Getting Hired at a Community College: Tips and Strategies from Faculty on Hiring Panels


>>Shannon Patton: Okay, everyone,
so we’ll go ahead and get started. I want to welcome you all today to our event. “Getting Hired at the Community College.” This is the second event in a three part
series on exploring careers in teaching at a community college that’s
been organized through CIRTL and the NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance. So I just wanted to welcome you
here on behalf of the CIRTL network. My name is Shannon Patton and I’m here to
provide tech support for today’s event. So please, if you have any
technical issues during this session, you can put them in it chat box to get my
attention or you could also email [email protected] and we can see– help you
out through that mechanism. So we’ve already been having you– most
of you introduced yourself in the chat. But if you haven’t seen where that is yet, there’s a little purple arrow
in the bottom right corner. You can click that arrow and it
will expanded the tabs for you and that first tab is the chat
box that you can type into. Since some of you may be new to CIRTL,
just wanted to give you a quick overview of what the CIRTL network is all about. So CIRTL is the Center for the Integration
of Research, Teaching, and Learning. And we’re a network of 37 universities
in the US and Canada working to make the sciences more diverse
by changing how they’re taught, that’s kind of the essential
part of our mission. How we go about this is we are focused on
teaching some graduate students and post-docs about inclusive evidence-based
teaching and learning so that they can become both
excellent researchers and teachers. A lot of folks might already be getting
practice at becoming great researchers at their universities, but sometimes
some supplemental instruction on how to become great teachers can really help out. So if you’re interested in learning more
about the CIRTL network, you can learn more about our member institutions, our approach
to STEM education, and our full range of programming at CIRTL.net, our website. Including, we do have an upcoming
third session of this event series that you might be interested in
if you haven’t already signed up. So, we’re excited to bring this event to you. The community college space is a great– it’s great for students to think about
community college positions as one of their future faculty opportunities. If they’re interested in teaching. I did want to bring up that because we have
so many participants that we’re expecting to join today, we do want to sort of
funnel questions through the chat window. So rather than trying to come on
camera or raise your hand or things, we do ask that you put questions in to the chat. You can feel free to do that
throughout the session today. But we’ll also pause at certain points in
time and specifically ask for questions. So please ask what numbers
kind of come into your mind. So I think with that, I just want to say welcome
again and I’ll hand the event off to Katie Dixie and Jess Gregg and our speakers.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you so much, Shannon. Hi, everybody. Echoing the welcome here. Before we jump into it, I want
to ask a couple of questions. And my first question for is did you
attend the first event in this series? This is a three-part series. The first event was “Introduction to Teaching at Community
College,” which was held last month. So I am going to put up a poll and
down at the bottom of the screen there, it should give you some instructions. Let’s see. Alright, we’ve got about
half and half it looks like. Awesome. Well for those of you
who were with us the first time, welcome back, and for those of you
who are joining us for the first time, welcome we’re so happy that you could join us. And we’re so excited to talk to you
about these wonderful career options. We also have a second question. Which is are you planning on
applying to a community college job? Or maybe you’re applying now. And yes, no, or maybe you’re not sure? Alright. So it seems like
a good mixed bag again. A lot of people who are definitely thinking
about it or at least applying right now. And there are several people
who maybe aren’t sure. Which is great. So maybe this will help sway you
towards maybe wanting to apply. A couple no’s– but that, that’s alright. This is where you get information. So who knows. Okay. So, I want to introduce myself
first before we jump into it. My name is Katie Dixie. I represent the NSF INCLUDES Aspire
Alliance, which I will talk about in a minute. I’m the program coordinator for the California
Regional Collaborative run out of UCLA. I also have Kankana here with me.>>Kankana Ghoshal: Hi, everyone. I’m Kankana Ghoshal. I am an Aspire2Teach Intern at UCLA.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. So Kankana’s going to be helping me monitor the
chat and then take down all of your questions. So we also have Shannon, of course, who is
here as your wonderful tech support from CIRTL. She is such a great help and so if you have
any technical problems, please contact her in the chat and she’ll try to help you out. So a little about this series. Like I said, it’s a three-part series
where we have panels of current and former faculty at community colleges
who are going to be talking about basically using their expertise
and their experience in talking about community college and what
it’s like to teach there as well as their experience in getting hired there. So the previous webinar that we had was the “Introduction the Teaching
at Community College.” Now that is available– it recorded
and available to be viewed on YouTube. So I’m going to post a link
to the series in the chat box. And this is a link to the previous webinar. So if you’d like to watch it, feel free to. We also have one coming up next month. Please save the date, because it’s going
to be a great event with a great panel talking about diversity,
equity, and inclusive teaching and what that means in community college. A little bit about Aspire. So Aspire is a national alliance
that really grew out of this– out of data that came in that students
from underrepresented groups were leaving STEM majors in higher education at
disproportionate rates to other students. And so for this, there were a lot of national
initiatives that were launched from this. And Aspire is one of the
things that came out of it. So Aspire works with the Association
for Public and Land-Grant Universities, the APLU, and CIRTL, in several different ways. So there’s three main goals. One is to help prepare STEM faculty to be more inclusive
and effective in their teaching practices. To be a bit more– well equitable and inclusive. We also try to diversify the faculty through
recruitment and hiring, as well as just kind of getting the word out about these
career options available for teachers. And to create institutional change. To make it a bit more welcoming and really
value the inclusivity and diversity. So, out of their series kind
of three different arms. We are part of the regional collaborative arm,
so there are three regional collaboratives. One in California, one in
Iowa, and one in Texas. And what we do is we work
with four-year institutions and two-year institutions, so community colleges and universities, and together
we try to work towards two main goals, the first of which is trying to
increase the number and diversity of graduate students and post-doc, so future faculty like yourselves, interested
in pursuing careers at two-year college where a lot of these underrepresented– these students from underrepresented groups
are getting their first taste of STEM. A lot of students, everyone, a lot of people get their first
taste of STEM at community college. So we do this through putting
on a couple different events. We have internships and practicums
that we create. We also do workshops and trainings
and informational meetings. And so this is where this webinar comes in. We want to share with you and
get the word out there about all of the career options available to teaching, teaching focused like-minded
people like yourselves. So, that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about our panelists. So we have three wonderful
panelists with us here today. I’m going to have them introduce
themselves and talk just very briefly about how they ended up teaching at a
community college, what their pathway was like. So we’ll start with Sacha.>>Sacha Moore: Okay. I think I’m back on, yes. Good morning everyone, or good afternoon
depending on where you’re watching this from. It’s good morning for us in
southern California here. I hope you’re all having
wonderful weather like we are. If you’re not, I’m sure it’s coming soon. As I mentioned, my name is Sacha Moore, she
or hers, I have two roles in community college and a community college district. I have been a professor of English
full-time in the Golden West College in Huntington Beach for 12 years. And I also– how funny. I’m noticing that it says Pierce College
somehow underneath my information. That is not correct. I’m a professor of English at Golden West. But the other part of that is I’m the
district coordinator of equity and inclusion in compliance for the Coast
Community College district. I think I got another title
in the midst of doing this. So, I already have two full-time
jobs, I’m good on that front. I got to this point because I was
a community college student myself, had a really fantastic experience
as a student in that position, especially as a first generation
college student. And– no worries, Katie. And you know, I really, I wanted to
kind of be on the other side of that. I want to make the kind of impact on my students that my community college
professors have made on me. And so, I went through the typical
process which is a little bit of time as a part-time instructor
at two separate colleges. I then had a one-year, full-time
temporary position at the college where I then one year later got a
full-time tenure track position. So I think I did that in reverse order. But that was my path to getting here and
I’m happy to be here with all of you today.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you, Sacha! I’m happy that you’re here with us, too. Loni, how about you next?>>Loni Nguyen: Okay, hello everyone. I am currently teaching at
Mt. San Antonio College. That’s in southern California as well. I’ve been here 20 years and I have served as
department chair, long, long, long time ago. Let’s see, in addition to teaching I am
also the Campus Outcomes coordinator. So if you hear “learning outcomes,”
that’s kind of in my territory right now. And prior to teaching full-time,
I also taught part-time at the local community colleges in biology. That’s about it.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you, Loni. We’re so happy you could join us, also. And Jamey.>>Jamey Anderson: Hi, everybody. Can you hear me? I guess not. Oh, you heard me, okay, good. Okay. I wasn’t sure with these
earphones, it’s very odd. Alright, hi, my name is Jamey Anderson
and I am currently a faculty member in chemistry at Santa Monica College. I have just finished a term and a
little bit more as department chair here at Santa Monica College of the
physical science department, which includes physics, chemistry,
and engineering. And my path to being a community college faculty
member and sometime administrator has been– started back in 1995 when I
was still in graduate school, I kind of snuck away one semester and taught
a night class at a local community college. And it was so much fun that I totally
stopped looking for post-docs at that point and did what I wanted to do, which was look
for teaching positions in the local area. So I taught contract positions for about two
years at UCLA and at other community colleges. And then eventually got hired in
1998 here at Santa Monica College. Since being here, I’ve been involved
in leadership in the department as well as in the academic senate. And been involved in developing
hiring practices and more recently, equitizing our hiring practices
here at Santa Monica College.>>Katie Dixie: Awesome, thank you! So, we’ve kind of broken up today’s
panel into three different sections. The first being about navigating
the job market, how you find jobs, things like that, preparing your
application materials is the second part, and then the interview process is the third. So, please, as we’re going
through, post any questions in the chat box, we’ll be keeping track of it. Kankana will be helping us with that. And there’ll be time after each section to
answer some of these relevant questions. We may hold off on some questions that you have
that might be addressed in the next part. And then at the very end, we’ll
have time for any other questions that you didn’t get a chance to get answered. So we’ll do our best to answer
as many questions as we can. So, for our part one, Navigating the Job
Market, maybe this one Loni can start us off on, is what advice do you have about
starting as an adjunct versus trying to get a full-time position without
community college experience? Is there a difference between the adjunct
and full-time application process?>>Lori Nguyen: Oh, okay. So the first question, I would definitely
recommend that everyone start as an adjunct. Simply because number one, we need to know
what it’s like to teach at a community college. It’s very– the student population
is so diverse. You know, you’re going to have people of
all age group, people of all ethnicity, and different level of experience. Some of them don’t want to be there, some of
them want to be there but they’re very tired because they’re working two jobs, et cetera. So it’s not like what a people expect. But having said that, I think a lot of
people enjoy that diversity, that mix. And so, just teaching one class will
give you exposure to what to expect. And also, you know, the first time you
teach anything, the preparation is huge. You’re going to have to sort out your material,
you’re going to have to work on your homework and you know, what kind of test question you’re
going to write, you know, all this stuff. I can’t imagine creating more than
one prep, we call it a prep, right? For each course. So trying to do that for one
class is a lot of work up front. But once you do it, then you
kind of revise and you know, modify according to what your
experience is in the classroom. So teaching just one class, you
will have some time to do that. And then the next time you
teach it, you just modify. So it’s a lot easier. So, it’s like a stair step, you
know, teach one class first. If you like it, continue, and
then as you teach more and more, you have a better feel for what to expect. Number two, I would also recommend that you
start out teaching the subject, of course, within any subject there are different classes
within say, biology, use biology as an example. So we have general biology for a
non-science major, we have general biology for science major, we have anatomy,
we have physiology, microbiology, you know, there’s a lot of
different classes under biology. And as an adjunct, you can just
teach one and develop your material. And then take another one. So the more diverse classes that
you can teach, the better you will in getting a full-time job, okay? So it works both ways, right? You take your time, you develop your
material, and then you start to teach more than just one specific type of classes. And that will I think make you, make
the applicant much more attractive if you’re to go for a full-time job. So let me now go to the second question. At Mt. San Antonio college, it is
a huge difference between applying for an adjunct versus a full-time position. It’s very competitive at Mt. SAC. We are currently posting for a
microbiology full-time person. And the application process
has I think already started. It’s open right now. I think it’s going to close in March. But in the past, like last year,
I was on the hiring committee for a general biology full-time position. We got I think over 100 applications? And HR pretty much ruled out maybe 20%
because they didn’t meet the criteria. And then we on the hiring committee, we
were looking at about 80 applications. So, it’s a lot more work,
it’s a lot more competition. Now, on the other hand though, as
adjunct, we are always hiring adjunct. Because a lot of our adjuncts
go onto full-time jobs. They’re really good and we lose them. I mean it’s great that they’re
moving onto a full-time job. But yeah, we have a high
turnover of part-timers. Some stay with us for a long, long time. And then there are others who stay with
us, for you know, maybe a few semesters and then they land themselves a full-time job
and so we are constantly in need of part-timers. So it’s easy to get started. The process, you just apply with the application
and then you come in for a quick interview. And that’s it. Pretty much, you know, you
either you get hired or not. So it’s very fast and like
I said, we’re always looking for part-times at Mt. San Antonio College.>>Katie Dixie: Awesome,
thank you, thank you so much. It does definitely sound like there
is a big difference between it. So, I wonder if Jamey, maybe you
have any suggestions or resources on how someone might find
these types of job openings. So you know, adjunct versus full-time. And how could they tell if maybe that would be a good fit for them? Or if they would be a good
applicant for that particular job?>>Jamey Anderson: Okay, yes. I’m going to put a couple of
URLs in the chat window here. Of places that are probably the best to find
the broadest range of jobs and job listings.>>Katie Dixie: Jamey, I think
maybe we can’t hear you anymore?>>Jamey Anderson: Ah, there we go. It muted for some reason. Is that better?>>Katie Dixie: Yep!>>Jamey Anderson: Alright, so I’m going
to put a couple of these URLs in there. And these URLs are ones that most community
colleges will list their job openings on, at least their full-time positions. That CCC Registry is California only. And then nationwide, there’s one called
CommunityCollegeJobs.com that we typically use. Yeah, and so these will be primarily in the US. It think there are some in
Canada that post on this as well. But the CCC Registry is California
Community College only. But I’m going to encourage people
to not just go to these websites, but also look in your local area,
find the community colleges that are in your area, and go to their own website. Try to find the contact information
for HR, peruse their listings, and even call their HR number
if you can’t find anything. Call the HR number and find
what their listings are. You’re going to find there people who
are going to be willing to talk to you about what their hiring schedule is,
when they anticipate posting new jobs, and you can find that contact information
very easily just by looking for a list of local community colleges in
an area that you’d like to teach. And I know it’s– if you’re going to do a nationwide job search,
that’s really rather daunting. But a lot of people have a specific
area they want to go look in. You know, a specific geographic area
that they’re most interested in. And you can find some top community
colleges in the area, their listings, and a lot more information than you’ll find
on these websites about those openings. So that’s one thing I would
definitely recommend. The other thing is if you are looking
for part-time in a specific area, a lot of times you’re looking for just teaching
a class while you’re doing other things, like Loni mentioned, you can
contact the specific division or department itself and
find out if they’re hiring. That’s how I got hired my first time was that
someone was just happening to find an opening and they were– happened to have someone
cancel on them and because I was there at the right time and had the qualifications,
they just hired me on the spot for the job. So, very often if you just cold
call a community college department, they’re going to be hiring at that moment. And if they’re not, they can tell
you about how to get your name in the pool for that particular college. So don’t be afraid to just reach
right out and put yourself in the mix. You don’t have to wait for an
opening to be posted on a website. And in terms of telling if a position is a good
fit, you’ll want to look at a job description and see if they tell you which
courses that they’re hiring for. Many times, these departments are organized in
different ways at different community colleges. So you’re going to have to
get to know what disciplines and what courses fall in which departments. For example, we have an odd thing here
where my department, physical sciences, we– in my department of physical
sciences we have physics courses. But we don’t have astronomy courses. And a lot of people who can teach
physics can also teach astronomy. So they can go to a different department. So that’s a very helpful thing to get to know. And basically you’ll have to get
each website for each college to see how they’re organizing themselves. There’s no uniform way that we organize
ourselves at these colleges, so. I see someone’s asked about cold calls. Is there some sort of protocol? If you can find the name of a science dean or
a department chair in the area that you want, you can send them a quick little email
and ask if it’s okay to call them. You can attach your resume to that. But I get a lot of voicemail messages
when I was chair just saying “Hey, I’m in the area, I can teach this year. I’m just here on a like one-year post-doc. Could I apply for a job?” and I would call them back and
invite them to put in an application. There was also, yeah. So I would get those calls a lot. There were people from local industry who
wanted to sort of change their careers who were interested in changing into teaching. So there were a lot of different kinds of
varieties of people who would just cold call me or email me and then some of them, they
would even come in and I would meet with them personally to try and
help them navigate the system. So, it’s okay to do that. You just find the connect information
on the website and figure that out. I wrote down a couple other things here. To see if it’s a good fit,
you’re going to want to see if the campus has specific student programs, especially for STEM students,
that focus on equity. Those of us who are here with
CIRTL, because we’re involved in this organization, this
is a focus that we have. And I think we all want to make a
difference in the community colleges, if that’s your focus of your career. So you can peruse these websites to
see what kind of programs they have. As you can see, Sacha is a leader
of such a program on her campus. And try to get a sense, like I said before, of how the campus organizes
the courses and departments. And then try to get a sense of who
the students are at that campus. Is this a campus that focuses primarily on
transferring students to four-year institutions? Is it primarily a career and
retraining community college? Is it a technical college? Or is it like a college that focuses on business
and the science classes might be only GE, there’s no major science classes? Those are the kinds of things that
you’ll want to know when you’re applying. So every community college has a different
focus and I know different parts of the country, they do change from state to
state, it’s quite different. So you’re going to want to
get to know what the focus of each community college is before
you apply if you’re going to think about if that’s a good job for you or not. I think that’s about it, Katie.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you, Jamey. Those are all, just saying
those are really great advice. So I think that focusing on what the community
college goal I think is really important. It doesn’t get talked about a lot. So thank you. So Sacha, how about this, what kind
of graduate student or post-doc, STEM future faculty, do now that
can help them be more competitive as an applicant for community college? What should they consider before applying? So should they try to teach part-time,
should they look for internships? What will make them competitive applicants?>>Sacha Moore: So much and all of that, yes. Yes to it all. I decided to be talking now because I’ve just
been vigorously nodding my head in agreement with everything that Loni
and Jamey have said so far. So do all of those things. But also, if you’re looking to really
prepare yourself to be an applicant at a community college, as Loni started off
mentioning, there’s a tremendous difference between the application process and
the expectations for a part-time or adjunct faculty member versus a
full-time faculty member who’s going into a track position. So I think it’s really important to
kind of recognize which area you are in. And also very uncommon, as was
being mentioned earlier, too, that you would go straight
into a tenured track position. The expectation, I always say this because I
think it’s so funny and fairly hypocritical in some ways, but we’re a totally
open access institution for students. And for our faculty, we are incredibly solid. We have this very strong, solid belief that if
you do not have experience with our students, if you don’t know our students, then
you are not cut out to do this work yet. So as has been mentioned in different ways all
along and I’m sure you’ll continue to hear this from all three of us, it’s really
important that you get to know our students and that you demonstrate your
commitment to who they are. And to also, their various, disparate
goals because they are very different. You get all kinds of students
in your classes and that’s one of the most exciting aspects of this work. And so, in terms of the tangible steps
that you can take to be successful in being a competitive applicant,
as a part-time faculty member and as a full-time faculty member, you will,
as Loni was mentioning, not move forward at all if you don’t have a complete application. That might sound very obvious, but so
many of our fantastic applicants look at the application, don’t read it carefully,
don’t send it in in a complete format, I know we have questions on this
later, I’ll talk more specifically about where some of those pitfalls happen. But it’s really critical that you’re mindful about how you’re presenting yourself,
both in writing and in person. Also, if you have a connection
on a community college campus, let’s say maybe you were a student
and you have a former faculty member who you feel comfortable reaching
out to, that’s what I did. I contacted the department chair who was
formerly my American Literature professor and I said you probably don’t remember
me from seven years ago, but you know, I’m finishing up grad school
and I’m really on the fence. PhD? Do I want to teach at the university? I’m finishing my masters, do I want to
stop and teach at the community college? What do I do? And he said come on in. And the vast majority of
us who are faculty members at this level love to have those conversations. To most of us, even if you don’t
know us personally, if you reach out, the odds are very good that
you’re going to get someone who will give you some good feedback
about what the process is like. So either talk to someone
you know or talk to someone that you can develop a relationship with. Also if you have access to– this is going to
sound very, like I’m plugging my own program. But there are lots of great ones around. If you can find access to a community
college faculty internship program, this is an excellent foot in the door and as
one of my former interns likes to famously say “the greatest backstage pass of all time.” If you can do a program like that,
you get in the classroom experience, you get in the community college experience, and
you also get to have all of these great contacts on campus so that way when it comes time for
you to start thinking about getting hired, they already know who you are and they’re
really excited about the work you’re doing and they’re excited to have you come on campus. So those are some of the things that you can do. All community colleges have really fantastic
professional development opportunities. Some of those are open to the community. So I would suggest also getting
in touch and seeing if there are things that you can do in that way. I’ll answer those questions
about internship programs because they vary dramatically in just a moment. I would say another thing that
you can do that’s tangible and really helpful is start getting professional
development and an awareness of what equity and inclusion mean in the classroom. I am obsessed with this course that I’m
taking currently that is completely free. Or if you want to get certified
in it, it costs 50 dollars. I sent it to Shannon, Shannon here it is. The link for it a little while ago. I really, really strongly recommend it. I think it’s got– thank you, Shannon — a really wonderful, comprehensive
view of what equitable and inclusive teaching practices look like. And that is the question I
get most often from folks who are interested in teaching at this level. They’ll say I keep hearing these buzzwords,
equity, inclusion, what do they mean? How do I actually do that
practically in my classroom? This is a free resource that is totally
self-paced that you can use to find that out. So I really recommend this. And just– I mean any kind
of reading you can do. The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, those kinds of free resources are really
fantastic in terms of getting a kind of sense of what’s happening
in the classroom at this time. Things you should consider before you apply. How much do you want to love your job? If the answer is a ton, then you should apply. Honestly. I mean I thought it was so
cheesy when I would hear people talk about, when I was a grad student, you know, the main
thing is is how fulfilled are you in your life? And I thought I’ll be so fulfilled
when I can just pay my bills. And there was a lot of truth to that, right? But the reality is, I love this
job and I love this work so much. I was on campus with a student
until after 11 o’clock last night and up this morning answering
student emails before 6. And that’s not– don’t worry, that’s
not what your normal day looks like in terms of your schedule. But what I want to do, because
I want to be engaging with them, working with them, helping
them achieve their goals. It’s so incredibly energizing
to do this kind of work. And so if you see yourself as someone who really
derives a lot of personal joy and satisfaction from engaging with students,
helping them achieve their goals, this is absolutely the right
place for you to be.>>Katie Dixie: Okay, thank you. Anyone else have anything else
they want to weigh in on any of this that we didn’t get a chance to mention on these two questions? Alright, let’s go to some panel– some
participant questions in a second.>>Loni Nguyen: Actually, can I just add?>>Katie Dixie: Yes, please!>>Loni Nguyen: Job fairs. Yeah, job fairs, I don’t know where you, you
know, the audience is listening from but I know that regionally Los Angeles County, Orange County, where I’m at, we have
job fairs for community college jobs. And I would highly recommend going
to those events because you will in one place meet with a lot of
different skills and it will cut down your work of trying to find people.>>Katie Dixie: Yeah, definitely. Some of the people I work with went to a
job fair recently and a bunch of them ended up with interviews immediately afterward. So that’s definitely really
great advice to go to those. So when I’m looking through the chats here,
I’m seeing a lot of questions about whether or not TA shifts or teaching at a four-year institution counts as the kind of
experience you’re talking about? Whether or not that’s really what you
want in terms of teaching experience or are you talking specifically
about adjuncting? Or are both okay?>>Sacha Moore: I’m happy to jump in on that. So there are a variety of ways to handle that. I know we have an upcoming question on the CV. Because I run an internship program, I have a
lot of conversations around how do I capitalize on this internship program on my CV? It is not teaching experience but
it is teaching related experience. The same is true for a TA
position or a GA position. I think you need to be really
careful about being honest. The worst thing that can happen to you
in an interview setting is you coming in and saying “I’ve been a professor
for seven years.” And professor to you means you have
taught in a college or university. But you are not the instructor of record. The term “professor” has a very specific job
classification and meaning at every college. And so if you come in and say that, they may be
thinking oh, awesome, when did you get tenured and what has that process been like for you? And then if you come in and say yes, you know,
I’m running one hour study sessions every week and that’s what I’ve been doing for seven years. Then that feels a little bit dishonest. So I do want to be very careful
to talk about teaching experience. Where you’ve been the instructor of record. Like if they were to open up the online record
and ask students “who was your teacher?” We would see your name there. Versus teaching related experience which
is where you can include the TA, the GA, internship, any sort of tutoring
that you’ve done, particularly in your discipline
or discipline related. That sort of material. So yes, absolutely, it will be helpful to you
as you’re applying to part-time positions, and as you are new to applying to full-time
positions, if you just have one or two colleges in your actual teaching experience,
I think it’s still of great value to list your teaching related experience. Just be very transparent about
the distinction between the two.>>Katie Dixie: Awesome, thank you. So kind of a similar question that maybe falls
along this line is so in terms of thinking about getting these kinds
of– this kind of experience, Jamey, you mentioned that as a
post-doc you taught at the same time that you were going through
all your post-doc work. So as a grad student or post-doc trying to get this teaching experience,
how do you balance the time? How do you know whether or not you’re
going to be able to dedicate the time to an adjunct position while also
fulfilling your duties as a grad student?>>Jamey Anderson: Actually, funny story. I didn’t really– I was applying for
post-docs, but I wasn’t in a post-doc. So, while I was applying for post-docs was
when I started teaching at a community college and I just stopped that whole
process at that point. So I never did go to get a post-doc. But in terms of balancing, it really, it was a
tough thing to balance my dissertation writing and finishing up my research and teaching. Because I knew that I wasn’t going
to be supported in that teaching. But it was really what I wanted to do. So I think there– those internships that we
were talking about, those teaching internships and the pedagogical training that’s available
in lots of graduate schools these days, those things just weren’t happening as
much back when I was in graduate school. So I just had to go do it myself. And I just had to make the commitment to do it. But yeah, it’s not an easy
balance to strike, that’s for sure. But if you can get involved in these
internships, I think that’s really the way to go while you’re still in graduate school. As far as doing a post-doc, that’s
going to depend entirely on the post-doc and everybody’s going to be different. But, and this, I wanted to
just jump onto this TA or GA experience question
that Sacha was talking about. I think it’s important to list those
because– but make sure, like Sacha said, to distinguish those from
being the primary instructor. But also, it can come across very clearly, depending on how you write your application,
that your TA and GA were fundamental to your experience and decision
to become a teacher. So those are really key things. So you can leverage a lot of teaching
experience as a TA just to show that you did this very deliberately. It wasn’t just something you
were assigned and you were sort of getting time for it and you’re getting your men because you couldn’t get paid
for your research for that semester. But actually it was an intentional
act that you did to TA to try and get more experience with students. So that’s what I would say about that.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you so much. Thank you all for putting
your questions in here. Just for the sake of time, we’re
going to move onto the next section. It seems like a lot of these
questions are coming up about your CV and application materials. So I think this will be a
great time to address them and then we’ll come back to any that we have
time for that we didn’t get to talk about. So the next section is talking about
preparing the application materials. So Sacha, you said that you
run an internship program. So I think you’re familiar with
giving this kind of advice. What advice do you have on how you
can tailor your CV and cover letter specifically for community college? Is that different from four-year
institutions, for example? And what other documents are often
required when you are applying?>>Sacha Moore: Okay, so yeah,
I have this conversation a lot. Not just with my entrance. I’ve got 21 of them currently
and we’re in the fourth year, so I’ve got almost 100 total who have
been through the program recently so yes, I have this conversation constantly. I’m happy to answer specific questions if you
have them, definitely pop them up in the chat. As far as the four year experience
is concerned, I can’t speak to that because that was never even
a consideration for me. It was for about two weeks until I decided
I was going to try to community college and then literally on my first day of being into the classroom I knew I was
never, ever going to go anywhere else. I loved it. So, I can’t tell you what the
four-year application process is like from a personal standpoint. I can tell you what I’ve heard anecdotally. But that might be a question better tailored
to another one of our panelists here. Perhaps. I will say, as far as the CV
and the cover letter are concerned, I want to start with the cover letter
because this is such an important document. Everything is an important document
that’s required in your application. But this I think really is your
opportunity to kind of show who you are. In the same way that when you apply to grad
school and we’re successfully accepted, it was not on a form letter style
personal statement where you just said “I really look forward to coming to your
institution because I love biology.” You didn’t do that, right? And then they were like we
can’t wait to have you, please join us, we need you here at Rutgers! Or wherever you went. I think it’s really important
to recognize that we are– we are expecting that when you’re
applying you’re applying to our college. You know who we are, you know who
our students are, at least in theory. And so you should be looking carefully
at what the desirable qualifications are in any application because that is telling
you specifically what we’re looking for in an applicant, a successful
applicant, for that position. So the best thing that you can do
for a cover letter is use that list of desirable qualifications in each
application as a kind of guideline or template for completing your cover letter. I know that sounds like a lot of work. The application process is a lot of work. People are often shocked by how long it takes. I think it’s really important
to know that you’re not going to create a successful application
in an hour or two. You probably want to take
several days where you amortize out the various, you know,
specific pieces of it. So as far as the cover letter is
concerned, I would say at most, your cover– and this is in English, I would
say don’t go over two pages. In every other– just because
we’re quite verbose. In every other discipline, I would say try
to keep it to one and a half at the very most and not with crazy font that’s miniature
and requires a magnifying glass. Like be reasonable about that. Also make sure that you’re very organized,
clear, hitting the desirable qualifications, and proofreading that thing
over and over and over again. That’s super important. You really want to come off
as a polished scholar, not as someone who just threw this together. Because if your application material
does not look polished and professional, the automatic assumption we’re going to
make is if this is your best foot forward, what do your feet look like
in the classroom, right? So you want to make sure that’s
really clean, polished, et cetera. As far as your CV is concerned, the
most important thing that you’re going to do is first show that you meet minimum
qualifications, that’s going to be the case in all parts of your application. So every single one of the
application has a list of minimum quals. And that is usually just your degrees. These are the degrees you need to have to be
able to teach in this discipline at this level. So you can always start by showing your degrees. And go most recent to later. We don’t need to see your AA first. That’s awesome, great, you got a
community college degree, we love that. But, start off with your most recent educational
experience and then go down from there. So reverse chronology. Then you should have your teaching experience, then your teaching related
experience, and then everything else. Frankly, those are the sections that
people are most frequently looking at. That’s the part that we care about the most. There’s so many parts of the application that
when we’re looking through literally thousands of pages, we are really looking to easily
spot, easily pinpoint through skimming, the specific areas that we
really need to assure are there. So keep that in mind. Education, teaching experience,
teaching related experience, and then whatever you want after that. Really, whatever. Other documents that are typically required. Oh my gosh, I can tell you that that varies
even within departments and within colleges. There are, I mean everybody’s
got a different idea about this. And it’s actually the individual hiring
committees who can make those decisions. So you may have a bio position now that looks
like a totally different set of recommendations and requirements from a bio position
two years ago at the same college. I think that that’s really important,
you really want to be attuned to again, what they’re asking for. One thing I can tell you that will
help you save time in this process is that we are actually not allowed to look
and judge any material that you include that is not a required part of the application. So for example, a common thing that
I see is people get really on fire about teaching statements, you know,
like this is my teaching philosophy or this is my statement of diversity. If you’re asked for that,
awesome, totally do it. Make sure it’s excellent and send it in. If you are not asked for that, do
not waste your time writing that. Same deal with letters of reference. I will open up applications sometimes
that have 25 letters of reference. We didn’t even ask for any letters of reference. So now you have just wasted all
of your time adding in material that we are actually not
even allowed to look at. So it’s really important for your time
saving and also for economizing the process for your reviewers, who are tired. It’s not like we get paid a
lot of money to sit around and review applications or
even do the hiring process. It’s a lot of extra work that we do because we
care, we want to make sure that great people get in our departments, work with
us, work with our students. But we don’t want to have all of this
extra material just for the heck of it. So please keep that in mind. Two other documents that you might see, the most important one I will tell you is
not a separate document but an actual part of the online application in most cases. That is the supplemental questions. One of the biggest application errors I see on the regular is people writing
“see CV” or “see cover letter.” Or, this is another favorite of mine,
copying and pasting sections from other parts of their application into those answers. This is a terrible idea, my friends. We have to evaluate each one of those
supplemental questions individually. And so if your answer to supplemental
question one on how you create an equitable and inclusive classroom environment is “see CV.” Then I have to give you points for your comment
“see CV,” I can’t actually go look at your CV and find out what you’re talking about. I literally have to grade that. So it’s really important that you take each
aspect of the application very seriously. Don’t assume, oh my gosh, this again? I’ve already answered this in 10 different ways. Well it’s time to answer it
in way number 11, you know? It’s like you just have to kind of go through
the hoops to make sure that that happens. Because you may have people who really value
what you say in one area versus another. You don’t want to be taking the
opposite one as seriously as you should. So I think the supplemental questions,
definitely completing that application. As we mentioned, sometimes we do have
requirements for a diversity statement. I know at a panel we all just did
together, Jamey was mentioning that you have now a requirement
for the diversity statement. Some of our departments do too. The teaching philosophy statement, that’s also
a pretty common requirement in some spaces. The letters of recommendation are
becoming a less common requirement, which I am utterly in favor of. Because I think that they tremendously privilege
people who are immediately in graduate school or who graduated like a year ago. And folks who have been out of graduate
school, what are you going to do? Contact your professor from 25 years ago
and say “Do you remember my research? I know you don’t. Could you still write me a letter of rec?” It’s not the most ideal situation. Or if you’re switching jobs, right? Maybe you don’t want to tell your current
employer that you are looking somewhere else, and some may be really challenging, too. Because of those reasons and more, letters of
rec are becoming a less common requirement, but they do still exist in some spaces. You want to make sure that this is not just some
big name, you want a person who can really speak to your skills specifically, who will answer
the phone, and who will respond to email. And who’s going to follow through for you. So I’ve gotten some really threatening
statements from folks in the past few months because I have so many interns I’m
constantly doing reference checks. Things like “If you don’t respond
to this email in 72 hours– ” this by the way is the initial email, “–
I need to do a reference check for so-and-so for this position for a full-time,
tenured track job. If you don’t respond to this
email within 72 hours, the applicant will not move
forward in the process.” I mean, I’m really responsive so I’m on that. But if one of your former
faculty members or someone, a contact of yours receives that and
they’re not really fast on their email, now you’re out of the process for that. Just be really mindful of who you’re
including as your references, too. Okay? There’s a lot of other
stuff to say in this space so if there are specific
documents that you all have questions about or things that you’ve seen that
you maybe aren’t fully clear on what they mean, please feel free to pop those up in the chat, but those are the heavy hitters
that I see pretty regularly.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you so much, Sacha. So much information, that’s so helpful. And it’s really good to know
these things before you spend all this time and effort trying to
get the documents together so thank you. We have a lot of great questions
specific to this in the chat, which we’ll try to come back to. But before we get to that, I want
to move onto this next question. So Loni and maybe Jamey, who I
believe are both in hiring committees, what stands out to you in an application and
what are some common mistakes that people make? What are some things that
are frequently left out? And so I know Sacha mentioned a few,
are there any others you can think of?>>Loni Nguyen: Okay, I’ll go. Yes. Whatever Sacha said, it’s
great information so in the interest in time, I’m not going to repeat it. I will emphasize that every
school will be different. So please be mindful and read the instructions,
read whatever criteria requirements that they’re looking for and tailor your
application so that it fits exactly. Remember, we are reviewing like a
lot of applications, voluntarily, we don’t get extra time off, we don’t
get paid extra, so we’re doing this and if you’re not clear on the application, if you are missing stuff, if I
have to go and hunt for stuff, that’s not going to sit well with me. And I’m not going to bother. So I’m going to rate you low. So therefore, I would say whatever,
however the job description was written, use those exact same keywords. You know, let’s say they
wanted you to explain equity. Well use the word equity. Don’t use another word that you think means
the same thing, because I’m looking for equity. And if I can’t find equity– — stakes I would say is a lot of people will
just do a one size fit all, and we can tell. When we look at an application like oh,
you’re missing this, you’re missing this. Because you’re trying to do the same
application to all these different institutions. And we’re different, we’re
asking for different things. So that does not work well. Something else that stands out for
me is I want to see that passion. Why do you want to teach? You know, that makes a big
deal for me in addition to the experience that you already have. So yeah, like I said, I’m going to end it
there and then I’ll let Jamey take over.>>Jamey Anderson: Okay. Yeah so everyone said some really good stuff. I would just want to emphasize again to–
for everybody to please read the description of the job and the qualifications both
required and preferred qualifications, and make sure you put those in a really
organized way in your cover letter. The point that Loni just made
about equity too, this becomes more and more a qualification that’s called out
in job descriptions and if you don’t mention that in your cover letter,
then that’s a big deal. We just had a physics– a process
where that happened and only about 10% of the applicants mentioned it
even though it was listed as one of the qualifications for the job. And if they don’t have a specific equity
statement or a statement of teaching philosophy but they mention that as part of the
qualifications, you’re going to need to tell your story in your cover letter somehow. And so that’s what we’re really looking at. People have been asking about
four-year teaching experience, about research, and publication lists. What stands out in these is all of that
has to be fitting into cohesive story about why you want to teach
at a community college. Which is very different than teaching
at a four-year school or teaching in a graduate school, in a research institution. So there needs to be a really coherent
story that you’re telling that comes across through the CV, through the cover
letter, through the letters of recommendation if they come up, that if it’s garbled or
if it doesn’t match the job description, your application may be put aside. So that’s what I wanted to basically say. The mistakes I’m listing here. Attaching pages and pages of student evaluations
or other documents that were not solicited, like your research plan, that would be bad. But you can include a publication
list, as long as it’s part of a story of how you got your qualifications, right? So, just be really judicious about that. Also people putting in boilerplate language
about teaching philosophy and equity, that stands out as a real strong negative. And if you have generic language that seems
like it doesn’t match a community college but could be for a four-year college or a
research position, it just doesn’t look good. We would like to see that you really
want to teach at a community college when you put together your application. Alright, I’m going to– for the
reason of time, I’ll just stop there.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. Those are all extremely important points. And so, some of the things that came up in the
chat that I want to address now before we move on is how much do you emphasize your
research and your publication list? So how much of that do you put
into your CV and cover letters?>>Jamey Anderson: I can answer that. Just from the standpoint of
having looked at a lot of these. You can– I definitely– if you’ve done a
lot of research, please tell us about it and what it was like and what it meant to you. But attaching multiple pages of papers,
that’s probably not a good idea. But it’s nice to know what your area of emphasis
was because sometimes there’s a position that is specific to a certain area. For example, when we were hiring physics, we
specifically needed people who had ability to teach electricity and
magnetism in modern physics. And so if someone had research in that area, we know that they would be a really good
candidate for that kind of a position. But that’s the context in which it needs to be. We don’t need to hear about
your future research plans are because that’s not going to
happen at a two-year college. So, I would say that just
be very balanced about it.>>Sacha Moore: Yeah, I want to add to that too. I totally agree with what Jamey is saying, I
think it’s really important for you to kind of highlight what your strengths
are academically. But I also think there’s a very delicate balance
between “I want to teach at a community college because that’s my end game and I’m very devoted
to these students and I really want to teach” versus “this is my stepping stone to a four-year
position and I really am about the research.” And so sometimes we get applications, I’m sure
you do, too, Jamey, and I’m sure you do, too, Loni, where the whole application is
basically like research, research, research, and I’ll teach in the meantime. That is not going to get you far
at all in our hiring environment. So just really be mindful of that. Like this is what I can bring to the
classroom, here is how I see this functioning in these classes, I’m excited to
teach with community college students.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. So I want to move onto this
third question very quickly. Maybe, Loni, you could answer for us, is
what is the process and timeline for your– how you review your applications and about
how many do you usually get for each position? And everyone else can feel free
to chime in afterwards also.>>Loni Nguyen: Okay, I want
to make a distinction between the adjunct position
versus the full-time. For us, adjunct position, we are always hiring. So we may, you know, we may call
you in say in a month or in a week. It depends on if there’s a need. We schedule our classes a year in advance
so this is what, spring 2020 right now? We are going to be giving out
classes to adjuncts probably at the end of spring for the fall semester. So what happens is if there are
any classes does not get filled, then we dip into our adjunct pool
and start making a bunch of calls and inviting people in to interview. So if you’re submitting the application right
now and we don’t have a need because all of our spring classes are filled, we
may not get to you until this summer. Okay? But if you submit your application in
June, you might get a call within a few weeks because we’re looking to fill classes for fall. Okay, so that’s part-time. And the process at Mt. SAC
is fairly straightforward. There’s an application. And you submit it with whatever requirements, I
believe we ask for a letters of recommendation, a cover letter, and then
the Mt. SAC application. The department chair will call you for
an interview if you meet our criteria. And the interview is usually a panel
of two to three faculty members. And it’s pretty, to me, it’s pretty benign in
that it’s more of like a just trying to get to know you, trying to get to know if
you’re a good fit, if you can teach. And of course there is a teaching demonstration. And we tell you the topic ahead of time. And then at the end, you know,
we, if everything looks good, everything sounds good, then
we do a reference check. And if the reference check looks good, then we offer the person the
position to teach a specific class. Okay? So that’s the part-time. Full-time, oh, that’s a totally
different ball game. Full-time, we have a certain opening
date and a certain closing date. We, HR will look at the application we got by
the closing date and they will screen out anyone that has incomplete applications or for some
reason has not meet our minimum qualification. The remaining application will
then be forwarded to the committee. And the committee at Mt. SAC, we have
a committee of about 7 to 8 people. We have a combination of administration,
administrator like our dean. We have faculties. We have a– equal opportunities, so
it’s a mixture so there’s no favoritism, we’re not asking anything
that we should not be asking. And there’s– so there’s
an HR person on the panel. So it could be intimidating. So all of us, we review all of the application that has been given to us
by HR and we rank them. We rank the applications on, you know, the criteria that we set out
in the application calling. So then we meet and we figure out
who we want to invite to interview. Now usually for a full-time position,
we will invite about a dozen to come in. You know, so it’s usually over
two days that we interview. We will call these people and let them
know hey, you’re invited to an interview, here’s the topic you should prepare
for for the teaching demonstration. And then you know, two days, two solid
days we are sitting there interviewing one after another after another. At the end of that interview process, we
then decide who we want to send forward to the second round of interview with
the VP or the president of the campus. And that, at that point we only send
about two or three applications forward. So this gets narrower, but
it gets way more competitive. And then the administrator, either the vice
president of instruction or the president, along with one of the persons on the
committee, they make the final decision as who they’re going to offer the position to. Sometimes the VP or the president says nope, I don’t like any of these two
or three applicants you sent me. You got to start all over. That’s been known to happen, too. So that’s the– here at Mt. SAC, that’s
what it takes for a full-time position. And in terms of how many? Gosh. Like I said, the general biology position,
we had about 80 applications to review, whereas the microbiology, something
that’s very, very specific, I think we had about 20 applications to review. So it varies. That’s all I have to say.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you! So it definitely sounds like there’s a
big difference between those two processes and for sure the full-time
sounds a bit more involved. So I again am loving all
these questions in the chat. We wish we had time to get to all of
them but thank you so much Sacha and Jamey for responding to some of them as we go. I do want to just bring up one
before we move on, and very briefly, the question is who should be put as a reference
or who might work as a good reference to put? Should it be your advisor with your research
or should it be someone if not for teaching?>>Sacha Moore: Okay, I’m
glad that you brought that one because that was going to
be where I was going next. I’m trying to go through the backlog
so I’m sorry if I’m missing you. I think Jamey and I are trying to like
attack the chat as much as we can right now. Get all of your questions answered. So thanks for helping on that. I think as far as your references are concerned,
you especially want folks, if you have taught in any capacity and someone has
evaluated you, not a student. I loved that comment, Jamey, oh my gosh
those evals, we do not need to see that. Congratulations but keep it to yourself. If you have department chair evaluations
or a mentor who has seen you teach, something like that, you want someone who
can talk specifically about your interactions with students and how you’re
involved with them in the classroom. So if you have folks like that
who are reliable resources, I would strongly recommend including
them in your list of resources. And then also if you are– especially
if you are in grad school now or you’re very recently graduating, you can definitely have someone who’s very
familiar with your work talk about you and how you interact as a student. So again, someone responsive who can talk
specifically about you, ideally about teaching.>>Katie Dixie: Great, thank you! So, I want to move onto our last section
here which is the interview process. So let’s say you go through
all of this application, you put everything in, you get a call back? What happens. So maybe Loni and then Sacha, if there’s time, could you
share a few common questions that a candidate might get
asked in that interview? And what are you looking for in the responses? What are some of the themes
that you want to hear about?>>Loni Nguyen: Okay, you
should expect the usual, right? Tell us about yourself, why do you
want to teach at a community college, explain, you know, your experience. So make sure you include your teaching
background as well as professional development. If in grad school you’ve done
professional development regarding teaching? Definitely include that in the answer. We also have scenarios. Oh, and by the way, this
is a full-time position. In a full-time position, we
often give you a scenario. So that one of the person on the
committee will pose as a student. And you will be the faculty member. And we will give you some kind of situation just to see how you will respond
at that point in time. Let’s see. Another question would be just, you know, let’s say in biology we have lecture and lab. Like how would you coordinate or let’s say
the student came to you, you’re teaching lab, and came to you and said hey, you know, I heard from the lecture that something
totally different from what you just said. What, how do you deal with that? Okay. Another possible scenario would be you gave your
first test and half the class failed the test. What are you going to do? Okay, so all of these questions, you know, for us we’re trying to figure out how
comfortable you are, how familiar you are, and how well you respond to very
common occurrences that may happen. So, you know, we just want to
see, like I said, your experience and how comfortable you are
with answering these questions.>>Katie Dixie: Great, thank you. Alright, I want to ask maybe Sacha or
Jamey, are there topic specific questions? Like if you want to teach
chemistry, for example, are you going to get asked chemistry questions
or is it mostly just about your teaching and your interactions with students?>>Sacha Moore: Oh, yeah. You’re gonna’ get– in the first
level, you’re going to get that. Because your first level interview is
with primarily members of the department. So we need to make sure that just because
you have your degree does not mean that you just sort of happened to get
that degree but that you can do math. That happens sometimes. So we typically will have, I’ve sat on a
bunch of different departments but I’m going to use English because that’s a common one that
I’m on since I’m a full-time faculty member. We will ask someone to come in and actually do
an interactive sort of role playing activity where I’m the upset student because I
failed my essay and then you’re my teacher and so how are you going to
talk through that essay with me? And we’re looking to see not only the student
interaction, the student-instructor interaction, but we also want to see if you can
talk about an essay effectively. I know math constantly, and this
happens in our chem department too, they give problems all the time
and then the applicants have to actually solve them, explain
them, so they basically role play and say okay, so we’re all going to
be students in your class and one student says “I don’t understand how this
problem comes out to this answer. I really don’t get that and you
didn’t show us how to do it.” So there’s like a little
bit of antagonism in that. Which I always think is hilarious. We have a good time on these
committees sometimes. We have to keep ourselves going for like 8
or 10 or 25, you know, hours of this, so. But we also want to see like how do you
interact under pressure in your discipline? Do you have the skills to be able to do this? It is absolutely highly likely
that at least at the first level, you will have discipline specific questions. And then of course you will have, I
know this is an upcoming question, a teaching demo that is discipline specific too. And we’re always looking to see the
kind of choices that you make there. So I’ll hold off on that for just a minute.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. So, Jamey, actually, why don’t
you talk to this question of how should candidates prepare for a teaching demo and is there one? It sounds like there is going to be.>>Jamey Anderson: Yes.>>Katie Dixie: And do they
typically know the topic ahead of time or do they get it right away?>>Jamey Anderson: Okay, so, both. Is the short answer. Yes, you will probably– most people
will have to have a teaching demo. And at a community college, this kind of
substitutes for what a lot of you might have been familiar with at a four-year research
institute where prospective faculty members walk around and chat with everyone for a day. This is your way to show the committee
how you are in front of students. And in many instances now, we have students
in the room during that interview process. So you should be prepared for that. That that might occur. But even if it doesn’t occur, you should assume
that that’s how you’re presenting the material. Because we really need to get a sense of
how you speak with students and what it’s like to have you as an instructor. This is not about any content
area questions that you have, whether you know about them in
advance or whether you don’t know about those content area questions in advance,
you should not approach them as if this is like an advanced candidacy or an oral exam
for your masters or doctoral programs. Instead, you should approach those kinds of
questions like how do I approach teaching this to a group of students at a community college? That’s how we want to see this. So we want to see your culture– your
cultural competency in the classroom, we want to see your pedagogical competency, and we also want to see your content area
expertise all really neatly meshed together. That’s what we really want to see. So you may know some of the
topics ahead of time and usually if there’s a longer teaching demo,
you’ll be able to prepare that. My advice on that is don’t go overboard
and monitor the time that they give you. That is going to be a key thing. They will cut you off if you’re over time. And then if you have this teaching demo and
then they may ask you to come in advance. If they’re asking you to come in advance to
the interview for an hour or half an hour, that probably means there’s a series of questions they want you
to answer when you arrive. So just be aware of that. And again, take the approach that this is
not like an oral exam in graduate school. This is a teach– everything is focused on
the demonstration of your classroom skill.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. So definitely sounds like at a teaching
institution, teaching demo is going to be one of the most important things. So, kind of last here, maybe if all of you
want to speak on it, maybe Loni or Sacha, what are some of the reasons a
candidate who goes through the interview, so they’ve made it through the rest of the
application process, might not get hired? Or, more growth mindset, why might they get hired if
they go through this interview? What’s a good thing? So what are common mistakes
or things that may stand out?>>Sacha Moore: Okay, well,
there are lots of reasons. And you need to know going into this
process that it is a little bit like acting. It feels very, very personal
when you don’t get selected. You put yourself out there and it’s just
you and it’s all– your whole self, right? You as a teacher. You as a person. All of these different aspects of you, so this is a process that requires you
to build a little bit of a thicker skin and if you don’t have that coming in, you need
a really good support system until you build it. So you should know that. We have many, many, many wonderful candidates. You, as was mentioned earlier, may be going
against literally hundreds of candidates. And so the fact that you have a first
level interview is already something that you should be really, really proud of. I know that sounds cheesy, but it is true. It’s a huge deal that you’re in that space. And so I always tell my interns to look at
those interviews as an opportunity for growth in the interview process, not
as the next step toward the job. The more you interview, the
better you’re going to get at it. I would say one of the things
that I hear come up very, very often in interviews is they
didn’t answer all the questions. That’s really common. We are so thoughtful about the way that we
ask questions, which questions we have time to ask you, how we expect you to answer them, if we ask you a two-part question
and you only answer one part of it, we only can give you half
credit for that answer. And so, it’s very common that we’ll have people
who are incredibly charismatic or who are so powerful on paper, but they’ll come
into the room and be really unprepared. You need to study for the interview
and plan and prepare so thoroughly. If you don’t do that, it’s really obvious. You should also know a lot about the college. Sometimes we’ll get applicants who are really
fantastic but they come in and they talked so much about the college where they
have been, but not in the context of here’s what I’m doing now and here’s
how I see that translating to your college, instead it’s well, over here,
I’m doing this and this and this. And there’s nothing about here. What makes you want to be here. So, that’s another area. I mean not answering the
questions fully or thoughtfully, or here’s my favorite one,
with specific examples. A candidate who’s able to come in
and give at least one really meaty, specific example per question is so much
more compelling than a candidate who answers in general terminology, which we hear a lot. We also, someone asked a question about like
their level of passion in a cover letter. I think we’re really looking to see who you
are as a human and if you come in and you’re like quite stoic the entire interview, we understand nervousness, we’ve all
been on the other side of the table. We understand what the process is like, but
we want to get to know you a little bit. And if your walls are so thick or if you
talk about students in a way that is– this is going to sound like an
obvious who would ever do that, but I will tell you it happens constantly– If you talk about students in a way
that is degrading or disparaging, or in a way that makes it sounds
like it’s only their responsibility and that you don’t play a role and
the institution doesn’t play a role in their success, that’s problematic. This again is where that really looking into
doing some research around equity and inclusion and also what the campus is
doing to support students, I think Jamie was mentioning
this early on in our talk today. All of those aspects are going to
really come in and help you out. Reasons that people do get hired
is because they do those things. They answer the questions really thoroughly,
they know the college that they’re applying to, they have genuine passion for this work, you get
the sense from them that this is not just a job, they’re not going to phone it in, that they can’t imagine doing
anything different with themselves. That this is where they have to
be and this is why they love it. And these are the examples of how
they’ve already been doing it.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you.>>Loni Nguyen: I totally
agree with what Sacha says. And I just want to add that often time, people get way too nervous
and it doesn’t come out clear. Especially in their teaching demonstration. I’ve seen part-time faculty who
I know does a really good job when I am just evaluating the person, but in the interview they get really
stressed out and they blow the interview. So I recommend if you know a faculty
member who are not on the hiring committee, ask them if they would do
a mock interview with you. And often time they might say yes. Like I have done mock interview with someone
who are part-timers just to get them ready because I’m not on the hiring committee. Number two, feel free to think about
some of these questions ahead of time and jot down your answers and
bring those answers with you. Because you don’t know what
questions you’ll be asked, but if you have already thought
about the questions and have already put your answers down, you’ve just got to go find it
and it is a lot less stressful. It’s almost like a security blanket. Because if you were to freeze
during the interview, you say okay, I know where to find this. And we’ll be okay. You know, because we know you’re nervous. So feel free to bring things in. Or at Mt. SAC we cannot accept any
new documentations at the interview, but you can certainly bring in a file folder of everything you’ve done just so you
can work through it and jog your memory. So you kind of lower that
anxiety curve, if you will.>>Jamey Anderson: I have a
couple things to add here to this. I’m glad that both of you guys, you guys hit
a lot of the topics I had listed for myself. One of the things that came up in terms of why a candidate might have a problem
during their interview that would keep them from getting hired is if they plan to do their teaching demo in a specific format and
that format did not work in the room that the interview took place in. You should have multiple ways to
communicate your teaching demo, including electronic versions of slides, computer, or markers, or handouts. And you should have backups of
different ways to do things. So that you can get through your demo
no matter what happens in the room. The second thing is don’t
feel that you’re forced to cover an entire teaching
demonstration topic if it’s very broad. Instead, choose to cover a specific
area and show off your teaching style and then have a handout for the remainder of the
material that you can pass out to the committee. Just to show that you understand the
broad applications of that topic area. So that there’s ways to get around it. But last thing we want is you to
get a third of the way through the teaching demo and stop in the
middle before you get anywhere. That can be a really bad thing that happens. And let’s see. I think that’s basically it. I’m really glad Sacha said something
about how you speak about students and thinking about that in advance. That is generally one of the big drawbacks that
happens during interviews, you bring someone in, their application looks really great, and then
they make a broad generalization about a class of students in front of the entire committee and you can just feel the air come
out of the room at that moment. So, think really carefully about how
you’re going to talk about students. I mean, it comes across in those moments
how you feel about students who are, you know, you might have a question about
how do you handle struggling students? And a lot of instructors will
start making very general comments about broad classes of students at that moment. And so you want to think really carefully
about that and what your teaching philosophy is and sort of get a sense of it
and put it in context of equity. Do some study, do some work on
your own about that in advance. So that you can speak really fluently
about that in the interview process. Okay.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This has all been so helpful and I hope we’ve
been able to answer a lot of your questions. And again, thank you for communicating
with the participants in the chat. I do want to go back to a couple of questions. And I know we don’t have a lot of time,
but one of the questions that kind of seems to be popping up a lot is
advice on how you highlight different things in your application or
how you talk about language and you know, talking about your passion versus
having like a cold language. That could be a whole other
webinar in and of itself. Are there resources that you could recommend on where we can find ways to learn ways
to talk about those different things? Or get example CVs or something like that? Can you think of any? That’s a hard question, right? They’re so hard to find.>>Sacha Moore: Okay, I’ll take it. I think the main thing is you have to practice. Get a community together of
people, this is one of the benefits of being in an internship program. Because like Loni was saying, that you’re
doing this with your own part-time faculty. I do that too. But I also do it with my
interns in a much more robust, like full semester long mock interview
situation or we’re doing a lot of peer reviewing of each other’s information. I think the most important piece
of advice I can give all of you about this process is you do you. Don’t try to be somebody else. Often I see candidates come
in, like Loni was saying, and they’ll be like these incredible teachers. But then they come in the room and they’re so
freaked out by the interview process or they’re so underprepared that they think
okay, well, it seems like a lot of the really successful faculty in
this department are very energetic, and so even though I’m a pretty
even-keeled person, I’m now very energetic! And it comes off as like incredibly bizarre. So I think, you know, kind of
know what your strengths are. Do a lot of practicing. Video yourself. It’s painful but do it, video
yourself, and then watch it back. Do I seem ridiculous? Am I throwing my hands around all the time? Am I? I had one intern who
I used to crack up about. She would go into, if you’re a yogi, full
eagle pose basically sitting in her chair. So she would wrap her arms all the way
around herself, get them under her chin, and then you can’t see my legs
now, but they would wrap up too. She would be in this tiny little ball
right before answering her question. And she would just continue
to close in on herself. So like what is happening
with your body language? Your writing and your in-person
should have a similar vibe. So, don’t have a tone in your cover letter
and your CV and all of that information that’s so off the grid of who you are as a person. If you are more [inaudible] then
you can demonstrate your passion as you would in any normal circumstance. Also, if a department doesn’t like
you, it’s kind of like dating. It’s like rejection is protection. Consider yourself protected. You know? Like they know their department. You are not exactly the right fit for it. But that’s okay. There’s another department out
there that’s great for you. And vice-versa. So just know that, too. Don’t try to mold yourself so much to
what you think the department wants. You really need to come in there and
say this is, I mean don’t put it all out there, but this is primarily who I am. And I’m so excited to learn from and with you
and to be really adaptable in the classroom. Here’s what I can offer. Don’t try to come in and pigeon hole yourself
into this persona that you think that they want. I think I answered that question kind of more
from the side than maybe you were looking for, Katie, but in terms of these resources, I
would be really careful about these kinds of like advice on how to write your CV. Because everyone’s got a different perspective
on that because everyone’s a different person. Right? The way I interview is very high
energy because I am always very high energy. I would never try to chill
myself out, it’s not possible. And you shouldn’t do the opposite, you know? So I think it’s just really, really important
to be authentically you in all of these spaces.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you, Sacha. That’s actually really great advice. Everyone wants a simple answer, right? But it’s really dependent on who
you are and what the position is. So, I saw a really great question kind
of just pop up about a phone interview. So that might be a whole other ball game. Jamey, I saw you answered a little bit but
would you mind talking a bit more about phone interviews and maybe how you should
handle those versus an in-person one? What might be a difference?>>Jamey Anderson: Yeah, we’ve seen
more and more of this happening, especially somebody asked a question a long time
ago and I forgot who it was about applicants from other parts of the country
or other parts of the world and if there’s an advantage or
disadvantage of being local. And I would say absolutely not
in the full-time hiring process. Obviously for part-time hiring,
it helps if you’re local because sometimes I’ve hired
part-timers the week before classes start. And when I was chaired, every
now and then, you know, we’d have a faculty member get
sick or ill or go on leave. And you need someone at the last minute. So it can be, that can be
a really different thing. But for full-time, you’ve got people from all
over the world applying and there’s really no– no, we don’t make any distinction
between where you’re coming from. But that does tend to cause some problems for the applicants coming to
you for an interview process. So if– they often have a phone
interview to try and screen out some of the applicants first from far away. And then they will help,
HR might help pay for part of your plane ticket if you
go onto the next round. So this, more and more people are exploring
the idea of having Skype interviews, in which case you could even
do a teaching demo over Skype. So, you know, if you had Blackboard or something like that you could teach
through that, or Canvas. But if it’s just a screening on
the phone, my guess is that– is that would just be an expansion on
qualifications to see how well you talk about your qualifications and see if it
really matches what was in your application. And also to talk about your
teaching philosophy and how you– how you handle certain interactions
inside the classroom. So, everything we’ve been
saying really applies there. Because you’ll be getting questions
like that in that round as well. So, yeah, I think that’s what I
would say about the phone interviews. But if you’re having a hard time getting to your
interview, you can always ask if they do Skype. And a lot of places are being willing to
do Skype or Zoom interviews these days.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you so much. So we’re almost out of time. I do want to ask a very quick question. It sounds like having almost– not a mentor,
but somebody in the community college system who can give you feedback might be helpful. Do you know how you might be able to
find someone that you could talk to? Or are people open to that usually? Or is that something difficult to find? I don’t know who might be able to speak on that.>>Loni Nguyen: I’ll go first. Yes, so at Mt. SAC, we have a
very large biology department. We have over 20 full-time faculty. And I would say, I would say like, most of us
would probably be able to answer some questions over the phone, or if not, in person. So my best guess would be
talk to the department chair. Explain that you are trying to, you know,
get information about working at Mt. SAC in the biology department, then
he can maybe refer you to someone who would be willing to talk to you further. So, just teach base with the department chair. If you are in the area, just drop by. You know, drop by. We usually have office hours. Especially during like middle
of the day business hours. One of us will be here office hours. And you just drop by and knock on
their door, say hey, I’m so and so. And just chat. I think majority of faculty are
very helpful, they want to help. And they are more than open
to answering questions. So either by email or in person. You know, contact the chair and the chair should
be able to address you to the right person.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. So we’re pretty much out of time. So just for the panelists very quickly, any
last thing that you want to give advice about? Anything we didn’t get to talk about
today that you wanted to bring up? Loni, how about you? Do you have anything in particular?>>Loni Nguyen: I’d just
say good luck and reach out. We are here to help as much as possible. I can’t speak for everyone. But I just– I know my colleagues,
I know they are helpful. And don’t be shy.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. How about Sacha, anything?>>Sacha Moore: Yeah, totally agree. You can find an internship that’s local to you
and you can make that work with your schedule. Or even if you can’t, I mean that’s
another interview for finding a mentor. You know, contact the person who’s
in charge of that and say look, I can’t do this with my schedule but do you have
any contacts in this department at this college who might be interested in working with me? That’s a great resource in
addition to department chairs, who are variably very helpful and not. Just kind of depends, of course. And I would say, too, I– Shannon
posted that link for me earlier. I can’t suggest or something like it enough. Really start to do that work
in equity and inclusion, especially if you don’t have
your own classes yet. Start to get a sense more about what the theories are behind how this actually
looks in practice in the classroom. Not just from books and not
just from anecdotal information.>>Katie Dixie: And Jamey. Thank you.>>Jamey Anderson: Yeah, so I would say in
addition to what– these are all good advice. I would say spend some time
on a community college campus. Spend some time with a community
college student. And just talk– think about what
it’s like at those campuses. You’re going to get a sense of the difference
by talking to a student more than if you talk to a faculty member or a department chair. You’ll get one sense from the department chair. But if you kind of know what
an environment is like, it is different than what you think it is
probably if you’ve never spent time there. So I would definitely say if you didn’t
go to community college yourself, if you’ve never been on a campus, go
to a campus and see how it’s different.>>Katie Dixie: Thank you. I want to thank you all so, so much
for all of this wonderful information. It sounds like it’s been very helpful. It’s been very helpful for me as well
hearing about all your different stories. So, thank you everyone for participating. I hope you also find it helpful. This is kind of our contact information. Feel free to contact me. I don’t know if the panelists
are also comfortable with that, but we have their information up here. But please feel free to reach out. I just posted our website link in the chat. And so feel free to go on there, sign
up for our newsletter or something like that, but again, please contact me. I can get you in touch with a lot of the
different resources we talked about today, including some of our other
internship programs across the country. So thank you again. And I hope you all have a wonderful day.

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