Stephen Bradforth

Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography
Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

The transition to the professoriate is more complicated than landing that first faculty position. With the drumbeat of the tenure clock always in the background, even the brightest new faculty members need a reassuring reality check from time to time so that they are spending their time wisely.

I benefited tremendously from senior colleagues guiding me through my first years at USC and I have been most fortunate to pay it forward. Mentoring bright and energetic individuals just at the cusp of their first faculty appointments is rewarding because this period is surely the most critical in an academic career. Whether it is senior postdoctorals craving wisdom on navigating the interview and negotiating for a faculty position, or new colleagues needing to hear that they aren’t the only ones dealing with the words “unable to fund” associated with what seemed like a brilliant proposal idea, it is an intense and turbulent period. I find the relationships forged at this career stage are not only personally rewarding, but help to make for a more cohesive department.