Will teach for food

And so begins Job Search 2009.

When I started my post baccalaureate training, I knew – knew – I wanted to go into the pharmaceutical industry.  Being raised in Indianapolis, I always assumed I’d get a job at Eli Lilly, and that was that.

After TAing several labs and tutoring at least one student per semester, I really started to enjoy working with students and helping them struggle through some of the tough concepts.  Seeing them grow and learn was very rewarding.  And thinking about and setting up the demonstrations for the organic lab spring semester was a lot of fun.

I also am a GAANN fellow for the second year and a Future Faculty Fellow this year.  This allowed me to latch onto two professors and teach part of their classes.  I taught three chapters for honors sophomore organic last school year, and this fall I am in charge of an entire exam: lecturing the material, writing the exam, the whole thing.  I get a little rush every time I’m in front of a class.   I really enjoy teaching undergrads.

My how my priorities have changed since I graduated from undergrad.

Now, I’m looking at the liberal arts colleges and universities.  My goals now reflect my desire to mold undergrad’s minds.  Maybe I can even brainwash one or two enough to become a chemistry major 🙂  who knows.

So, chemjobber, I think your site will be one of my new best friends over the next few months.

Wish me luck as I try to find that perfect fit.  Any tips?

9 Comments

  1. As a student at a liberal arts college on the east coast, I’ve been lucky enough to experience our chem dept hiring 2 new chem profs (each having ~4 candidates). These are the things that stick out:

    -At our school, the students were very involved in evaluating potential candidates. Don’t ignore them! And if you find yourself with a bunch of upperclassmen (we often had lunch with the candidates), it’s worth ask them what they like and dislike about the way the school/chem dept works.
    -Each candidate had to do 2 presentations – teaching and research. Make sure you can write reasonably on a white/chalkboard (you’d be surprised at how bad some people are). Also be ready to answer how you would adapt your research to the undergrad level. At my school, students usually did research for ~2 semesters, so projects often needed to be broken apart.

    Good luck with everything! I grew up in the heart of pharma in NJ, and even had 2 pharma internships… so naturally I figured I may end up there. now that I’m headed to grad school, I think I may be swayed to teaching. But I have at least 5 years of school ahead of me, plenty of time to hopefully figure things out.

  2. No prob, dude. Let’s see how we can work together.

  3. My friends have had success with http://www.indeed.com , but they weren’t looking for faculty positions.

  4. Make sure you get to meetings with a fair number of “research productive” chemists from liberal arts institutions. If you are an organic chemist, the National Organic Symposium and Reaction Mechanisms Conferences (held alternating summers) are great places to meet them. They will give you a good feel for what life is like in the liberal arts environment, and give you tips for your job hunt. In my experience, most faculty at larger PhD institutions don’t understand the liberal arts environment at all, and the advice, no matter how well intentioned it may be, often reflects this. Good Luck!

    (I have been a professor at a liberal arts college for over 20 years. )

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