reshaping (my) graduate education

Lesley A Perg lperg at GAS.UUG.Arizona.EDU
Tue Jul 18 07:07:03 EST 1995

SLForsburg (susan_forsburg at wrote:

: Mary R Leinhos <leinhosm at> wrote:
: (snip)

: I can't speak for the small college environment, but certainly a 
: research university requires its tenure track faculty to run a 
: vigorous research program.  My observation suggests that there
:  are few positions for non-practising scientists and they are usually 
: non-tenure track, largely organisational and carry the title lecturer or 
: instructor).   When I looked for a job
: and put together a "teaching experience" section on my cv, one senior
: person I showed it to said "that's all very good, but no one will make
: a hiring decision that is influenced by teaching ability or promise."
: He was speaking of course about the reserach university environment.

It is true that positions devoted solely to teaching are non-tenure track 
lecturer positions; but from what I have seen, teaching abilities are
becoming more important.  One faculty member was recently denied tenure, 
partly based on teaching record.  In the current Minerology / Petrology 
faculty position search, a teaching statement as well as a research 
statement was requested.  Those that did not include one were not viewed 
as favorably.  We advertised for Assistant level, but received 
applications qualified for Assoc/Full level also.  In the ensuing debate, 
it was hashed out that only a person demonstrating superior teaching and 
community involvement would be considered for that level; this was 
actually considered in many ways *more* important than having a stellar 
research record.

I think that you were given bad / outdated advice.  With scores of
applicants to chose from (~115 in this case), there are going to be many
promising researchers, so departments can afford to gamble on someone who
looks to be a good researcher *and* a good teacher.  Besides, anything
that is relevant and distinguishes the applicant, such as a teaching
statement, is definitely good to include. 

(Note: the examples are from the Geosciences Department at the University 
of Arizona, a Research One University.  Although it is not a Bio 
department, I think it is a good illustration of the changing attitudes 
at research universities.  I am obviously a geologist, but lurk on 
b.w-i-b because there is no sci.geo.women.  Besides, I enjoy reading up 
on biology as an 'outside interest.')

	|		|  Lesley A Perg  lperg at
	|   /\		|  
	|--/--\--/	|  The proportions and relations of things are  
	  /    \/	|  just as much facts as the things themselves.
	    	\	|             -DLS, _Gaudy Night_

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