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044: 5 Myths About University Teaching Jobs That YOU Probably Believe

We know that stepping from academia to industry is met with scorn for the person ‘selling out’ and leaving the university, but there’s a subtler form of bias against those scientists who actually like to teach.

The moment you consider applying for a university teaching position, your advisors and peers will come out of the woodwork to tell you what a bad idea that is. It’s unstable, a waste of your abilities, and you’ll be bored in just four days!

And God forbid you mention a job that doesn’t offer tenure.

This week on the show, we talk with a professor who took that fateful teaching job, and lived to tell about it.  In fact, she’s happier than she’s ever been.

 S. Jones photographIgnoring the Voices

This week, we follow up on last week’s interview with Dr. Shannon Jones, the Director of Biological Instruction at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Though Dr. Jones was offered several positions on the tenure track at research universities, she knew her motivational profile and passions.  That included nurturing students on their own scientific paths through teaching and mentorship.

But turning down offers for a job with tenure was no easy decision.  In fact, her colleagues advised her to stick with academia, citing many reasons why a teaching position was a bad idea:

  1. Without tenure, there’s no job security.
  2. The pay is terrible.  You can’t make a living teaching!
  3. They’ll give all the good classes to tenured full professors – you’re going to be stuck teaching remedial biology to undergrads for the rest of your career.
  4. There’s no chance for advancement – you’ll do the same work the rest of your career.
  5. Applying for grants and doing bench research is what you’re trained for.  Teaching is a step down and a waste of your skills!

And on it goes.

But these are myths, biases, and simplifications that don’t hold up to scrutiny.

As you read this list of myths, check your own intuition and experience.  If you find yourself nodding along with the naysayers, tune in to this week’s episode to find out how Dr. Jones addressed these concerns and many more.32934782_s

All Day is Not a “Session”

This week, we enjoy the All Day IPA Session Ale from Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, MI.  

Curious about the notion of drinking all day, we look up the meaning of ‘session’ as it pertains to beer.  The etymology harkens back to a simpler time when employees were allowed to drink beer on their breaks.

And for the record, citing precedent does not make it okay for you to bring a six-pack to work tomorrow!

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