The best prof meetings for teaching?

Ken Klemow kklemow at WILKES1.WILKES.EDU
Wed Feb 24 15:44:50 EST 1999

>I have a talented new PhD student with a strong interest in ultimately
>getting faculty position emphasizing teaching, probably at an
>undergraduate institution. With this in mind, I'd like to have her attend
>professional meetings where she will make the most valuable contacts for
>the job search. I would like to hear your recommendations!
>I usuaIly attend Plant Physiology (abstracts due Monday!), but the
>Botanical Society of America looks good also. Her work is in plant
>physiology with a soupcon of agriculture and a dash of systematics.
>Thanks for your help
>Thomas Bj–rkman
>Dept. of Horticultural Sciences
>Cornell University


Which meetings to attend to make contacts for undergraduate teaching job
search?  Hmm...  How about AIBS, or FASEB, or ASM, or AAAS, or ASZ?

The point is that a search committee at an undergraduate institution will
typically be composed of individuals outside the area of expertise of the
position being advertised.  For example, our last search committee for a
Plant Molecular Biologist consisted of a Drosophila geneticist, a
bacteriologist, a mammalian behavioral ecologist, an invertebrate
physiologist, and a plant ecologist.

A second point is that, having sat on at least eight search committees, I
can't recall any situation where contacts made at a meeting had any impact
on the choice, pro or con.  Instead, we based our selection strictly on the
meterials supplied by each candidate (CV, letter of application, statement
of teaching interest, and letters of recommendation), and recommended
interviews based on those materials.

If your student wants to pursue a career at a teaching institution, I would
urge her to get some meaningful teaching experience (being in full charge
of at least two undergraduate-level courses) before applying for positions.
Being a T.A. is only a first step.

Hope this helps.  I'm sure you'll hear other opinions.

Ken K.

Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology & GeoEnvironmental Science
Biology Program
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
e-mail: kklemow at
phone: 570-408-4758
fax: 570-408-7862

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