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Author Topic: Discussing Weak Research Background during Presentation  (Read 4102 times)
dr_know
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« on: November 06, 2012, 7:16:14 PM »

I have to give a presentation to the faculty during my upcoming interview.  I was told to focus on research, publications, teaching, and service.  My contact said each topic was equal, with maybe a slight edge to teaching.  My dilemma?  I have no publications.  I did my dissertation, a couple of conference presentations, and that's it in five years.  My other dilemma?  I've never done a faculty presentation during an interview.  Ever.  I've gathered from other posts that this is relatively common.  Well, those of you who possibly remember some of my posts from a year or two ago (yes, you were all itching to remember that stuff) may recall that I've had a heck of a time since getting the doctorate.  My job experiences have been terrible, my mentoring has been minimal at best, and I have quit (or forced to leave) academia a couple of times.  I've only had one typical interview, and that was five years ago.  I went to dinner, interviewed with the committee, did a teaching demonstration, and toured the campus.  My other "interviews" were either dean-only, dean/chair and faculty interview, or committee interview.  I am at a loss.  My stomach is knotting up.  What's really getting me is that this is a non-tenure track job.  In fact, it's mostly admin, with only a 2/2 courseload.  That's why I applied, because I knew I was toast for tenure-track jobs.  Apparently I did well on the phone interview.  Now I get the whole enchilada (dean, committee, teaching demo, lunch, presentation, and tour) this week.  Did I mention my stomach is in knots?

I guess there should be a real question here.  What should I do in the presentation, not only considering my poor research record, but also considering that I have no idea what this presentation is?  Public speaking is my strength, but only if I'm halfway competent on the topic.
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It's a real shame I'm too young and too poor to retire...
^Listen to Dr. Know.  She Knows.
offthemarket
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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 7:21:26 PM »

You don't have a poor research record. You're prepared for teaching and administration and haven't focused as much on research.

That's a start.
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hegemony
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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2012, 7:53:36 PM »

What is this presentation?  It doesn't sound like a typical academic job talk.  Is it supposed to be a presentation to showcase all those things about your work -- research, publications, teaching, and service?  I've never heard of this but maybe in some fields it is standard.  Anyway, do you have any plans for publishing?  Your dissertation maybe?  An article or two?  Look up people in similar jobs to yours at that university and find their CVs (they will probably be online). Look at what kind of publishing record they have.  Aim to emulate that.  If they typically have a couple of articles, talk confidently about how you've got a couple of articles on the go.  (And before the interview, start one of them -- that way you can talk with more confidence.)  If they've published a book, which may be unlikely, talk about what your book will be about.  Or whatever. 
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bourbonrose
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2012, 8:07:14 PM »

Congratulations on getting the whole enchilada!
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dr_know
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 1:39:32 AM »

Offthemarket, thanks for the half-full approach.  I'm not a natural optimist, so I don't always remember to re-frame things from that standpoint.

Hegemony, thanks a million for those ideas.  Now I've got something concrete to work on.

Bourbonrose, thanks for the backpat.
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It's a real shame I'm too young and too poor to retire...
^Listen to Dr. Know.  She Knows.
litdawg
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 9:58:17 AM »

You don't run on your record. You run on your promises. Research presentations tend towards the future, not the past. So talk about where your interests will take you. Ideally, you'll sketch out at least one or two research areas that the job you are applying for will facilitate. For instance, a writing center administrator could talk about writing pedagogy.
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sagit
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 1:42:33 PM »

You don't run on your record. You run on your promises. Research presentations tend towards the future, not the past. So talk about where your interests will take you. Ideally, you'll sketch out at least one or two research areas that the job you are applying for will facilitate. For instance, a writing center administrator could talk about writing pedagogy.

I generally agree but I wouldn't completely ignore your past research experience.  You might not have publications but you did scholarly work.  In my mind, it would be best if you could frame that somehow as the foundations for the work you want to do now.  So you show them that you have conducted research in the past (focus on aspects of that experience that make sense) and can use that in the work you see yourself doing in the future.  Maybe, if you can, show how your past research experience supports the other areas (teaching and/or service).  For the the publications, I would focus on the conference presentations.

Remember - they *know* you don't have publications.  They've seen your CV, right?  So this can't be a surprise.  They must be interested in your other qualifications.  So do your best to sell what you have (i.e. conference presentations, research experiences and plans for the future) to help them make the case for your candidacy.
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brixton
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 2:45:42 PM »

I second what everyone else says here.  Your research is what you research.  If it doesn't have a published document, so be it.  Present the premise of your work, and then use it to move into your teaching.
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dr_know
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012, 12:36:35 AM »

Litdawg, Sagit, and Brixton, thank you all so much.  That, along with deep breathing and leftover Halloween candy, is helping a lot.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 12:37:17 AM by dr_know » Logged

It's a real shame I'm too young and too poor to retire...
^Listen to Dr. Know.  She Knows.
aristotelian
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 2:31:54 PM »

They presumably read your CV before inviting you for the talk. They already know what's there and what isn't and have determined that you are a good fit for the position. Do what you can with what you have and do not draw attention to or apologize for anything. If they specifically ask you to address publications, tell them what you have in the pipeline. Any research you have done, including your dissertation, is a potential publication.
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dr_know
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 11:25:40 PM »

Update:  The interview went well.  I got several compliments on the presentation--yes, the big bad that scared me so much!  I didn't get the position, but they sent the loveliest letter (better than some acceptance letters, actually).  I don't even feel all that bad, because I really feel I did my best and that they simply found someone who better met their needs.  This was a major confidence boost.  Thanks again to all of you who took the time to give some advice and encouragement.
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It's a real shame I'm too young and too poor to retire...
^Listen to Dr. Know.  She Knows.
federale
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2012, 1:46:15 AM »

Good attitude Dr. Know.  I have an interview coming up, and I'll aspire to your level of graciousness!

Best wishes.
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litdawg
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2012, 4:32:20 PM »

Update:  The interview went well.  I got several compliments on the presentation--yes, the big bad that scared me so much!  I didn't get the position, but they sent the loveliest letter (better than some acceptance letters, actually).  I don't even feel all that bad, because I really feel I did my best and that they simply found someone who better met their needs.  This was a major confidence boost.  Thanks again to all of you who took the time to give some advice and encouragement.

Thanks for the update, Dr. Know. Sorry to hear about the outcome, but you're right to be encouraged by it. Get right back up on the horse.
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The heart of the wise man is tranquil.  Chuang Tzu
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