Campus Interview Prep

Congrats!  You've successfully completed a preliminary phone or video interview and now you've been invited to visit for a campus interview!  It's an intense process that allows various members of the institution to get to know you and your research.  It's also a time for them to determine if you're the kind of colleague they want on their team.  That being said, they will ask you a lot of questions but also expect you to have lots of questions for them.  Here's a rundown of what your visit might look like:

  • MEETINGS!  You'll likely meet with the dean and/or associate deans, the chair of the department and/or program area, search committee, graduate student, and faculty from the department for the majority of your visit.  Some of these meetings will range from quick introductions and informal chats/conversations over lunch to more intensive, formal sessions that last 30-60 minutes.
  • MEALS!  You'll also likely spend all of your meals with various people in the department.  Choose your conversations strategically and don't order food that will be messy or nasty in your teeth.  Keep in mind that you probably won't get to eat a lot because you want to use this time to TALK.
  • JOB TALK: This is your opportunity to present your research (dissertation) and demonstrate your knowledge of related theories.  You'll present for an extended amount of time (40-60 minutes) followed by a Q&A.  Some places invite lots of faculty, some invite graduate students, some have a smaller group present.  Be prepared for a range of questions and know your data.  Reread your work and make sure that you can explain your terminology, methodology, theory, and future work in great detail.
  • TEACHING PRESENTATION: Some places require this, some places don't.  Be sure to ask who your audience is - undergraduates, graduates, and/or faculty.  

Given all of these components, the campus interview is an intense process that is unlike anything you've ever done before.  You will need to be ON all day long.  You should be comfortable (definitely not the time to wear a new pair of shoes), prepared, and take every break opportunity that is offered to you.  

For those of you who are looking for positions in teacher education, there are a few ways that I recommend you prepare.  First, talk to anyone you know who is familiar with the institution/area - you want to get a general sense of the culture, demographics, and any shifts that have happened over time.  Second, research the institution in general, the school/college you're applying to, and the department.  Third, look up information about the search committee members.  Again, reach out to anyone who might know them.  Read their work and their CVs, get a sense of what's important to them and consider how that might tie into your own work.  Fourth, look up their teacher education program.  This includes its structure and courses - in particular, look up the courses that you would potentially be teaching.  In many cases, those syllabi are available online.  Once you've done that, jot down questions that can't be answered through the institution's website.  Some suggestions:

  • What is the relationship between the university and local schools?  Is it common for faculty to research in particular schools/districts?  What is the research approval process like?
  • What community partnerships exist?
  • What classes would I be responsible for teaching?  What flexibility exists in terms of course design?  How are courses aligned when they are taught in multiple sections by multiple instructors?  Who is responsible for deciding what content is included in such courses?
  • What is the relationship between clinical and tenure track faculty?
  • What mentoring structures exist for new faculty?
  • What is the typical teaching courseload?  Are these undergraduate and/or graduate classes?
  • Describe the typical relationship between graduate students and faculty.  What supports are in place for graduate students?  How do faculty support them?  
  • Describe the promotion & tenure process.
  • What is the hiring timeline?
  • What are some institutional/departmental initiatives you are excited about?  What are some challenges the institution/department is facing and how are they addressing those challenges?