Please help me identify ecologists hired as tenure-track asst. profs in the 2016-17 faculty job season (UPDATED)

Reupping this from back in the spring:

Last fall, I compiled data on the gender balance of over 170 newly-hired assistant professors of ecology and allied fields at N. American colleges and universities. The results were good news: 53% of N. American tenure-track assistant professors of ecology hired in 2015-16 (or in a few cases in 2014) were women.

This year I’m doing it again. To make it easier, I’m asking for your help. This Google Docs spreadsheet lists all tenure-track positions in ecology and allied fields (plus a bunch of other positions) advertised in the 2016-17 job season. If you know who was hired to fill one or more of the listed N. American assistant professor positions in ecology or an allied field, please email me with this information (jefox@ucalgary.ca).

UPDATE: To clarify, please also contact me about people hired to fill tenure-track N. American asst. professor of ecology positions not listed on the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet doesn’t include all advertised positions (though it gets fairly close), and it doesn’t include unadvertised positions such as spousal hires. Hires are hires; I draw no distinction between spousal hires and other hires.

Before you email me, please read the following:

I only want information that’s been made publicly available, for instance via an official announcement on a departmental website, or by someone tweeting something like “I’ve accepted a TT job at Some College, I start Aug. 1!” If you want to pass on the information that you yourself have been hired into a faculty position, that’s fine too. All you’re doing is saving me from googling publicly-available information myself to figure out who was hired for which positions. Please do not contact me to pass on confidential information, in particular confidential information about hiring that has not yet been totally finalized.

Please do not contact me with nth-hand “information” you heard through the grapevine. Not even if you’re confident it’s reliable.

I’m only interested in N. American tenure-track asst. professors who are “ecologists”, broadly defined. That basically means:

  • anybody hired into a position with “ecology” or an ecological term in the job title (including positions like “evolutionary ecology”, “paleoecology”, “biodiversity”, etc.)
  • anybody hired into a position in a closely-allied fields like conservation biology, wildlife, fisheries, rangelands, etc.
  • people who are ecologists, but who were hired into broadly-defined positions such as “biologist”, “plant biologist”, “vertebrate biologist”, etc. A substantial proportion of academic ecologists hold those sorts of broadly-defined positions, so it would be weird not to include them.

If in doubt, contact me with the information and let me decide whether to count the hire in question as an “ecology” hire.

I’m interested in positions at all institutions of higher education, not just research universities. Even if the position is a pure teaching position with no research duties.

I emphasize that I’m only looking for hires at the assistant professor level. Hires at higher ranks are senior people moving from one faculty position to another, which isn’t relevant for my purposes.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Brian, Meghan, and I are off to #ESA2017; please say hi to us!

Brian, Meghan, and I will all be at #ESA2017. Please say hi to us! Even if we’re outside the convention center, or eating a meal, or chatting with someone else at the moment (maybe just wait a minute for a break in the conversation in the latter case). Please say hi even if you just wanted to say “love the blog” or whatever. Conferences are a good time to meet other ecologists–we’d love to meet you. 🙂

p.s. See here and here for advice on the whys and hows of networking at conferences. And here’s Meghan on wandering alone at conferences and Stephen Heard on conferencing as an introvert.

How science is and isn’t like the legal system

I have been musing a lot lately, motivated in part by the post-fact era we seem to have moved to, on what makes science such a powerful way of knowing. Hopefully, my thinking will advance enough that I can write a post on that soon. The one thing I’m sure of is it is not the conventional answer of “we have the scientific method”. But in the mean time, I served on a criminal jury not too long ago. It got me thinking about how the criminal trail process and science were and were not similar. This seems like at least a good starting point to think about what makes science a powerful way of knowing.

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Brief book reviews: four popular science and history of science books

A while back I asked y’all for recommendations for popular science books that a scientist would enjoy. Meaning, not written a too low a level, not too hype-y, etc. There were so many great recommendations that it was hard to choose! But in the end, I decided to start with:

Brief reviews below the fold. tl;dr: The first three are all well worth your time. The Book That Changed America is a bait and switch and eminently skippable.

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Open thread: where to eat and drink in Portland for Evolution 2017 and #ESA2017

Evolution 2017 starts in in a couple of days, and #ESA2017 is coming up soon after that! We have a local lined up to write a guest post for us about where to eat and drink in Portland for #ESA2017, but in the meantime: been anywhere good? Tell us, and your many hungry and thirsty colleagues, in the comments!

I’ll start: McMenamins Kennedy School is worth the car ride. It’s a historic elementary school that’s been converted into a boutique hotel and brewpub. My wife and I stayed there a few years ago. You have to see it to believe it, it’s such a cool place. Every nook and cranny is put to use. There are several bars, each with its own funky decor; even the boiler room is a (cozy) bar now. The auditorium is now a theater that features classic movies and live music. You can eat and drink outside in the courtyard in the center of the school. The walls are festooned with paintings from local artists, every one of which was commissioned to commemorate the school. And the classrooms are now hotel rooms–that still have the chalkboards and chalk. In the ultra-competitive world of Portland brewing, McMenamins beers are fine, nothing special. Same for the food–it’s average brewpub food. But you’re going for the setting. McMenamins has made a name for themselves with their amazing renovations of historic properties in and around Portland, but they really topped themselves with the Kennedy School. I took my lab group there last time the ESA was in Portland, and might do so again. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Brief book reviews: five novels featuring scientists

A while back I asked for suggestions for “lab lit”: novels featuring scientists and scientific themes, that a scientist would enjoy. That last caveat is crucial: many fictional scientists ring true only to non-scientists.

And boy did our commenters come through in spades! I’ve been working my way through some of the suggestions from the post. Here are brief, mostly spoiler-free reviews of five of them: The Southern Reach trilogy, All The Birds In The Sky, and Ordinary Thunderstorms.

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Reader survey results!

Thank you so much to everyone who completed our reader survey! It’s very helpful to us to know what readers think of Dynamic Ecology and to receive so much thoughtful feedback. Below is a (long) summary of the results, with some commentary.

tl;dr: The overall feedback was very positive, but compared to our previous survey there’s definitely more of a sense that the blog could use some freshening up.

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Want to write a guest post for us on where to eat and drink in Portland for #ESA2017? (Update: we have a local volunteer)

Do you know Portland, OR? Do you like to eat food and drink drinks? We need your help! We’re looking for a volunteer to write a guest post for us on where to eat and drink in Portland for the ESA meeting.

Here’s an example of the sort of thing we’re looking for. But feel free to give it your own personal spin.

We’ve been doing these “where to eat and drink at the ESA meeting” posts for several years now and readers find them super-useful. So this is your chance to share what you love about Portland with lots of ecologists!

The ideal volunteer will be able to bang something out soon, so that those attending Evolution 2017 in Portland June 23-27 can benefit as well.

If you’re up for it, email me (jefox@ucalgary.ca) or tweet to @DynamicEcology.

p.s. I tweeted a request for volunteers a couple of days ago, which led to a few folks replying with some suggestions:

Please complete our reader survey! (UPDATE: survey now closed)

It’s been almost three years since we last took the pulse of our readers and invited feedback on how we can improve Dynamic Ecology. During that time, our readership has grown and changed. These surveys are our only source of non-anecdotal information about what y’all think of us, and they help Brian, Meghan, and I justify our blogging to our employers and funding agencies.

Please take a few minutes to complete the anonymous survey below. Please complete it even if you’re not a regular reader; it’s not very helpful if only our biggest fans complete it. We’ll summarize the results in a future post. Thanks in advance for your help!

UPDATE: Responses have slowed to a trickle of just a couple per day, so the survey has been closed.

What should high schoolers and undergrads learn about the scientific method?

Note from Jeremy: this is a guest post from Greg Crowther. Greg has a Ph.D. in biology and has held several teaching and research positions at the University of Washington and other Seattle-area colleges. He’s currently working on a master’s in science education.

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I’ve never been inordinately curious about the natural world. As a kid, I did not spend long hours using a telescope or a home chemistry set, nor did I catch frogs in marshes or learn to identify species of local flora.  I got to high school, and then college, without any clear sense that I should become a scientist or that I would enjoy this particular vocation.

In my first four semesters of college, I took the usual variety of courses and grappled with their many fascinating questions.  Why did the Vietnam War start?  What do Buddhists really believe?  How did E.M. Forster’s novel Howards End illustrate his directive of “Only connect”?

Though fascinating, these questions also seemed horribly intractable.  One could cite evidence from a primary or secondary source to support one interpretation or another, but there didn’t seem to be any standard way of resolving disagreements besides deferring to the authority of the professor.

Science was different, though.  Professors presented the so-called “scientific method” as a fair, objective way of evaluating the strength of different possible explanations.  Accrue some background knowledge via reading and observation; pose a hypothesis; design an experiment to test the hypothesis; determine whether the data collected are consistent with the predictions of the hypothesis; and discard, modify, or retain the hypothesis as appropriate.

It all sounded so orderly, so sensible, so feasible.  Even if I did not have a great big hypothesis of my own, I could imagine taking someone else’s hypothesis out for a spin, say, using a species that hadn’t been studied yet.  This “scientific method” seemed simple enough for novices like me to follow, yet powerful enough to reveal fundamental insights about the world.  I was hooked – not on any particular molecule or technique or theory, but on the logical flow of the process itself.  I’ve considered myself a scientist ever since, and I now present the scientific method (often called the process of science) to my own students – because it’s relevant to their futures (whether or not they become scientists), but under-taught and poorly understood – more or less as it was presented to me.

“But wait!” cry various smart, articulate people such as Terry McGlynn and Brian McGill.  “That’s not how scientific research really works!”  Indeed, UC-Berkeley has an entire website, How Science Works, devoted to debunking and revising what it calls the “simplified linear scientific method.”

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