Nancy Baym’s Questions for the Job Search


Questions you should have brief pat answers for

What courses would you like to teach?
What would you do in those courses (readings? assignments?)
Tell me about your dissertation.
What is your methodology?
How does your dissertation topic fit with your teaching interests?
What directions are you going to take your work?
In what journals do you expect to publish?
(If you’re interviewing with a liberal arts college) How do you
reconcile going to a large
public institution with an interest in a liberal arts college?
What is your teaching philosophy?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Questions you should ask before saying “YES!” to a job offer

Teaching

What will your course load be (how negotiable is this?)?
What courses would you teach?
What is the distribution of graduate and undergraduate teaching?
How many students/semester total? (Is load reduced if the classes are large?)
How many courses will you have to prepare each semester?
Is there the possibility of summer teaching?
Can you get grading or TA help?

Service

What will your advising duties be (undergraduate/MA/PhD)?
Do MA students write theses you will have to direct?
What committee duties are expected of you?

Research

What options are there for research support (both financially and in terms of equipment)?
Can they provide start-up money and/or continual funding for your research projects? How?
What equipment/facilities do they have that you need for your
research (including computer facilities)?
Are there potential collegues there with whom you could collaborate or discuss your work?
What equipment/facilities will your students have access to
(including computer facilities)?
How good is their library?
Can you get RAs?
Can you get travel money to attend conferences?
Can you buy out of teaching (i.e. get a reduced load) with grant
money? Are there other ways?

Promotions

What are the evaluation and promotion procedures?
What kind of salary increases have they had in recent years?
What are their tenure criteria? Is this written anywhere?

Benefits

Health insurance?
Pension?
Maternity Leave?
Other Considerations
Spousal job support and their record on that?
Salary?
Is there the possibility of summer teaching? If so how is salary affected?
In-office services such as will they xerox papers and journal
submissions for you? What about mailing?

Other

Moving Expenses?
Cost of Living (esp. housing) in area?
Where do faculty live?
Do the grad students like it there?
What’s the interpersonal atmosphere of the department like?