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Karen Kelsky - the Professor is in

On Tuesday 10th May 2016, Karen Kelsky visited Warwick to speak to Early Career Researchers regarding academia in the USA.

About Karen Kelsky

"Are You Tired of the Academic Run-Around —– an Advisor Who’s Never In, a Grad Program That Doesn’t Care, Funding That’s Never Enough, a Job Market That’s in The Tank, and a Tenure System That’s a Total Mystery —– And No One to Give You an Honest Answer?

"I am here to help. I am Karen L. Kelsky, Ph.D.. I spent 15 years as an R1 tenured professor, department head, and university advisor, and I tell you the truth. The truth about grad school, the job market, and tenure. To the best of my ability.

I also tell you the truth about your applications and your record. If they are bad, I will tell you. And then we will get a plan to improve them."

Karen Kelsky is the Founder and President of The Professor Is In, which provides advice and consulting services on the academic job search and all elements of the academic and post-academic career. She speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to Ph.D. professionalization, and is a weekly columnist at Chronicle Vitae. Her latest book is The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job (Random House 2015).

Karen is a former tenured professor and Department Head with 15 years of experience teaching at the University of Oregon and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her Ph.D. is in Cultural Anthropology, with a focus on Japan, from the University of Hawai’i. Her B.A. is from the University of Michigan. Her first book, an academic monograph, Women on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams, was published in 2001 by Duke University Press. She trained 5 of her own Ph.D. students who have gone on to successful careers in academia and related fields. She worked as a committee member with numerous Ph.D.s and Masters students, and hundreds of undergraduate students.


About the Seminar

Karen was on a UK and European speaking tour in April 2016 which includes Cambridge, Oxford, Kings College London, London School of Economics, University of Warwick, University of Aberdeen, University of St. Andrews, and University of Edinburgh, Roskilde University in Denmark, and University of Zurich in Switzerland.

A MOAC doctoral researcher said “I have been reading the book by Dr Kelsky and would like to hear her speak about getting academic jobs in person.”

Karen spoke on the subject of post-doctoral careers, with an emphasis on the US job market. This was of particular interest to academic staff and early career researchers who might consider a career in the USA, but also to those who collaborate with colleagues from American Universities.

A PhD Researcher from English and Comparative Literary Studies said “I now have a fuller understanding of how the US job market works, and Prof Kelsky's tips on how to write a good application letter and interview skills were an added bonus.

Karen spoke to an audience of 93 final year PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty from 30 departments across the University about the reality of the academic job market in the USA and strategies of how to get on the tenure track. The 90 minute presentation was extremely well received and sparked a lively Q&A panel after the main session.

A Warwick Business School PhD candidate said “[The talk] definitely gave me a very clear idea of what the US academic job market looks like and what to expect if I was to consider attempting a career there. It will be helpful for my long term planning and to have a clearer idea about the kind of things that I should be thinking about or preparing for career-wise during my PhD. Some of the advice is surely applicable to the UK job market too! Also Karen was really great and inspiring in her talking style and she is surely a positive role model for the kind of academic and public speaker I'd like to be.

The slides from the seminar can be accessed here. 

This lecture was organised in collaboration with LDC and IATL.

Karen Kelsky

Karen's website is

The slides from the seminar can be accessed here

You can also buy Karen's Book The Professor Is In