Varieties of World Making: Personal & Public Functions of the Imagination
Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 2:00PM
If you would like to reserve the Lounge for a meeting or event, please submit your desired date and time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Philosophy lounge is for the use of Philosophy students, so there must be a member of the Philosophy Department present at all meetings. If the meeting is to be held after hours, there must a member of the department who has a key to the C-wing of the third floor of Sakamaki in attendance at every meeting.
Meilin’s Job Talk: Teaching
To teach is to learn twice.
Take lots of time to prepare for class; detailed lectures; intellectual responsibility (you should know this or that about Kant).
- But don’t overwhelm the students. They don’t need to know everything (you don’t necessarily need to be a Kant scholar to start understanding Hegel)
You might not even notice that you’re using jargon; be careful of that. Slow down your approach; learn to intuitively feel the class.
A less formal approach may be beneficial. Improv isn’t a bad thing!!! More conversational, less information driven may be beneficial.
Don’t expect them to grasp it at the level you do. They won’t. Most won’t continue philosophy and most are having their first experience of it.
Model doing philosophy for them. Let them see that you yourself are working things out. It’s ok to show that you’re uncertain, that philosophy is confusing.
Good confusion and bad confusion. Latter is you don’t know what’s happing at all, the other is aporetic. The aporetic confusion is the aesthetic form of philosophy – it’s the tension that we feel when we’re approaching the punch line. Get confused on purpose sometimes!
Reticence and apathy is difficult to handle and can be off-putting to other students. You might not be able to have an engaging, community driven relationship with all the students; it’s tempting to ignore the reticent and apathetic students for the sake of building and sustaining good relationships with more engaged students. That may not be the best move, but it’s likely to happen that way.
We’re journeying together (especially if you’re teaching a topic that’s not particularly in your area of expertise). Make sure your students know that.
Your students might lead you to think about texts and your readings of them differently. There’s no one way to read a text. This is part of the good of good confusion.
Take into consideration who your students are. Generally testing may not be the best way to evaluate their aptitude; but if you’re teaching at a place like Tokai, consider that they don’t speak English well, that they’re used to being tested.
Your persona as a teacher may change from class to class. In some classes, being more informal, more playful might work better than in other classes.
Sometimes conversation driven classes might mask that they don’t understand the topic at hand. Dilemma between P and p. It’s not always a bad thing to do most of the talking (deliver them the P) – sometimes students won’t be capable of handling conversation. But sometimes it might be important to sort of force people to talk.
Good relationships with students can make for a good classroom experience, even if you haven’t necessarily mastered the craft of teaching.
Historical approach versus figures approach versus topic approach: each has its merits. Textbook might be good if you want to mix up these approaches.
Consider the reading skills of your students. It’s rough for an 18 year old fresh out of public school (especially if it wasn’t the best public school) to deal with Plato or Kant.
Be careful of overpreparing! You still need to spend time doing other things, like your dissertation.
Tanke Job Talk
Components of an application
Reading Advertisements and Miscellaneous
Job Talk 9/19/13
1.) When to start applying
Not until you’re realistically within 6-8 months of finishing, rather than just with a couple of chapters finished.
Looking for a job is a full-time job.
If you get a job when you’re not fully ready, the first year of teaching will be quite a load.
Even if the course you’re teaching looks familiar, it will be completely new.
The dissertation should be the focus up until it is almost finished; you should be able to get at least one publication out of it.
You will have to wait a minimum of 6-8 weeks from the time you submit your draft to give your committee time to read it.
The CV should include university experience, part-time non-philosophy jobs are discouraged from being included. Build a list of things you can mention – it’s crucial to mention conference presentations (not just attendance). Sure, put your graduate conferences on there. You need to have published articles in order to be competitive.
DO NOT list things that you’re doing now under the Publications heading. Do a Research Interests or Works in Progress for all things that are not completed.
2.) JFP PhilJobs approach v Local Community Colleges.
Everybody should be thinking in terms of university employment; we develop unique and desirable skills here.
Almost a full year between the time the job is posted and the appointment time. This cycle usually falls in the fall. SEPT-FEB is the time to look for jobs.
Community Colleges – you have to be on the spot and available and in the loop. It is difficult to be “on the job hunt” in these circumstances. They advertise internally on their websites. DO NOT contact the department head looking for jobs; if they have an opening, they will advertise it.
You need to come across as a professor. Look the part. Do a mock interview.
The community college teaching load is heavier than university. But in order to step up into a 4-year setting, you must continue to actively publish your work. Mine your dissertation for a little while, but continue into new vistas.
3.) Professional Appearance
Don’t pad it, don’t double-count, don’t put non-philosophy publications unless it is philosophically relevant.
Cover letter: Keep it brief – demonstrate that you are qualified with a confident tone. Make it thorough and engaging.
4.) Sending Applications
Do not blanket the market. The jobs should be a good fit – put extra effort into these and send them all of your publications, or outprint.
Depts aren’t often sure what they are looking for – they are a political compromise amid the professors of the department. That means that if the situation changes, so will what they are looking for. What they want is not carved in stone.
You may not be everyone’s first choice, utilize your on-campus visit to attempt to at least be suitable to everyone.
Be prepared for disappointment – even if you think yourself a perfect fit, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Be patient and persistent, if you play the game long enough you will get your chance. But keep in mind that there are about three years until you’re old news. You need to focus on your first impression once you’re invited for an interview. They’re looking for collegiality at this point. Don’t be prickly. Be open, social and receptive.
5.) Salaries and Interviews
Do not talk about salaries until the job has been offered. Once it has been offered, be prepared for a dangerous moment, you may commit yourself to being underpaid. You will instead be in a position to bargain.
Be aware of unionization – your starting salary will determine your future salary (incremental increases). Make sure it is fair. You will be unable to make adjustments after you’ve signed.
Ask for a couple of days to do research. Find out what people in that university are being paid, what the cost of living is, what you want your lifestyle to be like.
A good number for an assistant professor is somewhere in the low 60’s. If it’s below 57,000, then it’s not really worth your time. Do not be afraid to attempt to negotiate. Having a community college job can be used as leverage, but don’t push it too hard because ultimately you’d like to get out.
Good liberal arts colleges (4-year) will be comparable to a university. But it depends on the quality of the school.
Do not mention names in your cover letter of people you’re excited to work with. Do not create the impression of “sucking up”. In Philosophy, it’s not often that there is a collaborative relationship. Normally, that is something that happens spontaneously and organically.
Don’t let your research into the professors at your desired institutions be intimidating! If you have the tendency to be intimidated, maybe you shouldn’t do too much homework. :)
6.) The Department is Here to Help
i) Dossier Service is set up through the Philosophy Department Secretary
You will probably apply to 25-40 jobs per year, 3-4 that you really want.
You should solicit at least three letters of recommendation from your committee members for every job. Most of the letters will say the same thing, so it provides a holding place for a basic letter to put in a dossier
Submit a small payment to the university the purpose of which is to cover postage. Every time you have an application, you send your cover letter and supporting materials, and contact Pat and she will prepare and send the letters.
If there is a special case, you want a special letter. Contact the professors and indicate your particular interest in this job, what it is that they’re looking for, and ask for a tailored letter. No more than 4-5 of these will be alright.
ii) f you are here in Hawaii, you can set up a Mock Interview with the department.
What does teaching in Asia say about you as a candidate at a US university?
If you stay there for 4-5 years, it will be difficult to come back and color yourself as a Western philosopher. 1-2 years is ok and establishes your credentials within that field. Naturally, this depends on whether you become a “star” while you’re there.
If you are no longer at the stage of a viable assistant professor, then you will not be the most attractive candidate. This is why you shouldn’t stay too long. There aren’t too many openings for a full professor or even associate professors.