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The Academic’s Handbook

A. Leigh Deneef, Editor
Crauford D. Goodwin, Editor
Duke University Press, 2007, 416 pages. $24.95

reviewed by Mark Drozdowski

When I finished graduate school six years ago, I wasn’t eyeing
a traditional career as a faculty member. Had I been, I would
have found The Academic’s Handbook quite valuable.

This rather meaty volume, now in its third printing (the first
edition debuted about 20 years ago), considers everything a budding academic should know about professorial life. It’s aimed
primarily at newly-minted Ph.D.s who’ve just landed on the
shores of academe, but it also speaks to graduate students ready
to shove off. In this sense, it’s both a primer and a warning shot
across the bow.Over the course of its some 400 pages, the book
presents a collection of essays from experienced faculty and administrators, along with others who managed to escape. Most of
the contributors, including the two editors, hail from Duke, which
published the volume. More on that later.

Let’s first dig into the book’s guts. Most new faculty, claims
the preface, “emerge from the nation’s premier graduate schools
with very little specific knowledge about how colleges and universities really operate or about what academic life in such institutions

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