I'm hoping that either you or your readers have some insight into how best to go about transitioning from industry to academia. I have a sort of unusual background ([CJ's redaction: some post-college industry experience], then an inorganic PhD in a strong but not top 5 department, then a polymer/nano postdoc, then back to industry) and after about [redacted (less than 5)] years in R&D with a large international company I've realized that the only part of my job I find rewarding is mentoring interns and junior scientists and that I'd rather be working on fundamental rather than applied questions.
I was a bit too headstrong (or something like that) and rushed through both grad school and my postdoc [redacted] so while I have [enough] first author papers that seem to check all the quality boxes, I realize I'm publication light overall and didn't take many opportunities to build a network. Do my (filed) patent applications count for anything? Is applying for inorganic positions with my background a fool's errand? Any advice or insight is appreciated.Part of this question is going to be "does TG want to be a professor at a Ph.D.-producing institution, or do they want to teach at a small college?" I think that TG's background would probably fit both (especially since TG has been productive in industry). Further communication with TG indicates they would like a research university position, as they have less teaching experience. (PUI profs - is lack of instructor experience important?)
Over the years, my observation is that academics are fairly open to odd backgrounds, as long as the "quality boxes" have been checked. Writing a good set of documents (cover letter, research proposals, teaching philosophies, etc.) will be key to explaining your interest in the transition, I'd think.
Readers, your thoughts?