5

I have been invited for a Zoom interview for an Assistant Professor position in the department of computer science in the UK. I have been asked to present a 20 minute presentation on an area of my current research that I am particularly proud of, to include at least one slide/section on my approach to teaching. The audience will be all the staff in the department and a few PhD student representatives. The presentation will be followed by 10 minutes for questions.

On seeking clarification about what is expected in the teaching part of the presentation, I was told the following – “one of the slides of the presentation will be to do with the way or method or style you will use to deliver your teaching. You can combine this with your research, e.g. if you are going to deliver the research topic you are interested in teaching, how will you do that?”

Looking at the brief given for the presentation, I am planning to divide the 20 minutes in the following way - 2 minutes for my overarching research vision, 14-15 minutes for a problem that encapsulates the research vision, and last 3-4 minutes for teaching.

The part for a specific problem would essentially be at a similar level as a conference presentation and it would include mathematical results. In the part for teaching, I would speak about my University Teaching Qualifications, and my teaching and supervision experience. I would also briefly mention that students evaluations for my courses have been positive and they have improved with time.

However, looking at similar questions asked on Academia.SE, I wonder if I am going too technical in the part for a specific problem and/or spending too much time on it?

Could academics who are familiar with the UK system advise me on the appropriate time division for the presentation? I would also like to have some pointers on the kind of questions that I should expect following the presentation? Will they be mostly about research? Or should I expect questions about other issues like funding, REF and TEF etc? Thank you.


Edit following the answer given by Ben

Perhaps, I could show how I improved my teaching skills using some of the knowledge that I learnt while studying for University Teaching Qualifications.

This could be something simple like how I improved my skills in making illustrative slides by showing them the first version of a slide and then later an improved version of the same slide.

Or it could be about how I used feedback from students evaluations’ to introduce another learning activity in one of my courses.

This would showcase my critical thinking skills and ability to improve and it would also give me an opportunity to mention University Teaching Qualifications organically.

Does this sound like a better way to present my teaching skills and a better fit to given brief for the presentation? Thank you.

0

1 Answer 1

7

In the part for teaching, I would speak about my University Teaching Qualifications, and my teaching and supervision experience. I would also briefly mention that students evaluations for my courses have been positive and they have improved with time.

I recommend against most of this. Your presentation is your chance to wow your audience and show them that you are an engaging presenter. It is also the thing that they will use to gauge whether you can explain things clearly and simply, hold their attention, and do all those other good things that make a good teacher. Almost everything you suggest here is boring, unnecessary, and grating for your audience. Consider applying the following general principles:

  1. Don't bore your audience with your résumé: You should not be using this valuable presentation time to reiterate qualifications that are already in your CV and your application. The people who care about your qualifications already have them written down in your application, and the people that don't have access to your application aren't interested in your qualifications. When was the last time you heard a presenter going through the qualifications in there résumé and thought: wow, this is really engaging stuff!

  2. Don't ask the audience to substitute references for their own senses: Your audience is seeing the quality of your presentation and explanations right now, with their own eyes. They certainly do not need to be told that other people found your teaching to be positive or to have improved over time. Again, this material is boring, unnecessary, and should already be in your CV and your application. Those assessing you will already know what your past student evaluations were like if you have mentioned it in your application. Now is your opportunity to let them make their own evaluation with direct observation of your presentation.

  3. Talk about interesting aspects of your experience: It is okay to talk about your experience learning to teach if you are bringing up engaging and interesting things about this experience (maybe even a funny anecdote) that illustrate your method or style. But as with the other points, it is not useful to "talk about your experience" in the mere sense of rattling off résumé points --- e.g., number of years, etc. All of that information is already in your CV and your application. If you want to talk about your experience, it should augment your discussion of your method or style by showing how and why you got to this point, and possibly some of the interesting things that happened along the way.

Also, you ask about time division between the research and teaching part. While that is a reasonable question (and you may be devoting too much time to the research part), I would recommend that you try to see your presentation as a unity. Ideally, your presentation of your research should show what a great teacher you are (e.g., by exhibiting your engaging style, the ease of explaining the material, etc.) and your presentation of your teaching style and method should show what a serious and thorough researcher you are (e.g., that your method is informed by pedagogical research, etc.). Each should augment the other so that the exact split of time between the parts is not to the derogation of one or the other.

3
  • Thank you for your answer. Perhaps, I could show how I improved my teaching skills using some of the knowledge that I learnt while studying for University Teaching Qualifications. This could be something simple like how I improved my skills in making illustrative slides by showing them the first version of a slide and then later an improved version of the same slide. (continued in the next comment)
    – Kom kom
    Jan 29, 2023 at 11:00
  • Or it could be about how I used feedback from students evaluations’ to introduce another learning activity in one of my courses. This would showcase my critical thinking skills and ability to improve. It would also give me an opportunity to mention University Teaching Qualifications organically. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.
    – Kom kom
    Jan 29, 2023 at 11:00
  • 5
    You're still thinking like a student --- show my good grades, my qualifications, my working, my improvement, etc. Try to elevate yourself above that level; you're a fellow colleague giving a presentation to an audience of other professionals. What will make them laugh, smile, etc.? What will they find interesting? How can you engage with them on their own level? How will you stand out from other applicants?
    – Ben
    Jan 29, 2023 at 22:25

You must log in to answer this question.

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