How to be an Academic Superhero


How to be an Academic Superhero

Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

2nd edition

9781803929446 Edward Elgar Publishing
Iain Hay, Matthew Flinders Distinguished Emeritus Professor, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University, Australia
Publication Date: 2023 ISBN: 978 1 80392 944 6 Extent: 270 pp
This thoroughly revised second edition draws on the author’s decades of observations and experiences in academia, Written in a clear and concise style, the book provides fully updated, forthright and practical counsel on achieving and maintaining a successful, balanced career from PhD to retirement.

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This thoroughly revised second edition draws on the author’s decades of observations and experiences in academia, providing insight and responding to the challenges of fostering a successful academic career.

Written in a clear and concise style, the book provides fully updated, forthright and practical counsel on achieving and maintaining a successful, balanced career amidst today’s intensifying institutional needs and demands. Iain Hay offers a deep understanding of academic career development from PhD to retirement and in this book addresses a wide range of areas such as writing compelling job applications, handling job offers, academic networking, preserving your public reputation, working with research teams, and how to undertake productive sabbatical leave.

The breadth of coverage in this updated book ensures that it will be an excellent resource not only for students and early career academics striving to understand how to establish and cultivate an excellent career path, but also to more senior scholars who are mentoring post graduate students and junior colleagues whilst working to sustain their own careers.
Critical Acclaim
‘The book’s new edition revisits and builds on the insightful and actionable advice previously given in the already solid first edition. Notably, it adds more nuance to its content, which will make it even more relevant to academics outside of higher education institutions located in English-speaking countries.’
– Iván Farías Pelcastre, University of Birmingham, UK

‘In the context of increasingly challenging and precarious times in higher education, this highly readable 2nd edition offers valuable and insightful advice based on experience and research for lecturers at any stage of their career to reflect upon as they seek to navigate and sustain rewarding and balanced academic careers.’
– Ruth Healey, University of Chester, UK

‘Written as an accessible and thoughtful guide, How to be an Academic Superhero is an essential resource for navigating the many stages of an academic career. From the pre-Ph.D. school selection stage through tenure and retirement, Iain Hay exposes the frequently hidden pathways and challenges of an engaged and successful academic career by emphasizing the importance of planning and imagining one’s individual trajectory while also highlighting the importance of maintaining broader life balance.

How to be an Academic Superhero provides relevant examples, current resources and a concise set of strategies for successfully navigating each career stage. Although much is written about early career stages, many fewer resources exist for traversing mid-and-later career opportunities and challenges. Iain Hay leverages his deep experiences across multiple positions in the academy and clearly and concisely distils the essential elements of a well-rounded academic career.’
– Holly Barcus, Macalester College, US

‘An academic career is an increasingly challenging one, and professional success clearly requires a truly vocational level of commitment. In this comprehensive work, Professor Iain Hay, himself a decorated academic superhero, provides a comprehensive and practical guide to realizing excellence in the multiple and complex roles that an aspiring academic must fulfill.’
– Michael Meadows, Nanjing University, China

‘In this volume, Iain Hay, a highly successful scholar in his own right, methodically outlines the steps needed to make oneself into an academic star. This is well-considered advice about the do’s and don’ts of success in the world of researchers, intellectuals, and teachers for those who want to make a living from the life of the mind. In an era of budget cuts, widespread anxiety, and limited opportunities for aspiring scholars, this book offers insightful, practical, and inspiring guidance about how to realize one’s potential as a researcher and teacher. Hay confronts head-on the multiple challenges faced by today’s young academics, and the paths around or through them. I wish I had such a book back when I was a budding scholar.’
– Barney Warf, University of Kansas, US
Contents: 1 Making academic superheroes PART I SETTING OUT AS AN ACADEMIC SUPERHERO 2 Get qualified 3 Find a good adviser 4 Get mentors; get advice 5 Prepare a good CV PART II REFINING YOUR ACADEMIC SUPERHERO CREDENTIALS 6 Focus your powers 7 Make an early impact 8 Get informed and stay current 9 Get known and networked 10 Learn about local cultures and use ‘the system’ PART III APPLYING YOUR ACADEMIC SUPERPOWERS WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED 11 Cultivate high quality referee reports 12 Find the right job 13 Write a compelling job application 14 Perform well at job interviews 15 Manage job interview failure and success PART IV PERFORMING AS AN ACADEMIC SUPERHERO 16 Manage your career 17 Manage your time 18 Publish papers 19 Publish a book (or two) 20 Speak 21 Secure funding 22 Attract postgraduate students 23 Join or start a research team 24 Teach well 25 Think about university service and leadership positions 26 Find a voluntary role 27 Consider consulting 28 Get recognized PART V PRESERVING YOUR ACADEMIC SUPERPOWERS 29 Review your performance 30 Take sabbatical 31 Get refreshed 32 Sustain collegiality 33 Preserve your public reputation 34 Stay happy and healthy 35 Manage disruptions, interruptions and transitions successfully 36 Conclusion: acknowledging dual strands of success for your academic career References Index
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