Sample Questions to Ask During the Interview
ALL FACULTY MEMBERS
- What kind of research are you currently working on?
- What do you teach? What kind of load have you been teaching? What is the ratio of graduate to undergraduate courses faculty teach?
- Do you get to teach what you want?
- How is the departmental service load? Many committees? Many faculty meetings?
- What are the department’s strengths?
- What would you like to see improved in the department?
- How do people seem to get along in the department?
- What is the structure of governance in the department (formal and informal)?
- How are the computing/library/administrative support (personnel and resources)?
- Is there secretarial support? Help/budget for photocopying? Budget for phone calls?
- What kind of travel support is available for conferences?
- What kinds of seed and small grant opportunities are available for research support/teaching development?
- What are the strengths (and/or weaknesses) of the department/university in facilitating research?
- Who helps out with your travel reimbursements, sending papers out, proposal submissions, etc… (especially ask junior faculty)?
- How helpful is this support?
- What are the department and university histories and criteria on tenure and promotion?
- How is the financial health of the department, college and/or university?
- What are the best and worst parts of living in ___________?
- How is the cost of living? housing?
- What area do you live in? How is the commute?
- Other topics: recreational/entertainment activities, public transportation, local politics, schools
JUNIOR FACULTY MEMBERS
- How are your relations with senior faculty in the department?
- How fair do the department evaluations and raises seem to be?
- How are you feeling about your prospects for tenure and promotion?
- How is the level of cooperation/competition among junior faculty here?
- What kind of benefits did you receive when you arrived as new faculty (like course reductions, service load reductions, moving costs and/or extra salary, PCs and other equipment, research funds, etc.)?
- How is the position of the department in the college and university?
- What is the teaching load? Grad vs. undergrad load?
- What are the policies about buying out of courses to do research?
- What are the department’s expectations for productivity?
- What is the service load? Is it equal for junior and senior faculty?
- What kinds of resources are provided? Computer, office space, travel money, seed money, proposal preparation, support staff?
- Are junior sabbaticals available?
- What is the structure of department governance? Committees? How often are faculty meetings?
- Ask about their research interests.
- What are the strengths of the dept?
- What could be improved?
- Do they feel connected to the faculty?
- How many years of coursework are there?
- How many years does the average PhD take?
- How are students doing on the job market?
- Be ready to give brief description of your research.
- Be ready to discuss resource needs.
- What is your view of the X department?
- What is the department’s position in the college and/or university?
- What is the college’s position in the university?
- Ask about university-level tenure process.
- Does the university administration ever overrule departments in tenure cases?
- What is the recent history of tenure cases? How have things gone?
- Show a commitment to doing high quality research and teaching.