5

I have a faculty job seminar coming up in a few weeks. Since this seminar will be attended by most faculty members in the department, I am wondering if it would be good to start the first slide (after the title slide) with an introduction of myself. That is it would be a brief bio of myself, where I got my Bachelor's, Master's, Ph.D., postdoc experience. It is highly likely that the department members already know or have this information. Would it be a good way to start the talk with such an introduction of myself (on one slide)?

  • Won't someone introduce the speaker (i.e. you) before the seminar? – Anyon Sep 10 '19 at 2:45
  • A hypothetical case in which they did not. – nxkryptor Sep 10 '19 at 2:51
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    So whatever answer is given, you will counter with “a hypothetical case which X does not apply”... – Solar Mike Sep 10 '19 at 3:37
9

I've always found that successful applicants to positions (myself included) are able to work their biography in to their discussion of their research. Rather than have a potted CV slide, casually mention the important aspects of your CV as you present relevant parts of your research and your research plans. When this is done well it is very effective.

5

I would advise against it.

Everyone in this room is there for one reason - to judge whether you are a good fit to the department, and whether you are a good enough researcher, who's able to convey their research effectively. You have already submitted your CV, what's the point of putting that blurb up?

  • 4
    Surely not everyone in the room would have been a part of the hiring committee, though? Depending on field and local customs, it’s even possible that PhD students might be considered a part of the faculty. – nick012000 Sep 10 '19 at 5:01
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    When I listen to a job talk I never say to myself “this is really nice, but I do wish that they had mentioned where they got their undergraduate diploma. Well, can’t hire them now!” – Spark Sep 10 '19 at 5:13
  • If he's attending a faculty seminar, surely he's already been hired? – nick012000 Sep 10 '19 at 7:09
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    Far from it. The seminar (know as a job talk) is part of the interview process. – Spark Sep 10 '19 at 9:16
3

I am going to go against most other answers here and say do it... as long as you can present some added value on that slide. I agree with the general sentiment that a slide where you say "I obtained my diploma X from place Y at Uni of Z" - it bores the audience who could've found it in your CV as well.

What this means for me, in practice, is that I put a map of Europe on that slide with pins in the places where I did my studies and other research activities. I use that slide to explicitly talk about the following points as well:

  • I am familiar with the academic systems in 4 different EU countries. Therefore I will be able to better advise students on their mobility options.
  • I have established professional and collaborative connections internationally during my early research career. I name those people when relevant (and put pins on the map for their institutes too).

I also find style advantages to having an introduction-map as opposed to a text-based slide (both slide and presentation style):

  • You can put any amount of pins on the map and your slide will not look cluttered nor will it turn into a block of text (which looks boring).

    As you progress with you academic career, you will find that just naming all the places takes more and more space.

  • You have more freedom regarding how much time to spend talking about each of the "pins".

    I find that with bullet points, I always try to visually balance them, and end up adding details to less relevant past experiences just for the visual text balance. With pins, I can say as much or as little about each location as I want.

    Additionally, if you do get an unexpected introduction from your host, you can adjust how much to say on the go, dealing with several hypothetical cases.

  • I find it easier to connect those experiences, rather than just list them chronologically, when looking at a map as opposed to a ... chronological list.

    I can say things like "My MSc work at Uni of X (point at the map) put me in touch with the research group Y (point at the map again), enabling me to go for a research internship at Uni of Z which eventually lead to me obtaining a PhD from the same University."

1

No.

  1. Most people know it. So you are wasting time. Don't do that. Time is short. Get bang for the buck with the lecture time.

  2. It is odd and non-standard.

  3. You will almost certainly be introduced. (This IS standard.) If not, you can introduce yourself. Very subtly please. Something that segues into the talk and shows human interest, not a resume recitation. Like:

    "Today, I'm going to be talking to you about my research in optical recognition. Hopefully, I will convince you what a fascinating area this is with several big problems on the horizon of solution. I didn't always feel this way. During my undergrad, I concentrated on pure math. But after this talk, you will see why I moved into optical algorithms."

    [Don't worry...you will not have to reformulate your straight research talk to be about your journey, versus the topic. But it gives a nice humanizing "hook" for the audience. Even the smartest CalTech scientists still have a bit of a caveman sitting around the fire, listening to a story about killing the boar, inside them. Provided that you present WITH GUSTO, that will be enough to show them why your heart moved you. Or perhaps the research has some natural places where different parts of your background converged--there's usually something.]

  4. There is also nothing wrong with giving your sponsor some notes to introduce you. Make it bulleted and short. Not the whole bio or resume. If there's something non-intuitive about your background that you want emphasized, feel free to let him know.

1

It depends upon the convention of your field.

Personally (to expand upon another answer), I would tactfully include this information, but not as its own, direct, slide. I have seen faculty do this and have used a similar approach for my current research job. You might start out describing how your undergraduate research or experience led you graduate school. Then transition, to summarizing your graduate projects and your postdoc project. For your faculty talk, describe how you will continue your research line (and including undergraduates or graduate students depending you what type of university you are applying to).

For example, an intro to my talk might look like:

Broadly, I am interested in natural world and studied biology for my undergraduate major. I had a research project focusing on X, which led me to go to graduate school for Y. My master's project, I studied Z and then followed up studying A for my PhD. My postdoc project focused and B. During my talk, I will be going over A and B before describing how I will continue to do develop this research into C.

I've seen people also include a photo from their undergrad or childhood if it ties into their research. For example, one of my new colleague showed a childhood picture of her on the study river she would be studying for her permanent research position. She got the job, so it didn't hurt her. If anything, it helped make her more personable.

0

Methinks this is a bad move. The attendance will want to know about your research, so stick to the agenda. The time to introduce yourself 1-1 is in the individual meetings, either with members of the hiring committee or with non-committee members who are on the meeting list.

  • Prithee m'lord, methinks so also. – Buffy Sep 10 '19 at 12:24

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