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Updated on Tuesday, May 19

#20961

OMG: As a transfer student who has done exchanges (so I've been to a few schools), I have to say that Waterloo is spectacularly good at hiring terrible lecturers. I've never had so many profs who don't know how to teach, explain concepts, or speak English. Who hires these people? Good researchers are not necessarily good teachers

10 comments

  1. For professor positions, research is far more important than teaching.

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  2. The whole research thing really is the problem. One's teaching record means very little when trying to get tenure because universities want the prestige of having professors who are well known for their research and publications. In fact, professors can't even using teaching obligations as excuses to get out of working on various administrative boards at the university (only research concerns are an accepted excuse), which means that devoting yourself to teaching well just leaves you overworked and exhausted.

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    1. I wouldn't really call research the problem then... If the aspect the university values more is the research they provide then from the university's perspective they are doing exactly what they need.

      There is a bit of personal responsibility that comes into learninguniversity. You can't expect everything to be handed to you on a silver plater like in high school.

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    2. @2b University's perspective, certainly, but this is also a place where people go to learn (and pay good money to do so). As a place of learning, surely teaching should be a major concern but, alas, professors are forced to neglect it due to agenda of administrators.

      As for personal responsibility, it is important but it doesn't negate that you came here to have someone guide you and instruct you in your field. Everyone has to put in work but that "everyone" should also include the professor in a teaching capacity. At the very least, I believe that considerations should be made for professors who *want* to teach more than they want to perform research.

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  3. I would bet most are on contract with the university. Overworked and underpaid doesn't really give the morale that an effective university should have. More money to incompetent administration it seems.

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  4. If you think research is a problem in a University setting, then you do not belong at a University...

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  5. Waterloo is a research institution, not a teaching institution. No, seriously--there are both types of institutions at the post-graduate level, and UW prioritizes research. The hiring process requires potential tenure-track applicants to have had some teaching experience, a philosophy of education, etc., but this is weighted much less heavily than a strong research and funding background. To put it another way, it's entirely common for a hiring committee to "gloss over" bad/no teaching experience, but they would never gloss over a poor research/funding background. If you are interested in teaching over research, you should consider community college.

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    1. That's nice 5. Who was talking about post-graduate level studies though? OP? I missed that part.

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  6. As someone who has taken part in the hiring process as an exec of a student society, I can say it's actually very stringent.

    I can't say it is the same for every department but this was my experience:

    The candidate had to have meetings with every member of the department, on which each member would give feedback. The candidate had to do one or more guest lectures in classes, where they would be assessed and critiqued by the head of the department, as well as a few other higher ranking members. The candidate then had to meet with a group of undergraduate students, then graduate students, who would question and assess the professor based on their ability to teach comprehensively within a closed environment, to then report back to the head of the department.

    There were a few other steps that I don't recall but each candidate spent 3 to 4 12 hour days once they had been selected as one of the final few candidates.

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