In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader writes:
I’ve got two related questions:
1. In grad school I heard that moving from a cc to a university is basically impossible. Is that true? If not, what will making such a move require?
2. Is there a way to gauge from job listings, or by doing a bit of research, how big a role research plays at a particular teaching-focused institution? Does it vary widely? (I’d exclude SLACs here because I’m enrolled in the PSLF program.)
A bit of explanation: By the time I entered my last year of grad school, I felt confident that I wanted a career at a community college. I loved teaching and, while I love writing, I am less enthusiastic about academic writing. So I only applied to cc jobs and was lucky enough to land a job at a cc in a great city. The year that I earned tenure there I left (for a few good reasons) after taking another cc job across the country. The new job improves on the areas that were of concern at the old job, but I am deeply unhappy living here so I’m back on the job market. For the first time, I’m looking at university positions with interest because of the additional opportunities that creates. But I’m unsure whether a position at even a teaching-focused university would be a good fit for me because I don’t know how big a role research plays there and whether such an institution would even consider me.
I’ve built up a very good CV in terms of service and teaching, but I don’t know  how that would be valued by teaching-focused universities,  whether my complete lack of research since the dissertation would disqualify me even if I attempt to start publishing now, or  what it would look like to be in a position that has a research requirement (all the university job ads ask for a promising research agenda but I can’t tell how much research is a part of each of those jobs).
I don’t know if making such a move even makes sense for me, but that’s in part because I actually know very little about what life would look like at a university. Whatever I can learn will help me take informed steps forward, and I figured that putting out this feeler is a good start.
Another reader submitted the following rather blunt take:
I worked for a number of years at a typical state college – almost all programs were 4 year BAs. When we ran searches we would not have touch a file like yours in a hundred years – (i) it suggests that you have no interest in research and there is no evidence you could meet the (rather low) requirements for tenure; and (ii) there are just so many other that might be just like you, but have a publication of two. So there would be no good reason to consider a file from a candidate who has not published.
I suspect this is probably true for tenure-track positions at 4-year universities, as even at teaching-focused universities research matters, and a complete lack of research since one’s dissertation would (as this reader notes) make the OP uncompetitive against candidates who do have some research productivity. However, I am less sure about non-tenure-track “Teaching Assistant Professor” positions, which appear to be becoming increasingly common at many universities. In my experience, these positions can have few (or even no) research expectations, focusing instead on teaching and service. Yet, I also have reason to believe that even when it comes to these positions, some people think that at least some research activity is necessary to keep up with the field as a teacher. So, I’m not sure about those positions. I suspect that if the OP does want to move to at least a non-TT job like this at a university, they should try to take some steps to start publishing.
But these are just my thoughts. What do you all think?
Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More