Learn to Say No

Posted on March 19, 2007

Junior faculty of color are often pulled in many directions, says Hirokazu Yoshikawa (bio).


If there's any advice I would give it is, though it's very tough in an assistant professor kind of position is to try to learn to say no, or to try to find someone who will advocate to help you say no. Because the pressures are often so intense and kind of dumped on, assistant professors to develop a huge number of new courses, to mentor an enormous number of students.

I think often, for example, junior faculty of color, because they are a minority often in their departments, students of color will flock to them and so they get very quickly overwhelmed with mentorship responsibilities and those kinds of things. So, unless there are more senior colleagues in that department who are invested in protecting them, it can be a really difficult time, especially after a transition. I mean, what's already a difficult transition from graduate school or post doc into a junior faculty position.

So, I think the ability to find at least one senior colleague in the department who can be that kind of mentor and help protect you from those kinds of forces within academic settings is very important.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in March 2006.


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