4

I currently hold a position as a permanent senior researcher at the 2nd largest university in Norway. However, I don't teach. I see that as an issue/shortage in my career which could be questionable if i move out to other countries. The good thing is that i was offered a permanent associate professor position but with 30% research and 70% teaching. In terms of salary, they are the same. In terms of the institute level, it is university college. I asked my colleagues who said it is a good opportunity. Some say you might sink in teaching and would be hard to survive writing publications. For my thoughts, i believe developing a course could take time in the initial design phase, but then will be easier by the time and quicker. My other colleague advised to negotiate my current employer to offer me the position ( which i did), but if they don't, just leave and go. What would be your advice for me? Thank you!

3
  • 1
    What is a "university college"??
    – Dilworth
    Jan 23 at 1:57
  • What are your teaching experiences up to now? Would you actually like to teach far more? Do you have the opportunity to do some teaching on a temporary contract basis besides your current job? For me personally "career" would not be the major issue here, rather being happy (or not) with what I do/am expected to do in my current position and the alternative. I don't think you're in such a bad position career-wise, but you may look for opportunities to do some teaching on top of it. Jan 23 at 12:20
  • 1
    @Dilworth Perhaps not a university college, but University College or University College? Jan 23 at 12:43

2 Answers 2

10

Obviously we don't have the full picture, so no one can truly advise with certainty what to do. But as a general rule, I would be very careful when moving from a full permanent research position in a top national university, to a 70%(!) teaching job. Permanent only research jobs are rare and valuable. Mostly-teaching jobs are very common, and they turn quickly into a very hard and tiresome labour (for many at least).

Indeed, I am unaware of any good university with core academics having 70% teaching. 70% teaching usually means a teaching-focused faculty member who is not supposed to do research apart from "educational scholarship".

2
  • Thank you. I tried to elaborate to the best. At my 2nd largest university, an associate professor teaches 55% of his/her time. So there is a more teaching duty at the offering university. But i think it is a good point to ask more about what does 70% really mean..how many courses..etc. Unfortunately, if i am moving out to other universities, my teaching and supervision is an issue in my career. That's why am really hesitant
    – AZZahrawy
    Jan 23 at 10:16
  • 1
    @AZZahrawy, thanks, but I found your clarifications, and comments, still very unclear unfortunately.
    – Dilworth
    Jan 25 at 21:34
1

For my thoughts, i believe developing a course could take time in the initial design phase, but then will be easier by the time and quicker.

That is correct, but when you have a 70% teaching position your teaching duties are likely to be above and beyond designing and running specific courses. Depending on the context and the requirements of each institution, other items may be on your plate, such as:

  • Designing exams, assignments and exercises and renewing them regularly.
  • Holding perusals and office hours.
  • Assuming an academic directorship position, so that you coordinate teaching at the programme level. This involves considerable more administrative work (e.g., course evaluations, follow up meetings, accreditation meetings, etc).
  • For large classes and complex assignments, grading (and giving good feedback) could take considerable amount of time.
  • Thesis supervisions.

Other contextual factors may come into play. If the majority of faculty are research-based, you might be the most obvious person to cover ad-hoc needs (e.g., if a person leaves and someone needs to cover his\her courses temporarily). Further, the courses you are allocated may change more frequently depending on your unit's needs (and thus you will have to repeat the initial design exercise more often).

More generally, if you want to continue your career in research, this might not be the best option for you. It depends a bit on the circumstances, of course:

  • How big are your classes? How many hours of teaching / ECTS a course has?
  • Do you have teaching assistants?
  • How is the general supply of teaching in this unit with respect to teaching demand? How interchangeable are the topics across faculty?
  • Is there a culture of understanding in case you want to take some extra research time, provided you fulfill the teaching requirements?
  • How precisely are your activities billed? Are you supposed to have ad-hoc responsibilities?
  • What is the breadth vs depth of your teaching portfolio? Are you expected to teach the same course in 4 audiences, or 4 different courses in a single audience?

If you can keep the same courses, have teaching assistants, you are not involved in admin duties, you manage to create synergies among your courses, and your supervisor agrees, it may indeed be that teaching takes less than 70% of time. I would be careful, though, because these are too many assumptions.

I asked my colleagues who said it is a good opportunity.

I do not mean to question your colleagues' judgement, but are you sure they have the full picture? Or is the grass greener on the other side?

However, I don't teach. I see that as an issue/shortage in my career which could be questionable if i move out to other countries.

If your original motivation is to obtain some teaching experience, you may be better off with a visiting faculty position or a fixed-term teaching contract.

2
  • Thank you for your brilliant answer. I think I have something in my pocket to ask the proposing University College about whether there will be assistants, how flexible would they be when I, for instance, write a research proposal or supervising. Will the teaching get less by the time goes by? But just for your note, they informed me that they will support my demand for full professorship through mentoring in the near future, which I pretty liked too!
    – AZZahrawy
    Jan 23 at 14:02
  • Happy you found the answer useful! We really cannot tell much without knowing the specifics, but be careful. It seems like you want to keep doing research, and most likely this will be very hard. Teaching usually gets more, or it is mixed with more admin duties as you progress. If you are happy to trade a research career for this, and the prospect of a professorship, it may be a good option. I would be skeptical, however, because professorship decisions are taken at another level, and a promise to support you may not mean much in practice, so be careful.
    – Ioannis
    Jan 23 at 16:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .