Dr. Karen’s Rules of the Campus Visit

This post was previously published

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Today’s post is another response to pleas from clients and strangers, this time to cover the proper comportment for a campus visit.

I feel like I’ve already talked about some of the nuts and bolts of the campus visit in a recent post, at least in terms of dress and food. So today, I’m going to try and attack the issue of the ETHOS of a campus visit. In other words, what is the campus visit meant to accomplish? Put another way, WHY are the elements of a campus visit as they are? Understanding this may help you to avoid the very worst missteps that plague rank beginners (and far more experienced people!) on the market and, at the minimum, avoid total humiliation. Who knows, this information could even arm you to actually prevail and score the offer! No promises, though. One thing I will say about campus visits: they’re weird, and unpredictable, and you have NO idea what the unspoken agendas are as you feel them swirling closely around your head.

So what follows, in no particular order, are Dr. Karen’s recommendations for proper comportment during the different elements of a campus visit.

The deciding of the date: When you decide the date, be aware that you do not have to slavishly accept the first date or dates they offer. They have a schedule, but you have a life. If you have a legitimate reason for needing other dates, you may say so. In all things be courteous and flexible but not obsequious. This correspondence establishes the tenor of your relationship with the department! You also may well have other campus visits. If you do have other campus visits, be sure to drop that into the conversation: “oh, i’m sorry, that date is out; I’ll actually be visiting another campus that day…” Do NOT reveal the name of the other campus. The uncertainty is more effective in adding to your allure and desirability.

Do NOT attempt to piggy-back visits to any other places on the campus visit. It is tempting, if you live on one coast, and you’re invited to the other coast, near where your family lives, or some archive is located, to inquire about “tacking on” a visit. Do not do it, even at your own expense. It is unprofessional and makes you look instrumentalizing.

The email correspondence with the Head: If the Head contacts you to extend a welcome, or ask if you have any special needs, be in all things courteous and flexible but not obsequious! Do. Not. Act. Like. A. Grad. Student. Behave with dignity, professional reserve, and self respect. If you have any food allergies, etc., mention them now! One of the most appalling campus visit mishaps is the “special treat” of dinner at the Italian restaurant when you have a wheat allergy, or the Middle Eastern restaurant when you are allergic to nuts… I was once invited to an in-home breakfast (totally bizarre in itself) in which the department head served, with a flourish, a gourmet nut-filled granola. I had to decline, having an anaphylactic allergy to nuts. He was offended. I was mortified. He had nothing else to serve. I left hungry.

Don’t let this happen to you.

The 30 minute visits with random faculty in the dept: This is one of the most intense elements of the campus visit. Ideally you will have received a schedule ahead of time. It will likely contain back to back meetings with some 10-15 faculty members. When you get your schedule, make a cheat sheet on the people you’ll be meeting, and do your best to commit it to memory, while you also carry it in your briefcase during the visit. The cheat sheet will have their area and specialization, and a recent publication, award, or achievement.

The point here is: they are human beings! Do not pontificate! These are not a series of oral exams! Be pleasant. Conversational. Be ready for them to ask you a hard question or two about your work. Don’t be afraid to repeat what you’ve said to others. You’re a candidate. Don’t stray from your platform. At the same time, you can embellish based on their individual interests. They might be preoccuppied with the recent curriculum revision. Talk, then, about how you see a course of yours fitting in with that. Perhaps you share an area of geographical interest. Play that up! And always be sure and inquire what THEY are working on, and find a way to relate your interests to that.

Remember: they are PEOPLE. They already know you’re smart from your work. Now they need to know you’re fun and engaging to be around.

The visit to the Center for the Humanities/Women’s Studies Center/International Studies Center/etc.: These people have absolutely no impact on the search. These visits are about the department trying to please and impress you with the various resources available. These are great opportunities to ask how the department is involved in the Center’s activities, which gives you great insight into how the department is viewed on campus.

The campus tour: Usually led by a grad student. As such, potentially treacherous. Beware the grad students. They have sunk many a good job candidate. It depends on the department—in some departments graduate student voices are listened to very carefully indeed. In others, they’re completely ignored. Assume the former.

Never, ever, ever talk down to the graduate students!!!!

More on this below. In the meantime, for the campus tour—look impressed, but not too impressed. Don’t gush. Don’t say anything that even appears to unfavorably compare the campus with your home campus: “wow, it’s so small!!!” “wow, how does anybody find their way around here?” “wow, don’t your legs get tired?” “wow, is this all there is????” Be prepared with good questions: how is campus over summer? Are the students politically active? Are there many international students? What is the Greek system like on campus?

The campus tour is the reason that you must wear comfortable and weather appropriate shoes.

The job talk: It goes without saying that this is the highlight of the visit. You cannot bomb it and still get the job. The most important single aspect of the job talk is that it must be 40-50 minutes (unless they’ve given you another time frame) and no more. Whatever time frame they have given you, do not go over time. Exceeding your allotted time is fiercely resented and despised. It signals a lack of respect for your audience.

Furthermore, many people will have to leave for class at some point. The most important part of the job talk performance is the Q and A after. You must ensure that every audience member gets to hear some part of the Q and A. Thus you must start it within the expected time.

In terms of the content of the job talk—well, read my post on it here, and my Chronicle Vitae post on it here.  Make it interesting. Pitch it high; don’t dumb things down. But at the same time, make it engaging to a non-specialized audience. Remember to DESCRIBE your topic before you launch into analyzing it (I’m always amazed at how many forget this). We are not inside your brains. We are hearing about this thing for the first time. You must spend about ¼ of the talk introducing the topic and themes, and getting us intrigued. Then move into your analysis. Show that you have good material/data as well as a familiarity with current theory. Use plenty of visuals. And conclude strong. Never fizzle out.

The Q and A after the job talk (yes, this deserves its own heading): This is the downfall of many, many job candidates. First off, be prepared for this. Above all, schedule a mock job talk with Q and A before you ever go to a campus visit. You must get used to random, odd, and potentially hostile questions.

Be aware of department culture—do they wish to have your introducer mediate questions, or have you do it yourself? Follow the custom.

Never forget that senior people should be called on first. Call on the greybeard first, because God knows he’s going to talk….so get it out of the way right away.

Do not call on a grad student first, or possibly, at all. No, you may not know who is a grad student…..but usually, you can tell. Why not call on a grad student? Two reasons: first, grad student questions are at least 50% of the time off point, inappropriate, or self-serving. Grad students do not always know how to handle themselves correctly, and thus waste valuable time for both you and the search committee, who both need to hone in quickly on core candidate strengths (and weaknesses). Second, grad students in many departments are supposed to keep their mouths shut and listen. Mistakenly (or intentionally) calling on grad students runs the risk of irritating the senior faculty who have pressing questions that they want to ask. Sorry, grad students, but this was really a thing at a lot of job talks I attended.

Always respond positively to begin, ie: “that’s an excellent question; thank you for that question; you raise an important point; I’m glad you brought that up,” etc. etc. Then, regardless of what the question actually is, turn the answer to something in which you have strength. That does NOT mean to simply repeat, over and over, your thesis. Be lively and dynamic and engaged with different ideas and challenges. It just means to learn the art of academic Jiu Jitsu. I demonstrate this in this blog post.

Here is an example:

Q: Doesn’t your conclusion contradict what Nelson has proven with regard to xxxx?

A: I’m glad you brought that up. Nelson DOES address a similar theme in his research. However, Nelson’s question is really a different one than mine. While he focuses on xxxx, I actually begin from the perspective of yyyy. A perspective on yyyy helps us to keep the focus on qqqq, which is critical in light of recent changes….

Et voila, you are talking about YOUR research, and not Nelson. Nobody needs to hear about Nelson. They need to hear that you’ve read Nelson, know Nelson, possibly respect Nelson, but firmly stand up to Nelson in your own work.

And always finish strong:   NOT, feebly, “did that answer your question….??” but with firm, healthy boundaries: “Next Question?”

[The teaching demonstration: Either a visit to an existent classroom (borrowed from a colleague’s regular teaching) or a “class” conducted with students assembled for the purpose with the departmental faculty or the search committee watching from the back, the sample class can be the single most important part of a campus visit to a small liberal arts college.

Quick advice: if you are asked to teach a specific text/topic, prep that, but prep a back-up lesson plan in case the students haven’t done the reading. “Why would that matter,” you might wonder “if I have a lecture prepared?” Because you will not make the mistake of lecturing. You’ll be using your Socratic questioning, quick-and-dirty exercises (such as fast free-writes), and superior discussion leadership skills.

Your goal is draw the students out and interact with them like a real professor. (Sometimes you’ll be asked to suggest a text or topic. Keep any assigned reading short. The students may not do it. Plan on some back-up close reading passages.) Don’t be afraid to: define terms; correct student errors; introduce some of your work in a brief riff if it fits naturally; politely but firmly shut-down a student who is monopolizing the conversation.

Under no circumstances should you: fill the allotted time with formal lecture or ppt (unless you have been expressly instructed to lecture); take up the Q and A period with no time for Q and A; cut a student off mid-sentence; underestimate smart undergraduates; low-ball your lesson plan; ignore participation cues because you have your face in your notes; run over time without tying up the class with a “what we learned/practiced/discussed today” summary statement.  (This is from Suzanne, who took the time to add this in the comments.  Thank you, Suzanne)]

The after talk reception: This is the primary opportunity for many members of the faculty to get a chance to interact with you on a more casual basis. This may be the only such opportunity, so take this seriously. This is not the time to kick back and eat some cheese and chug some wine. Stay alert. On your toes. Nurse a single glass of wine, eat something neat (cheese cubes are good; smoked salmon is bad). Mingle. Do not allow yourself to be commandeered by any one person, and definitely NOT THE GRAD STUDENTS! You need to speak most to the tenured members of the department, while certainly not neglecting the untenured. But be aware of who has the votes and the weight.

The search committee interview: This is the real deal, an actual interview. Do NOT approach this as if it’s a mere formality. Your answers will be closely examined, deconstructed, discussed, and evaluated. Do NOT, in any way shape or form, assume that because “they read my stuff” therefore you do not have to make a strong, concise, vivid, dynamic, well-paced verbal presentation of it. You do! Do not hesitate to repeat what you have already submitted in written materials. Example:

Q: What upper level course would you develop for us?

A: Well, you may have noticed the course syllabus that I submitted with my application, for a course on xxxx. [Someone pulls it out of the file, people study it]. Well, as you can see, I focus on ppp and qqq in that course. I’m excited about the course because I think it will have a lot of appeal for students, while also introducing them to some core current debates in our field. Etc.

You MUST be prepared with vivid and specific responses to all basic questions during this interview.

The meeting with the Dean/Provost: See my post, How To Talk to a Dean. In the meeting with upper administrators, you will be given a basic rundown of the tenure expectations, the salary range, the benefits offered by the university, leave policies, etc. Deans can get very very involved in searches. Beware. They sometimes throw their weight around. This interview may seem pro forma, but it isn’t. Put your game face on. What you’ll want to emphasize are:

  • Your success in bringing in money with grants
  • Your enthusiasm for teaching large courses
  • Your commitment to mobilizing new media in your courses
  • Your willingness to teach interdisciplinarily (think downsizing)

Everything with the Dean/Provost is, ultimately, about money. Never forget it.

The real estate tour: This is an odd custom that may be dying out. But some 2nd tier campuses that are in beautiful, cheap locations sometimes like to use real estate as a means of courting candidates. It’s weird and awkward to drive around in someone’s car looking at neighborhoods, but like with the campus tour, be enthusiastic and gracious, but not too enthusiastic.

The lunch with the grad students: Refer to campus tour discussion above– Grad students can be treacherous. They can be your most enthusiastic supporters, but they can also be insecure and resentful of the junior candidates who come through. Envy and anxiety and insecurity can combine to make them potentially very reactive. You must make special efforts to show that you are excited about their work and want to know more about it. Share ideas with them, suggestions for readings, and in all things, construct yourself as their ally. In all of my departments the grad students had one vote on searches, and the grad student rep on the committee worked hard to survey grad student reactions and impressions. These were shared with the faculty in a report, and were discussed seriously by the faculty. All departments might not be like this, but you probably don’t know which are and which aren’t. So assume that the grad students play a major role in your fate, and show a high level of interest in and commitment to them.  We hope this is sincere.

The meeting with the Head: The meeting with the Head covers the nuts and bolts of teaching expectations, junior leave, the third year review, and tenure. Come prepared to listen and take notes, and have intelligent questions to ask. Do not act like a grad student! The Head needs to know that you are going to be a full fledged faculty member and colleague, ready to take on onerous service burdens and the tedious work of running a department. No prima donna act here, ie, “well, when will I get my RESEARCH done????” With absolutely no undignified pandering, simply demonstrate your preparedness to be a colleague, and do what it takes to get tenure (so you can keep being a colleague).

There are other elements of a campus visit, but I’m anxious to get this post up, so I’ll stop here.

Before closing, a remark on the after-visit follow-up. My readers and clients are really inordinately obsessed with the etiquette of the thank-you note. I get a question about thank you notes at least once a week and usually more.  So:  It is courteous and appealing to thank the department for hosting you. After all, they probably invested over a thousand dollars in your visit—not chump change for most departments. Email is fine, although a nice small card to the department secretary would also be appreciated, and will probably be displayed on her desk for a few days. You do not need to write to all 20 -50 members of the department! Write to the Head, all members of the search committee, and any other individuals with whom you feel like you established a special connection or spent extra time. Just a couple lines are fine: “I’m writing to thank you again for hosting me on my campus visit. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the search committee and the department. I remain very interested in the position. I will look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, xxxxx”

And a final note: be nice to the secretaries! They can make or break your quality of life if you get the job….AND THEY REMEMBER! Treat them with courtesy and respect. Be sure and thank them for the efforts they made to set up the visit. Take a moment to talk to them when you have a few free moments. They do the lions’ share of work in most departments and rarely are acknowledged for it. Make sure that you do.

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

Dr. Karen’s Rules of the Campus Visit — 110 Comments

  1. What about the teaching demonstration? Either a visit to an existent classroom (borrowed from a colleague’s regular teaching) or a “class” conducted with students assembled for the purpose with the departmental faculty or the search committee watching from the back, the sample class can be the single most important part of a campus visit to a small liberal arts college. Quick advice: if you are asked to teach a specific text/topic, prep that, but prep a back-up lesson plan in case the students haven’t done the reading. “Why would that matter,” you might wonder “if I have a lecture prepared?” Because you will not make the mistake of lecturing. You’ll be using your Socratic questioning, quick-and-dirty exercises (such as fast free-writes), and superior discussion leadership skills. Your goal is draw the students out and interact with them like a real professor. (Sometimes you’ll be asked to suggest a text or topic. Keep any assigned reading short. The students may not do it. Plan on some back-up close reading passages.) Don’t be afraid to: define terms; correct student errors; introduce some of your work in a brief riff if it fits naturally; politely but firmly shut-down a student who is monopolizing the conversation. Under no circumstances should you: fill the allotted time with formal lecture or ppt (unless you have been expressly instructed to lecture); take up the Q and A period with no time for Q and A; cut a student off mid-sentence; underestimate smart undergraduates; low-ball your lesson plan; ignore participation cues because you have your face in your notes; run-over without tying up the class with a “what we learned/practiced/discussed today” summary statement.

    • Suzanne—thanks SO much for this. With your permission I’d like to put it (with credit) into the body of the post so that we can be sure people see it. I actually, in my whole career, only had one teaching demonstration! (I mainly got shortlisted by R1 type places; SLACs could smell a rat, i suppose). Anyway, I bombed it so breathtakingly that I think I actually repressed the memory, hence its absence in the post. But this advice by you is far, far better than anything I could have written.

    • I’d like to second this advice, and emphasize that candidates should be very aware of the nature of the school they’re visiting. In my twenty years at our small liberal arts college, I’ve seen at least a dozen candidates effectively remove themselves from the search by demonstrating stunning lack of awareness that we are a teaching college.

      If the school is scheduling a teaching demonstration, they probably will have many conversations with you about courses, teaching, and undergraduate advising – so be prepared. Don’t over-emphasize your research. For us, it’s fine that you will publish (most of us have, in fact), but we’re far more concerned with what you will bring to our undergraduates.

      The first question I always ask in an interview is, “what courses would you add to our department?” A whole essay could be written just about the pitfalls of that question, but at minimum I expect a demonstration that you’ve thought about the question. If you can’t even begin an answer, you’ve probably just lost the position.

      Bottom line, not all schools are R1, or even have graduate programs. Answers suitable for a major research university will not go down well at a small undergraduate liberal arts college. Know your audience.

  2. For science-types an important part of the campus visit is to see what facilities are available and if there is any major equipment that you can share with others in the department. Along those lines, it’s important to be prepared for preliminary discussions about a lab start-up package if the chair or dean brings it up during your meetings with them. You might be able to get a general sense of what is the norm is when visiting with newer profs in the department.

  3. Thanks for the splendid advice, Dr. Karen!

    I have two thoughts I’d like to add.
    1. I have found the following advice to be VERY effective when candidates do it while interviewing at SLACs who do not request a teaching demonstration: Make sure, after you have answered at least 3 questions from faculty, that you answer one (and no more than that!) question from an undergrad or younger grad student. Bonus points if you solicit the question by saying: “I am delighted to see a strong presence of students today, I want to make sure I have time to address one or two of your questions.” Proceed to answer one question (try to pick from a student who looks engaged and has nodded at the more meaningful claims. (I.e. not the student who was texting during the majority of your talk). Answering a student question can be a particularly effective way to end the Q &A session, or to move CONFIDENTLY forward after answering an outdated question from a (perhaps) senior faculty member.

    2. When making arrangements for your visit, and/or after you receive your itinerary, it is an excellent idea to ask to meet with campus groups and/or centers that are relevant to your research, mentoring goals, or personal interests. For example, you may want to request to meet with small group of students from the South Eastern Asian Studies group to hear what topics they’re working on. Or, you may want to touch base with the Writing Center to ask what kinds of outreach services they have for graduate students (R1 school) or first year students (SLAC). You can frame your request to the Head by stating something like, “I have an interest in working with the writing center to help develop students’ scholarly writing skills, will there be any time for me to meet with a representative from the Writing Center?” Another bonus is that, assuming you can meet with such a group/center early, you can reference it in one or two interviews later. For example, during your meeting with the Dean of Students, you could say something like “I was so excited to meet with the Campus Crew Team. I participated in Crew as an undergrad and I helped bring $$/visibility to my college by doing xxx. I was excited to hear that the team is looking for a faculty sponsor and someone with past coaching skills. I think students excel academically when they can balance their scholarship with value-building extracurriculars. As an engaged professor, I would like to work with students inside and outside of the classroom.” Of course, to do this effectively, you MUST be genuine in your interest and sincere in your wanting to be a community builder. Assuming you are, I think deans will love this.

    Dr. Karen, I am curious to see if you would agree.

    Now I have a question. If you’re breastfeeding at the time of your campus visit and need to pump, how can you request for the time and private space (that is not a bathroom) to do this? I hate the idea of inadvertently letting the search committee know I am a new mother… (and being judged for not having a wedding ring!… even though I am queer and do have a partner…) Sigh.

    • Re point 1, I absolutely agree and it’s genius advice. Re point 2, I don’t agree, based on my time at R1s. I know from personal experience as a candidate and visit planner that when I asked for special meetings, and later when candidates asked for special meetings, it did NOT play well. It seemed presumptuous, and it disrupted the well established flow of the “standard” visit schedule. Furthermore, at an R1, if you say that you’re interested in helping students develop writing skills, you will look like you are absolutely “not one of us.” It is not an R1 professor’s job to help students develop writing skills. It is most definitely not a professor’s job to care what the Crew team is doing. Such a request will detract from your hard hitting scholarly/intellectual persona and raise questions about your commitment and tenurability.

      Now, I repeat, this is my view from the R1 career. It may well be terrific advice for SLACs, R2s etc. Other readers can certainly weigh in.

      Re the pumping: that would fall under the “special needs” that I mention as requiring discussion well in advance with the head. Now, if you’ve been engaging with the search comm chair, instead, and she’s a woman, and the head is a man, then it will behoove you to bring it up with her first and let her run interference. But if no woman is involved, then just plunge in and clearly and simply and politely explain that you will need access to a private room xx times or at xx intervals during the visit.

      I would NOT recommend, though, bringing this up first with the department secretary, even if she’s a woman and the person you’ve been engaging with. She may well have a different POV/ethos/political orientation/position on breastfeeding than the faculty, and could end up carrying a strange and problematic message about your request to the Head.

      You can’t really hide that you’re lactating. The chips just have to fall where they may. Lots of campuses are used to accomodating pregnant faculty members and new parents.

  4. This is good advice, but I suspect the advice you give about job talk length is discipline-specific. In my discipline, job talks are typically an hour with an additional hour of Q&A. For an hour-long talk, it is good to plan a 50 to 55 minute talk, to allow for time for the talk to start a little late or for an interruption and for you to still seem as though you can time a talk well.
    In any case, I would be sure to ask your contact person how long the talk will be, and how long for Q&A, before the campus visit. I would ask the same question about class length, for a teaching demonstration.

    • thanks for this addition. what is your discipline? The best point here is to ask the contact person the time range, and then strictly adhere to the MINIMUM end!

  5. re: breastfeeding – read Professor Mommy!
    But…
    Do not add the additional stress of pumping/being away from baby override you interest in not disclosing your parent status. (I know that it is easier said that done, but do you really want to work for/with people that wouldn’t respect your need to pump?)
    I’d tell the admin assistant, I suppose.

    Good luck!

  6. Thanks for another eye-opening post. Interesting to hear that asking if you can tack on days, even at your own expense, is tacky and unprofessional. What if you are coming a very long way, e.g. from the other side of the Atlantic, and want to pay for extra days at your own expense to get over jet-lag/make sure that 1 or 2-day weather delays do not make you miss your interview? And if you get a campus interview in a town near other places where you are in the running, can you nudge the other places with an ‘I’ll be in your area’ email, in case they would like to see you but are not sure they can justify the cost? Presumably not, no matter how far you are coming…

    • For my first visit ever, I was actually flown in from Japan to a SLAC. I hadn’t seen my parents in over a year, and asked to tack on a few days for a visit at my own expense. This request was received very unwillingly! They said yes, and I did it, but I always felt that the request itself had poisoned the well. It was strongly implied that I had behaved badly.

      • At some schools the norm is now for the flight to be scheduled through their travel agency, such that the search committee/dept secretary etc. do not see the itinerary. This might solve the issue of extending the visit… and, in addition, “extra” meetings that you actually want to have (and are not just scheduling for marketing purposes) could be scheduled the day after your official campus visit, provided your flight is a later one.

        • I’m being flown in from China to the U.S. for a campus visit in two months. The school is 15 miles away from my parents and I will be staying with them. The administrative assistant has asked me if I have any “preferences” regarding my return flight. I’m strongly tempted to say something along the lines of, “I’m happy to depart some time within the week after the visit, provided the flights are the same price.” In other words, you don’t need to put me on the first plane out unless you want to! I thought this would be a polite, flexible-sounding way to ask for a little more extra time with my family, especially since I’ll probably still be suffering from jet-lag. But now I’m wondering if this looks like “tacking on” a visit … therefore making it a no-no! (??)

          • (To clarify, I would not be making an additional trip. I would just [ideally] not be departing immediately. Hmmm …)

    • I’m now in Europe and will be flying to the US for at least one interview. If I have end up with two interviews within a week of each other, do I really need to fly east for each one (a day of flight time, two days for jetlag recovery and the actual interview, and a day flying back for each)? I understand how tacking on days to visit family might be considered gauche. But what about combining two campus visits to spare myself days of unnecessary travel and jetlag, not to mention time off my current postdoc job?

      • this is not gauche at all, but in fact desirable. If there is a chance another school might be interviewing you, send them an email quickly informing them of your travel schedule and interest in position. Don’t gush or beg! Just a simple factual sentence.

        • I have a similar issue. I am flying from Northern Europe with two interviews in Pacific Coast time within the same month. I am attempting to negotiate interview dates with the second potential employer so that I can stay State-side for the duration of both interviews. I was not quite sure how to frame the situation to the first prospective employer, though. In this case, they will only cover a one-way trans-Atlantic flight so obviously I needed to make that clear when I was communicating my preferred travel times. I just stated the situation as concisely as possible with something like, “I would prefer a one-way flight from xx airport to yy airport (dates/times/flight numbers). I have been invited to another interview in the western U.S. and have negotiated with them to schedule that interview immediately following this one. They will arrange my return travel.” Any thoughts or advice about this wording?

          • this is perfect. In a case like yours, it’s totally justifiable to arrange all your visits in a single trip to the states.

    • This is a terrific post, as usual. But I don’t know if tacking on another activity is always bad. I have done it for two campus visits and in both cases was offered the job. In one, visiting a local archive demonstrated I had an interst in the area – and potentially in living in that rather remote location. In the other, I was able to point to the fact that it resulted in a cheaper flight and saved the school money. Both requests were well received. (Of course, this was not New York or San Francisco, so did not come across as tacky or tourism, but rather as humans being courteous to one another and as a visitor being respectful of the space where the school was lcoated. I also have a campus visit where they were terribly offended I was not able to accommodate the date they wanted, and despite getting a new date, there were regular reminders on that visit of how inconvenient the timing was.)

  7. This was an excellent post! Thanks so much for all of your advice on the job market. I recommend your site to many of my colleagues. I didn’t know what to talk about with a provost and dean, and these meetings are on my itinerary so your suggestions were really helpful.

    • Now, LC, just make sure that YOU don’t bring up the crass subject of money directly!!! You just stay at the topical level in terms of excitement about teaching large classes, or desire to reach new majors (all of this is tuition $$$$$$), bring in grants (grant $$$$), or even perhaps expanding the reach of the Center for XXXX in a way that has community appeal (fundraising $$$$).

    • this is FANTASTIC, squadratomagico! Thanks for sharing. Readers—I strongly recommend you click and read. She illuminates the oddities of the job talk and the challenges to finding the right “pitch” better than most job talk advice I’ve seen.

      • Did you see squadromatico’s link within that post to the awesome interview-horror-stories post? Given how ubiquitous such stories are, I think TPII should do a post on how to deal with clueless search committees, and the red flags that distinguish a dysfunctionally toxic department from one that just has some garden-variety social ineptitude.

  8. This is a fantastic post. I’ll be reading it over and over as I approach the job search. As a grad student, I have to agree with most of your characterizations of grad students. I would like to know: how can one avoid being the aforementioned poisonous and unprofessional grad student? I want to make the transition from unprofessional grad student to professional candidate—now would not be too early. You address much of this in your blog posts, but if you have any specific advice for graduate students about how to act toward candidates visiting campus, that would be wonderful. After all, that person could be a valuable colleague or contact for us one day.
    Thanks for another great post.

    • This is a terrific question and one very much deserving of a blog post! I will put it in the queue. For now, I would answer in shorthand: 1) SHOW UP! Too many graduate students don’t bother to show up to candidate talks and lunches, and therefore give a terrible impression of the department, and also miss one of the very best free professionalization experiences at their disposal; 2) Engage in a substantive discussion about teaching and research, but in a friendly and informal way. It is not a test, and you are not in a position to administer an oral exam; 3) Resist any urge to be clingy or emotionally over-invested, in either a positive or a negative way; 4) Try and be kind—the candidate is under some of the most intense stress of his or her professional life; for the sake of common humanity, try not to make it worse.

      • Also, as a kindness, run interference between the candidate and particularly problematic grad students. When your dissertation-blinded/mental ill/emotionally unstable peer starts asking if the candidate has a family during the grad student lunch, for instance, tackle her. Or, better maybe, ask another question that modifies the topic into something answerable (i.e. how did you get interested in studying breastfeeding in accommodations in institutional settings?)

  9. Hi Dr. Karen,

    Thank you – this is incredibly helpful! I was wondering if you could say a few words about the teaching lunch? I’m supposed to send syllabi in advance (not sure what level or number) and then discuss them over lunch. I would really appreciate your thoughts. Thank you!

    Sarah

    • This is the first I’ve heard of a “teaching lunch”! What an odd term. But it sounds straightforward. Send approximately 3-4 syllabi, representing your range of expertise PLUS the job to which you’re applying. If it’s a dept with a grad program, the breakdown should be: 1 low level Gen Ed course that represents your expertise but gets large enrollments (say, 75 or more); 1 upper level specialized undergrad course that represents your expertise but gets mid-level enrollments (say, 20-40); 1 grad seminar on your field of expertise as it intersects with the job thematics; 1 course they already have on the books that you would bring an interesting update/popularization to. Be sure and have clarity about innovative assignments as well as textbooks and thematics, and be sure that your innovation includes harnessing the potential of social media and the internet.

      • Dr. K,

        Thank you! That’s again very useful. (I didn’t realize the teaching lunch isn’t a common thing. They did them where I went to grad school and now seem to also do them at this institution). Your break-down is extremely useful. I appreciate it!

        Sarah

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  11. Stressing about a visit this week. Your tone makes me feel like I can probably pull it off but that I’m an idiot for not knowing this stuff (and I read this a month ago). I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing…I’m glad to get beat up every time I read them. Let’s hope I’ll do ok in the real deal.

  12. Regarding post-visit thank you cards:

    Should I send one thank-you card that addresses all of the search committee members, or should I send separate thank you cards to each of the search committee members?

    Thanks! – This is a wonderful website.

    • My view on this is that a card is sent only to one of the following: the head or search chair. For others, such as search comm members and admin assistant, an email is appropriate. No need to thank every faculty member in the dept.

      • Hi Karen, thanks for your amazingly helpful website! What about other people I may have met with (HR Head, Deans, President…)? Should I send an email to them as well?

      • Dear Dr. K,

        Thank you for the wonderful post! Could you confirm if a candidate needs to send a card per se to the search committee chair, or the Head? I was thinking an email be quicker? I ask because, I don’t want the committee to think that I haven’t thanked them, while I wait for the card to reach them. As per your post, I was thinking of sending a card only to the secretary. Should I re-think this? I just returned from an interview today and would like to email a thank you note as soon as possible, but I am still unsure what to do. Thank you for the wonderful post again, Dr. Karen!

        • Also, Dr. Karen, how soon should the thank you note be sent? As for the length, your post states writing a couple of lines. Would writing a small paragraph to the chair and head, and a couple of lines to the rest of the committee members (all of which will be via email), be okay? Should I wait a day or two before sending the thank you note, so that I do not come across as desperate?
          Thank you very much!

  13. Pingback: Your CV This Week: Attend a job talk « GSA: Graduate Student Association

  14. Hi, Karen, Jill here again. I now definitely have a campus interview and this includes a meeting with students. However, there are no graduate students in this department (Art & Design), and I’m an art historian. What kinds of questions might one expect from undergrads? Should I prepare my own questions for this meeting, or at least be prepared to nudge discussion along? Can you suggest some safe questions?

    Thanks!

    • I haven’t had experience with this, but my guess would be that they’ll have less of a sense of a “discipline” and be more focused on the working of their own department and on their individual classes and projects, so it will be important to show that you can contribute helpfully to those, without being scary, intimidating, jargony, or talk over their head.

  15. Pingback: Don’t Ask Career Services for Help With Your CV | The Professor Is In

  16. I just returned from my first ever campus visit and Oh.My.God did you describe it all exactly as it occurred. And made me realize a faux pas or two that I made, as well as reassuring me about several things I did well. I love your site and…should the above work out, I will be returning for advice on the next steps!

    Question: I sent thank-you notes today to the SC and the dean and department chair. I really enjoyed one of my breakfast meetings and would like to thank the person I met, but I’m worried that the lunch companion whom I didn’t enjoy as much might hear about the note and wonder why she did not receive one. Thoughts?

    Thanks again for a great post…helpful even after the fact!

  17. Pingback: Attend a job talk at your university | your cv this week

  18. When you write that a nice card to the department secretary is a good idea, should this thank you card be addressed to the secretary to thank her personally, or serve as a “dear search committee” thank you card?

  19. This post is really neat. Do you have any specific advice for SLACs? Especially when you are going for a campus visit at a department as a PoliSci candidate, but the department is a broad one that includes History, Sociology, Psych., and Economics. What would your approach be? How would one tailor a smart job talk?

    • Esmeralda, I’ve been going to campus visits at SLACs lately. I am in a different area than you, but the general concept is the same (interviews in broad departments which include a variety of fields).

      I have typically been aiming my job talks at the level of a bright undergraduate with an interest in my field but little to no knowledge of my specific subfield. About half the job talk is taken up in introducing the topic and in explaining my particular methodology (I am in a more technical discipline, so it takes me a long time to explain exactly what I’m doing). This way, I can count on at least 2/3 of the people in the room being on the same page as me (generally some of the faculty will be hopeless cases because they’ve already made up their minds to be uninterested, and some of the students will be first-year undergrads who just don’t have any background whatsoever and think that “political science” refers to climate change and evolution). Then I spend about a third of the job talk highlighting some of the most interesting results I’ve come up with — my intent here is to tell a good story about my work and get people interested, rather than to tell everyone about every single thing I ever did. The last bit of the job talk is spent telling people about the research I would pursue at Specific SLAC, and specifically about how I could involve undergraduates in my scholarship. I’ve generally had very engaged Q&A sessions (during which you can demonstrate a higher level of expertise than the constraints of your job talk might allow, if someone asks a more in-depth question.)

      Faculty and students in the departments have generally specifically sought me out after the talk and said how much they enjoyed it, which I think is a good indicator of a well-received job talk.

      • Quite right. As a faculty member on many of these search committees, I look for a couple of qualities. Most importantly, can you explain your research clearly to a general audience? Too many candidates at our SLAC treat the job talk like a conference presentation, and our students get lost very quickly.

        As a secondary concern, can you answer questions well? Not so much can you convey information clearly and at an appropriate level. Those are good qualities. More significant in an undergraduate environment, can you understand what the students are asking? Often students need help articulating clearly their questions. I am quite impressed by those candidates who hear the student’s question and answer what the student wants to know, which may not be what was explicitly asked.

        The topic of your research is not that important at a SLAC. If it was utterly incompatible with our school, you wouldn’t have received an on-campus invitation at all.

  20. A quick question — I have one campus visit currently scheduled and I’m awaiting news on a second. I’m also 28+ weeks pregnant (and will be 33 weeks when I go to the one scheduled visit). Should I mention this in my correspondence with the departments, so as not to catch anyone off-guard? (I wasn’t showing yet for conference interviews.)

  21. Pingback: The Rules for a Campus Visit | Clarissa's Blog

  22. I watched my advisor lose his position because his job talk rambled, and did not end at the appointed time. A powerful sr. member of the faculty interrupted, asked him to stop and I started scanning the room for someone who might sponsor me in the future.

  23. Great advice! Any advice on following up to see if a department has made a decision? How soon is too soon or when should you give up hope?

    • It depends, of course, if you are the first or last candidate visiting. We (SLAC) make every effort to schedule on-campus visits on three successive weeks.

      We usually meet the same afternoon or next day after the final candidate departs. An offer is extended the following day. Candidates typically respond in less than a week, and regrets (or the next offer) go out thereafter. So, for us, from first visit to unsuccessful candidates hearing bad news is typically five weeks.

  24. Do you have any experience with a very short job talk? I have been asked to give a 15-20 min research presentation (with 20 additional minutes for questions). This is very unusual in my field, but it is for a teaching school (the teaching demo is 3x as long….). I’m not sure how much I can realistically cover in the time of a conference paper.

    • Can you just use a recent conference paper (modified as needed for the audience)? I’ve been asked to give a 20-min research presentation and this is exactly what they suggested.

    • You may want to politely inquire if undergraduates are expected. At a teaching college, this may be an opportunity for you to demonstrate you can relate your detailed work to an eager general audience.

  25. Lots of good advice here, but we would absolutely never hire a person who ignores graduate students who are trying to ask a question. “Any more questions…. from important people?”

    • haha—please note I said don’t call on grad students *first*. I mean, I did add “or perhaps at all,” but in truth the issue is one of timing–I saw a few job talks were candidates unwittingly called on grad students first before the Extremely Eminent Senior Faculty, and the tension in the room was palpable…

  26. One anecdote to relate re: talking to grad students. I had a campus visit in which I taught the graduate students and then also had a little sit-down chat with them afterwards. The teaching part was good though they were hard to draw into conversation. During the chat, I asked them about their projects and research, what they liked about/wanted from the department, their career goals, etc. Everyone was chatty and friendly. It all seemed fine. When I was not offered the job, and asked the chair why, her comment? The graduate students thought they couldn’t get to “know you” and that “you didn’t open up to them.” I was rather astounded by this response, especially since not a one had asked me a question I hadn’t answered, but in this case I think I focused on them too much. Or, that’s just what the chair told me because the real reason was not a very good one.

  27. I have seen job candidates been ruled out for doing precisely what you suggested, i.e., “always finish strong: NOT, feebly, “did that answer your question….??” but with firm, healthy boundaries: “Next Question?””

    The dean later on said: “the candidate was too cocky”

  28. Karen, as always, this is great advice. However, what special points would you make if you are an internal candidate on a campus visit? I know you have other posts on “internal candidates”here and elsewhere, but how to handle this visit? I know everyone in the hiring department and several others related ones, I teach and have connected professionally with several students, and I know people in the administration. How do I both “present myself IDENTICALLY” as unknown candidates and yet ignore the fact that I have shared words and meals with many of these people?

  29. Dr. Karen,

    Is it customary after an initial interview to send a thank you note/email? If so, how should I address the people in the search committee, so as not to look like a desperate grad student? “Dear Professors”? or….

    Thanks a lot!

    Carrie

  30. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for the enlightening piece. I’m preparing for job interviews as well, and my question concerns addressing other faculty. I do not have my PhD yet, and so I am not sure whether, in email and in person, I should address them as Dr. so and so or by their first name?

    Thanks!!

    Mike

  31. I have a campus visit to a SLAC that involves a colloquium presentation (with the pre-circulationation of a writing sample a week prior) instead of the traditional job talk. Any advice for this format?

  32. Is it OK to present work that is about to be published during your campus visit, or should it be something more in-process? Thanks!

  33. I’m still waiting to hear back about a position that I interviewed for almost 6 weeks ago. The chair said at the interview that it could take a month to hear something (so I’m assuming I didn’t get the position), but is it ever ok to send an email to check on the status of the hire? If so, who should I email–the chair of the committee, the chair of the department, or someone else? Thanks in advance for your help!

  34. I wrote a 2 paragraph email to every member of the department (16 members), the dept. secretary, and the Dean I met with. Hopefully, going the extra mile is noticed.

  35. When I was a grad student rep on a search committee, a candidate made a comment to the grad students that I found astonishingly condescending. You can bet I brought it up at the search committee meeting. I come from a very hierarchical department where condescension to grad students is not considered a sin, but the committee was surprised at the candidate’s poor judgment in making this (totally avoidable) remark, and s/he did not get the job.

  36. Thank you so much for sharing these amazing thoughts!

    If I answered a question poorly, is it appropriate to address the question again and correct my answer in the thank you email?

  37. I am curious about reimbursement etiquette for invitations to campus. I thought I was doing “the right thing” by notifying a school that I needed to withdraw my candidacy prior to a campus visit after accepting another offer. I would never dream of shining them on and thought prompt notification was the professional and courteous thing to do. The school is now requesting repayment of funds for the airline ticket they booked for my now cancelled trip… They handled all of the travel arrangements and apparently bought me a non refundable ticket. Am I obligated to repay the school after bowing out of their search?

    • wow, that is seriously tacky. I’m really sorry you are confronting this! it’s not right! I don’t think you are obligated. Can you tell me the rank/type of institution?

        • I’m in a similar position. I accepted a campus visit several weeks ago (mostly as a back-up and to keep all options open), but am now about 95% sure that I will not be taking the job. I have not yet contacted the search committee because they already bought an airline ticket, which I can tell is non-refundable. My visit is in 2 weeks. What is a professional way that I can turn down the invitation without burning any bridges? Thanks!

  38. I am sitting in the airport returning from my first campus visit. This column was an invaluable resource. It gave me a great idea of what to expect from the process. It was an absolutely exhausting experience, but a very positive one. I nailed every aspect of the visit and expect to be offered the position next week. Thanks for putting this out there!!

  39. Hi Karen, thank you for all these thoughts. Is it appropriate to write and connect with some faculty members who I am interested in working/collaborating with, before I go for campus visits?

  40. Karen, I have just received and accepted a TT job offer at a good university, in a position that feels like a match made in heaven. I wanted to thank you for your good advice, not just in this post, but in many others addressing the campus interview and so on, since I believe I would not have been as successful as I have been if not for your advice. My personal opinion is that the department that I finally accepted the offer from was pretty laid back and friendly bunch of people, and some of your more… how shall we say… stringent rules did not really apply. But it was nice to know that I did everything I could to be a good candidate. I feel like some of your advice applied more to those departments that I did not have a good fit with, and who were much more hierarchical and distanced. I was top choice for all other universities I interviewed with too, and I think that has a lot to do with me reading, re-reading, and internalizing your articles. Thank you very much, and I will be forever indebted to you! Your blog is a definite must-use for all my future grad students looking for a career in academia down the road.

      • Hi Karen,

        For the job that I accepted, they did not really have a very formal search committee interview, whereas some of the other interviews I went to had senior faculty being kind of combative and testy. I get that it’s part of their vetting process, but some of your advice on how to deal with that, how to keep my cool, and how to artfully answer some of these hard questions was very helpful! When I read some of your advice, I was getting really nervous about the interview, and you were spot on for some of the interviews I went to. But for the one I accepted, it was much more collegial and conversational, and they weren’t trying to trip me up or anything. I felt like I was treated like a colleague. I guess it’s just down to departmental culture, and I really like the culture of the university I finally went with. There were also other things you cautioned us about, which like I said, I felt like I needed more at other universities, like dealing with grad students, talking money with the dean, treacherous Q and A sessions after the job talk, etc.

        I actually have a really hilarious/horrifying story to share:

        On one of my campus interviews, AFTER I had met with the Dean, department head, and vice provost, I went to the bathroom only to find that my trousers that I had just bought, and fit me at my weight (it wasn’t like it was too tight or anything) had split at the seam somewhere around my crotch/bum area. It wasn’t too obvious or anything (but of course that was the day I decided to wear fun pink leopard print underwear). I walked around the next faculty meeting and tour of labs very carefully and made sure I climbed stairs BEHIND the host. Then during my break, I ran into the bathroom and emptied my briefcase trying to find anything that will be my salvation. I remember saying “okay, you can do this, you’re an engineer!” I finally found some big-ish bandaids that I stuck on the inside of the pants to hold the seam down. The heat from my body did an even better job of strengthening the adhesive, and this make-shift stitch lasted through the whole day. I’m really glad it worked out (got an offer from that institution too), and I brought a sewing kit with me to all subsequent interviews.

  41. Wonderful post…and book!

    If a University asks for the name of the universities of the other campus visits before they offer you a visit, do you disclose this information?

    • I am also curious about similar issues… Two top-tier universities invited me for interviews, and in figuring out scheduling I told one that I also had an interview elsewhere, but did not name it (as you suggest). But then during my first campus visit at the other university, towards the very end of the visit, I asked them when I might expect to hear back from them. And my reaction was to blurt out something along the lines of, “ah, that’s good to know, because it will also match the time of my other campus visit at university X”. I did not mean to blurt out the name of the other university. Now I am afraid that, while it is also a top-tier institution, and so I don’t think I lost much in terms of allure and desirability, it may have raised some concern among those folks that perhaps I might prefer the other institution because its more familiar to me (based on where I obtained my PhD and lived before). So on the walk out from the visit, and in my thank you note to the chair of the search, as well as to the colleague who accompanied me most closely and asked if I would be happy to “go back to place x”, I pointed out explicitly that I have no special ties to place X, and that I see the position at their university as ideal. Would there have been a better way to handle the situation? Could you share some more thoughts on these matters?

  42. Hi Karen,

    Should I even email to ask the process of the interview after my campus visit? It has been two months, and I still hear nothing from them, not even rejection. Would an email to show my interest again help (at least to my curiosity?)

    • It will help only in that you will get word that you were rejected. Sorry. This is the way of the academic world now. If they don’t contact you after 2 months that means you weren’t shortlisted and they didn’t have the courtesy/skills to let people know.

  43. I had an interview for the position of Assistant Teaching Professor yesterday. It was an internal interview, that said, I went through the same entire process (with presentation, group discussion and Q&A, lunch, and one on one interviews) like all the other the external candidates. I have been teaching in the department as a TA for past many many years and am still teaching two classes this term. I know most of the faculty members well considering I have taught many many classes in this department.
    I will be meeting the HOD again on Monday considering I am teaching one of his classes this term.
    The work culture in the department is very nice, people are nice and friendly.

    I am very confused about how I should write my thank you emails. Can you please guide me.

  44. Hello Karen!
    First – this blog has been really, really helpful in my first year on the market. It’s helped me through my first couple on-campus interviews, which have been 8 AM to 8 PM affairs. Recently, I was invited for an on-campus interview that is short, only half the day, with teaching demo plus short research talk, a tour, a meal with the department, and a meeting with the deans.
    So some questions – have you ever encountered a short interview, how do you interpret it, and do you have any advice?
    Thanks!

  45. I just came back from my first campus visit and wanted to thank you for your advice. It went well and everybody was very friendly, but without your book and blog I would have been totally unprepared and lost. I wanted to mention that my requirements for the job talk were quite different from what I have seen or read before, and my senior colleagues and mentor/supervisor were also surprised by it. I had 40 minutes and was asked covered my research (past, current and future plans), my fit into the department as well as courses I would teach with specific assignments/content. By the time I got these specifications I already had prepared a classical job talk, and needles to say that I was a bit stressed. How on earth should I fit all this in 40 minutes? Luckily I had a lot of support from friends and colleagues and practiced twice in front of a big audience. Now I need to wait and see if it was enough. All I wanted to say with this is: be prepared for things being different from what everybody else says. Good luck to everybody, especially those of you who are waiting for news.

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  47. I have an interview coming up for a two year VAP, and I have a question about the etiquette for socializing with the program’s grad students after hours. I just finished my PhD a few months ago and am relatively young. While still a student I met a fellow grad student from this program; we went out with a group at a conference. My campus visit does not include an evening dinner, and I am betting that this grad student will (politely) invite me out for dinner or drinks with him and the other students. I would certainly want to show my willingness to socialize and collaborate with the graduate students, but this also feels like it could have the wrong optics. If I got the job, I would teach a seminar for these students. I want to make sure I appear to everyone as a junior researcher, rather than a perpetual grad student (at conferences and lectures, I still find myself chatting mainly with grad students rather than more senior faculty). Any advice would be appreciated.

    • You must never go out with anyone in the dept for an engagement that is not on the official search schedule—ESPECIALLY with the grad students!

  48. Beyond it being telling about culture, any advice on how to handle the department ignoring a seemingly reasonable scheduling request?

    I gave them workable dates (based on another campus visit) and they set up a date that overlapped with one of the ‘no go zones’. The result is two round trips to different coasts with less than 24 hours on the ground in the between.

    Am I out of line to request a change? I am mostly concerned about any potential travel snafu’s with the never ending winter of 2018.

  49. Hi Karen,

    I have a campus visit at a community college in a week, for which I am covering a large part of the costs myself (over $1000, I’m travelling from Australia). This trip involves 30hrs of travel to get there. Basically I get in the night before the interview and leave the evening of the interview, so I have horrible jet lag and exhaustion to deal with on top of the interview!

    I’ve been asked to give a 10 minute teaching demonstration and a 10 minute lab demonstration. That is all that has been mentioned. Both seem very short. No other things have been mentioned like lunches, only that the Dean would like to meet candidates. As far as I know, there is no ‘job talk’ – I will get the chance to do research if I wish, but it’s not required. Do you think that the elements you mention above will be included, or is it really just going to be an interview with the search committee (not mention, but a given), and the demonstrations? Is it normal to not have an outline for the day, or is this an indicator that there really are just a few elements?

    • Generally you should get a schedule before you arrive, even if it includes only a few elements. It is not uncommon to have only a teaching demo for a community college, and no job talk. If you want help with the teaching demo we have help for that! Do read my advice on the teaching demo, which you can find by searching on the blog.

      • Thank you! Some advice I am finding a lot is ‘don’t lecture’. The subject is Biology and the audience is the committee playing the role of students. It seems impossible to have the entire 10 minutes of discussion/activity and not include some lecture element. I was thinking of starting off with the usual outline/why is this topic important and what students would have covered before this point, then a discussion of what they already know or think about the topic (either open discussion or asking them to write down and share), then the rest of the time will be slides with questions then explanation / clarification. Then finish with ‘what would come next’. Again, since the subject is very subject heavy, it would be hard to do this without any slides/lecture element and would not be indicative of a normal class (lecture interspersed with questions and small activities). Any thoughts?

        • You’re talking about a teaching demo. This is not a job talk. I think some lecturing is essential, even if just 15 min or so. The Chronicle just had a piece on the teaching demo that i posted on FB recently so check that out. And also, we have a specialist here at TPII who will work with you to plan and execute your teaching demo. If you want that help, email me at gettenure@gmail.com!

  50. I had a question–I am coming from Asia to the West Coast and the dept has offered to pay some of the money toward the trip–most of the money–and I will book it. In this case, can I tack on days for jetlag/visit or still no?

    Tom

  51. Hi Karen,
    Many thanks for this! I have a campus interview coming up and am given the option of doing a teaching demo and lecture with Q&A either on the same day or on different days. Any general advice on which I should prefer?

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