What kind of questions will a community college ask during an interview?
June 8, 2008 8:08 AM   Subscribe

I have an upcoming phone interview for a teaching position at a community college. What kind of questions should I expect?
posted by jackypaper to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've been going through this process for the past few weeks (and still am) for a position as a psychology instructor. I've been asked questions about my knowledge of topics in psychology, my educational background, why I would want to work for their college, why I'm the best candidate, how I have worked with/dealt with diversity in my classroom, how I assess progress in my students' learning, and many more questions that I can't remember at the moment. If I remember more, I'll come back and post them.

Make sure you have questions of your own to ask because it shows your interest in the position and the school. This isn't usually very hard to do because you really are interested.

Good luck!
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 8:52 AM on June 8, 2008

Previous askme has some good advice.
posted by idb at 9:25 AM on June 8, 2008

Unfortunately, that anonymous asker was me. The job market is tough, and I hope you have better luck that I did. Feel free to MeFi mail me if you have any more questions or just want someone to talk to about the whole process.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 9:52 AM on June 8, 2008

My advice is to remember that this is a professional interview. You might've heard this elsewhere, but while on the phone, stand-up, smile and maybe even put on business attire. All of that will help serve as reminders to yourself to respond with professional, enthusiastic answers.

Also, remember that most interviewers are looking for you to exclude yourself somehow, so they will be doing everything they can to open you up. Be friendly, but don't let your guard down. Stay positive and don't let them lead you to answer a question negatively.

This might sound obvious, but I know it's something I've overlooked in the past. In most cases, interviewers aren't going to be rooting for you to get the job. They are not going to look at for you or tell you when you've made a mistake. By staying positive and professional, even on a phone interview, you'll be doing yourself a big favor.
posted by shesbookish at 11:16 AM on June 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

You might want to do a Google search of Confessions of a Community College Dean, which occasionally discusses hiring at the CC level.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:26 PM on June 8, 2008

Also, check out the Chronicle Forums.
posted by media_itoku at 12:48 PM on June 8, 2008

I was asked (in-person, not on phone) what classes I liked the most in college, which ones I felt most qualified to teach and why, which specific courses in their curriculum I was interested in teaching and why. The interviewer knew I had no teaching experience going in to the interview, so I wasn't asked specifically about my teaching experience. I was asked some general questions about how I would handle certain situations, like what would I do with a disruptive student, or if a student was cheating, or if a student wasn't getting what I was teaching.

Also, community colleges strive for strong contacts within the community, so be sure to mention if you have those kinds of contacts or resources. For example, if you are best friends with someone who is in charge of internships at some local company that the college might be interested in working with, be sure to work that into the conversation somehow. (I honestly do not know how to do something like that gracefully - maybe you do.)

If you have roots in the community (or plan to set down roots there) that would be good to mention as well.

Good luck! Phone interviews suck, but the advice above about smiling and standing is good. I tend to pace while on the phone, and sometimes end up sounding winded - try to avoid that.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 1:01 PM on June 8, 2008

media_itoku: "Also, check out the Chronicle Forums."

Exactly. Try the search function over there and you will find answers and advice.
posted by LarryC at 1:06 PM on June 8, 2008

Best answer: You'll want to emphasize your teaching ability, not your publications or research interests. Most community colleges don't care if you publish or not, but you need to show the committee that you are willing and able to teach a heavy courseload (it's 5/5 at my cc).

You'll also want to demonstrate your knowledge of teaching methods. I remember reading a CHE article in which a cc instructor claimed that university students tend already know how to learn when they come to school; many community college students don't. Often, just lecturing is not going to be effective. You might want to think about specific ways you can teach your subject to different types of learners - those who learn better by seeing or doing rather than just listening.

Your interviewers may ask you about your experience teaching to diverse learners. This doesn't just mean racial diversity. Depending on the student population, they might be looking for people who've taught adults (both returning students and "lifelong learners"), military, high schoolers, non-native speakers, and home-schooled students to name a few.

Also, don't give the impression that you're settling for a community college position or will be trying to move on to a 4-year school when possible. Teaching at a community college is not the same experience as teaching 100 or 200-level university classes. And although cc teaching typically doesn't have the same pay or status as a university position, the committee will not necessarily view 4-year ambitions or experience as an overwhelming plus. I've seen search committees that prefer the candidate with lots of 2-year college experience over the tenured professor who just wants to retire to an "easier" or a top-tier post-doc who will abandon the cc as soon as a better position opens up.

Finally, the best advice that I was given was to somehow get across the idea that I would be a good colleague. These people will hopefully be working with you for a long time, so they'll need assurances that they won't want to strangle you in every faculty meeting.

Good luck.
posted by bibliowench at 1:31 PM on June 8, 2008 [4 favorites]

« Older NYC lacrosse clubs?   |   Temperature and bathroom scales Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.