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How To Get A Teaching at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution

'How To Get A Teaching at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution'
A. Malcolm Campbell Biology Department Davidson College The American Society for Cell Biology Published by: The American Society for Cell Biology, 1996 1 How to Get a Teaching Job at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution Introduction Recently, I was hired as a tenure-track faculty member in the biology department of an undergraduate institution. Pre- viously, while seeking a site for the second year of a Pew Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellowship, I had the rare oppor- tunity to visit and interview at eight colleges in the Midwest. Since I was not being considered for a tenure-track position at the time, I was able to get a feel for the interview process without all the pressures of a real job interview. This expe- rience gave me a feel for the interview process and insights into the special qualities sought by undergraduate institu- tions. To share what I learned during my time on these campuses, I published an article in the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Newsletter (1). There have been several publications written for candidates interviewing at research institutions (2, 3, 4), but none for prospective faculty members at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs). Unfor- tunately, most PhD candidates and postdocs are chastised for any interest they have in teaching (sometimes referred to as the “T-word”), and we get little support from research mentors for our career choice. There has been increasing aware- ness, however, that not everyone who gets a PhD wants to establish a research lab at a university. In an attempt to assist those seeking “alternative” careers, I have expanded my original CUR Newsletter article to give some suggestions that may be helpful for those wishing to get a job at a PUI. Career Tracks If you know that teaching at a PUI is why you are getting a PhD in the fi rst place, then you want to think about the implications of choosing a particular lab for your thesis work. If you choose a lab that does only one technique and your project requires you to work with live Ebola virus, then you are not setting yourself up for a teaching job. Most PUIs want a person who is versatile and can conduct student-based research. Profi ciency with a single technique is too lim- ited a repertoire, and Ebola is not conducive to inexpensive and short-term research projects. If you are still keen to choose this project, then accept the reality of a postdoctoral fellowship in order to add breadth to you training. The big question in the minds of most who want to teach is, “Do I have to do a postdoc?”. The answer is yes and no. I have met several recent hires who had no postdoctoral training but in today’s tight market (at least 100 applicants for each advertised job), they are the exception. Postdoctoral training will be benefi cial for several reasons: 1) since so many applicants have postdoc experience, those without it might be at a disadvantage; 2) this additional training allows you to learn more techniques and a different system
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本文标题:How To Get A Teaching at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution
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