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How to Apply for an Academic Position. Workshop #1 of How to Jump Start Your Academic Career Michael Gooseff [email protected] Nov. 27, 2007 CEE Penn State University. Resources. Handout with this presentation make lots of notes Web page: www.engr.psu.edu/mgooseff/academic.html

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how to apply for an academic position

How to Apply for an Academic Position

Workshop #1 of How to Jump Start Your Academic Career

Michael Gooseff

[email protected]

Nov. 27, 2007

CEE Penn State University

resources
Resources
  • Handout with this presentation
    • make lots of notes
  • Web page: www.engr.psu.edu/mgooseff/academic.html
    • Evolving resource of advice, links, and experiences

ANGEL group site?

  • The faculty!
part 1 overview
Part 1 Overview
  • How the position originates…
  • Your motivation
  • Are you prepared?
  • Reading (and translating) ads
  • Should You Apply?
  • Writing Your Application
  • Follow-up
part 2 how to interview for an academic position overview
Part 2 – How to Interview for an Academic Position Overview
  • Preparing to interview
    • Research the institution
    • Teaching/research seminars
    • Questions, questions
  • What to expect when you are there
    • Whom you are likely to meet
    • Fair questions/unfair questions
how does the process work
Position/specialty need is identified by a department

Department requests the “line” from administration; line is approved

A search committee is formed

A description is written

HR edits/approves the description

Ads are initiated

POSITION NOW EXISTS

Applications are submitted

How Does the Process Work?
how does the process work1
You should receive confirmation

ALL applications are reviewed

A short-list (10-12?) of qualified/preferred applicants is generated

References contacted

The top 3-4 applicants are decided upon

The top 3-4 applicants are invited to interview

You will be contacted

Interviews occur…

An offer is made to the most preferred candidate

Dept head, dean, or head of search will call you

Happiness ensues…

How Does the Process Work?
part 1 overview1
Part 1 Overview
  • How the position originates…
  • Your motivation
  • Are you prepared?
  • Reading (and translating) ads
  • Should You Apply?
  • Writing Your Application
  • Follow-up
motivation
Motivation
  • Why do you want an academic career?
  • Where do you want to go?
    • Top tier research university
    • Less than top tier research university
    • Top tier teaching school
    • Less than top tier teaching school
    • Research institution
part 1 overview2
Part 1 Overview
  • How the position originates…
  • Your motivation
  • Are you prepared?
  • Reading (and translating) ads
  • Should You Apply?
  • Writing Your Application
  • Follow-up
are you prepared
Are You Prepared?
  • Have you published or do you have papers in review or in press?
  • Have you designed coursework and/or taught before?
  • Have you published or do you have papers in review or in press? (it’s important enough to mention more than once)
  • Where do you want to go with your research?
are you prepared1
Are You Prepared?
  • Have you published or do you have papers in review or in press? (no really, it is…)
  • Have you presented your research at large conferences?
  • To be ahead of your competition you should demonstrate that you can succeed in
    • Scholarship (publications)
    • Academics (teaching)
    • Research (‘grantsmanship’; project execution)
    • Service (being a team player)
part 1 overview3
Part 1 Overview
  • How the position originates…
  • Your motivation
  • Are you prepared?
  • Reading (and translating) ads
  • Should You Apply?
  • Writing Your Application
  • Follow-up
where to find ads
Institution HR or dept web pages

Scientific/Engineering publication classifieds

Scientific/Engineering organization or society classifieds

Higher Education Journals and websites

Most of these are on the web!

A few other considerations:

Do you care where you live?

Do you want a big school or small school feel?

Is tailgating important?

Where to Find Ads
what do they mean
What do they mean?
  • Common phrases in position ads:
    • “tenure track position”
    • “teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels”
    • “develop a nationally and internationally recognized research program”
    • Watch the adjectives and adverbs
      • Many superlatives will show up
example ad 1 structural eng
Example Ad #1 – Structural Eng.

The Department of Architectural Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo is seeking applications for two full-time, academic year tenure track positions for the teaching of structural analysis, design, and construction of buildings. Starting date is September 8, 2008. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should also have a strong interest in the inter-relationship between structural engineering and architecture and construction, both in the academic context and in practice. Required qualifications for the position are either: a doctorate in structural engineering or a closely related field, along with evidence of scholarship related to building structures; or a master`s degree in structural engineering, a structural engineering license (or equivalent with the ability to obtain an S.E. license within 3 years) and significant experience in professional practice (a minimum of 10 years of full-time practice.) In addition to teaching and service, the successful candidate is expected to be active in the scholarship of teaching, discovery, integration and/or application. For more information and to complete a required online faculty application, please visit WWW.CALPOLYJOBS.ORG and search for Requisition #101422. Review of applications will begin December 17, 2007. Applications received after this date may be considered.

example ad 2
Example Ad #2

Colorado School of Mines (CSM) invites applications for an anticipated tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the field of Surface Water/Watershed Hydrology. The successful candidate will teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels, direct graduate research, and develop a strong, externally funded research program. Candidates must possess a doctoral degree in an appropriate science or engineering field, potential for excellence in teaching, the ability to develop external research funding, and superb interpersonal and communication skills. Registration as a Professional Engineer, or the qualifications to become registered, is required. For a complete job announcement and instructions on how to apply, please visit our web site at http://www.is.mines.edu/hr/Faculty_Jobs.shtm.

CSM is an EEO/AA employer.

example ad 3
Example Ad #3

Penn State University

2006-07 ‘season’

part 1 overview4
Part 1 Overview
  • How the position originates…
  • Your motivation
  • Are you prepared?
  • Reading (and translating) ads
  • Should You Apply?
  • Writing Your Application
  • Follow-up
why apply
Why Apply?
  • You fit the position description and need a job soon!
  • You fit the description, but won’t be done for a year or so…
  • You marginally fit the job description but think this will be a good networking opportunity

Distance from ‘ideal’ situation

part 1 overview5
Part 1 Overview
  • How the position originates…
  • Your motivation
  • Are you prepared?
  • Reading (and translating) ads
  • Should You Apply?
  • Writing Your Application
  • Follow-up
your application
Your Application
  • Presentation “on paper” is everything
    • Lists of accomplishments look good
  • Typical Components:
    • Cover Letter (1 pg, 2 w/exp)
    • Statement of teaching interests (1 pg, 2 w/exp)
    • Statement of research interests (1 pg, + w/exp)
    • CV (several pages)
    • Reference list (1 page)
your application cover letter
Your Application – Cover Letter
  • Components
    • Be explicit – “I am applying to…”
    • Convince the reader you are the right fit for the institution and the position description
    • This is the only place you can ‘explain’ yourself, so be careful what you say!
    • Be courteous – “Thank you for reviewing…”
your application cover letter1
Your Application – Cover Letter
  • Some Don’ts:
    • Do not embellish. Demonstrate that you are a good fit, but let your references give you kudos
    • Do not use letterhead from your current institution.
    • Do not make any judgments, particularly if they are negative (I don’t like…)
your application statement of teaching interests
Your Application – Statement of Teaching Interests
  • If you have no teaching experience or only TA experience, then convince the reader that
    • You have great ideas for how to teach
      • Maybe even draw on your own educational experiences
    • You will be a terrific teacher by
      • Developing excellent class materials
      • Using cutting-edge teaching techniques
  • Convey enthusiasm for teaching!
your application statement of teaching interests1
Your Application – Statement of Teaching Interests
  • If you have do have teaching experience, then
    • Convince the reader that your experience has made you a better teacher
    • Provide evidence (even if anecdotal) of your effectiveness
      • Student verbal responses
      • Student evaluations of teaching
  • Convey enthusiasm for teaching!
your application statement of research interests
Your Application – Statement of Research Interests
  • Briefly state your important findings to date
  • Demonstrate how you will leverage that experience to move the state of science forward
    • Articulate the direction
    • Will you work with others? In particular?
    • Incorporate graduate and undergraduates?
your application statement of research interests1
Your Application – Statement of Research Interests
  • A common question – “Where will you seek funding for your big ideas?”
    • Thus, it’s worth thinking about how your research may be funded
  • Distinguish yourself from your advisor and your peers
your application cv
Your Application – CV
  • This should include the following parts:
    • Contact info
    • Education history
    • Employment history (applicable to academia)
    • Teaching experience (if not already covered)
    • Advising (if you have done any)
    • Honors and Awards
    • Publications (KEY)
    • Conference presentations (list may be too long)
    • Professional Service
your application reference list
Your Application –Reference List
  • 1 page only
  • Be confident that your refs will write positive, and effective letters
  • If they ask for n, give them n+1
  • Give them full information, including whether they will be on sabbatical leave or not (and may be difficult to reach)
  • Give them just a little narrative about how these folks relate to you
a few more thoughts
A few more thoughts
  • Example publications are not always requested, but if you have 1 or 2, include them in your application
  • You never know what people are going to read so,
    • A little redundancy is okay (but limit it)
    • Make sure grammar and spelling are correct!
  • After generating a few of these, it will become easier to modify for specific ads
a few more thoughts1
A few more thoughts
  • Number the pages of your application x/total just in case some part of it gets misplaced
  • Remember that an honest portrayal of who you are will be best for all involved
  • Regardless of what happens for each application, it is always improving…
part 1 overview6
Part 1 Overview
  • How the position originates…
  • Your motivation
  • Are you prepared?
  • Reading (and translating) ads
  • Should You Apply?
  • Writing Your Application
  • Follow-up
follow up
Follow-up
  • What you should expect from them…
    • Acknowledgement of receipt of your materials
    • No news is good news – for a while
  • Should you call/email?
    • Sure, at any reasonable time
    • However, BE PATIENT
the end
The End
  • Resources:
    • Web page
    • ANGEL site
      • Please evaluate this workshop via the ANGEL site after it is established;
      • All constructive criticism is welcome!
    • CEE Faculty
ad