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Physics Tips for Preparing for an Adjunct Professor Interview at a Community College?

  1. Jul 22, 2016 #1
    I have an interview with a community college physics department for a part time teaching gig. Can anyone provide me with some tips of what to expect. I am going to give a 10 minute presentation on elliptical orbits as well for a sample lecture. I am not so nervous about that bit -- it is the "other" things that they could ask me.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2016 #2


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    Keep the lecture very minimal, engage your audience, repeatedly express your love of teaching, how you want to help the department out, your preference for teaching introductory courses as opposed to quantum mechanics, how you value a good working relationship and how you are very , very flexible.
  4. Jul 22, 2016 #3


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    Actually, what you should find out first are: (i) what type of students you will be teaching and (ii) what courses are they expecting you to teach.

    You should tailor your lecture accordingly. It shows that you are capable of adopting to the type of "audience" that you will be teaching to. Otherwise, if you present a topic that is irrelevant to the students, then they might judge you as not having done your homework.

  5. Jul 24, 2016 #4
    I would not ask any questions of the audience. I was instructed to prepare and the audience would play the role of students. I though I would pose questions in the 20-minute lecture as I would to see if the students were comprehending. Maybe it was because the presentation was after lunch and the committee was drowsy, but my question(s) were easy and they fell flat. No one on the committee volunteered a multiple (4) choice answer.
    Actually the committee consisted of one chemist, one mathematics, one English majpr, a nd a human resource, and a few others.
    At least your question is interesting. I had to do solar energy for one interview. and scientific method for the other. I had a third interview but I do not remember the subject. It was not interesting.
    I am probably not a good source for positive advice, in that I did not get an offer. One CC expressed strong interest, but it was after I already accepted a job as a physicist away from teaching.
  6. Jul 24, 2016 #5
    Here is my powerpoint for my 10 minute talk (attached PDF).

    Comments are welcome,

    Attached Files:

  7. Jul 24, 2016 #6


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    Your 14 slide talk violates the slide a minute rule-of-thumb. You definitely don't want to rush, plus you may be interrupted by questions.

    Not sure why you go into Newton's laws, gravitational force law or Kepler's 2nd and 3rd laws. Doesn't directly bear on the topic of ellipses and seems like overkill. Remember, less is more in these settings. I might take these slides out and reserve them instead for backup/questions.
  8. Jul 25, 2016 #7
    I dropped two of the Newton slides. I am leaving the first just because it is one of the most significant derivations in the history of science. I feel like it would lack rigor without Kepler's II and III laws. I think it rounds it out.

    Chris KQ6UP
  9. Jul 26, 2016 #8
    I got hired on the spot :D

    Thanks guys/gals,
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