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Abstract

People who have had the most impact on our lives are those who have seen some special trait or character in us and then nurture that special something. Gary Dickson has had that kind of impact on others. Gary also has left us with a discovery framework for survival in academia. Surviving academics must groom themselves for their careers through the use of knowledge that can be turned into action. Knowing yourself and your strengths and weaknesses, your field and its perception by other academics, key players both while in a Ph.D. program and in an academic position, success factors in the job market and on the road to tenure and promotion, your publication outlets, and how you personally react to criticism are all part of your desired "knowledge package." But, knowledge is not enough. You must use your information system and knowledge base along with an action plan to reach your goals. Actions including but not limited to a balance in life, turning unstructured tasks into structured ones, and thinking beyond system boundaries all can guide you to be a survivor in academia. This conversation among Gary Dickson's first Ph.D. student, a newly minted Ph.D. who Ken advised, and a current student of Ken's, provides food for thought on building your knowledge base and some guides to actions that will aid your academic career.

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