This may be a foolish and horrible exercise, but I'm curious about which jobs people are most excited about. So, which are your absolute top choices? For me, my top choices are (weirdly) Bard and Princeton. How about you?
Date: 08 Oct 2013 21:50
Number of posts: 13
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My top school is in the area that my family really wants to live. It's not an Ivy League school or anything, just a place I know that my family and I can be happy living. I've had dreams about it… I really hope they have an open position when I'm on the job market next year. ;)
I am currently in a master-level institution. I really really really want a school that has a phd program (doesn't have to be ivy league) and at the same time, located in a decent location.
This is clearly a delusional exercise.
That said, I really really really want a job that doesn't give lip service to research or trap you with high teaching loads; an upper administration that cares more about "educating" rather than shuffling people through the system for the sake of "graduation rates"; and a location where the best restaurant in town isn't an Appleby's.
I don't know if such a job exists.
I'm only applying to one job because I have a good job already. The only flaws with my current job are a) slightly higher teaching load than I'd like, and relatedly, a bit less research emphasis than I'd like, b) location away from family (but still a good location), and c) potential financial instability at the institution - probably similar to what many/most institutions face, but still not as solid ground as the most elite places with huge endowments. That said, my overall job satisfaction is very high and overall the institution is very well aligned with my goals and ideals.
The place I've applied is better on all of those accounts, especially location. It is one of 5ish institutions in existence I'd consider a dream institution for me.
speaking of teaching load, i wonder you guys' perception of heavy versus light. I am on 3/3 now and felt that it is heavy. although i am able to publish 2-3 papers a year in 2nd tier journals but often felt that i could have done better with lighter load. But i've heard that the teaching load issue could be worse, even for a tenure-track position…
I'm hauling a 4/3 load right now and find it acceptable but not ideal. For me a 3/3 would be okay but a 3/2 would be more the perfect number (a 2/2 might be too light for me, I find if I'm not busy enough with tasks that I "must" do I don't stay as productive).
That said, be mindful of how much time you're putting into teaching. All you need to do is do well enough that the students are happy and provide you with good evaluations. I usually spend about 30-minutes to 2-hours per week per course for prep-work (lesser time for stuff I know very well, more time for more technical courses).
And, regarding teaching load, when I was on the job market I had an offer from one place with a 4/4 load (non community college) and saw a job ad for one non-community college that boasted 5/5 teaching loads. Yikes!
It seems many people here are already on tenure-track. Do you mind telling which year are you at? It is easier to apply when you already have a job? Maybe sometimes only starting a job makes you realize what you want the most?
I do agree that after having a job makes you realize what you want the most. Unfortunately, it is probably difficult to jump from one to another, especially if you are looking for a higher ranked school. for instance, if you are in a heavy teaching school while trying to jump to a research institution, your teaching loads just don't allow you to produce works that make it to top tier journals. This is due to limited resources provided (e.g., lack of internal grant for research [especially for bio/dev people], lack of doctoral students for generating ideas). Furthermore, your students can't "help" you to publish. In an ideal world, each phd student produces 1 paper per year and if you have 3 students in your lab, that is 3 papers. this simply is not possible at a teaching school. and the cycle repeats itself; in other words, it is almost impossible to shift once you are stuck.
I disagree with anon that "it is almost impossible to shift once you are stuck." However, it's harder than you might think. Not only can it be hard to move from a teaching-oriented position to a research-oriented position, the reverse can be hard too. I applied for a job last year with a higher teaching load and where I would have no personal lab space because I decided that what was important to me was location — I hate being so far away from my family, and this location was perfectly between my family and my partner's family. They brought me out for an interview, but it did not go well. They constantly asked me to compare my institution to their's, made it clear that their students were very "academically diverse," and asked me a lot about how I would get my research done. I ultimately did not get the job; it went to someone coming from a community college.
So, this works both ways. It is helpful if you know what you want before you accept a job, but that's not always possible. I thought I would be fine with the location of my current job, but I'm not. Now, I do feel al little stuck — not only because it's hard to get out, but it's hard to find a "lateral move" job in a location that I want.