Scheduling a better interview.

Phew, this week is over.

That was my first experience with a full blown interview for a faculty position; and even then it really wasn't full blown, as it was within driving distance of my house so I didn't have to fly out anywhere, stay overnight, and do the whole dinner thing.

Still, it was exhausting all the same. I felt good at the end of the day, though, and got some positive feedback; we will see if that results in an offer!

My presentation went very well, and ended up being exactly on target: a mini 'lecture' for the undergrads introducing the ideas behind my research, without actually going into details about my research. This position is first and foremost a teaching position: the research is important, but secondary. How do I know? Most obviously because the initial annual budget for research expenses is $4,000. !!! Anyway, that isn't the point here; the point of this post is to ask the question: why, when interviewing candidates for a teaching position, don't they schedule more time for interacting directly with the students? I was there for 8 hours, and only spent one of those hours interacting with the students; and really, three quarters of that hour was spent lecturing them (and trying to ignore the few that actually fell asleep). That left only a few minutes to talk with those who came up to me with questions. And yet, that was very important to me. I mean really, this was a two way interview: they want to see if I am the most qualified for the job, and I want to see if I would want to work there. Yes, I need to be able to work within the department, and yes I need to understand the structure and requirements of the position within the university as a whole. I do not belittle that aspect of the job; however, when so much of the day will be spend with and about students, shouldn't they be part of the process?


Unbalanced Reaction said...

It depends on the school, and I think the degree that students are involved in the interview process can be very telling. I thought that it was pretty common for students to take the candidate out to lunch, but that could have just been the schools I interviewed at.

Good luck!!

Lisa said...

You know what's funny? When we ask teachers to teach a model lesson, that's just what they do- they teach the lesson then they are done. We judge whether or not they are good with kids and can handle the teaching part of it on one 45-60 minute teaching bit. It's probably not enough time.. but then again, you can also tell a lot about a person in just a few minutes of being around students. Personally, I think that you want more student interaction is very telling and means you should get the job! (But I'm not at all biased!)