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Before you begin your job search, you need to think about the kind of institution, position, and community you would want to be part of as a faculty member. This is not a minor decision in a new faculty position, you are likely to spend 60 or more hours a week working on your teaching, service and research. If you are not happy with your institution, colleagues, and/or community, your professional experience can be exhausting instead of stimulating.
To identify your "best" institutional fit(s), you need to be honest in setting your own desires and needs. The following worksheets and links will provide information to help you make that determination. First, answer the following questions:
Now think about what your "ideal" situation would look like for the items below. Be as specific as you can about your desires and needs.
Now you are ready to identify the type of institutions(s) in which you would fit as a faculty member. To do this, you need to understand something about different types of academic institutions.
Generally, academic institutions fall into a five categories: Research (Ph.D.-granting), Comprehensive (Masters-Granting), Liberal Arts (Bachelors-granting), Community and Technical Colleges (Associates - granting), and specialized institutions (tribal colleges, seminaries, etc.). Like all typologies, this one includes a wide range of diversity within each category rankings, specialties, available funds, and so on.
For a complete discussion of institution types and statistics, go to the Carnegie Foundation Classifications site at http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/classifications
Drawing on the information in the Institutional Fit Worksheet, work to develop a Career Plan that includes the components listed below. First, though, you need to think about where you want to go in your career and consider how are you are most likely to get there. If you need additional information, think about how and whether informational interviews or library or on-line searches regarding institutional types and roles could assist you. The Bibliography and On-Line Resources listed on the Resources page can help you in this inquiry.
Career Plan Components:
Once you've answered these questions, develop a timeline for your career. Turn the answers into a graphic, a flow chart, a mind map, whatever you like and provide yourself with flexibility to accommodate different potential paths (if this, then that) or handling dual roles.
The idea of integrating ideal with realistic is an important part of mapping an overall path. You may not get your "dream job" right out of graduate school, but you can situate yourself in a way that makes it possible for you to be competitive for that job when it does open up.