Ponderable

Oct 09 2014 Published by under Careers, Life

Why are we okay with hiring someone who has essentially no teaching experience into a TT (research track) position at a major research university? We'd never hire someone into such a position with teaching experience but no research experience.

 

Discuss.

 

14 responses so far

  • drugmonkey says:

    The small pond science post on social capital explains this. The undergrads aren't there to be *instructed*.

    • odyssey says:

      True, but this is more about the intramural struggle for the tuition dollars. Undergrads choose courses based on perceived value to them. Faculty who gain the reputation of being poor teachers also have a reputation for providing poor value.

      • theLaplaceDemon says:

        I think that there is a mistaken perception among students applying to undergrad and their parents that it will be valuable for them to be taught in their courses by famous successful scientists. I don't think there is enough appreciation for the fact that the people who are really good at researching bunny hopping are not always the best teachers of Bunny Hopping 201.

  • AScientist says:

    Because it's incredibly difficult to spend the 6-8 years postdoctoral time doing sufficiently high-impact, high IF published research and winning R01 level funding to be considered remotely viable on the TT job market that there's no time left to spend a minute on teaching?

  • becca says:

    Misogyny. Teaching was historically identified as a woman's profession, ergo it takes no important skills, ergo anyone can do it and we don't need to work at excellence in it.

  • Established PI says:

    Because MRUs typically only care about how much grant money and international prestige the faculty member may bring in and just cross their fingers and hope they won't be disasters in the classroom. Liberal arts colleges care about teaching and focus on that when they hire. I've had postdocs go both routes and the priorities are crystal clear during the hiring process.

  • gerty-z says:

    I think it would be really hard to re-calibrate the culture so that teaching experience was 1. more easily accessible to postdocs and 2. considered for research-track TT positions. I don't see it happening. It would be nice, though, if at least faculty got some training in teaching when they start. Or if anyone actually cared about how well folks teach...I guess that's another of those problems that is unlikely to be fixed any time soon.

  • BenK says:

    Overhead, perhaps?

  • Duh! Because it's a "major research university", not a "major teaching university". I don't remember jacke dicke about my undergraduate classroom experiences, but my research experiences changed my life. In fact, just yesterday I had a half-hour discussion with the post-doc who mentored me all those years ago about some of my lab's newest work, and he gave me hugely valuable input.

  • drugmonkey says:

    He's still a postdoc? Jeez

  • DJMH says:

    Because if you are capable of giving a good, comprehensible seminar on your own work, there's a reasonable chance you can give a good, comprehensible class on somebody else's.

    • becca says:

      If you cared as much about their work, and your employment depended on it. Which it doesn't, so you don't.

  • attheslac says:

    There's a big difference between working on a data set for years and presenting a polished talk on it, and banging out 50-min lectures three times a week, and doing a good job at that for 14 consecutive weeks.