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« What publishing advice are grad students receiving? Is it sound advice? | Main | Reader query: a job-market quandary »

10/13/2016

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anonymous grad student

Just an addendum: for non-US citizen grad students this is especially troubling since usually we are not permitted to have other employments *even if* the school would allow it (visa restrictions). And my experience is that at least some schools are very reluctant to let grad students teach other courses than intro.

Sam Duncan

Marcus, I'll second the claim that being able to teach a variety of classes really helps one in the teaching school market. In my years of adjuncting I managed to teach an upper level class on 19th century continental philosophy and I got the sense that it was a factor in landing a lot of the interviews I did at teaching schools. Most of them didn't want a guy focused on continental, but they would have loved to be able to get someone who could teach an existentialism course of the like. I think that teaching that course and some bioethics courses probably helped me get the teaching job I had at Tennessee until recently.
One thing I'll note here is that when I was at the University of Virginia grad students had a lot of freedom in the courses they could propose and get approved. Most students stayed in their comfort zone (I did) because it was easier and less scary, but braver and people than I proposed courses on existentialism, Islamic philosophy, Eastern philosophy, Sex and Love, Philosophy in Film, Science Fiction and Philosophy, and even I think Misery and Suffering (that was the original title though I do think the faculty made him change that) and got them approved. If you're a grad student and your institution is similarly liberal about what grad student proposed courses they'll approve you really ought to take advantage of it even if it does take you outside your comfort zone and require a bit more work in the short term. Also, if they don't already, departments really ought to give their grad students freedom to develop courses like that. The undergrads at UVA loved the variety and the grad students who did them got valuable experience. I'm sure that classes like that may occasionally be a train wreck, but a. practically none of the ones at UVA were from what I heard so I think it's rare and b. it's not like every "safe," "normal" class offered by a TT prof is a rousing success either.

Anon

One thing I'm curious about, though it won't apply to many others, is: suppose, as the first poster pointed out, one is an international grad student, so that it's difficult to teach at places other than one's home institution, and suppose it's hard to get teaching opportunities at one's home institution (e.g., because it's a private school with expensive tuition). What might be other avenues that such students can explore to get teaching opportunities?

(I'll just name two obvious ones that occur to me, and that I'm going to try to look into: teaching in one's own country -- which isn't always as feasible, unfortunately -- and looking into teaching at other institutions in the summer, which may be legally possible, though probably very difficult.)

Ornaith

At my job (4-4 load, regional campus of state school), being familiar with SoTL, taking up professional development opportunities (workshops and the like), and implementing the insights gained from them in smart ways that one can justify and explain well to a wide audience are all extremely important and valuable for prospective faculty as well as in tenure and promotion. The more proper teacher training people get in grad school, the better.
I was at CUNY in the 2000s. Because funding there at the time was totally inadequate, and because as an international student I couldn't do other work, I taught a ton of courses (of all kinds) across several of the CUNY campuses. This made it harder to focus on my studies, but it did give me an advantage for teaching-focused jobs: by graduation, I was already a seasoned teacher.I had some professional development later in grad school, which was very helpful; I wish there had been more of this early on.

Pendaran Roberts

Network. You need to get lots of people to know you who think you're smart and capable and nice. That's a big chunk of the battle. Also, try to network with famous or at least well-known people. If you went to a fancy programme then this will be much easier to accomplish if not conference a lot. Networking is more important or at least as important as actually doing philosophy.

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