multiple moves/mentoring

Patricia S. Bowne pbowne at omnifest.uwm.edu
Tue Jun 18 17:35:01 EST 1996


One issue I haven't seen in this thread is mentoring
graduate students for non-research positions. Lots
of the students we turn out will be lucky if they
can get a full-time position at Podunk community college,
let alone a university. What are we doing to prepare
them for careers in teaching?

When I entered my PhD program I was up-front about this
with my major prof. I told him I wanted a teaching career
and made sure I had lots of TAs instead of RAs. But aside
from that, and one teaching seminar I attended, I was
clueless as how to present myself to obtain the small-
college teaching position I wanted. In fact, I got my
job partly through dumb luck - I thought I had asked the
profs who were writing recommendations for me too often,
so I switched to the people who managed the general science
program - and one of them happened to belong
to the same teaching organization as the head of the department
 I was applying to, and to understand what the school was
looking for.

If I had known about teaching organizations, I could have
belonged to one myself before my job search began, and I
could have been developing things like a publication record
in teaching (heaven knows I developed enough new labs as
a TA!). But in my grad programs, none of the profs seemed to
know such groups existed, and the people who did know about
them weren't in the position of advising graduate students.

If I were advising grad students in biology, I'd make them
aware of ABLE (Association of Biology Laboratory Educators),
the AMCBT (Association of Midwestern College Biology Teachers)
and other such organizations. They're not only good sources
of info, but they hold conferences and grad. students can
present papers at them. Some even have publications, and the
AMCBT journal (Bioscene) is peer-reviewed. These would be good
places for a student interested in teaching to publish, and
to network.

BTW, I was at an NSF workshop Sunday and overheard a
group of grant recipients from small colleges discussing
resumes. All the people in the conversation agreed that a resume
with pages of research articles and a letter about all the research
plans the candidate had would *not* cut it. "Someone like that 
wouldn't be happy at a teaching college," was what they said.
In my own hiring experience, teaching publications or presentations
are rare in resumes, and exciting to see. They may also be the 
only way to compete with the experienced teachers applying 
for a position.

Pat Bowne



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