Do teaching an advance course helps in promotion or it does not matter?

  • 3
    Do you mean relative to not teaching at all or to teaching first-year undergraduate courses?
    – user38309
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 21:13
  • This is certainly a naive question, but it is inarguably natural, and touches on operational issues, I think, even if the asking is itself not particularly thought-through. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 23:11
  • @schester relative to teaching first or second year courses
    – Thomas Lee
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 2:51

1 Answer 1


Within my U.S. math department, teaching a successful, energetic, research-oriented graduate "topics" course is a plus inside the department. It is also essential, within the department, to have demonstrated "acceptable" capacity to teach bread-and-butter courses, such as ... calculus.

The engineering departments that determine the course of the "college of science and engineering" (due, I imagine, to the size of external grant funding... and the concommitant "overhead") view math, physics, and chemistry fundamentally as "service" departments, and, indeed, the size of these departments is hard to justify on any practical grounds except for the hordes of freshman and sophomores taking filtering/weeding/service courses. In any event, when tenure cases reach the "college" level, demonstrated success in teaching those lower-division courses is considered essential ... research success is taken for granted, and considered of mostly internal interest to the department, not to the college... and minimal involvement or non-involvement with lower-division teaching can ... upset... the engineering faculty.

So, at that level, it would be unwise to have exclusively done advanced teaching, even if "only" at an undergraduate level.

Within the department, it shows a certain kind of energy, I think, because it may well require more psychological effort to do the best job with higher-level material than to do an acceptable job with low-level material aided by a phalanx of teaching assistants. But there seems to be a watershed in preferences about teaching graduate courses, so new faculty preferences in that regard are mostly construed as a matter of taste or opinion, not essential.

  • Clarification: I'm at a large "state" university, perhaps one of the better, but still subject to a different political weather than privates, etc. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 22:55

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