Physics teachers are professionals, as are research physicists. As such, we must begin asserting ourselves when it comes to finding jobs. We cannot let incompetent administrators continue to dictate our job requirements to us. We cannot continue to let the corporatization of higher education infest our classrooms by treating students as commercial customers. We cannot continue to provide our services for less than what they are worth. Job searches, as currently practiced, are essentially processes of exclusion in which candidates are ruled out based on innumerable unspoken criteria that are never openly documented in order to find the best “fit” for the job regardless of competence and documented qualifications. The last candidate standing gets the job regardless. Heck, sometimes the job goes to a predetermined candidate. Sometimes interviews are given to create the illusion of propriety. It’s time to turn the tables and start requiring institutions, specifically their administrations, to start measuring up to OUR values as teachers.
So, I have decided to practice what I preach by placing this “position wanted” ad. It’s crazy, but it might get some positive attention. Maybe it’ll even start a new trend. If you see it as satire, that’s fine with me. Consider reversing the roles of employer and employee and see if you still see it as satire or if it seems more realistic to you. If you take it seriously, that’s fine with me too. I would say it’s a mixture of both but I won’t disclose the relative proportions because they are subject to change.
I am looking for a new environment in which to practice my profession. I seek a full time ten month or twelve month non-tenure track teaching position at a two year or four year college where I can create learning environments for introductory astronomy, observational astronomy, conceptual physics, introductory two semester algebra-based physics, introductory two semester calculus-based physics, and modern physics. I can also teach introductory celestial mechanics, LaTeX, and Python programming.
I am currently researching the history of vector analysis, tensor analysis, and geometric algebra and their application to introductory physics. My long term goal is to reframe introductory physics to make it more mathematically rigorous so as to prepare students for future physics and astronomy course work. This will necessarily require enhancing the use of mathematics in introductory courses.
If if matters, please feel free to browse my current cv.
I have the following requirements of an academic workplace environment:
- Faculty at your institution must work without interference from administrators.
- I prefer to be in a physics department with a physicist or astronomer/astrophysicist as chair.
- I require the freedom to use Matter & Interactions in any introductory calculus-based physics courses I teach.
- I require the freedom to use any web portals I find necessary for instruction and the freedom to not be required to favor any one over any other. My personal preference is WebAssign.
- I require a classroom designed to facilitate studio style instruction, complete with Macintosh computers (desktop iMacs or MacBook Airs), the freedom to decide what software is used on these computers, a large screen television with an Apple TV rather than a traditional projector setup, and high speed Internet access with nothing blocked.
- I require the freedom to design courses around student needs, including meeting times, rather than traditional perceptions of what students need. The latter are often wrong or at least not based on student needs but rather unresearched traditions.
- I require full financial support to attend two AAPT meetings each year. I am an AAPT Fellow and am heavily involved in AAPT’s committee structure. Working with AAPT will strengthen your department and I can help get other interested faculty involved in AAPT.
- I reserve the right to speak on behalf of my discipline in any private or public forum, knowing that an institution cannot have opinions, informed or otherwise, or hold beliefs or values and knowing that faculty are not official spokespersons for their institution to begin with, making silly disclaimers unnecessary when I name my institution.
- I require unquestioning support from my department chair and higher administrators. I expect the benefit of any doubt in all matters at all times.
- Once each semester, I require administration to submit to me a report on how well it is meeting my needs in creating a high quality academic culture that fosters learning and scholarship. The report must include detailed listings of how much time each administrator spent the previous semester securing funding for my instructional efforts and must include sources solicited, amounts requested, and the sources response. A minimum of fifty (50) hours per administrator is required each semester.
- I require a salary at least equal to my current salary.
- I require employment until such time as I choose to leave or die, whichever comes first.
- I require presence on any committee that hires administrators who could potentially oversee me or my department.
- I reserve the right to add additional items to this list at any time.
- At no time are you permitted to alter these terms defining my job description. Only I may do that.
In return, I commit to the following:
- I will be the most dedicated physics/astronomy instructor your institution has ever hired.
- I will employ research based and research validated pedagogy in all my classes.
- I will treat all students with respect, but will insist they adhere to policies that ensure them a high probability of academic success.
- I will encourage, if not require, all students to become active in their own education knowing that ultimately the decision is theirs and theirs alone.
- I will promote ethnic and gender diversity in my classroom to the extent that I, as faculty, can knowing that any institution’s diversity ultimately lies with its admissions office.
- I will actively promote scholarship in science and the teaching thereof in everything I do.
- I will unquestioningly support my students and protect them from unnecessary administrative bureaucracy and other nonsense that inhibits their education.
- I will promote your institution in every way possible to the public, to students, and to colleagues.
If you think your institution can live up to my professional values and support my instructional efforts, please leave a comment including contact information. I will inspect your institution’s website (and particularly scrutinize the physics department site), contact current and past students for their opinions of your institution and undergraduate physics program, contact current and past employees for their input, check with AAUP for any sanctions currently against your institution, and perform other evaluations (e.g. obtain your president’s salary and compare it to the average faculty salary) not necessarily documented here. If I find your institution worthy of my values, I will contact you and arrange for you to interview at a mutually convenient time. There is no hurry on my part.