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How to Succeed in Academics - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780124818330, 9780080508290

How to Succeed in Academics

1st Edition

Authors: Edward McCabe Linda McCabe
Paperback ISBN: 9780124818330
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 6th December 1999
Page Count: 152
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This is a how-to book for the academic life based on more than 50 years combined personal experience and 8 years of formal group mentoring as part of a workshop on these topics. The unwritten rules of university life are shared through fictional vignettes that are all too real. Secrets to successfully achieving short-term and long-term goals are provided in the progress timelines and suggested milestones. Beginning with selecting a training program and choosing a job, this book takes the student, fellow, or faculty member through the maze of academic secrecy to a new level of understanding and empowerment.

Key Features

  • Provides the unwritten rules for success and "tells it like it is"
  • Chapters are organized to help you develop and market your career and determine how to organize your curriculum vitae
  • Includes vignettes to illustrate possible pitfalls in academics and strategies on how to avoid them, or how to select the most effective course of action
  • Guides you step-by-step through the process of writing grant proposals, abstracts, slide preparation, poster preparation, and presentations
  • Provides timelines to estimate your overall career progress or for specific tasks such as grant writing
  • Describes negotiation techniques to assist you in interactions with your mentor, your department chair, grant officers, and journal editors
  • Summarizes content of each chapter in paragraph subheadings to facilitate reading


Undergraduates, graduate students, medical students, medical residents, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members interested in developing a career in academia, particularly those in the sciences and medicine; serves both the individual reader and as a text for workshops on career development.

Table of Contents

Introductory Overview: Establishing Personal Goals and Tracking Your Career.
Selecting a Training Environment: Choosing a Training Program, Training Institution, and Mentor.
Selecting a Position in Academia: Choosing a Department, Institution, and Mentor.
Selecting Grant Opportunities: Understanding the Organization of the NIH, Other Governmental Entities, and Private Foundations.
Writing a Grant: Selecting the Specific Aims, Preparing the Budget, and Developing the Research Proposal.
Grant Review: How Review Groups Work, Responding to the Reviewers' Feedback, and Preparing the Revised Application.
Preparation of Abstracts for Scientific Meetings.
Presentations at Scientific Meetings: Preparation of Effective Slides and Posters.
The 10-Minute Talk.
The 1-Hour Talk, Including the Job Application Seminar.
Selecting a Journal: Instructions for Authors, Recommending Reviewers, and Submitting the Manuscript.
How to Write Research Papers.
How to Write Review Articles and Chapters.
Manuscript Review.
Ethical Behavior.
Preparing a Curriculum Vitae.
Summary: Gauging Success.


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1999
6th December 1999
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:

About the Authors

Edward McCabe

Dr. McCabe began his research career at the age of 15 in the laboratory of Samuel P. Bessman, M.D., in the Pediatric Research Laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He received his B.A. with Honors in Biology from The Johns Hopkins University in 1967. As part of his M.D./Ph.D. Program, he earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Southern California in 1972 where he was inducted into both Sigma Xi and Phi Kappa Phi. In 1974, Dr. McCabe was granted an M.D. from the University of Southern California where he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed his Pediatrics Residency at the University of Minnesota Hospitals in 1976.Dr. McCabe served as a Pediatric Metabolism Fellow at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center from 1976 until 1978. He remained at Colorado as a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Genetics. He became Director of the Metabolic Diseases Clinic in 1977 and developed it into a national resource serving 10 states in the Rocky Mountain area. As a Fellow, he discovered Glycerol Kinase Deficiency (GKD). He characterized the biochemistry of this disorder and was the first to recognize GKD as part of a contiguous gene syndrome, Complex Glycerol Kinase Deficiency, including GKD, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Adrenal Hypoplasia Congenita (AHC). He was the first to show that DNA could be extracted from newborn screening blotters. This discovery was the basis for the use of blotters for molecular genetic diagnosis, forensics including the DNA dog tag, and infectious disease diagnosis.In 1986, Dr. McCabe left Colorado to direct the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. Clinical Center at the Institute for Molecular Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. Under his leadership the clinical service became internationally renowned for prenatal genetics, clinical genetics and biochemical genetics. In addition to outpatient clinics, inpatient services were provided to

Affiliations and Expertise

University of California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Linda McCabe

Dr. McCabe received her B.A. Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Psychology from Towson State College in 1969. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1972 from the University of Southern California. She joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at Chapman College in Orange, California in 1972. Dr. McCabe was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Research in Human Learning at the University of Minnesota from 1974 through 1977. She was a Research Fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center from 1977 until 1979. Dr. McCabe joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Colorado, Denver, in 1979. She left in 1984 to return to research at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. In 1986, Dr. McCabe shifted her research efforts to the Institute for Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston. At this time she also had administrative responsibility for the Baylor Mental Retardation Research Center, the Molecular Genetic Diagnosis Postdoctoral Training Program, and the Baylor Child Health Research Center. In 1992 she and Edward R.B. McCabe, M.D., Ph.D., established the How to Succeed in Academics course for fellows and junior faculty members in the Baylor Department of Pediatrics.Dr. McCabe moved her research to UCLA School of Medicine in 1994. She has administrative responsibility for the Pediatric Research, Innovation and Mentoring Experience, the UCLA Child Health Research Center, and the Human and Molecular Development Training Program. She and Edward R.B. McCabe, M.D., Ph.D. offer How to Succeed in Academics on an annual basis with the exception of 1997-1998, when they offered a Leadership Workshop. She is the Managing Editor of Molecular Genetics and Metabolism. She is a member of the UCLA Medical Human Subject Protection Committee and the Human Research Policy Board Subcommittee on Genetic Research. She is a faculty member in the

Affiliations and Expertise

University of California, Los Angeles, U.S.A.


"... a concise and informatively written overview of building an academic career. The advice is practical and will, undoubtedly, be of great help to young students, residents and fellows embarking on such a career. While such a guide does not obviate the necessity for personal mentoring of young people, this handbook will remain useful through many phases of an early career in academic medicine." --KURT HIRSCHHORN, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

"How to Succeed in Academics is an easy-to-read, practical and very useful guide to almost all aspects of the early stages of academic life. A particularly appealing feature is the set of concise and well thought out paragraph headings. These allow one to get the gist of a whole chapter very quickly, and to zero in on sections of particular interest. The chapter on grant writing was particularly informative, containing many suggestions useful to myself (not an academic neophyte). Young academics will gain a lot of savvy quickly from this guide." --EATON LATTMAN, Ph.D., Department of Biophysics, Johns Hopkins University

"...a splendid blueprint for some one on the ground who is about to begin the climb on the first rung of the academic ladder. It takes the reader through the necessary steps, explaining what is important, where the pitfalls may lie, and how to be prepared for each step." --MICHAEL KATZ, M.D., Vice President for Research, March of Dimes

"How to Succeed in Academics is a wonderful book - it reads well, is intellectually stimulating, and it increases our capabilities to be successful in this difficult field. It should become a part of all fellowships curriculums and should certainly be available in every academic department." --PAUL RUDOY, M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Hawaii

"The authors teach by example, using vignettes on almost every page to describe real-life situations, ranging from the interview trip to dealing with unfair colleagues. One never tires of these stories of people and situations; each one presents fresh insights on how to handle things that inevitably arise during the course of a career." --DAVID SADAVA, Ph.D., Pritzker Foundation, Professor of Biology, Claremont Colleges

"I found the material presented to be easy to read, succinct and complete. It presents the trainee with all of the information necessary to help them succeed in an academic career. The publication is extremely comprehensive and effectively covers all of the important issues that a trainee or young faculty member may confront." --RALPH D. FEIGIN, M.D., President and CEO, Baylor College of Medicine

"I found the McCabes', How to Succeed in Academics to be a most helpful book. They have captured in a tightly written volume a wealth of academic experience, wisdom and common sense. More senior readers will readily identify with the case examples provided of those things we learned the hard way but are clearly examined here so that the uninitiated reader can avoid those pitfalls. I also found this a book full of academic honesty. The academic life is one of great competition and independence, and that is clearly described here, as well as the steps and process required for success. Overall, I highly recommend this book, especially to graduate students and postdocs." --PHILLIP A. WOOD, D.V.M.,Ph.D., Chair, Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Alabama, Birmingham

"This book, a distillate of years of mentorship, provides a helpful roadmap not only for those embarking on an academic career or in their early critical junior faculty years but a useful source of information for their mentors. It is an invaluable, unmatched, and demystifying guide, comprehensive yet concisely written, filled with wisdom, insight, and practical advice." --MELVIN M. GRUMBACH, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco

Ratings and Reviews