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The American Sociological Association (ASA) announced this month that it will hold its 106th Annual Meeting at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas from August 20-23. The 2011 Annual Meeting was originally to be held in Chicago, but the association announced in December that it was finding a new location in response to a protracted labor dispute involving hotels in that city, including the two that had been scheduled to host the meeting. The contracts between Chicago union hotels and UNITE HERE Local 1 expired August 31, 2009.
Should sociology graduate advisors be encouraging new PhDs to consider non-academic careers? The American Anthropology Association (AAA) has revamped its annual meetings and publications because roughly half its membership works outside the academy in government agencies, for-profits, and non-profit organizations, according to a recent article in theChronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/article/Nonacademic-Members-Push/125440/). The AAA aims to promote alternative careers for graduate students, partly because of a tight job market for tenure-track jobs and partly because many soon-to-be PhDs want to pursue alternative careers. The Chronicle article also reports that some academic scholars in anthropology are unhappy with this shift.
I have been asked to share some thoughts regarding getting a proposal funded in the discipline. My reflections stem from my involvement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the past 12 years as a recipient of NSF grants, NSF reviewer, participant on NSF disciplinary and interdisciplinary panels, and NSF Sociology Program Director (2008-10). NSF funds basic science. Thus, what I discuss below applies more to researchers with this agenda.