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« How to incentivize better peer-review reports? | Main | Tips for good teaching demos? »

01/02/2019

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First time ABD

I have had a few skype interviews now that have warned that if I were to get a fly out interview, I will have to do a teaching demonstration. So the more general question I have is, for those who have done a teaching demonstration, do you have any pragmatic tricks or tips to share, or experiences that you've learned from. For those on search committees, what exactly are you looking for in a teaching demonstration?

The more particular question I have is: I work hard, especially at the start of the year, in classes to structure my classes such that they will function optimally (for instance I make students sign up to email me reading responses the day before class which helps structure my lectures but also makes sure that I have 12/60 students ready to ask questions during the lecture). I feel like in a teaching demonstration, I'm being (unfairly?) parachuted down into a class where my structure is not there. Should I, as a part of my teaching demonstration, try to get the class structured, even just a little bit, to the specifications that I want? (I hope that second question made sense, it's a little vague)

Thank you.

Asst Prof

I would enjoy a post on "volunteering as a philosopher."

I am passionate about reducing climate change (for example), but I am not sure how to jump in and use my skills as a philosopher to advance this cause.

I could of course just volunteer "as a regular person", but I am curious if any philosophers have been able to link up with charitable or activist groups and use their skills as a philosopher specifically--kind of like a doctor or lawyer doing pro bono work.

If so, any stories or advice would be a helpful inspiration to me and maybe others!

Dont like letting people down

Imagine one is a tenured or TT faculty member. The department has come to rely on them and make long term plans that depend on that person. They then accept a position elsewhere. Is there an etiquette or timeline for how to break the news? Who gets told first. When to tell, etc?

VAP

I'm a new PhD and a VAP at a teaching-focused, undergraduate institution. I find teaching meaningful, but I also found myself over-worked and under-stimulated. My students are great! But they're undergraduates. How do other people deal with this experience, particularly long term? Of course, more teaching experience/more experience with a heavier teaching load will, I'm sure, help - but I'm not sure how significant that help will be.

Amanda

Letting people down: I would tell the chair as soon as you accept the offer. (assuming you will accept it no matter what.) Talking to him in his office is probably best. Obviously, if there is any chance you might want to stay at your current place, then you want to tell the chair (who will go to the dean) as soon as you get the offer so you can negotiate.

Anon

I have a related question about letting people down: what if a TT faculty member has multiple interviews and cannot make very important meetings/events on campus one is expected to attend, and must cancel multiple classes for fly outs? I know there has been some discussion about how to handle missing a class here and there, etc., but what if using those strategies will *still* make the person look like the worst colleague ever, given how many times they will have to be used?

anon

I have a question about a specific course I am teaching this semester and would really like some feedback and advice.

I have been assigned to teach Modern Philosophy, which is fine, but it got scheduled as a night class, which really throws me off.
I REALLY prefer the MWF routine and this really takes
me out of my comfort zone.

Second, I face a challenge in that a course like modern philosophy is a course I largely assume will be inhabited by philosophy majors, which it is to an extent, but because there are no prerequisites enforced, I have students who are taking a 300 level modern course as their first one.

In some ways, I think this is unfair to me as the instructor and to the students.

So I guess I am asking two things:

1. How do you make a class like modern accessible that just due to the very nature of the content, will seem inaccessible to students have who never taken a class and then are being asked to dive into someone like Spinoza?

2. How do you make night classes work if you've never done one before and you feel like the students are dreading the time of the class?

Paul

I have a question about gathering data for promotion purposes (though it is also relevant for job candidates): besides google scholar and the journal's site, what sources are appropriate to draw data from? I have data on philpeople, academia, and research gate. It seems to me that philpeople is the most legit, but are the rankings limited to people who have set up accounts, or is it comparing you to all the papers in the data base? Furthermore, is it appropriate to combine the data from all the different sources into one report, or do others list it separately?

Amanda

Paul: maybe I'm mistaken, but I find researchgate the most accurate of those 3. Philpeople is not good, for someone like me anyway, because it includes only philosophy papers and a lot of my work is cited by non-philosophers. There is also a lot of missing papers, but maybe that is a problem everywhere.

Josh

My apologies if this has been covered before, but I'm starting my first teaching job this year and noticed that my classes seemed to suffer from intense mid- and late-semester fatigue. That is, during the first 7 weeks or so of the term, I would get (e.g.) multiple unprompted questions, consistent student-led "back-and-forths," etc. After that, however, class momentum really began to slow down (with some exceptional days sprinkled here and there, of course). I get that this is part of university life, but I wonder if folks out there have been impressed by this phenomenon enough to factor it into their pedagogical approaches (and, if so, how?). I teach a 3-3 here--all different courses--and this fatigue was painfully evident in all of them.

Thanks.

Shaun

Here's my question:

I'm applying to jobs and one particular college is one where my colleague has received her BA. She really enjoyed the college, the faculty have enjoyed her being there (based on what she's told me), she's still in touch with the faculty, and she recognizes many times of faculty that are still there, including the chair. As I'm writing my cover letter, would it give me a boost if I mentioned her name and that she had attended the college? On the one hand, any name recognition or connections would be advantageous. However, my colleague is a fellow grad student so I'm not sure if it would carry much weight when making hiring decisions.

Hmm

Shaun
Absolutely do not mention your colleague's name. Perhaps she is also applying. Even if she is not, it is not appropriate.
What on earth could you gain from it? Clearly, they cannot raise you up out of the pile because you know one of their former students and you report she speaks fondly of them.

Job seeker

Do folks have any tips for how to negotiate a spousal hire? I assume the right time to ask is at the offer stage, but after that I'm not sure. Do you ask for a TT line specifically, or just ask what can be done for them? Would it be helpful to hire someone like the Professor is In team to help with negotiations?

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