When you finally get your PhD and find that first professorial position, you feel elated and nearly ecstatic. Finally, you will be able to become a scholar in your own right and transform your field of knowledge. Then you discover that your graduate program taught you how to be a great grad student but left you with no knowledge whatsoever as to how to be an actual scholar. You know how to write a brilliant final essay for a grad course, but have no idea how to transform it into an article that a good journal will want to publish. There are now no course deadlines which used to help you organize your time, so you spend your free hours floundering in the sea of conflicting ideas as to what your next step should be. Articles you submit for publication are rejected with a few lines that give you no clue as to what is wrong with your article. Should it be reworked and submitted to another journal? If so, then how you should rework it? Or is it utterly hopeless and should be abandoned altogether? How do you go about transforming your brilliant doctoral dissertation into a book ready for publication?
So many young academics manage to find no answer to these questions and eventually give up on their dream of becoming research scholars altogether. A distance between being a fantastic grad student and becoming a real scholar is huge and we almost never receive any training on how to bridge that distance while we are in grad school.
Well, my friend, if you are in the field of Hispanic Studies, you are in luck. I have recently discovered that Jonathan Mayhew, a highly esteemed scholar in the field of Peninsular Literature, is starting a consulting business where he will offer a variety of invaluable services that will help young scholars to find out what they are doing wrong and improve. Here are some of the services that Jonathan offers:
Peer Review ($75). I will act as a peer reviewer for your unpublished article, giving you a full report (Humanities fields only).For the entire list of services and to read Jonathan's extremely helpful motivational blog go here.
Evaluation of the Scholarly Base ($150). I will help you make an inventory of your scholarly base and identify areas of weakness.
Prose X-Ray ($50). I will read three pages of your prose and tell you what you are doing wrong (Spanish or English).
Poetry manuscript($200). I will read your book of poetry and give you suggestions for writing less crappy poems.
Mentoring (variable price). I will design a mentoring plan for you for an agreed-upon price for a minimum of six months.
Time management ($100). I will show you how to schedule your time so you can get three times more done.
The only reason why I'm promoting Jonathan's services on my blog is because I have tried them and now want to spread the joy. I asked Jonathan to look at the most recent article of mine. When he read it, he sent me a) a report on the article that he would have written had he been reviewing it for a scholarly journal and b) extremely useful comments on what was wrong with the article and helpful practical advice as to how the article could be improved.
Often, brilliant scholars make really crappy pedagogues and are completely useless as mentors. They word their criticisms of your writing in a way that makes you want to go jump off a cliff instead of making you want to improve. (To give an example, I was told once by an older scholar that the way I write in English puts me on the same level with people who are functionally illiterate. The 1,174 visits I had to this blog just today seem to contradict that statement.) There is another breed of scholars who only tell you how brilliant you are and how amazing everything you write is. Neither of these approaches is extremely helpful. Sadly, scholars who know how to offer incisive criticism of your research in a way that is both useful and respectful are hard to find.
Jonathan offered some pretty harsh criticisms of my article. However, he did it in a respectful way that didn't hurt my feelings in the least. It was obvious from the comments that his only goal was to help me improve the piece. I haven't received such helpful comments on my writing in many years.
So if you are in need of helpful, productive criticism and valuable scholarly advice, consider using Jonathan's consulting services. Visit his blog for more details.