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The Journey To A Teaching Oriented Faculty Position: A Handbook Of Advice For Graduate Students

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Graduate Student Experiences

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1307.1 - 11.1307.19



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Paper Authors


Tammy VanDeGrift University of Portland

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Tammy VanDeGrift is an assistant professor at the University of Portland. She earned a Bachelors degree in math and computer science at Gustavus Adolphus College. She completed a Masters and PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research interests include computer science education, educational technology, and media distribution systems.

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Janet Davis University of Washington

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Janet Davis will join the faculty of Grinnell College as Assistant Professor of Computer Science in August 2006. She expects to receive her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in June 2006.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Journey to a Teaching-Oriented Faculty Position: A Handbook of Advice for Graduate Students


A graduate education usually trains students as researchers and scholars in their fields. Curricula of computer science and engineering graduate programs generally include courses in research methods and provide ample opportunities for students to work as research assistants. Recent research has shown, however, that graduate students are not necessarily prepared for teaching positions after graduate school. The Preparing Future Faculty program is an example intervention to assist graduate students when making career choices and preparing for a faculty career. Because graduate students generally complete an advanced degree at research institutions, there are few opportunities for graduate students to learn about teaching positions at teaching-oriented colleges and universities.

The purpose of this paper is to provide advice and information to graduate students in computer science and engineering fields who are considering a teaching-oriented position after graduate school. There is little information about teaching-oriented positions and few opportunities for mentorship between faculty in teaching-oriented positions and graduate students. Therefore, this paper presents advice about acquiring teaching experience in graduate school and more detailed advice about finding open position announcements, preparing job applications, preparing for interviews, and knowing what to expect when interviewing at teaching-oriented colleges and universities. The advice and expectations for a teaching-oriented career path were harvested from the authors’ recent experiences in conducting teaching-oriented job searches in computer science.

Effective mentorship takes place when a person has access to a mentor at the next career or life stage. This paper serves as a surrogate mentor to computer science and engineering students who wish to pursue a career oriented towards teaching.

1. Introduction

In a review of recent research, Gaff reported in his article “The Disconnect Between Graduate Education and Faculty Realities” that graduate students are not equipped for the faculty positions they accept and have little exposure to other career paths outside the academy 1. Graduate students reported not having enough information to help them choose or plan for a career. One response for this lack of information is the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program launched in 1993 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Council of Graduate Schools. The PFF program is designed to expose students to the teaching profession and provide information about academic careers. Several research universities have Preparing Future Faculty programs on their campuses; readers of this paper should inquire about such a program on their campuses 2, 3. Another study shows the unmet need for graduate students to be supported in their professional development as teachers 4. Several graduate students reported a lack of safe places to discuss teaching.

Meacham reports that what colleges and universities want in their new faculty hires is quite different at teaching-oriented schools versus research institutions 5. Teaching-oriented schools include community colleges, undergraduate-only institutions, and sometimes Masters-level

VanDeGrift, T., & Davis, J. (2006, June), The Journey To A Teaching Oriented Faculty Position: A Handbook Of Advice For Graduate Students Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--683

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015