EBIO 6100-002: Scientific Survival and Professional Development

Spring, 2009 Wednesdays 3 to 5 pm in Ramaley N183




Dr. Rob Guralnick                                                 Dr. Pieter Johnson

   Office hours:  By appointment                               Office hours:  Monday 9:30 – 11:30 am    

   Office:  MCOL E190A                                          Office: Ramaley N344

   Email:  robert.guralnick@colorado.edu                   Email: pieter.johnson@colorado.edu

   Phone:  720.273.0942                                             Phone: 303.492.5623



Class meeting time: Wednesdays 3 to 5 pm


Location: Ramaley N183


Textbook:  none – see course website


Website:    Syllabus, reading materials and discussion papers available on website.


What is this course about? 

Part of surviving graduate school in the sciences and getting finding the type of job you want afterwards is knowing the often unspoken rules, traditions, and shortcuts that are not covered in a standard course.  This course will try to provide you with information about the many aspects of a scientific career (in or out of academia) to help you succeed in your chosen path.  It certainly won’t give you all the answers, but hopefully it will give you some tools to help you find the rest of the answers yourselves. 


Organization of the course. 

We have provided a tentative schedule that we’ll go over with you.  But we’d also like to keep the scheduling somewhat flexible based upon your input and any opportunities that arise during the semester (eg. we have a job search going on this semester that might prove insightful). 



We have a lot of readings and handouts that we will be giving out.  These are for your information.  We will also have some discussions about a few of these topics and some panel discussions about others.  Overall we aim to keep your required ‘out of class’ readings to a minimum and will focus instead on in-class discussions and activities. 


Your responsibilities. 

1)      Attend class each week and participate in the discussions

2)      Do the readings

3)      Create or update your curriculum vita

4)      Write a grant proposal.  This proposal will be reviewed by 3 or 4 members of the class.  We will then have a panel (similar to those at NSF) that will review each proposal and decide which ones get funded and which ones don’t.  You will get the reviews (which will be anonymous) for your proposal.  Ideally you will submit this proposal to a real granting agency during the spring.

5)      Review 3 proposals.

6)      Develop a professional website for yourself

7)      Give a 10-15 minute research presentation.  This will be reviewed by the class and should be prepared as for a professional meeting, using slides, power point or other digital media format (note: 35 mm slides are almost obsolete).

Tentative Course Schedule







Jan 14

Introduction, general survival, CVs and job candidates

Bring in a copy of your CV; review the CVs of 3-4 job candidates for the Curator of Botany search

Jan 21

Grant writing, grant getting and the peer review system

Grant assignment given out

Updated CVs due

Jan 28

Creativity and the generation of novel ideas

(Part I of “Publish or Perish”)

Case study

Feb 4

Giving talks and networking

How not to give a presentation

Feb 11

Technology in science

Website assignment given out

Feb 18

Teaching and mentoring

Guest speaker

Feb 25

Scientific ethics and conduct

Case studies

ESA code of ethics

Mar 4

Science advocacy and dealing with the media

Discussion: ecologists and evolutionary biologists as environmentalists

Case study and guest speaker

Grant Proposals Due (5 copies). 

Mar 11


Everyone – discuss and decide which proposals to fund.

Mar 18



Apr 1

Authorship and publishing

(Part II of “Publish or Perish”)

Bring in publishing tips from your advisor

Apr 8

Science job interviews, postdocs

Website assignment due

Apr 15

Careers beyond academia

Panel discussion

Apr 22

Work-family balance and stress management

Guest speaker

Apr 29


Provide anonymous feedback to speakers

May 6









If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit a letter to the professor from Disability Services within 2 weeks of the start of the semester so that your needs may be addressed.  Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities.  Contact: 303-492-8671, Willard 322, or www.Colorado.EDU/disabilityservices


Religious observance

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to fairly deal with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance.  If there is a problem, see one of us immediately.  See policy details at




The University of Colorado at Boulder policy on Discrimination and Harassment, the University of Colorado policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of Colorado policy on Amorous Relationships apply to all students, staff and faculty.  Any student, staff or faculty member who believes s/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Judicial Affairs at 303-492-5550.  Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at http://www.colorado.edu/odh



All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior.  All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council

(honor@colorado.edu; 303-725-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion).


CU Honor Code Pledge:  'On my honor as a University of Colorado at Boulder student I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance on this work.'


Additional information on the Honor Code can be found at


http://www.colorado.edu/policies/honor.html  and at