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justacigar

Applying to brand-new faculty?

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Hi all!

I've found a professor at a respected university, and her work is insanely well-aligned with what I hope to pursue. Her bio/research description is basically what I would write if asked. 

However, she will just be starting at this university this coming Fall (2019), so she is quite literally brand new. I would really appreciate some pros and cons of this, if y'all have any insights. 

Thanks!

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I did this basically; the key thing is also finding (when you get there, or before) some more senior people who can be co-mentors. It goes a long way when applying for training grants, papers, etc. 

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New faculty can be some of the best mentors, because they will have more time to spend with you. Also, you will be one of the first graduate students with them, that makes it a little special. 

However, I noticed last cycle that some of the new faculty were the most critical/anxious when at interview weekend. You also have to be prepared to not have many of your questions a, answered, since there won't be any current graduate students to ask and most students won't know the professor.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Clinapp2017 said:

I did this basically; the key thing is also finding (when you get there, or before) some more senior people who can be co-mentors. It goes a long way when applying for training grants, papers, etc. 

Thank you, that is very helpful! The other positive at this school is that there are plenty of other faculty with similar interests who I could consult with (hopefully).

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58 minutes ago, ResNol said:

New faculty can be some of the best mentors, because they will have more time to spend with you. Also, you will be one of the first graduate students with them, that makes it a little special. 

However, I noticed last cycle that some of the new faculty were the most critical/anxious when at interview weekend. You also have to be prepared to not have many of your questions a, answered, since there won't be any current graduate students to ask and most students won't know the professor.

 

 

Yeah, I'm assuming her lab will be fairly sparse but maybe that will be better! I could definitely anxiety being raised when you are new faculty for sure. Thanks for the feedback!

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7 hours ago, Clinapp2017 said:

I did this basically; the key thing is also finding (when you get there, or before) some more senior people who can be co-mentors. It goes a long way when applying for training grants, papers, etc. 

I ditto this.

Additionally, ask if she previously supervised/co-supervised a student as a post doc (or when they were a senior grad student). If so, get her to put you in contact with said student. You can still ask that student questions regarding supervision style, etc etc. But keep in mind there will always be a learning curve for both you and the new prof as you both navigate this new grad student-supervisor relationship :) Good luck!

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I had a brand new professor as my undergrad mentor. It was a really valuable experience for me because I helped to set up the lab and got to see a different side of the research process. My advisor was also super motivated to publish and there were lots of opportunities available. 

That being said, it was harder in some ways than joining a more established lab. It can take a while to get grants, so there might not be much funding available for research materials, conferences, to supplement TAships, etc. There was also a lot of pressure to succeed, and it often felt like we couldn’t make mistakes because it would hurt her career (vs. a tenured prof). 

Edited by PsycUndergrad

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I'm starting in the Fall as one of the first students of a new faculty in my program. So far I feel really good about it! When I interviewed with other faculty during the interview day they were very upfront about their opinions of them (all very positive) and so far I've seen a benefit in that they are very responsive and are also open to my involvement in the development of their lab. It seems like newer faculty also tend have broader research areas so you might have more room in developing your thesis.

Cons would probably be that they are likely to have less access to funding than more experienced faculty. They also may not know very much about the program itself, required courses, etc. so you'll need to speak to other students/faculty/staff to get that information.

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