Tomorrow's Professor Listserve Archive # 11
101 ESTIMATING FUTURE COLLEGE ENROLLMENTS
102 USING DEMONSTRATIONS AND DRAMATIC DEVICES IN LARGE CLASSES
103 THE ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN HELPING TO SHAPE A MORE INCLUSIVE SOCIETY
104 MENTORING POSTDOCTORAL STUDENTS
105 APPLYING FOR ACADEMIC POSITIONS
106 WHY PROFESSORS HAVE TENURE AND BUSINESS PEOPLE DON'T
107 LEARNING FROM TEACHING
108 YOU JUST MIGHT BE A GRADUATE STUDENT IF...
109 GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION
110 CAN NEW TECHNOLOGIES REVITALIZE OLD TEACHING METHODS?
Tomorrow's Professor Listserve #101 ESTIMATING FUTURE COLLEGE
One of the most important statistics for all present and future professors is the estimated change in college enrollments over the next decade. Determining these numbers is a non-trivial task, depending as it does on high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, college retention rates, and even the changing definition of what it means to attend college. These, and many other factors are discussed in detail by Clifford Adelmanm, in his article, "Crosscurrents and Riptides - Asking About the Capacity of the Higher Education System," (Change, Vol. 31, No. 1, January/February 1999, pp. 21-27. Below is an excerpt (p.23) that deals primarily with estimates for traditional college-age students. Let me know if you would like a hard copy of the complete article.
UP NEXT: Using Demonstrations and Dramatic Devices in Large Classes
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ESTIMATING FUTURE COLLEGE ENROLLMENTS
The 1998 WICHE/College Board report, Knocking on the College Door, extrapolates from state demographic figures and high school graduation rates to determine the likely number of high school graduates, by state, over the next decade (in fact, to the academic year 2011-12). We have known for some time that the size of high school graduating classes is increasing, though, as the EICHE/College Board report documents, this phenomenon varies widely by geographical region and state. The size of traditional-age high school graduating classes will grow by a half-million students over the next decade. How does this translate into annual estimates of new postsecondary students of traditional college age?
There are three alternative scenarios with which to answer the question. Each scenario begins at the same benchmark: in 1995-6, some 65 percent of 2.6 million high school graduates continued their education within one year of graduation (Digest of Education Statistics, 1997, Tab. 184, p.195). The base of calculations, then is 1.69 million first-time entering freshmen. For the high school graduating class of 1992 (the so-called NELS-88 longitudinal study cohort [see Berkner & Chavez, in Resources]), 75 percent continued their education within two years of graduation. If we project the 10 percent difference between the direct (65 percent) and delayed (75 percent) entry on the 2.6 million high school graduates of 1996, we thus add 260,000 new students of a single age cohort to the 1.69 million who already go on to some form of postsecondary education, for a total of 1.95 million.
The fist scenario assumes no increase in the combined rate of immediate plus delayed-entry high school graduates (75 percent). Taking the WICHE/College Board estimate of 3.2 million high school graduates in 2007-8, that means we will see 2.4 million entering postsecondary students from the high school graduating classes within 10 years. That is an increase of 23 percent over current enrollments- 450,000 more students from age-cohort population growth alone.
Community colleges have already started to experience the effects of traditional-age cohort growth: between 1994 and 1996, the median age of community college students enrolled for credit fell, from just over 26 to less than 25, and there is no reason to believe that this trend will change over the next decade (Digest of Education Statistic, 1997, Tab. 176, p. 186).
The second scenario assumes the modest success of current efforts both to improve the preparation of disadvantaged students for college, and to help more of them take the very practical steps (such as filing out applications, applying for financial aid, consulting with counselors, and so on) that are also necessary if they are to continue their studies beyond high school. Analyses of the NELS-88 cohort suggest that these efforts may increase the direct entry rate to 70 percent. Adding 10 percent for the delayed entry rate gives us 80 percent of the high school graduating classes (see Berkner and Chavez, in Resources), exactly what President Clinton has envisioned. If we have faith in the 80 percent rate, it will translate into the 2.56 million entering postsecondary students from the high school graduating classes within a decade, an increase of 31 percent over current first-time enrollments-about 600,000 more students from the combination of population growth and better preparation/ higher application rates.
The third scenario assumes no increase in the initial "access rate" but improvement in retention and degree completion, also as a byproduct of new pre-collegiate outreach and school improvement efforts. Improvement in retention and degree-completion rates affects all students, and its effect ripple through the system. To illustrate: of those traditional-age college students who entered postsecondary education in 1989-90, 43 percent had left the system without a credential five years later. (Forty-eight percent had earned some credential and 9 percent were still enrolled. See NCES [1989-1994], in resources.) If this non-completion rate could be reduced by 10 points as a result of better preparation, instruction, motivation, or incentives to finish, we would see 240,000 more traditional age students staying in the system after their first year than is currently the case.
Tomorrow's Professor Msg. #102 USING DEMONSTRATIONS AND DRAMATIC
DEVICES IN LARGE CLASSES
The following excerpt on using demonstrations and dramatic devices in large classes, is provided by Elisa Carbone, of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Maryland at College Park. Additional examples can be found in The Large Classes Newsletter, at (http://www.inform.umd.edu/CTE/lcn/index.html).
UP NEXT: The Role of Higher Education in Helping to Shape a More Inclusive
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USING DEMONSTRATIONS AND DRAMATIC DEVICES IN LARGE CLASSES
In a large class it's easy for students to become passive. They sit. They take notes. Any teaching technique that can increase student interest and involvement can increase retention and learning. Demonstrations and dramatic devices can do just that.
Demonstrations help students draw connections between abstract ideas and concrete phenomena. Laurie McNeil calls them " . . . concrete handles for grabbing hold of . . . abstractions." Demonstrations also serve to interrupt the lecture. Attention span studies suggest that student attention can be maintained much more effectively if a fifty or eighty minute lecture is interrupted every fifteen minutes or so with a "different" type of activity (Thomas 1972). John Clarke (1987) says of visual devices, "They break the tedious stream of words, words, words, allowing students to see what they are hearing. . . .they break the pace of discourse, shift focus from the lecturer to the material, and help stem the erosion of interest that occurs when students are fixed to one spot for fifty minutes or more."
(A LARGE DRAMA CLASS)
In a large lecture hall, of course, passing around a moon rock or inviting students up to view white blood cells under the microscope is not going to work. The room is big, the number of students is huge, the microphone and/or room acoustics make your voice big, and your demonstrations have to be BIG if anyone is going to appreciate them. Demonstrations which are large in their appearance and/or their emotional appeal will be the most effective. Take, for example, Dr. Lynne Greeley's Theater 110 class: students Kate Devitt and Darryl Sampey move around the lecture platform performing a reader's theater of a selection from "A Doll's House" by Henrick Ibsen. After several minutes of marital crisis between Nora and Torvald, Greeley interrupts them and addresses the class, "Now let's change the given circumstances. What do you want them to do?" "Move it up in time-the 1970's," someone calls. "Move it from England to the U.S.," shouts another student. "The south," someone chimes in. The actors continue, with brand new accents and new ways of walking and relating. Greeley interrupts again several times with questions. "How can Nora be more aggressive?" she asks. "Stand up! " a student answers. When the reader's theater has finished, Greeley engages the class in a lively discussion, moving among the students, shooting out questions and pointing at answers.
Then, quickly, a screen the size of Rhode Island lowers into the room, the lights are dimmed, and we watch Jane Fonda and and a costar act out the same scene we've just been talking about. The discussion continues during the film, with Greeley's voice piercing both the darkness and students' tendency to fall asleep when the lights are out.
(A LARGE ASTRONOMY CLASS)
It may come as no surprise that Greeley uses "dramatic devices." She is, after all, teaching drama. But the use of drama in the classroom need not be limited to theater classes. Dr. Grace Deming makes good use of the 32 volumes of Physics and Astronomy demonstrations available to her. It's Thursday and there's the usual hubbub before class starts in Astronomy 101. Students discuss the "sky watch" from the night before (Venus and Saturn were close to each other in the south western sky just after sunset). No one seems to pay much attention to the man on a ladder carefully hanging a black 40 pound weight from a long wire in the center of the lecture platform.
Class begins, and students are attentive as Deming presents the basics of the scientific method: observation, hypothesis, experimentation, revision and more observation. She explains how a very well supported hypothesis is sometimes referred to as a law, such as the law of gravity. She assures us that laws demonstrate consistency. She then declares that she will show her faith in the law of gravity, which dictates that a pendulum will not swing higher than its starting position. She grabs the 40 pound weight and backs herself against a makeshift plywood wall which will prevent her from flinching out of the way. She holds the heavy metal plate to her forehead, and amid nervous fluttering among the students, she lets go. As the weight swings out and away, there are tiny cries of "aaah!" and "oh!" As the weight plummets back toward Deming's head, students gasp. Deming, unflustered, uses this teachable moment to its fullest. "You see, good theories have repeatable results," she says.
(A LARGE BIOLOGY CLASS)
In another science lecture hall, Dr. Richard Racusen (Biology) stands on the platform with what looks like the better part of his home's heating system held high above his head: a long, caterpillar-like segment of silver tubing with splotches of orange paint. The ends snake onto the floor around his feet. He is lecturing about protein structure. "This is what a scaled up enzyme looks like," he explains, before he stuffs the oversized larva back into the large black trash bag which is its home. Racusen says he often brings in a large black trash bag and sets it on the stage before the lecture begins. Students wait expectantly to find out what's in it. Some days they find out, and other days the bag simply serves to keep them alert and hoping, until he ends the lecture, picks up the bag, and walks out. "These devices are better if they look like I thought of them at midnight last night," says Racusen. "That way, they look inspired." The well developed, professional stuff is, apparently, less interesting.
In a study of students' perceptions of large classes, demonstrations were specified as a teaching device that significantly increased students' satisfaction in a class (Wulff, Nyquist, Abbott 1987). By incorporating demonstrations and dramatic devices into the lecture format, we can help increase student attention, interest, understanding and learning.
Clarke, John H. 1987. "Building a Lecture That
Works." College Teaching, 35(2): 56-8.
McNeil, Laurie E. 1995. "Challenges for Teaching in Introductory Science
Classes: Why They Aren't Hearing What You Think You Are Saying." The
National Teaching & Learning Forum, 4(5): 4-7.
Thomas, E.J. 1972. "The Variations of Memory With Time." Studies in Adult
Wulff, Donald H., Nyquist, Jody D. and Abbott, Robert D. 1987. "Students'
Perceptions of Large Classes" inTeaching Large Classes Well edited by
Maryellen Gleason Weimer. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, No.
32.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Tomorrow's Professor Msg. #103 THE ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN
HELPING TO SHAPE A MORE INCLUSIVE SOCIETY
Tomorrow's Professor Listserve
is a product of the Stanford University Learning Laboratory
SUMMARY TO DATE
Theme Number of Today's Next
Postings Posting Posting
The Academic Enterprise 27 *
Preparing for Academic Careers 12
Managing Your Academic Career 21
Teaching and Learning 29
Academic Research 14 *
Below is a excerpt from an article on a conference recently held at Stanford University on the role of higher education in helping to shape a more inclusive society.
Among the many impressive speakers at the conference was William Bowen,
president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, former president of Princeton
University and co-author, with former Harvard President Derek Bok, of "The
Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College
and University Admissions." A copy of the full article can be found at:
UP NEXT: Mentoring Postdoctoral Students
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THE ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN HELPING TO SHAPE A MORE INCLUSIVE
By Diane Manuel
March 10, 1999
It wasn't what he wanted to say, or to hear from others, but the president of the University of Michigan thought it had to be acknowledged.
"I think this society has a difficult time dealing with race," Lee Bollinger said. "There is a fairly widespread view that the race issue is behind us, but you cannot look at a metropolitan area like Detroit and think that this issue is not still salient, because [Detroit] is as segregated today as it was decades ago. And yet that is something that people like not to see."
Bollinger's remarks drew applause from the audience of 300 students, faculty and community members who had gathered in Dinkelspiel Auditorium on March 5 for a conference about the role of higher education in helping to shape a more inclusive society.
The two-day conference was sponsored by the Research Institute for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, with support from the Paramitas Foundation, the Office of the Provost, the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Graduate School of Business, the Law School and the Alumni Association. An estimated 300 participants registered at the opening session.
Panels of Stanford scholars and faculty from eight other universities discussed how technology and programs to support minority students can improve higher education. They also looked at the challenges of diversity in the workplace.
William Bowen, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, former president of Princeton University and co-author, with former Harvard President Derek Bok, of The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions, kicked off the conference with vigorous support for affirmative action policies.
In their research, Bowen and Bok looked at 45,000 students, over a 20-year span, at 28 of the most selective universities in the United States, including Stanford. They examined grades, test scores, choice of major, graduation rates, careers and attitudes. Their data base indicates that "race-neutral" admissions policies would set diversity of American society back several decades, reducing the percentage of African Americans attending universities from 7 to less than 2, Bowen said.
In support of considering race in admissions, Bowen cited the high graduation rates of African American students attending elite institutions -- 75 percent, compared with 40 percent for African Americans at non-elite schools-and noted that black students tend to major in the same subjects as their white counterparts, namely math, science and engineering.
Data on wages and earnings showed that, at age 38, the average African American male in the study made $85,000 annually, compared with $40,000 for those graduating from less elite institutions. More significantly, Bowen said, statistics showed the high percentage of blacks who contributed to civic and community life after graduation -- 18 percent of black physicians, for example, compared with 9 percent of white physicians.
Overall, Bowen said, the benefits of increased campus diversity were striking. "There is very deep support for race-sensitive admissions policies from the students who actually attend these schools, and our study shows that diversity does matter," he said. "There is a lot of interaction going on, and the walls between groups are much more porous than people had thought.
"I conclude that having provided some evidence that people did pretty darn well is perhaps the single most useful result of the whole process," Bowen added.
Speaking on a panel that responded to Bowen's address, Bollinger suggested that the nation currently is in "a state of social crisis about the issue of diversity." Although his school currently is being sued by two white students who were denied admission, Bollinger said he firmly believes that universities are responsible for educating all students in the "capacity to cross sensibilities."
Robert O'Neill, a legal scholar and past president of both the University of Wisconsin and the University of Virginia, praised the data Bowen and Bok had assembled and recalled court battles of the 1960s and '70s, when judges "were willing to embrace race-sensitive programs and accepted the inherent values behind such policies." By contrast, he said, "the cruel irony of the late 1990s is that by the time we have the proof, decision-makers aren't really listening."
O'Neill and several other speakers alluded to three recent legal cases that are raising concerns for educators and administrators. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the 1996 Hopwood case that public and private universities in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi could not consider race in admissions. And two pending cases against the University of Michigan now allege that unfair advantages are given to African Americans and members of other minorities in the use of race-sensitive policies.
"You have to be creative, innovative and within the law in being race neutral," Ricardo Romo, vice provost of the University of Texas at Austin and newly named president of the University of Texas at San Antonio, said about the consequences of the Hopwood case for his institutions.
Texas, he said, adopted a five-year plan as a result of then-governor Anne Richards' insistence on increasing minority enrollment at the state's two public flagship institutions. Romo said the plan addressed the reality that although the state had the fastest growing population of Latinos and African Americans, outside of California, fewer than half of high school graduates were taking SAT tests for university admission. Under the "top 10 percent plan," high school graduates who place in the top 10 percent of their class are now automatically admitted to the state's public universities, whether or not they have taken SATs.
"I think it's working," Romo said, "and we are now in a position to hold back the 'brain drain.'"
In a follow-up roundtable discussion moderated by Condoleezza Rice, the Stanford provost said she thinks educators and administrators today are "having trouble articulating the reasons for whatever you want to call it-race-conscious admissions or affirmative action in admissions."
In light of the rejection of affirmative action by courts as a remedy for past discrimination, and given rather general characterizations of diversity as "a good thing in itself," Rice asked Bowen and the three panelists, "Is the problem that we either have too many arguments, or that we don't have an argument that somehow is resonating?" She also asked them to suggest "the best argument for considering alternatives to race-conscious decisions on admissions."
Bollinger said he was "frankly very worried about the climate in which we're thinking about this issue" today.
"We have to be careful about an attitude that goes something like this:
We're all in favor of diversity, we're all for it, but just go find some other way to do it," he said. "I think that's a very, very dangerous attitude, the assumption that it's easy to go out and find another way. It's difficult to take a program that has been extremely successful, by any standards that we in the academic community would reward, and toss it out on the assumption that there are other ways."
Tomorrow's Professor Msg.#104 MENTORING POSTDOCTORAL STUDENTS
Debbie Stine, associate director of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP), writes: "You might wish to make your Listserv aware of the series of guides the COSEPUP has produced on responsible conduct in research, careers in science & engineering, and on mentoring. The full text is available online at: (http://www2.nas.edu/cosepup) under PUBLICATIONS. Some universities/classes link directly to material at our site."
The material on mentoring, found in, "ON BEING A MENTOR TO STUDENTS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING," is particularly useful with advice that can also be of help in the humanities and social sciences. Major content categories are:
1 What is a Mentor?
2 The Mentor as Faculty Adviser
3 The Mentor as Career Adviser
4 The Mentor as Skills Consultant
5 The Mentor as Role Model
6 Recommendation: Improving the Quality of Mentoring
Below is an excerpt from the section on a topic that is not given nearly
enough attention, mentoring postdoctoral students.
UP NEXT: Applying for Academic Positions
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MENTORING POSTDOCTORAL STUDENTS
From, "On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering (COSEPUP)
Postdoctoral study has become the norm in some fields, such as the life sciences and chemical sciences; for other fields, such as engineering, it is rare. Some students find that a postdoctoral study in a national or industrial laboratory broadens their outlook and job opportunities and allows them to learn a new research culture. Others find themselves in a "holding pattern"-going from postdoctoral position to postdoctoral position without finding a long-term research position-as well as working for low pay and no benefits for many years. Thus, the decision to undertake postdoctoral work should not be made lightly and should be made only after examination of one's career goals and the career opportunities in that field.
FINDING A POSITION. Encourage students who want a postdoctoral position to determine the three or four research groups that seem most appropriate to their interests and abilities. Use your own network of contacts and make personal calls to introduce the student. Then suggest that the student call each supervisor, with relevant questions: How many postdoctoral fellows do you have now? What do they do? Where do they go afterward? What support is available? Recommend a face-to-face meeting with the supervisor, as well as with former postdoctoral students of the program and faculty members doing similar work.
THE NEED FOR POSTDOCTORAL MENTORING. It can be tempting to suppose that postdoctoral students require little or no mentoring because they have more experience than undergraduate or graduate students. That might not be true for postdoctoral students, any more than it is for junior faculty.
In fact, postdoctoral students, who might have scant supervision, ill-defined goals, and poor access to a community of peers-tend to incur greater risks of isolation and stagnation than graduate students. A good mentoring relationship can be crucial to the success of postdoctoral students as they develop original research ideas and move toward greater independence and maturity.
Helping the student find a second or even third postdoctoral position might not be difficult, but the most-valuable contribution of the mentor is to help the student find a "real job." That process should occur before the student begins their research with a thorough review of the student's experience and goals. Establish your expectations and "terms of employment." Set a schedule for follow-up reviews at regular intervals. Career goals, which can change appreciably over time, should be a central topic of these discussions. Another important topic is finances; postdoctoral students often enter a postdoctoral position with scant financial resources. Be aware of ethical employment practices, which include giving advance notice of layoffs and regular updates on a postdoctoral student's employment status.
Some of the basic obligations that a mentor has to a postdoctoral student are to help perform research, design a good curriculum vitae, rehearse interviews, prepare manuscripts, plan seminars, raise grant money, and learn about the current job market (see the box "Career Questions"). In addition, a good mentor will maintain sufficiently frequent contact to know about personal or other problems that could hinder progress and will generally make every necessary effort to help the postdoctoral student grow into a mature and productive colleague.
DEMONSTRATING PROGRESS. In any field, the broad purpose of the postdoctoral experience is to gain research experience and skills that open new vistas. If you mentor postdoctoral students, make it clear that they should demonstrate independent research thinking, be productive, have their work reflected on their record, and make sure that someone in a position of authority knows what they are doing and can facilitate their next steps.
Some students find it useful to remain with a laboratory after the usual 1-3 years of postdoctoral experience. However, this should be accompanied by clear indications of progress, such as promotion to research associate (or other position), the addition of responsibilities (such as supervision and teaching), and efforts to obtain independent funding.
A common problem of postdoctoral students is their lack of institutional connections. Mentors can help by making them aware of the nature and location of department offices and by introducing them to other faculty and staff-an obvious step that is often ignored. Encourage the department or institution to include postdoctoral students in their seminars, retreats, and meetings with speakers.
Further comments of relevance to postdoctoral students are offered in the next section, on mentoring junior faculty.
Tomorrow's Professor Msg. #105 APPLYING FOR ACADEMIC POSITIONS
SUMMARY TO DATE
Theme Number of Today's Next
Postings Posting Posting
The Academic Enterprise 27 *
Preparing for Academic Careers 13 *
Managing Your Academic Career 21
Teaching and Learning 29
Academic Research 15
The University of Delaware, Center for Teaching Effectiveness sent me the
posting below. It contains some very good advice on seeking an academic
position gleaned from a panel of recent University of Delaware graduates
who are now serving as faculty members at various institutions. Additional
information, including a listing of on-line resources can be found at:
UP NEXT: Why Professors Have Tenure and Business People Don't
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APPLYING FOR ACADEMIC POSITIONS
Exploring Faculty Careers in Higher Education: Advice from University of Delaware Graduates (University of Delaware - Center for Teaching Effectiveness)
How do I prepare to apply for an academic position?
As you begin your graduate program, or at least well before you are finished, start taking a look at the postings for the kinds of positions that interest you. Inquire for details about job requirements so that you have the time to acquire the skills the job market demands, before it is too late at application time. Try to develop as much varied experience as possible: teaching (if possible several different courses), research record, service, work, or leadership experience-basically, anything that will give you experience and set you apart from others. If that means publications, take time to include them in the process of your research. If teaching experience is expected, make your TA position meaningful by taking some initiative and responsibility in the planning of coursework or by trying innovative teaching methods you may have heard of. Your department and CTE can help you get started.
What does an academic search committee look for?
The search committee looks for an experienced teaching and/or research background and faculty approval of you and your work. Where possible, make friends among faculty (network!). Seek out a faculty mentor or several mentors. Mentors can be helpful in understanding the expectations and job requirements of a professor. A mentor can also help you start a research history through collaborative research efforts. Find someone you can trust and feel comfortable with. Mentors are also helpful when they can write letters of recommendation, not only about your professional abilities, like teaching and research, but also about personal qualities like "works well with others." Take the time to develop these relationships with mentors. Keep a dossier of every accomplishment while you are in your program; save this list for your Curriculum Vitae (CV). Make sure to document all of your responsibilities for each job and have the supervising/mentoring professor write a knowledgeable letter of recommendation for you.
How do I market my abilities, qualities, and qualifications?
During the searching process, tailor your letters to specific institutions. Tailor your application letter and CV to the specific position. Try to learn as much about the position as possible; visit the institution's websites. Also learn as much as possible about the department and institution in terms of teaching philosophy, so that you appear more compatible with the department and institution.
How do I prepare for the interview process?
Be prepared for the interview process by surfing the WEB for additional info on the department, faculty. Prepare yourself with information about the institution, department, philosophy, mission, etc. Have questions prepared for your potential employer such as "Where do graduating students go from here?" Is this a new or replacement position? Is collaborative work encouraged or discouraged? How often are new faculty expected to publish?" Basically, know the department before interviewing and demonstrate an interest in the job. Take time to research the interests and subdisciplines within the prospective department and state in your application how you would advance their research agenda . Before an interview, conduct research with respect to the faculty. Try to be familiar with the kind of work the department does, what particular faculty are known for. Remember that if you have been given an interview, the faculty are interested in you. Also, remember that you are also interviewing the department.
What can I expect during the interview process?
At an interview, you will be nervous. Try to be genuine and interested. Make certain that you have questions for the committee. Questions indicate that you are considering them seriously as a place of employment. Be prepared to answer questions such as "Why do you want to go into teaching?" How would your colleagues describe you? What experiences do you have teaching? How do you see yourself fitting into this department?"
If you are offered a position, get a clear indication of when you need to respond. Then contact an impartial faculty member at another institution to inquire about the position particulars, such as course load, compensation package, etc. Compare notes to determine whether or not the offer is a good one, or at least one you can live with. CTE thanks the following panelists for their recommendations:
*Catherine Bentzley, Ph.D., Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of the
Sciences, Philadelphia, PA (1997, Analytical Chemistry).
*Shawn Christiansen, Ph.D., Human Development & Family Studies, Penn State
Worthington Scranton, PA (1997, Individual & Family Studies).
*Janet Manspeaker, Ph.D., Social & Behavioral Sciences, Cheyney University,
PA (1990, Political Science).
*Michael O'Neal, Ph.D., Science Education, Loyola College, Baltimore, MD
Tomorrow's Professor Msg.#106 WHY PROFESSORS HAVE TENURE AND
BUSINESS PEOPLE DON'T
If your experience is anything like mine, almost everyday someone, usually a colleague in industry, askes why faculty still have tenure when this is not the case for anyone in corporate America.
The posting below addresses this issue from an economic perspective. It is by Richard McKenzie, a tenured professor in the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Irvine. The posting is drawn from a more extensive article on the subject by McKenzie that can be found at:(http://www.gsm.uci.edu/~mckenzie/tenure.html).
UP NEXT: Learning From Teaching
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WHY PROFESSORS HAVE TENURE AND BUSINESS PEOPLE DON'T
Richard B. McKenzie
Critics of higher education are fervent in their denouncements of the academic tenure professors receive after only a few years on the job. Critics charge that tenure is the cause of much professorial incompetence, given that tenure supposedly affords professors life-time job security. They stress that professors are no more deserving of tenure than their counterparts in business. Doing away with tenure would be a be an unmitigated blessing for students, or so the argument goes.
South Carolina has recently done away with tenure for new faculty hires in that state's universities. Many state legislators in many other states puff away about the virtues of following South Carolina's lead. On the other hand, declaring themselves to be "special," professors typically defend academic tenure on the grounds that they need to be protected from external political forces that would, in the absence of tenure, throttle free thought and speech in the nation's classrooms.
Frankly, both tenure's critics and defenders don't fully appreciate the economic foundations of tenure. Tenure has very little to do with protecting professors from external political force; it has a great deal to do with protecting them from internal political forces. Professors have tenure (which, in reality, is only a limited form of job protection) and business people don't simply because professors have good reason to buy it; business people don't.
To understand tenure, critics must realize that tenure is nothing more than an untaxed fringe benefit, much like health insurance, that is voluntarily sold by most public and private colleges and universities to their faculty members at the price of reduced wages. Tenure is bought by professors at a price that is less than its assessed value.
Admittedly, tenure creates some widely recognized problems for colleges and universities (inattentive faculty members, for example), but so does health insurance (excessive purchases of health care). Tenure is provided by universities for much the same economic reason health insurance is: the acclaimed costs of tenure to universities are less than the unacclaimed lower wage bill (a fact that explains why students have reason to appreciate tenure, given that their tuition payments are lowered by it). If tenure were eliminated, universities' total wage bills would no doubt rise, which is one reason why so many colleges and universities continue to offer it in spite of the attendant problems.
Why is it that professors buy tenure while business people generally don't? Admittedly, the reasons are several, but one of the more important but widely unacknowledged reasons is that tenure is simply not very valuable to business people, and for good reason: The goal of business-profit-is clear, well established, and not subject to radical change by the whim of the people doing business. People in business have a pretty good idea that their long-run well-being in their companies will hinge on just how much they can contribute to profit.
Universities, on the other hand, are worker managed, governed extensively not by profits, but by politics-which can be guided by serious deliberations but also by changing whims. ("Political correctness" is only the latest guiding set of whims for democratic orders in some academies.) People taking positions in universities that are extensively labor managed understand that their future well-beings-promotions and pay raises- will be determined partially by secret votes of their colleagues. In such an environment, employment contracts have limited usefulness. The people doing the voting need not consider why a person is employed or what employment agreement the person had, and the voters (professors) can change the basis for their votes at will (and never let anyone know what they have done). Moreover, the cast of voters is constantly changing with resignations, retirements, and new hires, which means that a person can be hired by one group of voters, using one standard, and judged later by a radically different group using a substantially different criteria.
Few professors would give up much in the way of wages for protection against external political forces-because most professors never say anything controversial in class and precious few ever go public with their views. However, even professors who remain cloistered in their labs or in library corridors seek tenure, and voluntarily give up good money for it. Why? The answer should be transparent: They want to guard against the vagaries of academic democracy. Such a governing system can be, and often is, tame; but it can, and often does, become petty, vicious, and unstable, fraught with changing coalitions of voters.
Business people don't need the same form of protection because of the governing role of profits (and the forces of competitive markets that keep managers and workers' attention focused on company profitability and suppress, but does not eliminate, the role of politics). They aren't willing to forgo enough wages to cover the costs the firm would incur from tenure.
Not all colleges and universities are or need to be worker managed; the goals of some colleges and universities-for example, those heavily weighted toward teaching well-established disciplines-are relatively straightforward and stable. They can be administratively managed, as is common in business, given that administrators can judge what the faculty do. However, some universities-for example, those with a heavy emphasis on creating new, difficult-to-judge knowledge-must rely on delegated decision making, because administrators have little competence to judge faculty output.
Put another way, the more democratic the workplace-whether in business or academe-the more likely that the workers will demand tenure, and the more likely the employers will provide it-at a price, of course. Critics of tenure should realize that if they get their way, the cost of higher education will likely rise, and so will tuition (although tenure couldn't be worth more than a few hundred dollars to any professor worth his or her salt). The critics had better be prepared to accept changes in academic governance systems and their driving goals.
At the same time, the elimination of academic tenure will not be the panacea for the troubles of academia that many critics envision. There are already a hundred and one ways (from pay cuts to lousy teaching schedules) that colleges and universities can use to rid themselves of unwanted faculty members. All they have to do is use them.
Tomorrow's Professor Msg. #107 LEARNING FROM TEACHING
We all know that professors aren't the only teachers and students aren't the only learners, and that professors can learn a great deal from their teaching. The following article, reprinted with permission from the Stanford University Campus Report (now the Stanford Report), describes how one of Stanford's best professors learns from her teaching. There are essential lessons here for all of us.
UP NEXT: You Just Might be a Graduate Student if...
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LEARNING FROM TEACHING
Reprinted with Permission from the
Stanford University Campus Report
by Diane Manuel, December 10, 1997
As students finish up final term papers, at least one professor will be sitting down at her computer to evaluate the course she taught this quarter.
"I write down, free form, all my thoughts and feelings about what happened during the quarter - intellectually, personally and pedagogically," says Estelle Freedman, professor of history and director of the Program in Feminist Studies. "It's a lengthy stream-of-consciousness debriefing."
When she's done, Freedman will tuck her observations away in a folder titled "Thoughts 97." She'll also include notes from her teaching assistants, who write down every question that is asked in class.
The next time Freedman puts together a syllabus for the same course, "Introduction to Feminist Studies," she'll retrieve the folder. She'll be reminded of the questions students had, readings she vowed never to assign again, and stories that were helpful in illustrating complex points.
"I don't wait to get course evaluations to do a self-evaluation," Freedman told an audience of more than 50 students and faculty who gathered for a noontime "Award-Winning Teachers on Teaching" talk Nov. 20 sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning. "I need to know my experience of a course first."
In a wide-ranging talk titled "Learning from Teaching: What You Know, What You Don't Know and How to Teach," Freedman defined good teaching as a balance between thorough preparation and on-the-spot improvisation. Addressing both beginning and veteran teachers, she said her still evolving thoughts had emerged from years of conversations with graduating advisees who were about to launch their own teaching careers.
"Those farewell conversations are something between a pep talk and a survival skill course," she suggested. "The message is that teaching is a form of learning, not just for students but for teachers as well."
A feminist scholar who is a specialist in U.S. social history and women's history, Freedman has received both the Dinkelspiel Award and the Humanities and Sciences Dean's Award for excellence in teaching. But she said she still can recall the trepidation she felt in her early years in front of a class.
"I literally became ill on my way to my first lecture," she said. "I know how frightening it can be, and I only wish I had told myself then, 'You do know more than the students.' " Freedman encouraged her listeners to acknowledge what they already know as they prepare to teach new courses. Going to libraries and bookstores, reading and re-reading, taking extensive notes and composing detailed outlines are all good preparation, she said, but another step is equally important.
"I want to suggest putting the brakes on knowledge consumption, holding back temporarily and thinking about what we already know about a subject," she said.
By reviewing notes from qualifying exams, conceptualizing new topics, subdividing subjects chronological or topically, and then identifying areas that need filling in, Freedman said, new teachers can be reminded of their strengths and encouraged to build on them. She also tells her advisees in history to talk through the concepts they're developing. "Try to explain the basic issues for each topic to a non-historian," she said. "Ask a parent or a friend to listen to your ideas about what is historically significant, and see what needs to be explained further.
"Expect their questions to be on the minds of your students, and notice, too, what is boring your listeners. Then think about ways you could make connections that would engage them."
Noting that the style of graduate seminars can be "terrible training" because of the emphasis on specialized language and competitive discussion, Freedman urged new teachers to shift intellectual gears before facing a classroom of undergraduates. She said it helped to vary the style of presentations, and she encouraged her listeners to consider teaching a favorite book or article.
"Give a whole lecture on it," she said. "Tell students why you like it, what impresses you about it."
In addition to building on what they do know, Freedman said it is just as important for beginning teachers to acknowledge what they don't know. Listening carefully to the questions students ask in class can point to gaps in information and explanation, she said.
"We all know that the student statement, 'This may be a stupid question,' very often is followed by an inquiry that reminds us to make a basic fact or definition more clear," Freedman said. "And sometimes that statement is followed by the most sophisticated questions I have ever heard."
Freedman added that the "art" of teaching requires a balance between rehearsal - constant preparation, organizing, reading and re-reading for a course - and improvisation.
"Improvisation includes the vulnerability of opening ourselves up to questions that might lead to our saying, 'I don't know the answer.' It also includes the permission to speak personally in the classroom - something I was not comfortable doing earlier in my teaching career."
In the women's history survey course she teaches, for example, Freedman said she has drawn on stories from the oral history she conducted with her mother several years ago, and also has spoken about her own experience as a feminist in the 1970s and '80s.
Improvisation also can involve students, Freedman said. Stopping in a lecture to ask if there are questions or assigning students a one-minute essay to write in class can help to engage everyone in a large classroom.
"I want to suggest that our best teaching experiences come from trusting
ourselves and trusting our students," Freedman said. "Trust your knowledge
and build on it, and trust your students to let you know what you don't
Tomorrow's Professor Msg. #108 YOU JUST MIGHT BE A GRADUATE
On this April Fools day I thought some graduate student humor might be in order. This posting comes courtesy of GRADTALK, an Internet discussion list about graduate student issues moderated by Bobbi Kerlin and Scott Kerlin. [http://www.oit.pdx.edu/~kerlinb/gradtalk/].
UP NEXT: Gender Discrimination in Higher Education
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YOU JUST MIGHT BE A GRADUATE STUDENT IF...
* you can identify universities by their internet domains.
* you are constantly looking for a thesis in novels.
* you have difficulty reading anything that doesn't have footnotes.
* you understand jokes about Foucoult.
* the concept of free time scares you.
* you consider caffeine to be a major food group.
* you've ever brought books with you on vacation and actually studied.
* Saturday nights spent studying no longer seem weird.
* the professor doesn't show up to class and you discuss the readings anyway.
* you've ever traveled across two state lines specifically to go to a library.
* you appreciate the fact that you get to choose which twenty hours out of the day you have to work.
* you still feel guilty about giving students low grades (you'll get over it).
* you can read course books and cook at the same time.
* you schedule events for academic vacations so your friends can come.
* you hope it snows during spring break so you can get more studying in.
* you've ever worn out a library card.
* you find taking notes in a park relaxing.
* you find yourself citing sources in conversation.
* you've ever sent a personal letter with footnotes.
* you can analyze the significance of appliances you cannot operate.
* your carrel is better decorated than your apartment.
* you have ever, as a folklore project, attempted to track the progress of your own joke across the internet.
* you are startled to meet people who neither need nor want to Read.
* you have ever brought a scholarly article to a bar.
* you rate coffee shops by the availability of outlets for your laptop.
* everything reminds you of something in your discipline.
* you have ever discussed academic matters at a sporting event.
* you have ever spent more than $50 on photocopying while researching a single paper.
* there is a microfilm reader in the library that you consider "yours."
* you actually have a preference between microfilm and microfiche.
* you can tell the time of day by looking at the traffic flow at the library.
* you look forward to summers because you're more productive without the distraction of classes.
* you regard ibuprofen as a vitamin.
* you consider all papers to be works in progress.
* professors don't really care when you turn in work anymore.
* you find the bibliographies of books more interesting than the actual text.
* you have given up trying to keep your books organized and are now just trying to keep them all in the same general area.
* you have accepted guilt as an inherent feature of relaxation.
* you reflexively start analyzing those Greek letters before you realize that it's a sorority sweatshirt, not an equation.
* you find yourself explaining to children that you are in "20th grade."
* you start referring to stories like "Snow White, et al."
* you frequently wonder how long you can live on pasta without getting scurvy.
* you look forward to taking some time off to do laundry.
* you have more photocopy cards than credit cards.
* you wonder whether APA style allows you to cite talking to yourself as "personal communication."
Tomorrow's Professor Msg. #109 GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN HIGHER
In Feburary, 1998 I attended a conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the role of women in higher education. Of all the co-ed schools in the U.S., my guess would be in the entire world, M.I.T. has the highest percentage of undergraduate women majoring in science and engineering. The conference was designed to address the issues faced by women graduate students, postdocs, and faculty.
The article below, from the March 23, 1999 issue of the New York Times, is to some extent an outgrowth of this conference and and update on the situation.
UP NEXT: Can New Technologies Revitalize Old Teaching Methods?
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MIT ADMITS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST FEMALE PROFESSORS
BY CAREY GOLDBERG
New York Times
March 23, 1999
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-In an extraordinary admission, top officials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the most prestigious science and engineering university in the country, have issued a report acknowledging that its female professors suffer from pervasive, if unintentional, discrimination.
"I have always believed that contemporary gender discrimination within universities is part reality and part perception," the university's president, Charles Vest, said in comments to be published in the faculty newsletter within days and already posted on its Web site. "True, but I now understand that reality is by far the greater part of the balance."
Vest's comments introduced a report five years in the making that documents a pattern of sometimes subtle-but substantive and demoralizing- discrimination in areas from hiring, awards, promotions and inclusion on important committees to allocation of valuable resources like laboratory space and research money.
Such discrimination, national experts say, continues and in some way has worsened at institutions across the country, despite the growing number of female professors. In a report issued last month, the American Association of University Professors found that although women make up 34 percent of faculties nationwide, up from 23 percent in 1975, the gap between salaries for male and female professors widened in that period.
And Stanford University officials confirmed last month that the U.S. Labor Department is investigating whether their university engaged in"widespread" gender discrimination and violated federal affirmative action law. The investigation had its origins in a complaint brought by more than a dozen female researchers at Stanford who sent federal investigators a 400-page report last year alleging gender discrimination and affirmative-action lapses.
Remedies on the way
Female faculty members involved with the MIT report say they do not believe the institute discriminates more than other top-flight universities; it is simply more willing to admit it and address the problem. A push to increase the number of tenured female professors is already under way, the report says, along with other efforts to redress inequities in the allocation of resources.
The MIT administration's comments on the report "are the most forward-looking statements on gender discrimination that I've read by a high-ranking administrator in one of these elite institutions in the 25 years I've been a faculty member," said Nancy Hopkins, a prominent molecular biologist and an initiator of the committee that issued the report.
Robert Birgeneau, dean of the School of Science, the section of MIT that was the focus of the report, said Monday that he believed the university was unusual in its willingness to make such a document public. He also noted in his written comments: "I believe that in no case was this discrimination conscious or deliberate. Indeed, it was usually totally unconscious and unknowing. Nevertheless, the effects were real."
Real, but hard to pin down until three tenured female professors in the School of Science started to compare notes in the summer of 1994. As the report describes, they decided to poll their other female colleagues,which was not difficult because in the entire School of Science, there were only 15 tenured women, compared with 194 men.
In fact, the report notes, the percentage of the School of Science faculty who are women, 8 percent, has remained virtually unchanged for perhaps 20 years. And that, too, seemed a problem, with no sign of improving on its own.
By August 1994, the female faculty members in the School of Science proposed creating an initiative to improve the status of women in the school-to which Birgeneau readily agreed-and, being scientists, they began to collect data on everything from the allocation of laboratory space to the amount of research money professors had apply for themselves instead of being handed it by the university.
'It was data-driven," Birgeneau said of the report, "and that's a very MIT thing."
Other studies at other schools have found women consistently paid and promoted less, said Martha West, a professor of law at the University of California-Davis and a member of the American Association of University Professors' committee on the status of women. But, she said of the MIT report, "what's amazing about this is the president's acknowledging that there is a 'scientific' basis for our continual perception that things are not good for us. And my perception is that things have been getting worse, not better, for women over the last 10 years."
Birgeneau said participants in the report had not examined its legal implications. Laying the statistical basis for the report involved fact-finding that uncovered some interesting wrinkles. For one, junior female faculty tended to feel untouched by discrimination; it was only as they became senior faculty, and competed for real power, that they felt themselves increasingly marginalized and overlooked by male-dominated networks. And that did not seem to improve with time,the report found.
Another interesting aspect of the process was the dawning comprehension among the faculty, men and women both, who participated in the report that they really were seeing a pattern of discrimination, not a set of individual cases, all of which had "special circumstances."
Each little slight to a woman might involve an assumption that served as an explanation: say, that a single woman might seem to need a raise less than a family man, or that a woman might be less likely to seek an outside job offer to propel her promotion, or that it might seem implausible that a woman with children could work hard enough for a given job. But they all added up.
The women "needed to prove to themselves almost at the level of scientific proof that this was really not fair before they had the conviction to act," Hopkins said.
The tenured female faculty members and the dean, the report says, "found that discrimination consists of a pattern of powerful but unrecognized assumptions and attitudes that work systematically against female faculty even in the light of obvious good will. Like many discoveries, at first it is startling and unexpected. Once you 'get it,' it seems almost obvious."
The report, first reported on in Sunday's Boston Globe, recommended vigilance, noting that in the School of Science, there has never yet been a female department head or even associate head. It made a raft of recommendations, including a yearly collection of "equity data" and the dismissal of administrators who knowingly discriminated.
It also pointed out that there was still a long way to go.
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED
The MIT report is published at http://web.mit.edu/fnl/women/women.html.
Tomorrow's Professor Msg. #110 CAN NEW TECHNOLOGIES REVITALIZE
OLD TEACHING METHODS?
The article below, based on an interview with Gregory C. Farrington, president of Lehigh University looks at the role of technology in a residential university.
UP NEXT: Giving Lectures That Are Easy to Outline
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CAN NEW TECHNOLOGIES REVITALIZE OLD TEACHING METHODS?
Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company
By PAMELA MENDELS
"Despite talk about how the Internet could transform higher education and make "brick and mortar" campuses obsolete, Gregory C. Farrington, president of Lehigh University is one technology enthusiast who believes residential undergraduate colleges are unlikely to close shop anytime soon.
Farrington's thoughts on technology and undergraduate residential education were published recently in a 21-page essay he contributed to a book called Dancing with the Devil, a collection of essays published by Educause, an organization that promotes technology in higher education. (http://www.educause.edu/)
Often, discussions about computers and education center on the pros and cons of distance learning efforts, like the recently accredited Jones International University, and whether these programs pose competition to education in classrooms. But these ventures are targeted largely at working adults, Farrington says, and are more likely to compete with community colleges than residential schools. What makes Farrington's essay is unusual is his examination of whether technology could change academic life for the 18-to-22 dormitory crowd, too.
His answer? Yes, probably, which he views as a good thing. If administrators and faculty members are wise, he says, they will view the advent of the Internet not as a threat, but as a chance to launch an overdue examination of teaching methods.
"We've become a bit monopolistic, a bit complacent," Farrington said this week in a lengthy telephone interview. "We've put too little of our energy into focusing on the challenge of how we create the most effective learning environment at the undergraduate level. We know how we want to teach. We too seldom discuss how do students best learn."
Farrington, who oversees a small university in Bethlehem, Pa. known for its engineering as well as its liberal arts program, believes that the Internet is good for many educational purposes. For instance, posting images of art online enables art history students to view them long after the slide projector has been turned off, and online discussion groups that extend debate outside the classroom can help students improve their writing skills. "To some extent," he said, "[the Internet] is sending us backwards into an age of letters."
Farrington believes the Internet could prove a valuable way not just to deliver information but to explain concepts as well. By way of example, Farrington points to basic science courses, which are often taught in large lecture halls to hundreds of students. He asserts that a student actually learns a subject like introductory physics not through listening to lectures, but by sitting down quietly with the material, grappling with it and working through problems.
Given that, Farrington says in his essay, it might make sense to scrap the lectures. He suggests breaking the course components down into bite-size chunks, putting them on a Web site as a kind of interactive textbook with illustrations and audio, and then allowing students to work at their own pace through the material. "Save live class time for the intellectual interactions that only humans can provide," he writes.
On the other hand, Farrington says, technology is not cheap. And online courses, if they are taught well, are by no means less labor-intensive than traditional classes.
Perhaps most important, Farrington asserts, is that there is irreplaceable value in a campus community, in students engaging face-to-face with professors and other students. Computers might come in handy when a language student needs to memorize French verbs, he says, but discussion of Victor Hugo requires conversation.
Not everyone agrees with Farrington's take on technology's role on the campus.
David F. Noble, a history professor at York University in Toronto who has written a series of essays critical of educational technology, says he likes Farrington's emphasis on the need for student/faculty interaction, but he believes Farrington is caught in a "glaring contradiction." Noble believes a campus cannot make wide-ranging use of technology and still have sufficient rapport between students and professors. If computers teach some things that used to be taught by people, Noble says, they will necessarily displace professors-and thereby leave campuses with fewer professors to interact with students. "Farrington is not dealing with the labor dimension to this all," he said.
Furthermore, Noble says, there is no evidence so far that technology-based learning is any more effective than traditional learning. Why, then, he asks, should we invest a lot of money in an unknown to replace teaching methods that have worked for generations?
Farrington says he believes that technology, far from displacing professors, will actually give them new opportunities. An introductory physics teacher may no longer deliver lectures to large crowds of students, he says, but that instructor will do more hands-on laboratory work with the students. And Farrington believes the new technologies are promising enough that they at least merit experimentation.
Finally, he emphasizes that technology is not a farewell to the teacher. "In the end," he wrote in an e-mail follow-up to the phone interview, "Professors change students' lives - not computers. I doubt that any old grad will ever come back and ask to see his old computer and screen!!!"