back to academia - teaching advice

s.dippel at s.dippel at
Tue Nov 13 04:51:21 EST 2001

Hi there, 

finally I am getting around to updating those here who know me 
on some changes ahead, and to asking advice from everyone in 
this group. 
As those sticking around this group for a long time know, 
I am a physicist and started to work in industrial research 
after my PhD nearly four years ago. Now I am heading back to 
academia, to a job as associate professor at a so-called 
"Fachhochschule", which is sort of equivalent to a four-year 
engineering college (with the main difference that one semester 
has to be spent in an industry internship by the students). 
For those not familiar with the german system - it is actually
a requirement to have worked in industry for at least three 
years to get this kind of job. In fact, when taking my job 
in industry, I always considered a professorship at this 
kind of institution as an option for my professional future. 

So much for the update - now for the question. The job 
involves a high teaching load and I will have very little 
permanent staff (2 profs share approximately one person) and
no graduate students. Still, I would like to do at least a 
little research (the possibility to apply for grants is 
there, plus a reduction in teaching hours in the case of 
So my question goes to those working in purely undergraduate
institutions - do you manage to get some research done, just 
with undergraduate projects etc.? Is it wise first to concentrate 
on preparing your classes so well that when you teach them 
again in a year or two, the effort will be much smaller so that 
some time will be left for organizing your research? (Quickly 
bringing in grant money etc. is not an issue in the sense of 
affecting a tenure review, I will have tenure from the start.)

Generally, do you have any advice on what pitfalls to avoid 
when teaching a real class for the first time (I have TAed quite
a bit, but never taught a full class), in terms of organisation 

Well I hope that this is enough material for the moment to get some 
traffic again in this newsgroup, even though November/December 
are usually awfully busy months for everyone. 


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