It is always exciting when new faculty members join the university. It is even more exciting when you have the chance to contribute your voice during the hiring process. I am fortunate to have experienced such opportunities several times as a PhD student at the GCSW.
Prior to faculty candidates’ on-campus interviews, students receive emails and see flyers around the building with information regarding interview date and visit schedule. Every interview includes a specific time period for an open meeting with current MSW and PhD students…all we need to do is show up!
I have participated in these hour-long open meetings many times. In my opinion, these meetings offer an excellent opportunity to learn and prepare for job hunting. In these meetings, I get to ask the seasoned candidates questions that I may be asked in future job interviews. For example, I have asked candidates whose first language is not English whether they consider their accent to be a challenge and how they plan to overcome such a barrier. Their answers are often organized and convincing, and they have inspired me to develop my own response.
In addition, I have learned information from our conversations that would not be evident from reading their curriculum vitae. For instance, I ask questions about how they balance teaching and research, why they chose GCSW, and what their career plan includes. If the candidates are hired, then their answers help me decide whose classes I want to take and who I would like to collaborate with in the future.
I have also asked candidates about their experience and ability to work with a diverse student body that includes many students of color and/or international students. In addition to evaluating the candidates’ cultural competency in teaching, I have taken this time as a chance to represent for international students and voice what we need from them. I shared my study abroad challenges and concerns in language, academic and personal life, as well as the extra efforts I have to make than domestic students. At the end of the meeting, the candidates also ask us questions about the college if time allows. From our responses, they can learn first-hands perspectives about the college and student life.
Another way to engage in the faculty hiring process is by attending their job talk, which includes a PowerPoint presentation about their research projects as well as their teaching experience and philosophy. These presentations have not only provided informative and educational content, but they have also contributed to my understanding of presentation styles and PowerPoint designs.
Students are provided candidate evaluation forms following the open meetings and job talks. I am always more than happy to give my opinions about different candidates. Though the college will not necessarily follow my recommendations, I appreciate being given the chance to give my 2 cents! For example, I sat in for Dr. Nicole Broomfield’s job talk and learned about her valuable work philosophy in teaching, advising and supervising. Her interesting experience in the Middle East opened my mind and I am impressed about her cultural competency. I am very proud to know that I might have, in some small way, helped bring this wonderful associate dean to the college! Being part of the evaluation process makes me feel like a valued and active member of the college community.
I appreciate that the college includes us in this valuable experience. As I have learned many times at the GCSW, great learning occurs not only in the classroom and readings, but also in meaningful communication with others.
By: Shu Zhou