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Presentation in the 2006 Rice University NSF Advance Conference entitled “How to Stand Out in a Campus Interview”. This presentation was authored by Rebecca Richards-Kortum (Rice) and Sherry Woods (UT Austin) with the purpose of conveying advice regarding maximizing your impact in a positive way in an interview for a faculty position.

Workshop Authors: Rebecca Richards-Kortum and Sherry Woods.

Slide 1: assumptions

  • “Interview” = entire campus visit
    • Formal presentations/seminars
    • One-on-one meetings
    • Informal gatherings and interactions
    • Sample schedule
  • “Standing Out” = Positive and Negative
    • You want to be remembered…for the right reasons
    • You are always “on”…

Slide 2: components of a hiring decision for a research 1 institution

  • Step One: Getting an interview
    • Recommendations from dissertation advisor and others
    • Publication record: quantity and journal quality
    • Match between institutional needs and applicant’s research focus
    • The “Hot” factor of research area
    • Formal application materials:
      • CV
      • Statement of research interests
      • Statement of teaching interests
      • Start-up needs
  • Step Two: Getting an offer
    • All of the previous (and more…)
    • Who Decides if an Offer Is Made?
      • Varies from campus to campus
      • Full professors
      • All faculty
    • The Dean has the "final"say

Slide 3: today’s focus

  • The formal presentation
    • Practice talks on Tuesday afternoon
  • One-on-one meetings and interactions with:
    • Faculty
    • Administrators
    • Students
  • Strategies for success and for avoiding common pitfalls
  • Meeting and Greeting Activity
  • General Hints for Success!

Slide 4: top rules numbers 1 and 2: continually ask yourself these two questions:

  • Who is my AUDIENCE?
  • What is the CONTEXT/SETTING?

Slide 5: before the campus visit…

  • Find out what you are doing and who your audiences will be…AND PREPARE ACCORDINGLY!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for 30 min of prep time before your seminar
  • Ask for meetings that will help YOU determine if position is a good fit
    • Assistant professors in the department
    • Potential collaborators in other departments
    • Graduate students in your area
    • Female faculty from other departments
  • Homework
    • Know who everyone on your schedule is and what their area is
    • Find out what research areas the department is emphasizing
    • Find out what courses the department needs you to teach
    • How to get this info?

Slide 6: things to ask everyone on your schedule

  • What are the P and T criteria?
  • What is the teaching load?
  • What are the strategic directions of the department?
  • If you could change anything about the department, what would it be?

Slide 7: during the campus visit…words of advice

  • Presenting oneself as confident and competent is a balancing act
  • The difference between: “I don’t know” and “I don’t know…”
  • “Knowing your stuff” is NOT the same as “Knowing how to talk about the stuff you know…”

Slide 8: elevator speech activity

  • You are visiting for a two-day faculty interview at your number one school. In the elevator on the way to a meeting, someone introduces you to Dr. Clark, the Associate Dean for Research. She is not in your area. After shaking hands, she asks, “So, what do you do?” Your assignment is to prepare a 1-minute elevator speech that:
    • Describes your research interest in a compelling way to someone outside your area
    • Ideally, you want her to walk back to her office and call the chair of the search committee to say how impressed she is with you as a potential colleague.
  • Round One
    • Take one minute to prepare
    • Find one other person (to practice with)
    • At signal, begin (and end…)
    • Start with the handshake…
    • Remember…it’s not a very tall building…
  • Round One - Review. As Associate Dean, give feedback:
    • Name 2 – 3 key things you heard
      • Could you explain to some else her area of research?
    • Rate confidence level
    • Rate enthusiasm level
    • Rate hand shake
      • The art of confident handshakes…
    • Rating scale
      • Needs work
      • Okay, could be better
      • Great!
  • Round Two
    • Jot down 2 – 3 key messages you want to communicate
    • Repeat process with a new person
    • Still not a very tall building…
  • Round Two - Review. As Associate Dean, give feedback:
    • Name 2 – 3 key things you heard
      • Could you explain to some else her area of research?
    • Rate confidence level
    • Rate enthusiasm level
    • Rate hand shake
      • The art of confident handshakes…
    • Rating scale
      • Needs work
      • Okay, could be better
      • Great!

Slide 9: during the campus visit…more words of advice

  • When gender matters and when it doesn’t…
  • What to wear and how to wear it!
  • When to ask questions and what questions to ask…
  • Giving a technical presentation vs. teaching a class

Slide 10: anatomy of a good technical presentation

  • Introduction - 10 minutes
    • Get them excited
    • Why is your work important?
    • Background to understand it
  • The MEAT – 25 minutes
    • What you did (OK to sacrifice detail for clarity, not too simplistic)
    • What it means
    • Summarize as you go
    • Only the experts should follow the last 10 minutes of this part of the talk
  • The Implications – 10 minutes
    • What does this mean for the future of your field?
    • What direction will you take the work?
    • Leave everyone with a feeling of excitement about the future

Slide 11: important details

  • Clean slides, No typos, Large font
  • Outline easy to follow – help people stay with your talk
  • Rehearse for knowledgeable audience
  • Not too long or too short
  • Reference work of others in the field, especially if they will be in the audience
  • Practice answering questions
  • Don't get defensive
  • Check out the room and projector ahead of time
  • Have a backup of your presentation!!
  • Begin by saying, “Good Morning! It’s such a pleasure to be here.”
  • At the end, say, “Thank You, I’d be happy to take any questions.”

Slide 12: questioning activity

  • Expect the Unexpected: “Hard” Questions
    • I don't think you've accounted for the research of Barnes and Bailey. Aren't you familiar with their model? I think it invalidates your main hypothesis.
    • Unpublished research in my lab shows exactly the opposite effect. You must not have done the proper controls.
    • I believe a simple non linear equation explains all your data. Why have you wasted your time on such a complex model?
    • (To the candidate) Well you didn't even account for phenomena x. (Aside to the audience) How can all this research be valid if she didn't account for x?
    • How does this differ from the basic model that we teach in sophomore transport?
    • It looks like you've done some interesting modeling. Is there an application of this work?
    • What a wonderful little application. Is there any theoretical support?
    • Those results are clearly unattainable. You must have falsified your data.
    • You've done some interesting work, but I don't see how it could be considered engineering. Why do you think you are qualified to teach engineering?
    • Your work appears to be a complete replication of Fujimoto's work. Just what is really new here?
  • Good Responses to Hard Questions
    • “That’s a really good question...thank you for asking it.”
    • “You make a very good point…I have a couple responses…”
    • “We’ve discussed this question a lot in our research group and here’s what I think…”

Slide 13: final thoughts…strategies for avoiding interviewing pitfalls

  • Being too collaborative
  • Being too “easy” (“Rice is my first choice!”)
  • Failing to ask questions about the work of your host
  • Focusing too much on social aspects of department/city

Slide 14: preparing tuesday’s talk (for the workshop)

  • Who’s your audience?
  • How long?
  • What’s the setting? (AV needs?)
  • What kind of feedback will be given
  • What if you “bomb”?

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, 2006 nsf advance workshop: negotiating the ideal faculty position. OpenStax CNX. Jul 31, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10442/1.7
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