CRLT is accepting applications through Friday, February 24, for the May 2017 Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Seminar. Interested graduate students can learn more about the program here. In this guest post, past participant Leigh Korey (Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature) shares her reflections about the program:

Past Preparing Future Faculty Seminar participant Leigh Korey (Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature) I realized in my second year of grad school that I wanted to pursue a career in teaching. It was in the middle of winter term, and I had solicited feedback from students in my first-year writing class. We had spent the first few weeks discussing in detail the idea of “context,” both in a literary sense and in terms of their own writing. In their feedback to me, they communicated that the pop quizzes I administered in class to hold students accountable for their reading assignments were not working. They didn’t object to the idea of pop quizzes as an assessment tool, rather, the problem was that the questions on the quizzes felt, in their words, “decontextualized.” I knew at that moment that they had finally understood the importance of context. Moreover, I learned that the feeling of working with a group of students until they truly comprehend something is one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable parts of teaching.

Winter: in many fields, this time of year is filled with faculty position interviews, campus visits, and job talks. You might currently be deep in an academic job search process or watching others grapple with it. You may be curious about the kinds of jobs that PhD’s hold outside the academy. In this competitive academic job market, many graduate students and postdocs are doing both--investigating the market for academic jobs while also exploring alternate career paths.

To support the needs of current and future faculty, CRLT has drawn together a broad set of Preparing Future Faculty web resources that can help academics explore, apply for, and thrive in a wide variety of jobs. Many of the linked documents, videos, and websites originated from a CRLT-Rackham collaboration that took the form of an annual Preparing Future Faculty conference. The collection thus contains a wealth of resources that have been developed collaboratively over a decade of Preparing Future Faculty efforts at U-M.

While graduate students and postdocs will find these resources particularly useful, academics at all stages will find valuable guidance and information here. For example, we highlight strategies for success at any point in your academic career, from graduate student to postdoc to full professor. In addition, many graduate students and postdocs may be interested in exploring career options outside the academy that draw on the skills they are developing as scholars and teachers inside the academy.

Registration is now open for CRLT's winter seminar series on teaching and learning. These programs offer U-M faculty, graduate students, and postdocs opportunities to gain new perspectives on teaching at Michigan, share ideas across disciplines, and improve their teaching skills. This semester, our offerings include: 

photo of 3 faculty members working together at a seminar

Full details about these programs and more can be found on our Upcoming Events list.

At CRLT, we have been hearing from many instructors seeking guidance on how to talk with their students in the days following the election. Depending on many factors, you may or may not choose to engage students in conversation about the election results. In either case, we hope the following thoughts will be helpful. 

If you do choose to engage students on this topic, it will be important to acknowledge the range of perspectives and intense emotions that are likely present in your classroom. These guidelines on discussing difficult topics may be helpful for framing a conversation where students with diverse experiences and points of view can engage productively with one another. 

If you do not choose to address the topic of the election substantively but still want to acknowledge it, you can do the following:
  • You can begin by recognizing that it was a long night, everyone is likely very tired, different people have strong emotions from a variety of perspectives, and it may be hard to focus.  
  • You can give your students a brief chance to write for a minute or two -- to process their thoughts and feelings and/or identify people they want to reach out to later today, for whatever sorts of connection and processing would be beneficial to them. And then move on to your plan for the day. 
  • You could note the difficulty of focusing and of controlling strong emotions and let students know they can feel free to step out of class if they need a minute to refocus.

If a student raises the election as a topic when you hadn't planned to discuss it, these resources may be helpful if you want to engage everyone in conversation. If you do not feel prepared to do so, you can recognize why the student might want to have the conversation, but explain that you want to think further about whether and how to engage it as a class because it is important to do so carefully given the intense emotions and divergent perspectives around this election.