the SLS to the Stratosphere Hotel, to go to the top (104 stories, they say), you have to walk through a rather more seedy area, with the world's largest souvenir shop and at least two wedding chapels (the hotels have them, too). Looking down, you see how much of LV is flat and residential, how much you have have been guided to attend to this small sliver of LV that is The Strip.

By the way, The Strip is adjacent to the airport, and right off the main highway from Los Angeles (I15).

Monday, November 16, 2015

Personal Responsibility (=PR) and Individuals

1. Individuals emerge from society and are seen as individual as a social process, in that the individual would appear to be autonomous and well defined. In particle physics, a quantum field has individual particles, in that they can be defined so that for the moment we can consider them as well-defined, with stable properties, and whatever happens is a matter of their interactions with other particles (and fields). Those particles that arise in a quantum field are "dressed" by all their stronger interactions with the field, with all the other particles--and what is leftover is their capacity to interact comparatively weakly with other particles. In other words, the particles, the individuals, are "social" to start out with.

2. In the research we have about neighborhoods, there is something called the neighborhood effect. Namely, one's range of choices and expectations are to some extent molded by neighborhood you are brought up in. I did not understand what it was to be a professor, since no one in my neighborhood or ... had anything like a PhD etc. It was working class ethnic Brooklyn.  Eventually I discovered all this, but I was perhaps 15 and a junior in high school, when I went beyond my neighborhood at a Summer program at Columbia University...  Similarly, if you come from some neighborhoods, you might never think of going into the Armed Services, or becoming an artist, or ...

Also, there is what is called cumulative and concentrated (dis-)advantage. Them who has, get more; them who is surrounded by those who have, get even more; and correspondingly, them who haven't...

Now, none of this takes away PR. Folks like me transcend their neighborhoods in some ways, but in others I am still a guy from Brooklyn. But most people do not make such big leaps. Surely, people who don't have can work so that they do have, and then they too can start having more (perhaps). And some of those who have lots live lives where they are downtrodden--perhaps by choice, perhaps due to drugs or ...

I don't deserve what I have. I got to where I am through the kindness of strangers, to use a phrase, some good fortune, and my own efforts. Also, I have made some less than stellar choices, but have been able to recover from them to a large extent.

I take responsibility for my life, but I have a sense of where it could have gone (not bad, just very different), a sense of how hard I have worked (although in fact I do not give myself much credit my friends tell me), some good fortune and the kindness of strangers, ... I don't deserve it, but I was fortunate to have it.

Hence, when one speaks of Personal Responsibility, I think it is important to have a sense of neighborhood effects, fortune, and cumulative and concentrated influences...  People don't make it on their own. Government and society provides them with lots of support, and this has been true as long as there have been governments and societies. People don't fail on their own either. They get help from the unkindness of strangers, bad fortune, ...

MOREOVER: If you are taller, whiter, male-er, handsomer, beautiful... you start off with advantages others may not have. And if you are female, shorter, fatter, dark skinned, ugly,... you start off with disadvantages ... You can convert your advantages into barriers, and your disadvantages into leap-springs. Usually, you need the help of others to do so. If you have some gift or some challenge (what is sometimes called, disability), what you can do with that is in part determined by the opportunities made available to you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mathematics in Current Academic Macroeconomics

The mathematics is used in engineering, and perhaps sometimes in statistical physics. But it is not the math that particle physicists use. 

Physicists' mathematics is often differently focused, depending on the field.  So for example, Lie groups, aspects of topology and geometry, and partial differential equations are more present in the fields I know. Stochastic differential equations appear much more often in finance theory, but of course they also explain diffusive processes in gases, and the behavior of plasmas (as in fusion, or in the universe). There is a wonderful book by Cedric Villani about his proving a result in this field--you don't need to know math, just human nature.

A doctoral student in some fields in engineering is much more acquainted with all of this.

A macro guru such as Larry Summers is of an earlier generation. Also, at the levels of discourse he participates in, whatever you learn from the Lucas and other such books, and their research, has been made into a way of thinking--  BUT I suspect that it does not even have much of an effect there. Janet Yellen's staff does not show her a stochastic differential equation, or a Markov process, or a Martingale--but perhaps they have something useful to help her think about these things. There are wonderful ideas in dynamic programming (often, that a differential equation and an optimization problem are nicely related, and in effect the present is where all the action is). I do not expect that the head of the Fed in 25 years, having been trained in all the math stuff will ever talk about it, either. It will be interesting what the insights will be.

Tactical, Operational, Strategic--Planning is Different for Each

At the tactical level, one is concrete and particular, and complex planning with what-if's is possible--although you know that invention on the part of the actors will be required.

Operational and strategic levels do not deal with many contingencies, except when things go big awry. Then you go back to the drawing board, so to speak. The Colonels' and Generals' planning teams have to think differently than does the Captain and Major, who are often tactical.

What the Operational and Strategic have to do is to figure out big goals and how to go about it. I think of arguments toward the end of WWII about whether to go to Germany directly or in a pincer. I am surely getting this wrong, since my memory for such details is likely fuzzy. But the point is that Eisenhower made a choice  and all else followed. If it did not work out, presumably they had to think about what next.

The complexity planners face is in part that the other side (or the customers, in business) has their own agenda, may act surprisingly (even as they think of themselves), etc. So the question becomes whether one's judgment is mildly reliable, and whether you have enough feedback and agility to know and deal with reverses. To use my current hobby horse, Rumsfeld got lots of feedback, but he had little of the requisite agility (or so the historical record seems to show--it may be wrong). Pride is useful in forcing one to persevere, but it is disastrous when one has to acknowledge things are not going your way. Strength lies in taking that disappointment and dealing with what needs to be done next. That is, do you have an ability to either have backup plans, or to generate them, when they might be needed. That's real strength.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Neighborhood Effects, Ecological Causation, vs. Individuals a primary... in Sampson, The Great American City

 I have been reading Sampson's Great American City. The big theme in the book is "neighborhood effects," or ecological causation. He provides a very nice account of individual choice, suggesting as do many of the economic sociologists, that the individual and their choice-profile is emergent (not his term) from the neighborhood. Terms of art include social causality, spatial logic, self-selection bias (individual selection is a neighborhood effect), structural vs. individual. He is sensible and thoughtful, and surely worth a read for any doctoral student in any field in our School. Chapter 15 provides a summary of his argument in this arena.

It may be useful to keep in mind that at least in modern quantum field theory, individuals are emergent. Namely, quantum fields are primary (even if you "see" individual particles in those Feynman diagrams), and the appearance of discrete individuals is an emergent phenomena. Put different, and here Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes is particularly nice, as the universe cooled down from the Big Bang, the various individual particles we now see emerged, much as the orderly crystalline structure of ice emerges as you cool down water. In the Big Bang, where time is measured in terms of the exponent of the time after the Big Bang (10^seconds), where t is a negative number (for most of what interests Weinberg, and goes as high at maybe +2 in his book, but see next paragraph) and is that time, the earlier times are too hot for individuals to emerge and be comparatively stable objects. 

As for time, that t in that last paragraph, it takes some time, say when t is about +16 or 17, that is, billions of years, for the stars to form, supernovae to explode, the heavy elements to form. The universe is something like 13.8 billion years old, I believe, and so t is now about 17+.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Asking Questions at Presentations. Answering Questions.

There are many reasons for the questions that are asked at presentations, at meetings, seminars, or peer reviews. The questioner may be drawing attention to their own work or the work of others, there may be some deep problems in the work, one might be curious about further details or implications, ...  What's crucial is that the questions be pointed, clear, and relevant.  If the speaker cannot answer the question, for whatever reason, make sure you meet afterwards.

In answering the question, be brief, and usually it makes sense to restate the question first. If you don't have an answer, ask to speak to the questioner later. 

In general, your colleagues resent you if you take too long, seem to be hunting for the point at issue, or are off base. If you do this often, you will get a reputation you probably do not want. Never say that you are ignorant or out of the field or make excuses--ask the question! I've rarely seen questions that are "stupid," in the sense that everyone knows this--usually half the audience wished they had asked that question.

You will do better as a presenter if in the first thing you say is the main point of the talk. Whatever you would put in the conclusion, usually works better up front. With audiences that are likely to interrupt frequently, it is fine to say the main point up front, and if the questions are too frequent, toask for ten minutes to present before you take further questions.

One kind of question is often very helpful, an epitome. Something like, "Let me know if I have understood your talk. Namely, you are saying that [flying dogs use aerodynamic principles understood by Bernoulli]." Obviously fill in the appropriate summary. This should not go on for five minutes, but be maybe one sentence more.

By the way, these skills are not easy to master, and many never master them. They're simple to say, but hard to adhere to, or even just keep in mind. Most of us teach and we expect an audience, albeit these days in cyberspace. No one has to listen to your talk, or stay, or even be patient, at scholarly presentations. Walking out, doing email, etc is always possible. To hold people's attention, or at least have their attention often enough, is an achievement.

PS: There is an essay by Paul Meehl, in his Psychodiagnosis, about why he does not attend case conferences. Meehl is the source of the MMPI, and more generally of asking "clinical or statistical judgment."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Deans and Departmental Chairs

Universities are composed of "schools," and those school are composed of departments. Deans head schools, chairs head departments. And deans report to a provost, chairs to deans. Deans may have major external responsibilities--the university campaign, arrangements with other institutions, representing the university to various constituencies. They are in this sense contributing directly to the president's agenda. Other universities may have deans who are more internally focussed.

Department chairs are there to strengthen their departments and strengthen ties with other university departments and elsewhere. They must tend to faculty who are not performing up to their potential, mentor junior faculty, encourage grants and fellowships, and ideally they are in the business of pushing their department to much greater strength. That may involve systematic hires, focusing, and strategic plans over the next five or so years, sometimes dragging their colleagues along. Student numbers are crucial, but there is an offset if the grants are numerous and flush with overhead. 

At my university, one department was propelled forward by a deliberate narrowing of focus and the hiring world-class faculty, and keeping hiring if some leave. There have been recurrent attempts to push forward another mainline department, but they have not had the kind of success they would have liked. I know of one department that was well known to be weak, and the dean hired a chair who exhibited the capacity to make big changes (as that person had done elsewhere). (I don't know if that proved successful.} When a department or school is internally problematic, and perhaps an externally hired dean did not work out, and so the Provost and President may appoint a dean or professor from elsewhere in the university to get the unit in shape. 

Ideally a dean does not get many problems from the chairs and surely not from the faculty. Chairs should solve faculty problems, and a dean should only hear from chairs when the dean can make a distinct difference. Every school has problematic units and, hopefully, stellar units. One department might be moved or combined with another because they were quite expensive in terms of students taught and weak external grant-getting. New schools may be formed by combining schools if those schools and their departments were small and riven with turmoil--especially if external constituencies suggest that the combined units would present a more unified and stronger image. You never want to go to the Provost to complain--rather you want to go to the administration building with a plan to bring in a slew of scholars who bring enormous prestige and lots of externally funded research. 

These are the facts of many universities' bureaucratic life. (Smaller universities with stellar faculty may well be managed more intimately, but this is comparatively rare.) By the way, ideally you will have a department chair who works with the faculty to propose a plan of action that is doable and will have a transformative effect on the department. (Transformative here is not ala Rumsfeld at Defense, but rather in terms of quality, reputation, and budget. Better a dean be presented with a surfeit of realistic opportunities than with defenses of boundaries and current quality. It is a dean's job to find the resources for departmental plans that are undeniably terrific. Of course, the dean recruits chairs to help him lasso those resources, and the provost and president and institutional advancement will help, but in the end, the dean (and the senior administrators if needed) are the resource resourcers. Ideally, you have a faculty that bring in prestige and resources just by their doing their work, and then the dean and President can find even further resources.

I believe that the reputation of a department is in the end a function of the reputations of its faculty, its concentrations in particular areas, placement of doctoral students,, etc. I know nothing about the reputations of schools and universities.

Monday, October 12, 2015

People who publish do it all, and can be as innovative as anyone...

The article below appeared in Inside Higher Education. I am quite skeptical of the lessons drawn from this work. Surely, there are quite innovative and risk-taking scientists, but it is not clear to me that they publish sufficiently so much less than their more conservative colleagues. It could be that some apparently conservative scientists might be more innovative if they had less pressure to publish and get grants. And it may be that really great work is precluded by someone who is doing lots of little work. But I doubt it being systemically significant. People who publish do it all, in general.

As for Peter Higgs--There is a bunch of people who had similar ideas (for which they got the Nobel when he did if they were still alive, or did not get it but were generally doing the same stuff). Although we talk about the Higgs particle, actually it was independently suggested by two other papers (a pair of people, and a triplet as I recall).

It's not that you don't need time to think and reflect. But I doubt that thinking and reflection and invention and innovation is much prevented by the need to publish, publicize, get grants, etc.  I am sure there are individual exceptions, but that does not prove much.

I am not criticizing the work of the sociologists. I could not judge it. But there is romantic claptrap here. My thoughts come from reading promotion/tenure files promising a future star although we now see low productivity. Again, some cases are worthy of a risk, but in general NO


The Costs of Publish or Perish

October 12, 2015


Colleen Flaherty | Inside Higher Ed
Oct. 25, 2013 -- Inside Higher Ed's 2013 Survey of College and University Human Resources Officers explored the views of chief human resources officers on wellness ...
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Shortly after being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013, Peter Higgs, of Higgs boson fame, said he doubted he would have gotten a job, not to mention tenure, in today’s academic system. The professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh said he simply wouldn’t have been “productive” enough, with academe’s premium on publication metrics. Conversely, said Higgs, working in today’s academic system probably wouldn’t have afforded him the opportunity to identify how subatomic material requires mass.
“It's difficult to imagine how I would ever have enough peace and quiet in the present sort of climate to do what I did in 1964,” he told The Guardian.
The statement resonated with many academic scientists running the funding-collaboration-publication treadmill. But while the negative consequences of the “publish or perish” paradigm, such as innovation costs and decreased attention to teaching and mentoring, are widely acknowledged, there’s been scant data to back them up. So a new study suggesting that publication pressures on scientists lead to more traditional, more likely to be published papers, at the expense of scientific breakthroughs, stands out.
“Pursuing innovation is a gamble, without enough payoff, on average, to justify the risk,” the study says. “Nevertheless, science benefits when individuals overcome the dispositions that orient them toward established islands of knowledge … in the expanding ocean of possible topics.”
The study, called “Tradition and Innovation in Scientists’ Research Strategies,” is in the current American Sociological Review. To begin, Jacob B. Foster, lead author and professor of sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and his co-authors created a database of more than 6.4 million biomedical and chemistry publications from 1934 to 2008.
They used chemical annotations from the National Library of Medicine to build a computer-modeled network of knowledge, and looked for chemicals that were linked, showing up in the same paper. They then sorted the links into two broad categories: those that built on past knowledge and those that were truly innovative, adding connections to the network.
The researchers looked at how many of each type of link appeared in a given year, and made inferences about scientists’ disposition to pursue tradition over innovation. This link classification allowed Foster and his team to classify papers to determine, via various regression analyses, whether papers with more innovative strategies were more frequently cited.
Finally, they built a database linking winners of some 137 major scholarly awards to their publications, to compare the mixture of links used by scientists with major achievement to the publication pool more generally.
Essentially, Foster and his co-authors created a map of which individual publications built on existing discoveries or created new connections. Then they correlated each of the research strategies to two different kinds of recognition -- citations and major awards.
Perhaps unsurprising, the work of prize-winning scientists involved significantly more innovation than the overall pool. And more than 60 percent of publications generally had no new connections, building on traditional research alone.
Foster and his co-authors, James Evans, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, and Andrey Rzhetsky, a professor of medicine and human genetics at Chicago, argue that researchers who focus on answering established questions are more likely to see their work published. But while researchers who pursue riskier academic work may not be published as frequently, if published, their work receives more citations.
Foster said in an email interview that what makes his study “distinctive is the scale.”
“We were able to study this tension at scale because of several intersecting trends: increasing availability of computer-readable information about science and scientific publications, increasing computer power, and the development of network-driven techniques for representing and analyzing knowledge,” he said. “It is this last development that allowed us to operationalize tradition and innovation in a reasonable way for large-scale analysis.”
The authors recommend various ways that colleges and universities can promote more innovation, such as not linking job security to productivity, in terms of easy metrics. They say that such a strategy, once proved successful at Bell Labs, where scientists could work on project for a year without being evaluated.
Other ideas include awarding research grants to researchers, not specific research proposals, or trying funding to a proposal’s inherent innovation.
Some universities have begun supporting riskier research goals, in the form of grand challenges-oriented research, and the National Institutes of Health and various private organizations have experimented with ways to support innovative research. But publication pressures persist. Foster said he was nonetheless “optimistic” about change.
Academe should resist “the temptation to outsource judgment of quality to easily countable quantities,” he said. “Top universities emphasize that they are not interested in counting publications or citations -- that colleagues ‘read the work’ when evaluating a case.”
Scholars approaching any milestone, from searching for a first job to going up for tenure, can feel “pulled toward something safe and decipherable,” Foster said. “At least they'll have the publications, right? And that's more what I hope we can keep in mind: the importance of creating and protecting space (or rather, time) to take real risks. That's what tenure is supposed to do, which is one of the reasons that attacks on the tenure system are so worrisome. It's a shortsighted and ultimately counterproductive trade-off.”
Of course, sometimes sticking with more traditional research has its value -- as a recent, massive study suggesting that most psychology study results cannot be successfully replicated indicates.
The lead author of that study, Brian Nosek, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, said he wasn’t familiar enough with Foster’s paper to critique its methodology, but said it sounded “intriguing.” In any case, he said, “innovation and accumulation are not mutually exclusive.”
“Innovation occurs when expectations are violated,” Nosek said. “Replication is actually a great way to spur innovation because, when replications are successful, they increase confidence and generalizability of existing claims, and when they are not successful, they spur innovation to try to understand why different results were observed.”
Foster said he agreed that building on existing knowledge was essential to science, but that he was interested in how much innovation should be mixed in -- what he called a "division of labor."
"Too much innovation, and science would be incoherent," he said. "Too much tradition, and it would slow to a crawl."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Making Your Work Stronger

My criterion for A work is that it be Excellent, as the University requires. If it is so strong, I will be glad to show it to my colleagues and they will be impressed.

As I indicated in class, the usual counsel on making your work stronger is not so specific:
--the website should be easy to understand, and the flow of materials should make sense;
--you can navigate the site easily;

--the essay should be thoughtful and indicate you appreciate the issues; it should be nicely written;
--in the case of the SketchUp model, the structures should have enough detail so that they do the work of giving you a sense of what the block is like, the video should be fluid and likely it is a walk-through with no stuff that gets in the way (transitions that make no sense, for example). Simple and clear design of a website almost always works. Is the font you use large enough, no spelling errors, captions on images and videos? [Obviously this is for a specific assignment, but the general tone should be helpful.]

Most writers and scholars have their work reviewed along the way by their colleagues and co-workers. It's almost impossible to see what's wrong, but when someone points it out, you realize that it is obvious. So you may want to show your site to your classmates or friends and listen to their reactions.

All of this means that if you want work to be strong, you have to start early enough so you can make it better, have time to look it over with a bit of distance, and if you get stuck you can get help.

Once you have done this, then it is time to ask your instructor for help. Why? Because then you have done your best and so your instructor or TA can help you. Of course, minor problems ought to be brought up immediately.

I believe one of the side problems here is that in most courses you have to study for tests, or if you have a paper due you do not have to show intermediate drafts (perhaps this has changed?). You are not taught the craft of doing work, although you well know all of this if you play a musical instrument, are fluent in a sport, etc.

I hope this is helpful. In my own work, making it better is an iterative process. A book is not just written, but it is drafted, redrafted, read by a friend or colleague and you get advice, redrafted..., edited, sent to a publisher who then sends it to referees, who then tell you how to make it better and acceptable and so you rewrite, edit, and submit. At that point, if you are  lucky a copy editor gets hold of the manuscript and makes the text much better. Your tenth book project is better than your first, but not enough to avoid most of these steps.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Restoration Risk-Taking by Irredentists, Russia, China, .... Terrorism, Insurgency, US/Israel,..;.

I am reading a book, Putinism by Laqueur, that gives me a more historically grounded sense of Russia. My feeling is that whatever the professed ideology of a country, there is lots of continuity in changes of regime or power.

Laqueur constantly returns to Russian history of the last 150 years, as well as current writing and arguments within Russia. He would say it is more of the same, albeit with different seasoning. There is a Greater Russia, and also a Russia that included the USSR and its near neighbors (Poland,...).

My reading of Th. Delpech on Nuclear Policy, re China, was illuminating for another reason--a sense of China's historical sense of itself, and its sense of a Greater China (that includes various territories that no longer are part of PRC, often a matter of language or culture, but not always).

In each case, the desire to return to greatness, to restoration of lost territories and prestige, is a dominant theme. Of course, there are present issues, and limits of budget and capability, but the restoration of a past, perhaps an imagined past, is the idee fixe

Perhaps this applies to many nations--but for the moment I can focus on Russia and China. (By the way, there is always the theme of Rise and Decline, whether of themselves or of their Adversaries (or Allies).)

So when we try to develop defense policy for the US (and those restoration themes are still present these days in the US, even if there is a sense of hegemony), we must understand that our "adversaries" and their actions are informed by what might be called extraordinary expectations. Hence, risks that might well seem foolish or imprudent, might well make sense given those expectations (given that they are seriously entertained by those adversaries, with no sense of extraordinary other than "rightful"). 

There is a new book out on Hitler's Germany that suggests that Hitler was much influenced by his sense that Germany needed land to grow the food the nation would need (he did not much believe in agricultural science, it seems), and then the author suggests that such issues might influence China as well.

These sorts of considerations will influence our sense of what adversaries might be tempted to do, what makes sense to them, and so we might anticipate how they think.

I have been reading about the Irgun etc in the mid-40s, in Hoffman’s new book on Israel, and also about the years 70-125 CE when the Jews revolted against the Romans, if not revolt then insurgency. The older story says it won’t work, the newer one is about how terrorism succeeded.

 The American Revolution was as irritating and distracting to the British as was the Palestine Mandate, and they dumped both since they had larger concerns, the first being a world war (France…), the second being economically and militarily weakened by WWII.
Keep in mind that revolution (and insurgency, and even terrorism)  is the founding event, at least in memory, of the US, Russia, France, China,...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Other Academic Survival Guidance: Kelsky, Toth (Ms. Mentor)

Kelsky's The Professor is In is concrete and specific and step by step from graduate student to perhaps tenure. It's quite inexpensive on, at least right now.

Emily Toth's Ms. Mentor... book, the more recent one, is filled with good sensible advice, advice that boils down to: no acting out, always be pleasant and accommodating, and if your job is ruining you life it's ok to leave academia (but realize what you are doing).

Monday, September 28, 2015

Giving Talks, Preparing for your next project

Our job is to make your stronger and more effective. 

1. As for your giving talks. Typically you have 15 minutes to present at a meeting, 45 minutes in a job talk. 

A. Always go less than your allotted time. In the case of job talks, you will likely be interrupted well before your talk is over, so be sure to get in the main points, including the findings!, in the first ten minutes--and you can say to questioners that you need ten minutes and then  you will welcome their questions. At all times, keep in mind that many people in the audience would rather be elsewhere, that they may be sleepy or hungry or..., and that what they most want to do is talk themselves. 

B. Bottom Line Up Front=BLUF. That is, tell people the main point or points in the first page, the first five minutes. The rest is commentary and support.

C. Give them something to go home with. A one-page summary, chart, table, ..., with your name and email etc. They might well read it than listen to you--terrific. If you are at a meeting, have copies of the paper for anyone who asks for it. If you are seeking a job, prepare your one-minute account of your current research AND where you plan to go next, and carry sufficient copies of your CV/resume with you.

D. You want to have no more than 3 or 4 main points, and you have previewed them in the first minutes, BLUF.

E. Practice your talk. The first time will be awful, at least for me. At least one more time. Don't ever tell people you put the talk together on the plane to the meeting--be polished and well rehearsed. If you did put the talk together on the plane, practice in the hotel room, find a copying service to prepare the handout. 

F. If your spoken English is not clear--you speak too softly, English is not your native language and your skills are limited, you can make up for it. Microphones help, but you might learn to project your voice (as do stage actors and opera singers, but I don't know the tricks). Powerpoint slides that list what you will say also help. In general, you want two or three slides for a brief presentation, and most of what is on the slides should be on your handout. For a 45 minute talk, a dozen slides will impress people by your concision. (When theatrical executives present, as in Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, ..., their slide presentations are a product of major professional effort.) You may need more slides to show off your data or to have images, but be sure that those whose eyesight reflects aging will be able to read it. Big font, not too busy charts, clear plots.


I am not against complex arguments, careful treatments of data and theory and method, etc. But, initially, you've got to convince people that it is worth learning all that. I have no idea if this sort of advice is useful for love letters, condolences, or novels.

2. As for thinking about your next project--dissertation, grant, whatever...  You need:
1.       The brief statement of the subject of your proposed research.

2.       The brief statement of how you are going to go about it.

3.       The papers you think are exemplary, either for topic or method.

4.       The roughest Table of Contents of your dissertation

5.       Your two brief statements of your field (You can get the bibliography together a bit later).


Everyone—don’t use qualitative or quantitative. Tell me what you will do. Mixed methods is even worse a term.


As I have written before, you get awards because you apply for them, or your colleagues and friends nominate your for them (and you may well have written a draft nominating letter for them to use, several different ones if several nominators). In general there are more deserving recipients than awards, so don't worry that you are not deserving. No one is deserving in this sense.

If you are a member of an organization, get on the awards committee and make sure your colleagues or whoever you prefer is nominated, and then campaign to get them the needed votes. If you are a member of some distinguished group (National Academy of ...), your main job is to get your colleagues in as members. Don't worry about their being deserving--there are lots of deserving folks, and you want your deserving colleagues to be members.

Yesterday, I received a notice that I would be receiving an award. I did not know of the organization or of the award. It turns out I have some fans on the award committee, and they never told me about it. I mention this not to brag, but to indicate the ways of the world. Another time, I was made a distinguished member of a professional society, but in that case I asked several people to nominate me. 

The Provost wants us to win awards. Make him happy. Also, there are lots of internal University awards--research, teaching, mentoring,... If you believe you would be competitive, let your colleagues know, and prepare those nominating letter drafts. Rarely are awards given without your scheming and applying. Nobel prizes are surely in this scheming class. On the other hand, Guggenheim fellowships do require letters of reference, but rarely are they prearranged or schemed.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Being More Effective as a Scholar or Bureaucrat

My job is to make your stronger and more effective. 

This is mainly for graduate students, but I believe many others will benefit.

1. Prepare a suite of short memos about your researchin red below. The word "brief" is deliberate. One paragraph, maybe half a page, double spaced. Someone may well read just that paragraph, but, if you must, add more for your own benefit.

1.       The brief statement of the subject of your proposed research.
2.       The brief statement of how you are going to go about it.
3.       The papers you think are exemplary, either for topic or method. About five of these
4.       The roughest Table of Contents of your dissertation
5.       Your two brief statements of your field (You can get the bibliography together a bit later).

2. When reading a paper it may be useful to summarize the paper in that one brief paragraph, and prepare one really good question that will help the author do a better job.

3. As for your giving talks. Typically you have 15 minutes to present at a meeting, 45 minutes in a job talk. 

A. Always go less than your allotted time. In the case of job talks, you will likely be interrupted well before your talk is over, so be sure to get in the main points, including the findings!, in the first ten minutes--and you can say to questioners that you need ten minutes and then  you will welcome their questions. At all times, keep in mind that many people in the audience would rather be elsewhere, that they may be sleepy or hungry or..., and that what they most want to do is talk themselves. If you don't know the answer, say so, and tell the questioner you want to speak with them afterwards.

B. Bottom Line Up Front=BLUF. That is, tell people the main point or points in the first page, the first five minutes. The rest is commentary and support.

C. Give them something to go home with. A one-page summary, chart, table, ..., with your name and email etc. They might well read it than listen to you--terrific. If you are at a meeting, have copies of the paper for anyone who asks for it. If you are seeking a job, prepare your one-minute account of your current research AND where you plan to go next, and carry sufficient copies of your CV/resume with you.

D. You want to have no more than 3 or 4 main points, and you have previewed them in the first minutes, BLUF.

E. Practice your talk. The first time will be awful, at least for me. At least one more time. Don't ever tell people you put the talk together on the plane to the meeting--be polished and well rehearsed. If you did put the talk together on the plane, practice in the hotel room, find a copying service to prepare the handout. 

F. If your spoken English is not clear--you speak too softly, English is not your native language and your skills are limited, you can make up for it. Microphones help, but you might learn to project your voice (as do stage actors and opera singers, but I don't know the tricks). Powerpoint slides that list what you will say also help. In general, you want two or three slides for a brief presentation, and most of what is on the slides should be on your handout. For a 45 minute talk, a dozen slides will impress people by your concision. (When theatrical executives present, as in Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg, ..., their slide presentations are a product of major professional effort.) You may need more slides to show off your data or to have images, but be sure that those whose eyesight reflects aging will be able to read it. Big font, not too busy charts, clear plots.

I am not against complex arguments, careful treatments of data and theory and method, etc. But, initially, you've got to convince people that it is worth learning all that. I have no idea if this sort of advice is useful for love letters, condolences, or novels.

4. In talking with some of our students who have had experience in intelligence, a point I have made here earlier kept coming up as the essence of their practice--and I learned it 15 years ago from a student who worked in military intelligence.

Bottom Line Up Front. 
Namely, in the first sentence and the first paragraph, give away everything that matters. What you put in the conclusion, conventionally, should be here. And it should be possible for the reader or listener to understand that point immediately.

A second feature sounds to me like what I have been told that legal writing exhibits: 

Fractal Organization:
At every level, each point and its support is fully whole. If you drill down, that drilled down part makes sense as it is. The reader, if they "get" the first level, need not drill down more. If not, do so until you are satisfied. You NEVER have to drag through parts you already understand. In effect, this is what was once called hyper-text. 

This may not be the way to write term papers or love letters, or I believe this is much to recommend in this strategy even in that context. But in writing for busy people, or in presenting to busy people, it is the preferred way. You never want to drag people through stuff just because you worked hard on it, and you surely want them to understand what you are saying immediately (or if they ask a question, the answer is right there).

In effect, you give away all of your jewels immediately.

There is one other point. The title of your paper, your talk, your memo subject, should in effect give it all away. No cute titles, no teasers. If you have subheads, they too should give away the content of that section, so a reader might skip over it if they wanted to.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

More on Impact

Depending on the field, impact may take a very long time. It takes forever  to get an article or book published in many fields, reviewed and noticed, etc. When people talk of high-impact research, it is useful to give it some concreteness and a sense of what is required to increase impact--assuming that the world is not waiting desperately for your next piece of work.

And even then, superb work may not have a big impact over the medium run.

The idea to raise expectations and aspirations. Publishing is fine, good journals is fine, but in the end what matters in high-impact is whether others use the work or argue with it.  Also, does it lead to "big money," in terms of grants now and in the future.

Your work may not be impactful, even if there are fans, and you have received some rewards and fellowships. Your colleagues may not much value your work, even if you are well valued outside your department.  That is an indictment of your colleagues rather than a judgment of your contributions. It may even be age-related. But none of this is of matter.

In general, our job is to have people outside our university appreciate our contributions. If we are insufficiently appreciated, we might stay around for other reasons, or many receive offers from elsewhere and move on.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

High-Impact Research

It may be useful to indicate what the scholarly community has discovered about what might be called high-impact research. Quality, cumulative contributions, poignant understanding of what you have contributed and letting others know of that in your writing, being tall/white/male etc have been shown to matter. But here are some of the measures of impact and what you can do. Keep in mind that high-impact may not be the deepest or most profound contributions, but if one is seeking high-impact...

1. There are various measures of such: h-index, citations, reference letters, policy changes, grants and fellowships, awards, ...
a. Use the Web of Science citation index rather than Google Scholar. Do not count citations when someone is a post-doc and the most senior person is also on the author list. (Often, when two scholars are compared, especially if the total citations are very different, it is the case that these post-doc citations make the difference.) In some fields, especially in book-writing fields, such citations are much rarer, and so comparisons usually need to be within a field or sub-field.
b. Reference letters should not only be from those within a small cabal. They should be substantive, unless the person needs no introduction (at which point you are high-impact).
c. As for policy changes, these are rare--the favorite example is broken windows. Same for professional practice changes. One problem is whether the change is for the good, but that is another issue entirely.
d. Grant dollars may be significant. But is the person the PI or co-PI? Co-PI's may not deserve the credit especially when they are just starting out and the PI is very well established. What have others in the subfield received? Are the sources of support considered reliable indicators of quality, or merely interested parties?
e. Fellowships may be very significant if they are hard to get. Guggenheim's are such. Some of the residential research centers--Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, for example--are significant. But sometimes the awards are for someone very early in their career with great promise--but high impact is to come later. (I don't know about Fulbright's.)
f. Awards. Political Science provides 100+ awards each year at the APSA meeting. Planning awards maybe 10 such awards at most in all its groups. I don't know about public administration, health policy, ...  Economics or mathematics are much much more sparing of awards than political science. When you compare field sizes, keep in mind that in some fields the number of actively publishing scholars is a small fraction of the total number of academics in the field.

2. Having said all this, how is impact increased:
a. High impact publication venues, where the impact of a venue is measured by citations to work in that venue. Again, there are long delays in some sub-fields, and the numbers are very different in different fields.
b. Research programs that are ongoing and cumulative. You discover a phenomenon, or develop a theory. You then keep publishing about these over a periods of years, usually 7-10. Two things happen: more people see your work; your discovery and ideas become more complex and richer, and people start to take them more seriously. And others refer to them, or follow them up, or challenge your work. If you change subfields or topics too often you are unlikely to be so recognized. (The exception is perhaps John Nash, who made several widely different contributions in his 20s, each a golden egg. Most of us are not John Nash.) In the case of books, usually one book does not do the work, but there are wonderful exceptions. Two books are likely to begin to cement your reputation.
c. Presence. You not only do the work, but you publicize it. You go to meetings, you organize sessions around the work, you have your friends organize sessions around your work. You arrange to give talks about your work to many institutions. Perhaps you can arrange for your work to be awarded (usually through your friends' intervention and nomination). Of course, early on you distributed preprints to the top 10 of the people in your field. Later you do the same. If appropriate, op-ed articles, and other such suitable to your field, will help.
d. Students. If you train a doctoral students and they do good work, you benefit more than they do. Especially if their work explores themes you have developed.
e. Textbooks. You might well write a textbook that incorporates your way of thinking about a subfield. Rarely does this do much for your impact and reputation, but sometimes it does.

Now, of course, there are scholars who have high impact, and win big prizes and awards, with a single very distinctive piece of work--or at least their contribution comes to be so seen. Janet Yellen's husband, George Akerlof, wrote the article on The Market for Lemons. (I have deliberately conflated gender, family ties, and even the phenomenon--since early on they had lots of trouble finding a good appointment.) You are unlikely to have high-impact that way. But an article in Science, The Tragedy of the Commons for example, can be very impactful (even if the ideas were well understood by others already).

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Making Papers Better, for Writers and for Referees, for Presenters and Questioners

If you are refereeing or listening to a presentation or giving a presentation:
1.       Make sure your first sentence gives the essence of the paper. Maybe you need a second sentence, but not more. If you are speaking, surely in the first two minutes.
2.       Think of your questions or comments or advice as ways of making the paper better. You may have some other questions as well. But your main purpose is to help the scholar do a better job. (That is not what is usually done in questioning, but this “make the paper better” strategy is a real winner.) It is not easy to say how to make the paper better, but you will find that you will be respected and trusted for doing that. If there is a flaw or a deep problem, suggest how to fix it. If you feel that your paper is crucial, in refereeing you do not want to say that. Rather be substantive--"earlier work has made similar points, and it needs to be referred to" or "these ideas have a history in the literature, and the paper would be more credible were that history referred to."

As for myself, when I am reading a paper or listening to a presentation, I am very actively trying to figure out what is the main point, the deeper issue. When someone expects me to wait for 45 minutes to their getting to that main point, I find that intolerable. If I am unsure, I ask a question in the first 15 minutes trying to be sure I know what’s up. If I am reading a paper, I’ll go to the end or wherever to find out what’s the point. Others, more methodologically sophisticated than I am, or closer to the subject, will find more detailed issues, by the way.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

You want to be with someone who wants to be with you.

You likely want to be at an institution and department that values you and wants you to be in their orbit. But sometimes you do not get promoted, or perhaps not tenured, or perhaps not an appropriate raise or salary. You may well appeal or otherwise voice your concerns.

But perhaps you should find a place where you are valued. Even if your current department/institution is treating you unfairly. Appeal, surely. But at the same time look around. In fact, you ought be looking around regularly if you feel the match is not for you. You may have to give up prestige, you may have to give up salary, you may have to move to a place that is not ideal for you locationally. But you may find that your new venue relieves your sense of being treated inappropriately, and that you like being appreciated. Your former institution and colleagues may be pleased you are out of their hair, or regret their lack of attention to your strengths. But this is of no matter--

What's crucial is that you thrive and are comfortable.

If in the end your original institution changes its mind, at least you have an alternative in mind.

I observe that finding a new venue proves good for most such cases.

Say that you cannot find a new home, and you can stay where you are now. Focus on what's important, be civil and uncomplaining, and not let them control you. In fact, you might want to exceed their expectations for your ability to go in your own direction.

The trick is to focus on what matters in your work.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Promotion, Tenure, Contributions in Professional Schools

I teach in a school of public policy, urban planning, and related fields--the background for the following remarks.

1. University departments and faculty are not consulting firms. We try to advance our fields and convince our colleagues that our proposed advancements are worthy of their regard.
2. Applied research should lead to scholarly publications. You've learned something in a special context. If the work might be done by a consulting firm, you should not be doing it as part of your academic work.
3. If the output is a report or a design, that report or design might be shown to be influential both on practice or on scholarship. I know of at least one scholar whose reports over the years were widely read, tenured them at the strongest university, and on the side led to books.
4. I remain unsure about contributions in our field. (This may well reflect my limited purview.) I wish that all articles began with an informative (rather than cute or tempting) title and then a paragraph saying what was learned, discovered, argued AND indicated where the work stood in respect to previous and competitive work. It is often stated, but buried somewhere. 

Name one contribution (article, series of articles, book), in the last decade or even five years, not by yourself, that you believe made a major impact or advancement in our fields of inquiry.

5. Depending on your institution's values, if you don't like teaching, or writing articles/books, maybe you should find another role and another institution.
6. As for engaged scholarship, service, scholarship of teaching, none of this is outside my concern. If you do engaged scholarship, you should be able to document its contributions and so you will want to write about it in the strongest journals. If you have done extraordinary service, surely letters from peers will attest to that. If you have done scholarship of teaching, perhaps having transformed how a subject is taught, or written a textbook that is recognized as influential, again testimony is available for that. 
7. Institutions and sometimes schools share values with other (peer) institutions. That's what matters. What also matters is that you keep on contributing, and along the way be sure to get fellowships, awards, grants, etc. that not only attest to your contributions so far, but also allow you to go further. Again, if this work is not for you, find another venue where you will be appreciated and likely better rewarded. 
8. Universities have formalized teaching professorships, and are becoming sensitive to adjunct faculty teaching that might well be done by their regular faculty. In those positions, almost always not leading to tenure, you have to figure out what to do that is both valuable to your institution and to you. If you want to continue to do research and thinking and writing, you may not be able to do as much as your colleagues, but do what you can. And try to get grants and fellowships, so you have time to do the work you want to do.