This is an anon guest blogger. Even we don't know who this is! He or she emailed us about the topic and we invited him or her to do a guest blog on it. I have added my comments on it as well.
I'm a PhD from a Tier-I research university (about to start a postdoc at an institution of similar caliber). Outside of begin a TA (i.e., grading), I have never taught a course, and I have received conflicting advice about the importance of teaching experience on the academic job market. From some people I have heard that having plenty of teaching experience is a plus on the job market. From others I have heard that teaching can only take away from time better spent doing research. I have even heard that teaching more than a couple of courses on one's own is potentially harmful to a CV. The job market being what it is, I am planning on applying to jobs at universities and colleges all across the spectrum. Would your readers be kind enough to share their thoughts on this issue?
How much teaching experience should one have when applying for: TT jobs at Tier-I research universities; TT jobs at Tier-II research universities (please interpret "Tiers" liberally; I don't mean for this question to spark any debates about specific places); teaching posts at research universities; teaching posts at liberal arts colleges. (For instance, does someone with an excellent research background, but no teaching experience not stand a chance of getting a job at a liberal arts college? Thoughts?
Here are Bill's comments:
I find the notion that having lots of teaching on your CV as a negative to be absurd.
When looking at your research they
will look at How many papers have you published? (and conferences, etc.)
For a job at a research university there are four possibilities that collapse to two possibilities
(This is an exaggeration, see next point.)
- If you teach a lot and do not have a lot of papers they will say Not enough papers, without caring why.
- If you teach a lot and have lots of papers they will say Enough papers, without caring why.
- If you teach very little do not have enough papers they will say Not Enough papers, without caring why.
- If you teach very little and have lots of papers they will say Enough papers, without caring why.
- If there is evidence that you are a good teacher this will be seen positively. How much they care will may vary tremendously, not just from school to school, but even within a school, from person to person. But to get a job at a research university you have to have done lots of research. Other things- teaching, service, patents, blogs, willingness to give faculty who can't drive rides home, are all secondary. Still, they can be important as tie breakers.
- Liberal arts colleges I am less familiar with so I welcome comments on this. You raise a good hypothetical question- if a BRILLIANT researcher who was a TERRIBLE teacher (there are such people!) were to apply to liberals arts college, would they get a job?