'Hit the Ground Running,' Expert Tells Faculty

One of the goals of the five-year strategic plan unveiled by the Howe School is an increase in the number of published articles in the top academic journals. But another is an increase in tenure-track faculty, who need to move research from the lab to the printed page.

Fortunately, there’s a plan for that, too. The school has fostered an instructive environment that offers coaching to tenure-track faculty, from brown-bag lunches on publication to collaboration with seasoned researchers.

That sense of learning from skilled researchers is what Dr. Gregory Prastacos, dean of the Howe School, had in mind when he worked with faculty to develop a plan to bring editors at top journals to campus, to share their insight with faculty. Among those speakers: Dr. Gary Ballinger, of the editorial board of the Academy of Management Review; Dr. Roger C. Mayer, a longtime member of the Academy of Management Journal’s editorial board; and Dr. Sheridan Titman, a respected researcher who’s served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Finance and Review of Financial Studies.

“What’s been great about these speakers is not only their success in editing at these high-level journals, but the enthusiasm and lessons they share with our faculty,” said Dr. Jeffrey Nickerson, a Howe professor and the coordinator of the series.

Recently, the school welcomed Dr. Allen S. Lee, a scholar of information systems, to campus for such a session. Lee spent 15 years on the editorial board of MIS Quarterly, and was its editor in chief from 1999 until 2001. 

He told professors their tenure review process may conclude ahead of the seventh year, but they really have only four years to develop a paper for consideration.

“You have to hit the ground running,” said Lee, a professor of information systems at the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The Ph.D. process is exhausting, but you can’t take that first year off.”

Professors know time is tight from the moment they’re hired, but it was helpful to see that timeline laid out for them, said Dr. Ricardo Collado, an assistant professor who joined Stevens in September.

“That should be on the first page of every book we read,” Collado said of the timeline. “He was very open about his point of view and experiences, and the importance of making a plan to make sure you get published.”

Lee focused his message on how to get published, using his experience both in academia and in publishing. 

One of the biggest considerations, he said, is perspective, as merely working hard on research won’t guarantee it gets published in a journal.

“If you consider reviewers and editors to be your customers,” Lee said, “how do you present your research so they’ll buy it? That’s a critical piece of getting published.”

The talk was of great help to faculty like Collado.

“It’s all common sense, but it was so helpful to hear it from someone who really matters, whose opinion carries a lot of weight in publishing,” he said.

Stevens stands out in faculty support

The investment Stevens is making in the Howe School’s new faculty isn’t lost on anyone — particularly faculty reaping the rewards. 

“I’m impressed that the dean has set up a system where professors get the mentorship they need to get published,” said Allen S. Lee, who did a sabbatical at Stevens five years ago. “The dean knows you need to make this investment to help professors. They know how to do the research, but that isn’t the same as knowing how to get your research published.”

Ricardo Collado said he’s “really impressed” by the school’s commitment. 

“All this support will pay off in the long term — exponentially,” he said.