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PhD in Mechanical Engineering, CC teaching?

  • Engineering
  • Thread starter davidwinth
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am almost finished the final drafts of my dissertation, and now I am wondering what to do next. It seems that all jobs at universities want someone to "establish a thriving research program" or the like. That's not me, so a job at a university is out. I very much want to teach, but much teaching happens at universities! I know there are opportunities at community colleges, but does anyone know of other places I should be looking?

Academic Background:

Bachelor in Mathematics and Physics
PhD in Mechanical Engineering (thermo-fluids)

Thanks for any suggestions!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Teaching also happens at high schools and private schools...But there are small "teaching" colleges with less of a research focus.

Additionally, universities sometimes have staff positions which support teaching, e.g., lab manager, etc.

BTW, I have almost the same background as you (soon to be PhD in Physics) and my interest is teaching (and learning about effective teaching/learning practices, i.e., Physics Education Research).

What kind of environment do you want? Are you asking because you don't think you'd be able/qualified to teach at a typical college, or because you don't want to?
 
  • #3
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Thanks for the ideas! I hadn't thought of high schools, but that could work too. I thought there were teaching colleges too, but they seem to be quite rare nowadays. I love the academic work environment, with lots of learning and problem solving going on all over the place. I am most certainly not qualified to do what most PDs I have seen require, such as establish a research program or bring in the research dollars.

Any other ideas? Thank you!
 
  • #4
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It seems that all jobs at universities want someone to "establish a thriving research program" or the like. That's not me, so a job at a university is out. I very much want to teach, but much teaching happens at universities! I know there are opportunities at community colleges, but does anyone know of other places I should be looking?
It sounds like you're describing tenure-track positions at universities whose primary focus is research. Some of the smaller schools, including the CCs, are more focussed on teaching. Besides tenure-track positions that come open from time to time, many schools, both research and teaching institutions, need associate faculty that are contracted on a quarterly or semester basis.

I was formerly tenured at a CC, but later switched to the software industry, from which I retired. Since retirement, I've taught part-time at two local CCs. The pay isn't great -- I make about $5000 for teaching a 5-credit class for one quarter -- but I'm not doing it for the money. It might be a way to get your foot in the door...
 
  • #5
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Thanks for your input Mark44. I didn't know tenure can be had at CCs, so that is nice to hear. I value not moving around the country a lot so I am planning on moving somewhere that has several CCs within driving distance. That way I may be able to always have some work, at least!
 
  • #6
symbolipoint
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Thanks for your input Mark44. I didn't know tenure can be had at CCs, so that is nice to hear. I value not moving around the country a lot so I am planning on moving somewhere that has several CCs within driving distance. That way I may be able to always have some work, at least!
That deserves discussion here in this forum topic. Job stability? Presence or absence of benefits? Comparison of level of educational degree needed, and what kind of effort went toward achieving that degree, for the task of looking for unstable work?
 
  • #7
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Hello symbolipoint,

I do hope for job stability, which is why I have been looking internationally as well. I think some community colleges are better than others, too. I do hope for a job with benefits, but I won't know that until I find one. Yes, a 4.5 year PhD project in ME is not easy, so I hope I can at least make a living off of the effort! Thanks for your input.
 
  • #8
jtbell
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I thought there were teaching colleges too, but they seem to be quite rare nowadays.
That definitely seems to be the case.

I was at a small non-prestigious liberal-arts college for more than 30 years. When I arrived, there was no expectation that faculty conduct on-campus research. A couple of us in the physics department participated in research at other universities during summers, spring break, etc. When a student wanted/needed "official" research experience for graduate school applications, he/she joined a summer REU program at a university.

But now students expect to be able to do research on campus, so the college needs to offer it in order to recruit enough students to stay afloat. As old faculty like me left, their replacements were expected to start up research programs of some kind, take students to conferences, get their names on publications, etc.
 

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