I've been asked by a SLAC to give a job talk (research) that is geared primarily to undergraduates. I assume they mainly want to see how I interact with undergraduates (though I am also teaching a mock course), but how should this differ from a "normal" job talk?
Date: 17 Nov 2011 03:04
Number of posts: 5
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I have to do the same thing in a couple of weeks and I am not altering my normal job talk at all except for explaining things a little more thoroughly. The mock lecture is more for interacting with students. Remember, the students are not hiring you, the faculty are. Plus, good student will appreciate that you are not "dumbing down" your work to make it easier for them to understand
Without seeing ITK's "normal job talk," it's hard to tell whether this strategy is wise. I would suggest, though, that based on the typical R1 social job talk, you need to do a lot more than just explain things a little more thoroughly to appeal to the SLAC. First and foremost, I'd drop most if not all of the data analysis stuff… show a figure (if it's very easy to understand) but for the most part just describe your findings verbally. I'd add a lot more cartoons, videos, and humor. If at all possible, I'd try to work in an interactive demo. Depending on the nature of the studies, you could even show them or have them take part in the experimental manipulation(s).
It would be better to explain one study in full, entertaining detail than try to impress the committee with the brilliance of your 8 most recent experiments.
Spend more time discussing where your research fits in the broader field, and the practical implications of your research, than you would in an R1 job talk.
I agree with search committee veteran. I had this experience last year and the most important thing I learned - though it is supposed to be about your research, at a SLAC, it is always about your teaching. Though I wouldn't shy away from discussing data analysis, I would try and make sure my slides were more student friendly and my descriptions were appropriate to (or building directly on) undergraduate psychology stats courses. They will not see this as dumbing down - this is meeting them at their level. In addition to everything else mentioned in the above post, I would recommend talking about specific ways undergraduate students can get involved in your research. In my experience this will appeal to both students and faculty. I also made sure to include a slide thanking all the students who volunteered/served as RAs in my research (another way to make this point). Try to find a balance between fun and interesting, but also substantial. Oh- and smile. I've been to some job talks recently where the candidate was clearly still feeling dissertation-hatred vibes during certain parts of the talk. If you are enthusiastic, the audience will be too. Good luck!
Ditto the last two posts. I'd just add: although faculty are making the final, hiring decisions, some SLACs have students on the search committees who can provide good or bad input about your presentation etc. and whether they would like to work in your lab etc. Also, faculty are looking to see whether your research would be appealing to undergrads and if you cannot explain why they should be (in the big scheme of things) besides that it is awesome to you, then it is a problem. Good luck!