Gloria Crisp

Should you pursue a faculty or administrative position post graduation? 
Here are a few things to consider in deciding whether a faculty position might be a good fit for you:   

To me, a faculty position is the best job in the entire world. You are paid to think, share ideas and learn. You are provided a tremendous amount of flexibility and autonomy to conduct research and teach (in most cases) on topics that interest you. You have the opportunity to work and learn from a diversity of students, which can be extremely rewarding. You also have the potential to do research that is meaningful and useful for improving educational policy and practice outside of your institution.  

The current market is extremely competitive and you should know that not everyone is able to secure a tenure track position. Even if you do everything you can to make your self marketable, there is still a good amount luck involved that you will not be able to control. However, if you are able to secure a full-time position and get tenure, you will be provided a tremendous amount of job security.  

It is also important to know that a faculty position is not a good fit for everyone. Faculty life is very different from administration and you may not like one if you enjoy the other. The work environment can be isolating and may not be satisfying  if you value working with colleagues and students on a daily basis. Despite what some would like you to believe, the job is very demanding (even more so after tenure). To be successful, you have to be able to handle and respond well to critique and continue to believe in your work. You do not have a boss in the traditional sense and you are expected to develop and maintain an active research agenda and manage your own career. You also have to figure out and meet inconsistent and often unclear expectations. 

If you are interested in pursuing a faculty position, I strongly recommend that you meet with your advisor early in your studies to discuss how we can work together to make you as marketable as possible. In addition to speaking with your advisor about a faculty career/life, you should plan to discuss the following: 

     1.   Your research interests and how they connect with other faculty in the department
     2.   Opportunities to present and/or publish with your advisor and/or other faculty
     3.   How to develop papers that you write during your coursework into presentations and publications
​     4.   How to become involved with professional organizations
     5.   How to develop your network outside of the institution
     6.   The types of publications that are most and least valued by search committees
     7.   Other out of class activities to engage in during your program (e.g., teaching, institutional committee work)