Thoughts on the Advice


This page is part of my Advice for Students.

Why I Write These Pages

There are several reasons:

Sharing These Pages and Linking to Them

You're welcome to share these pages and link to them. You don't need my permission, though it's nice to hear from people who find them useful. However, you must ask for my permission before reproducing any part of my website elsewhere.

How I Use These Pages

Some are assigned reading in my courses, typically early in the semester. I ask students to read the Guide for Scholarly Writing and the Guide for Citations and References if the course contains a significant writing assignment. For courses aimed at first-year college students, I also assign the Guide for Interacting With Faculty.

I tell my research advisees to browse the guides that are specific to my lab when they join. I remind them to follow the Guide for Publishing in Conferences and Attending Them prior to starting work on their first paper submissions. While I edit their writing, I sometimes direct them toward specific relevant sections of the guides for writing and citations/references.

My website instructs students to read the Guide for Joining My Lab if they would like to work on research with me. If they send an inquiry about joining my lab that's missing key information or seems misdirected, I send them Need Help, which directs them to the same guide.

Other pages I send to students a case-by-case basis. The tenure-track job guide and Thoughts on Failure I wrote equally for my students and for the academic community.

How I Began Writing These Pages

The Guide for Joining My Lab (originally the "Advising FAQ") was the first one I wrote, in Spring 2019. I borrowed some inspiration from faculty members' statements of advising philosophy, but I also thought about what it would be like as a prospective student not to know what "advising" meant. It was a helpful frame of mind. When I posted this guide on Twitter, it received more attention than I expected, with over 1.2K likes. Soon afterward, I created the Guide for Interacting With Faculty (originally the "Teaching FAQ"). I wrote it knowing that I would make it required reading in my intro-level undergraduate classes, since it seemed like a way to save time and effort both for my students and myself.

I was glad to receive feedback from students and colleagues that those first two guides were useful beyond their intended scope, and I've written subsequent guides with broader applicability in mind. I also began adding the "thoughts" pages, for pieces that I don't think of as "guides" even if they're still guidance.

Why I Added the Pictures

The pictures seemed like a good way to add visual appeal and to increase reader engagement. I'm a photographer in my spare time, and all of them are mine.

The pictures on each page follow a specific theme. The pictorial themes are unrelated to the instructional content, although one of the themes is a pun on the content. (Finding it is an optional exercise for the reader.) Pictorial themes on a subset of other pages represent loose metaphors for their respective pages.


View along the shoulder of a highway in a semi-arid desert, with a crumpled texture overlay
Roadside in eastern New Mexico; texture from a lichen-covered rock on Ben Lawers, Scotland.

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