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Advice for New Faculty Members Paperback – Jan 21 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 1 edition (Jan. 21 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0205281591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0205281596
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2 x 22.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #102,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Advice for New Faculty Members: Nihil Nimus is a unique and essential guide to the start of a successful academic career. As its title suggests (nothing in excess), it advocates moderation in ways of working, based on the single-most reliable difference between new faculty who thrive and those who struggle. By following its practical, easy-to-use rules, novice faculty can learn to teach with the highest levels of student approval, involvement, and comprehension, with only modest preparation times and a greater reliance on spontaneity and student participation. Similarly, new faculty can use its rule-based practices to write with ease, increasing productivity, creativity, and publishability through brief, daily sessions of focused and relaxed work. And they can socialize more successfully by learning about often-misunderstood aspects of academic culture, including mentoring. Each rule in Advice for New Faculty Members has been tested on hundreds of new faculty and proven effective over the long run -- even in attaining permanent appointment. It is the first guidebook to move beyond anecdotes and surmises for its directives, based on the author's extensive experience and solid research in the areas of staff and faculty development. For new teachers.


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By A Customer on April 17 2003
Format: Paperback
I am surprised that anyone who criticizes this book as obvious is bothering to read such a book. If it is so obvious, then you are probably one of the "exemplars" that Boice studied to formulate his analysis. Either that, or one of the struggling faculty members he studied, who fail because they are too proud to believe that anyone else has anything to offer. For the rest of us mortals, this book is fantastic.
One thing other reviewers have not emphasized is the extent to which Boice bases his advice on his field studies of faculty. It apparently has been his life's work to study what determines whether university faculty succeed or fail. This gives him unique credibility.
Yes, I acknowledge that it may be a bit off-putting because it is written somewhat in the style of self-help books, i.e., very informal, a bit repetitive, with some of that schtick that runs: "follow my 5 step program to success, because I have uncovered the key heretofore only known by a few, etc." However, the big difference between this and any self-help book is that he can back it up with research. I guess that's how you write self-help books for academics. (And don't misunderstand me, even when it sounds like a self-help book, it's like the better self-help books. This is clearly a labor of love for Boice.)
This book is like one of those rare, great mentors. It doesn't tell you war stories, or give you a laundry list of techniques. Instead, it tells you how to be effective at your job. It describes the day-to-day processes and habits that so many successful people are terrible at articualting ("well, you just do it"). I suspect most academics really can use this. Yes, it's probably the kind of stuff that would be obvious to an outgoing, outwardly directed person like a salesman or politician, but the inwardly-focused types who tend to be drawn to academia really need this kind of help.
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Format: Paperback
The tips are great, but skim rather than pore over the book because the recommendations are presented over and over. Especially useful are Boice's suggestions for managing "student incivilities". His methods will help you keep students from being rude, late and argumentative. The main thrust of the book is excellent: professors need to focus on process as well as content, and new teachers usually try to cram too much material into their lectures. I'm a clinical psychologist who coaches junior faculty trying to get tenure, and I recommend this book often to new professors.
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Format: Paperback
I'm in the second year of a tenure track position, and it's really true that the universal social expectation is that getting tenure, especially the process of writing for publication, involves a whole lot of suffering, and that only the strong (definitely not including me) survive. Robert Boice has written a deeply spiritual and inciteful book not only about the tenure process and academic writing, but about how to live life mindfully and joyfully. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
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In an earlier book, First-order Principles for College Teachers, Bob Boice advised us to moderate classroom incivilities, learn to begin before feeling ready, appreciate the value of waiting, and work in short reflexive intervals. In this latest book, Boice expands his focus to the other aspects of a productive and emotionally satisfying scholarly career. He begins with teaching and then goes on to write about non-teaching activities. In masterful strokes, he lays out the case for mindful work as the key to teaching, writing, and service.
Boice urges us to focus on the process of working, rather than its products. We need to work with constancy and moderation, rather than in hypermanic bursts that ultimately burn us out.
Moderation is the key, and Boice makes the case with persuasive arguements and excellent examples. I felt my own tension draining away even as I read the book! I have put his principles into practice in my own work, and I will buy copies for all my graduate students, so they can do the same.
This is a wonderful, wise, and witty book.
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