Academic Career Advice from Curt Bonk

This must be the longest post I read this year, but Curt Bonk wrote a brilliant post on how to get tenure. His advice is good. He clearly thought this through.

The gist of it:

  • Keep at it: fine tune your papers, fine tune them again, keep resubmitting them, draw beautiful pictures and diagrams. (Like there is any other choice? Well, I hear there are conferences in Las Vegas that will accept all papers if you send them a check…)
  • Explore new ideas, read a lot, and stay current. (Do not become boring.)
  • Do not bother attending entire talks, just listen to the first 5 minutes. (Or do like I do and skip them entirely and browse preprints on the Web instead.)
  • Publish a lot, always worry about where you are going to publish the result of a project. (Yes, to get tenure that is probably sane advice.)
  • Write a lot. Write all the time.
  • Network a lot. Send your papers to people in your network. Ask for help.
  • Find emerging new areas before they are hot. (Right. And how do you reconcile this with the next point? Let us call it “luck”.)
  • Do what inspires you not what inspires someone else.
  • Have a plan, track your progress. (The guy was an accountant. But I think you do have to grow a vision. I’m not sure that measuring your progress necessarily help?)

(Source: Downes.)

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

One thought on “Academic Career Advice from Curt Bonk”

  1. Thanks for kind words Daniel. It took a while to write this. It is intended for international students trying to stay in the USA and get tenure. Many of the 30 tips are quite obvious. Some are not. I have a colleague, Dr. Cecil Smith, at Northern Illinois University who wrote a short paper on many of these ideas 3 years ago and I just expanded on them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see