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Is Getting A Faculty Position Hard? Confessions of a Former Applicant Catherine M. Alfano, Ph.D. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center & University of.

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Presentation on theme: "Is Getting A Faculty Position Hard? Confessions of a Former Applicant Catherine M. Alfano, Ph.D. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center & University of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Is Getting A Faculty Position Hard? Confessions of a Former Applicant Catherine M. Alfano, Ph.D. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center & University of Washington BCPT Quarterly Fellows Meeting, May 2005

2 A Long-winded answer…

3 Why am I qualified to give this talk? Just finished the faculty job search process: Just finished the faculty job search process: 13 months (2 cycles) 13 months (2 cycles) Applied to 7 institutions Applied to 7 institutions Interviewed at 4 institutions Interviewed at 4 institutions Offered 2 positions Offered 2 positions Successfully negotiated 1 tenure-track assistant professor position Successfully negotiated 1 tenure-track assistant professor position However, N=1 (faculty members encouraged to join in) However, N=1 (faculty members encouraged to join in)

4 Aspects of the Existential Crisis… What is a faculty position, really, and why do I want one? What is a faculty position, really, and why do I want one? What am I looking for in a position? What am I looking for in a position? How do I find & apply for positions? How do I find & apply for positions? What is involved in an interview & how do I prepare for one? What is involved in an interview & how do I prepare for one? What is involved in negotiating a position? What is involved in negotiating a position? What are pitfalls to avoid? What are pitfalls to avoid? What can I be doing NOW? What can I be doing NOW?

5 What is a faculty position, really, and why do I want one? No joke! Profound question No joke! Profound question Faculty position- Components may include: Faculty position- Components may include: Grant writing & Research, Clinical work, Mentoring, Teaching, Supervisory role, Administrative role, Committee work/ dept. & inst. service, community service, service to scientific community Grant writing & Research, Clinical work, Mentoring, Teaching, Supervisory role, Administrative role, Committee work/ dept. & inst. service, community service, service to scientific community Choice: Academia vs. private sector Choice: Academia vs. private sector Pros & cons for each Pros & cons for each Understand what they mean to you Understand what they mean to you What do you want to do with your career? What do you want to do with your career?

6 What am I looking for in a faculty position? Which components, at what %? Which components, at what %? Grant writing & Research, Clinical work, Mentoring, Teaching, Supervisory role, Administrative role, Committee work/ dept. & inst. service, community service, service to scientific community Grant writing & Research, Clinical work, Mentoring, Teaching, Supervisory role, Administrative role, Committee work/ dept. & inst. service, community service, service to scientific community Environment & resources Environment & resources Peers & collaboration Peers & collaboration Big fish, small pond vs. Small fish, big pond Big fish, small pond vs. Small fish, big pond Mentoring of jr faculty Mentoring of jr faculty Hard vs. soft money Hard vs. soft money Tenure (does it exist & what does it mean?) Tenure (does it exist & what does it mean?) Limiting factors? (geographic, family, etc.) Limiting factors? (geographic, family, etc.)

7 How do I find & apply for positions? Faculty search cycle: Faculty search cycle: Positions advertised in Fall Positions advertised in Fall Job Ads, listservs, conferences, mentors & contacts, cold letters Job Ads, listservs, conferences, mentors & contacts, cold letters Applications due in Late Fall, Winter Applications due in Late Fall, Winter Cover letter detailing research and teaching interests, CV, 3 references or letters, manuscripts; Cover letter detailing research and teaching interests, CV, 3 references or letters, manuscripts; Get feedback from mentor Get feedback from mentor Interview in Spring Interview in Spring 2 nd interview in Late Spring 2 nd interview in Late Spring Negotiate/Accept by Summer Negotiate/Accept by Summer Timeline does NOT always apply! Timeline does NOT always apply!

8 What is involved in an interview & how do I prepare for one? Interview: 2 days Interview: 2 days Meet MANY people Meet MANY people 1 hr talk with questions 1 hr talk with questions 30 min-1 hr meetings; lunches & dinners 30 min-1 hr meetings; lunches & dinners Search committee meeting (a.k.a. firing squad) Search committee meeting (a.k.a. firing squad) Meet with students or teach class Meet with students or teach class Grueling vs. Fun Grueling vs. Fun Dep. on personality, preparation, & confidence Dep. on personality, preparation, & confidence Logistics: airfare, hotel, dinner Logistics: airfare, hotel, dinner Follow up after interview Follow up after interview

9 Prepared = Confident Rehearse your talk Rehearse your talk Make it interesting & get plenty of feedback Make it interesting & get plenty of feedback Tailor your talk Tailor your talk Know your audience (eg., SPH vs. CCC) Know your audience (eg., SPH vs. CCC) Know your interviewers Know your interviewers Pull & read bios, key papers Pull & read bios, key papers Can check CRISP database for current grants Can check CRISP database for current grants You want to get them talking about their research You want to get them talking about their research Assess collaboration;rating of you Assess collaboration;rating of you Ask to meet with specific faculty members Ask to meet with specific faculty members

10 Tips for Interviewing 2-way evaluation of fit 2-way evaluation of fit YES! YOU are also evaluating THEM YES! YOU are also evaluating THEM Ask questions! Ask questions! Shows interest & you need to gather data Shows interest & you need to gather data Get several opinions on important questions Get several opinions on important questions Assess for inconsistent information Assess for inconsistent information Need a sound byte describing your research Need a sound byte describing your research Self-confidence Self-confidence Be yourself --no dating behavior! Be yourself --no dating behavior! Relax –it puts them at ease too Relax –it puts them at ease too

11 What is involved in negotiating a position? Dont just say YES Dont just say YES Consider what you really need to hit the ground running Consider what you really need to hit the ground running Office space & equip, RAs, biostat help, grant support, admin support, startup $, how much you teach right away, moving expenses, parking (?), salary Office space & equip, RAs, biostat help, grant support, admin support, startup $, how much you teach right away, moving expenses, parking (?), salary Usually an iterative process Usually an iterative process By phone or formal letters By phone or formal letters At end: everyone signs a letter of offer At end: everyone signs a letter of offer You formally accept the offer You formally accept the offer

12 What are pitfalls to avoid? Allowing enough time Allowing enough time Answering personal questions Answering personal questions Partner? Babies? Partner? Babies? No ref in the room to call foul No ref in the room to call foul They never call you for a 2 nd interview They never call you for a 2 nd interview Too many limitations on job search = no job Too many limitations on job search = no job Offering controversial opinions Offering controversial opinions Happens if you dont know your audience Happens if you dont know your audience Over-confidence = egotism & naiveté Over-confidence = egotism & naiveté Interdisciplinary training= cant fit neatly into a box (division) Interdisciplinary training= cant fit neatly into a box (division) Focus on what you want to do; not labels Focus on what you want to do; not labels

13 What can I be doing NOW? Build CV with good research collaborations Build CV with good research collaborations Peer-reviewed journal pubs from existing datasets Peer-reviewed journal pubs from existing datasets Experience working on grant-funded research –mult. projects Experience working on grant-funded research –mult. projects Experience writing parts of grant proposals Experience writing parts of grant proposals Job talk based on own work (own data?) Job talk based on own work (own data?) Keep CV up to date Keep CV up to date Experience in multi-center trials Experience in multi-center trials Get feel for how they work Get feel for how they work Meeting people Meeting people

14 What can I be doing NOW? Network: conferences, normal work Network: conferences, normal work Through mentor & on own Through mentor & on own Meet people with whom you might want to work BEFORE you need a job Meet people with whom you might want to work BEFORE you need a job Think about developing a line of research Think about developing a line of research What have I done already? What have I done already? Where am I headed? Where am I headed? Get exposure to different components of faculty job Get exposure to different components of faculty job Talk to faculty members; check job ads now Talk to faculty members; check job ads now What do I like to do? Dislike? What do I like to do? Dislike? Start piecing together what you want Start piecing together what you want

15 Many Thanks… Deborah J. Bowen Deborah J. Bowen Bonnie A. McGregor Bonnie A. McGregor Anne McTiernan Anne McTiernan Donald Patrick Donald Patrick Danny Shen Danny Shen Jesse R. Fann Jesse R. Fann Karen Syrjala Karen Syrjala Janet Abrams Janet Abrams CARET investigators CARET investigators HEAL investigators HEAL investigators Carol Moinpour Carol Moinpour Cynthia Long Cynthia Long Neli Ulrich Neli Ulrich Alan Kuniyuki Alan Kuniyuki Nigel Bush Nigel Bush Alton Hart Alton Hart Brenda Diergaarde Brenda Diergaarde Julie Gralow, Robert Livingston, & Hannah Linden Julie Gralow, Robert Livingston, & Hannah Linden


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