The Curriculum Vitae is the track record of the dedicated faculty member. As the athlete builds the body, so the academic builds the Curriculum Vitae, gradually, carefully, over an academic life-time.

What goes into the athlete’s body is carefully scrutinized at regular and irregular stages. These are the drug tests that occur randomly in training and regularly in major competitions. What goes into the academic’s
Curriculum Vitae is scrutinized in a slightly different fashion, but also at regular and irregular intervals. Regular intervals are marked by the assessments that occur annually if your university's Collective Agreement contains a clause that permits annual review of the faculty member. Irregular assessments occur when the academic applies for a new position or steps forward for renewal, promotion, and tenure.

In the same way that not every athlete can be an Olympic Gold Medallist or a World Champion, not every academic can be an internationally recognized award winning teacher and scholar. In fact, very few academics blend excellence in teaching with excellence in scholarship and research. An academic's time, believe it or not, is remarkably limited and it is extremely difficult to excel in these two different areas: research and teaching. All academics must make choices as to who they are and what they will do. These choices are crucial. They must be made early in an academic career and these initial choices must often carry academics through to the level they wish to attain.

The usual balance recommended for the academic life-style at work is 40% research, 40% teaching, and 20% administration. This should be borne in mind as balance in the growing Curriculum Vitae is extremely important. And remember, the Curriculum Vitae does and will grow, especially if it is carefully nurtured. Thus, the beginning Curriculum Vitae, straight out of graduate school, will contain few details: the doctorate (or progress towards the doctorate), some courses taught as a teaching assistant, one or two administrative items, a review or two, hopefully a larger publication, probably attendance (preferably with papers read) at some conferences. This is ground zero, a beach-head: one's toe-hold in the academic world. Often it is enough, together with the promise of further development, for the initial appointment.

Further development should be steady and it should in all cases be linked to the Collective Agreement of the university. This document should be read carefully. If the clauses on promotion and tenure demand excellence in one area, usually research, then academics neglect their research at their peril. If teaching is important and a Teaching Portfolio is demanded, then academics must start building their Teaching Portfolio immediately. The single most important advice that a young academic can receive is: start building your Curriculum Vitae, your Teaching Portfolio, and your administrative track record now.

Academics must keep written records of what they are doing. Committee work should be recorded on a regular basis. Teaching skills should be developed and a record kept of personal growth. A Curriculum Vitae does not suddenly blossom overnight: it must be planned carefully and built slowly. If young academics are in any doubt as to the directions they are taking, they should consult with their Learning and Teaching Development Officer / Instructional Development Officer or a reliable senior colleague at their university. By all means, make a road map of where to go and be conscious at all times of how to get there.

These are general statements. They have to be applied to human beings who eat, sleep, drink, fall in love, go on vacation, have houses, raise families (sometimes in two different cities), walk their dogs, look after their cats, buy automobiles, get into debt, fall ill, and sometimes worry themselves sick about not being able to do enough in a world that seems to be constantly demanding MORE! The balancing act is becoming more and more difficult. How do we cope? Read carefully. Choose with care. Plan ahead. Pick priorities. Learn to say NO! And, in all cases, do not despair. Have faith and carefully, carefully, in the words of the philosopher: cultiver ton jardin!

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Creating Your Curriculum Vitae