Pre-interviewing Prospective Professor
I've been on a few job interviews over the years, so I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of interview questions. It can be very daunting sitting there and having questions hurled at you. Doing the hurling though, that's another story…
I recently got to try my hand during the interview of a prospective faculty member in my department. Along with a couple other students, I had lunch with the faculty candidate, and did an informal interview. This is a great way for the students to have a say in the hiring process.
When a faculty member interviews with the SE department, they go through a rather lengthy process for the interview. They meet with some of the current faculty, the department head, and also with the students. Once those meetings are over, they then give a short lecture about a topic. I take part in the last two parts of the process. It is my job to have lunch with the interviewee (paid for by the department of course!) and to just talk with them. I normally ask a lot of questions about the classroom policies (grading policy, homework policies, exam policies, etc), but I also do focus on “Why RIT?” It is very interesting to hear the response to that. A lot of the prospective faculty members tell me that RIT is a really well respected name in the industry. They really like what RIT does with its hands-on interaction with the students. The also enjoy the smaller class sizes, which allows them to have a closer interactions with the students.
After the lunch, the professor gives a mock lecture. This is open to everyone, and gives students and faculty an opportunity to see what the prospective faculty is like in a class room setting. At the end of the process, the students are given an evaluation to fill out. This evaluation includes things such as “What courses do you envision this professor teaching?” and “Would you take a class with this professor?” These are rather important topics for the department to know. They do not want to hire a faculty member that the student population doesn’t like.
I feel that the SE department really does care about what I have to say. I have a meeting with the department head tomorrow to discuss my evaluation of the professor and why I rated them the way I did. This allows the department head to really try and understand what the students are expecting from their professors. It is really nice to know that my school isn’t just picking a professor based on what they want; it is also based on what I want as well.