Skidmore college speed dating study
The “experts” sat at different tables and every twenty minutes students moved around from one table to another. Turns out, I’ve forgotten what it was like to be a graduate student at a research university.We briefly explained our background/expertise (such as working at a small liberal arts college, part of an academic couple) so that students could identify who matched their interests the most. My most interesting exchange was with a graduate student who sat down at my table and started her introduction with something along the lines of “I know you’re at a small liberal arts college, and I don’t want to teach at one, but I still wanted to talk to you . .” She went on to tell me how much she absolutely loves teaching (which is the reason she decided to get a Ph D) but also wants to do research, so the only option for her would be an R1 institution. Here was a passionate and enthusiastic student, one who considers teaching to be close to her heart and she will only consider an R1?
Even though I had volunteered to serve as an “expert”, I was unsure. I’m only in my fourth-year as a tenure-track faculty after all. ), but they don’t normally go there because they love to teach and feel like it is their calling in life.” session at the winter meeting of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) this year.At this session, faculty from all kinds of institutions and backgrounds volunteer to offer advice to current graduate students regarding the job market.They specifically offer advice on each person’s CV, personal statement and whatever other materials they may have brought with them.The organizer of the session very accurately described the format as similar to “speed dating”.Having been out of graduate school for several years now, it’s easy to forget sometimes that the advice we received in graduate school often did not match our reality or our preferences.
I’ve written about the “publish or perish” emphasis and the lack of emphasis on teaching in most graduate programs.
There are other manifestations of this lopsided emphasis on research.
Recently, I was reminded of the lopsidedness, when I volunteered to do a “Critique Me!
So I asked her: If you love teaching so much, how come you don’t want to consider a small college?
Turns out that somewhere along the way, she had picked up the idea that small liberal arts colleges, for instance, just make you teach and teach and never leave any time for research.
Not only that, she was led to believe that research isn’t rewarded or expected at small liberal arts colleges. Why have I been working so hard at my scholarship then?