WE16 - Strategies for Obtaining Your First Academic Position

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  • Engineers Make a World of Difference

    Strategies for Obtaining Your First

    Academic Position

    Raenita Fenner, Ph.D.

    WE16 Academic Track

  • STRATEGIES FOR OBTAINING

    YOUR FIRST ACADEMIC POSITION

    PART I: THE ACADEMIC APPLICATION

    Raenita Fenner, Ph.D. Loyola University Maryland

  • AGENDA

    What are you looking for?

    Components of the Academic Application

    Cover Letter

    CV

    Letters of Reference

    Research Statement

    Teaching Statement

    What to emphasize in the application?

    What search committees are looking for?

    The Big Picture

    Recap

    Questions

  • WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

  • WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

    Think carefully about whether you would really go to a

    place before you apply. Think through your personal

    priorities and let them guide you.

    What type of institution?

    Research-1? Teaching? Combined research/teaching?

    What geographic locations appeal to

    you?

    What are your strengths?

  • WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

    Institution

    Type

    Doctorate Granting

    institution (R1)

    Masters Colleges and

    Universities

    Predominately

    Undergraduate

    Institutions (PUI)

    Teaching Load 1-2 courses/term 2-3 courses/term 3-4 courses/term

    TA Support Grad students andpost-docs- graders, lab support

    Grad students, maybeundergrads

    Undergrads- graders, lab support, or none

    Research Expectations(approx.)

    Publications: Multiple each yearGrants: $500K 1M

    Publications: One a yearGrants: $100K-500K

    Publications: 1 every 2-3 yearsGrants: Apply

    Service Load 5% of time 10-15% of time 20% of time

    Class size 20-40 students 15-30 students 5-30 students

    Pedagogy Teacher-centered In between Student-centered, SoTL

    Pay Higher In between Lower

    Summer Expectations

    Research! Varies Whatever I want

  • COMPONENTS OF THE ACADEMIC APPLICATION

  • COMPONENTS OF ACADEMIC APPLICATION

    Application components

    CV

    Cover Letter

    Teaching Statement

    Research Statement

    References

  • THE COVER LETTER

    Offers an opportunity to create interest in you Summarizes your qualifications and interestsPurpose

    Relate back to faculty call language - Explain how you fulfil the criteria

    Why you are applying for the job? Highlight significant achievements which demonstrate future

    success as a faculty member

    What to include?

    R1: Significant research achievements; show plans to be a successful researcher

    PUI: Teaching experience, Ability to mentor undergraduate students in many facets

    How to tailor your letter

  • THE CV

    Well organized! Error free!Essentials

    Education Honors/Awards Grants Publications/ Invited Talks/Oral Presentations Teaching Experience Service Activities

    What to include?

    R1: Lead with research PUI: Lead with teaching

    How to tailor your CV

  • TEACHING STATEMENT

    Describe your Philosophy towards teaching.

    Experiences that led to this perspective.

    Try to answer the following:

    Why do you teach?

    What do you teach?

    How do you teach?

    How do measure effectiveness?

    How do you manage diversity in classroom?

    Discuss courses within the core curriculum that you could teach.

    Use the language of the department

    Propose new courses that might be developed in the future that you could teach.

  • RESEARCH STATEMENTStatement of the problem

    Key unanswered questions in field

    How will your work contribute?

    Explain it such that the search committee members can relate

    Describe future research plans

    Usually one that is related to your prior work that is clearly feasible

    One or two projects that demonstrate your ability to think beyond your current work

    Provide potential funding sources

    R1: You can be more detailed in your future research plans.

    PUI: Be more general if you are applying to a department where no one is in your specialty area.

  • LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

    KEY ELEMENT of application choose wisely Be ready to provide them with a draft or bullet list of points you would like them to mention in

    their letter Some departments will ask to call your references; Choose people who will be available during

    the relevant time frame.

    Number ranges from approximately 3-5 Some departments will ask you to provide the names, others will ask that you solicit the references

    to send the letters.

    Timing of the letters varies some ask for the letters from the beginning, others later in the process

    Who should you select? R1: Government or industry sponsor of successful research project PUI: Faculty who have supervised your teaching assistantships

  • WHAT TO EMPHASIZE IN THE APPLICATION?

    How you fit the position? What value you bring to

    the institutionPublication record

    Exciting research plan Creative and innovative

    while also feasible

    Interesting and innovative teaching plans Highlight your experiences

    and capabilities

    Other experiences Grants, workshops,

    awards, etc.

    Brag about your successes

    (within reason)!

  • Perception of excellence by wide

    spectrum of reviewing faculty

    Effective organization that clearly conveys:

    Strong accomplishments Well-written and exciting

    research plan

    Great reference letters Evidence of innovation,

    creativity, hard work, etc.

    Exciting vision/philosophy of teaching

    Teaching potential that matches need in the department

    Research that integrates into the department

    May match already existing, may open new areas

    What Are Search Committees Looking For?

  • WHERE TO LOOK FOR ACADEMIC JOB POSTINGS

    1. Chronicle of Higher Education

    2. Academic Keys

    3. HERC Higher Education Recruitment Consortium

    4. Professional Society Career Boards (IEEE, ASME, ASEE, etc.)

    5. SWE Women in Academia (WIA) LinkedIn Site

  • 1. Read the call for applications carefully! It may contain keys to what they are looking for that you use in your cover letter.

    2. Do your homework on the faculty and University Use that information to craft your application

    The more you can use their language, the easier it will be for the committee to understand your potential

    3. Submitting a few well-targeted and well-prepared applications to places you actually want to work, is far better than mass-mailing hundreds (or even dozens).

    Bigger Picture

  • RECAPWhat Are You Looking For?

    What type of institution? What parts of the country appeal to you?

    Application components:

    CV Cover Letter Teaching Statement Research Statement References

    What to Emphasize in the Application?

    How you fit the position? Publication record Exciting research plan Interesting and innovative teaching plans Other experiences: Grants, workshops, awards, etc. Brag about your successes (within reason)!

    What are search committees looking for?

    Perception of excellence by wide spectrum of reviewing faculty Effective organization that clearly conveys: Great reference letters Exciting vision/philosophy of teaching Research that integrates into the department

    Bigger Picture

    Read the call for applications carefully Do your homework on the faculty and University

  • QUESTIONS?

  • STRATEGIES FOR OBTAINING

    YOUR FIRST ACADEMIC POSITION

    PART II: THE ACADEMIC INTERVIEW

    Raenita Fenner, PhD. Loyola University Maryland

  • AGENDA

    Components of the Academic Interview

    The Phone Interview

    On-Site Interview

    What Happens During the On-Site Visit?

    Asking Questions During the Interview

    Tips from a seasoned search committee member

    Recap/Questions

  • ACADEMIC INTERVIEW COMPONENTS

    Two stages:

    Phone Chance to make

    a first impression beyond what is on paper

    On-site The in-person

    follow up to the phone interview at the University

  • PHONE INTERVIEW

    Take it seriously!

    Pay attention to tone of voice

    Chance to make a first impression

    Demonstrate that you have done your research

    Your level of interest and information is important

  • THE ONSITE INTERVIEW

    Lunches Dinner

    Faculty Students Administration HR

    Teaching Presentation

    Research Presentation

    Meetings/

    Interviews with

    Social Interactions

  • TEACHING AND RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS

    Research Presentation

    R1: Detailed content, research funding plan

    PUI: Generalize your work, how can

    undergrads get involved

    Teaching presentation (varies by institution)

    R1: May or may not happen

    PUI: Detailed, organized, and scripted

    lecture

  • SOCIAL INTERACTIONS AND MEETINGS

    One-on-one meetings with faculty, chair, dean and provost (varies by institution) For these shorter meetings, an elevator speech that summarizes your work is important

    Have questions prepared based on your research of that person

    Will interact with a number of people Short, intense period

    Prepare 0.5 - 1 min elevator speech about what you do

    ALWAYS BE ON!!! Even in casual meal sessions, you are being evaluated and judged

    Do not let down at any time during the process

  • ON-SITE INTERVIEW PREPARATION

    Typically 2 daysInterview visits are a marathon event!

    Research faculty, department, university, geographic areaDo your homework!

    Most important step in determining whether interview becomes an

    offer

    Varies between institutions (full professors, entire department, role of dean/provost)

    Allows you to interact with those who will make the

    offer decision

  • ASKING QUESTIONS DURING THE INTERVIEW

    Carefully plan the questions to ask

    You dont want to offend your hosts

    Be polite, calm, and friendly

    You DO want to get the information

    Be curious, not demanding

    Repeat questions, but only a few questions with everyone, to get an integrated view

    Be sure to ask the Chair and/or Dean, as appropriate all the questions that are most critical for you

  • TIPS FROM A SEASONED SEARCH COMMITTEE MEMBER

    Figure out the on-line application system and if you have questions call

    HR, not the Search Chair or the Department

    secretary

    The phone interview is not just a formality. Be as prepared for it as you would be for the on-site

    interview.

    Answer the questions asked, not the ones you

    want them to ask.

    Have questions ready for the committee.

    If you are applying to an institution where you will be required to teach

    your English skills will be assessed!!! Practice.

    Research the search committee. Know what

    they understand and what they may not to know how

    to discuss your area of research.

    Do your homework on the faculty and University

    before hand!!!

  • CLOSING WORD OF WISDOM

    EVERYTHING can (should) be negotiated.

    Salary (base pay and summer salary).

    Lab space.

    Teaching load.

    Start-up package (amount and duration).

    Number of students.

    Service.

  • RECAP

    Components of the Academic Interview

    The Phone Interview

    On-Site Interview

    Tips from a seasoned search committee member

  • QUESTIONS? About the academic interview

  • REFERENCES

    Rice University Advance - http://advance.rice.edu

    Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty - Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Sternberg, R.J. (2013) 12 Bloopers to Avoid in Job Interviews in The Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/article/Bloopers-to-Avoid-in-Job/137449

    Cummings, L. (2013) Applying for Faculty Positions: Preparation Department of Mathematical Sciences, New Jersey Institute of Technology.

    Washington University of St. Louis The Teaching Center http://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/About/ProgramsforGraduateStudentsandPostdocs/resources/Pages

    /Writing-a-Teaching-Philosophy-Statement.aspx