Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter 2016 Week 2: Ethical/Topical Questions in the Academic Interview

This week we wanted to think about some of the difficult or tricky questions that we might face in an interview for an academic job, specifically those related to controversial school policies or current events.  We decided that this topic would be of interest to us because one of our members, Sarah, had heard stories about friends being asked questions about recent articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Therefore, we spent some time reviewing recent articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education, thinking about topics or questions that would result from them, and how we would answer them if we were asked in an interview.

Some sample article snippets and resulting questions included:
"Students" Article: What an Elite French Institute Can Teach American Colleges About Diversity
"Ilyssa Yahmi’s daily commute from her home in Garges-lès-Gonesse to the Institute of Political Studies is just over 10 miles, but the two places seem worlds apart.
The 20-year-old Algerian immigrant is attending the prestigious public university commonly known as Sciences Po under an admissions plan that draws heavily from the impoverished immigrant suburbs, or banlieues, on the outskirts of Paris."
"Some affirmative-action experts say American colleges that struggle to enroll low-income, minority students can learn from the Sciences Po model. Its focus on socioeconomic factors, they argue, offers a better way to diversify campuses than race-conscious admissions programs do."

"Advocates for admissions programs that offer a preference for high-achieving, low-income students believe the changes in Sciences Po’s student body over the past 15 years show that racial diversity can be achieved by indirect approaches."

Do these approaches have the capacity to increase diversity at our institution? What policies would you favor?

Should colleges be allowed to use preferences for underrepresented minorities?Why/why not?

How would our institution make the application and admissions process more transparent?  Is this a goal we should work toward?

"Government" article: You’ve Heard the Debate About Guns on Campus. But What About Stun Guns?

"Several states have passed, or considered passing,"campus carry" legislation, which allows people with concealed-carry permits to have their firearms on public-college campuses. Such legislation has been introduced in Georgia in recent years, but one Republican state lawmaker, Buzz Brockway, says he plans to introduce legislation that puts an unusual spin on the concept —allowing people to carry Tasers and stun guns."

What approaches would you take to keeping our campus safe, or making it safer?

Although we had a fruitful discussion, we didn't come up with any cut and dry answers. Some of the things we decided include:

-researching the institution you're applying to is important.  What is their admissions policy like? Do they have a diversity statement or similar?  How would you fit in as part of the community? 

-keeping up with controversial or topical issues in the academic world is important, not just for the academic job hunt, but to be a responsible academic citizen.

To get access to the Chronicle and stay informed:
-Some articles are public, others require a subscription to access.
-For the restricted articles, UCD has a subscription; as long as you're connected to campus wifi you should be able to read anything you like without issue
-Off-campus, you can get to it by logging on to - for this one, you'll see a search box in the upper right hand corner and a button that says 'browse'. Type in "" and hit the browse button, and it will take you there.
They do also have a free newsletter, Academe Today, that gets sent right to your inbox. You can sign up by visiting the homepage and entering your email address in the "Sign Up" box, located on the right side of the page. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Winter 2016 Kick-off!

Welcome back for Winter quarter 2016, GTCers!

We had a very exciting kick-off meeting today where we decided on a theme for the quarter.  Everyone in attendance had the job market on their mind, so we chose to focus on the skills and knowledge that we need to secure a job in teaching or outreach.  We titled the theme "Career Prep: How to Make Teaching Work". (get it?)

Topics this quarter will include building a teaching portfolio, how to improve mentoring and networking skills, how to answer common and tricky interview questions, and how to find opportunities to expand your teaching experience (and your CV).

If you're interested in these topics, please come out to GTC this quarter!  We're meeting Wednesdays 12-1 in 1360 Surge III.  If you have an idea for a workshop you'd like to see or lead, we still have a couple of weeks open.  Remember that earning a certificate requires you to lead (or co-lead) one week's session.

Looking forward to a great quarter!

Rachel Anderson and Amanda Fox
GTC Co-facilitators