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« Answering the "how do you balance...?" question | Main | Unconventional teaching ideas that work: close reading of Asian philosophical texts (by Ian James Kidd) »

12/26/2018

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Search committee member

This is a totally different kind of issue, but bear in mind that lots of departments at not-very-well-resourced state universities (and maybe SLACs, I don't know) have to pay for searches out of their departmental budgets. So if you're in SE Asia - or even Europe - another thing to consider is that you're way more expensive to fly out than a US candidate (especially if the department is decent and wants to do you a solid and give you an extra day or two to recover from jet lag before job talk). So if at all possible, you might want to arrange to be in the US for as much of January/February as you can, and let search committees know that in your cover letters. It sucks, and it's not fair, but with tons of good candidates, that can be a tie-breaker between people you like roughly equally on first pass.

Recent Grad

I know this isn't applicable to the OP, but one thing I'd like to hear addressed (if anyone can speak to this) is how search committees view teaching experience in the equivalent of lower-level or general education courses at foreign institutions. I know that not all overseas positions provide opportunities to teach these sorts of courses, but some do. Even if one had the opportunity to gain this sort of experience overseas, is there a presumption that it isn't applicable to US institutions because of differences in institutional or classroom culture?

Amanda

My impression is, that if one's best shot on the job market is teaching institutions (i.e. you are not fancy) then it is bad idea to take a postdoc anywhere that is not the US or Canada. Typically those postdocs involve little teaching, and if they do involve teaching it is very different than US schools. It may not be fair, but I think this is the way it is. (there might be some exceptions, of course.)

On the other hand, if you are looking for research jobs, the key will be having a lot of high quality publications in English. And by "high quality" I mean publications perceived as high quality within the US research school system. So even if in your home country it is common to have publications in anthologies, and in your own language, this is not a good strategy if your goal is to have a job in the US. If you want a job in country X, alas, you must work with in country X's system.

At my PhD institution (a pretty wealthy R1) we didn't interview someone once because the cost of flying them overseas for an interview was too much. (it would have meant we could have only flown out 3 instead of 4). So if you have means of funding your flyout, you might want to casually mention that in the cover letter, ie. "I know that finances can be an issue, so I just wanted to mention..."

Amanda

Lastly, I should add some schools cannot are not legally allowed to have candidates fund their own flyout, but this varies by institution.

Mike Titelbaum

I'll have to think about the more substantive questions here, but here's a first step that I'm surprised how often people skip: If you have publications on your CV in foreign languages, translate the titles into English!

Lauren

I don’t know that I have substantive advice to offer more broadly, but I also think that, for teaching schools (and by this I mean all schools where teaching is an important component of hiring/tenure decisions, even if teaching and research are equally important), how you talk about your teaching methods would matter. If, for example, you have only taught majors, the ways of engaging students might be quite different for teaching a gen ed philosophy class. There also may be cultural differences in teaching style, too; I once observed a teaching demo that my colleagues who had spent time in a European department described as a decent European lecture, before concluding that it would never work with our students here. So if you do get a fly out, it is important to think about how the student populations and institutional expectations might be different than in your current environment. Signaling that you understand that and have tools to address it might go a long way in making you a more attractive candidate.

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