Academic Careers:
The Landscape is Broader than You Think

FCRC 2019
Tuesday, June 25, 12:30-6:30 pm

Most PhD granting departments have introduced a teaching faculty track, often with academic rank, and many 4-year colleges are expanding the size of their computer science department. An increasing number of  PhD recipients are interested in pursuing a teaching-focused career, often also pursuing research related to computer science education and having teaching activities drive research.

The workshop is intended for  PhD students and postdocs who want to learn about  academic career options with a focus on teaching and gain a better understanding of the landscape of academic positions. Experienced and successful academic leaders as well as junior faculty in different teaching oriented positions will highlight how to best prepare for the different teaching positions and compare teaching-focused career paths.

The sessions of the workshop will focus on the responsibilities, benefits, challenges, and opportunities of the different career paths as well as on teaching focused positions, including information on what’s needed to be a competitive candidate. The workshop concludes with a networking reception sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where potential candidates can meet representatives from institutions with teaching focused positions.

12:30-1:10  Welcome
Welcome and introductions. Small group setup with leaders engaging participants in ice-breaker activities to set a safe environment for discussion and questions.

1:10-2:20  The Spectrum of Academic Career Paths in Computer Science 
Panelists: Nancy Amato (Illinois), Ann Gates (UT El Paso), Ran Libeskind-Hadas (Harvey Mudd), Mehran Sahami (Stanford)
Session Chair: Dan Grossman (U of Washington)
Panelists are departmental leaders and decision makers highlighting different academic teaching focused careers and make comparisons to traditional tenured/tenure-track  positions. Discussions will include the topics of teaching loads; non-teaching responsibilities; scholarship, research and service expectations; job security; integration into the department with respect to responsibilities and rights; evaluation and promotion criteria; and possible career trajectories.

2:20-3:30  Our Career Paths 
Panelists: Jeff Forbes (Duke), Cinda Heeren (UBC), Brandon Myers (U of Iowa), Kelly Shaw (U of Richmond) 
Session Chair:
Christine Alvarado (UCSD)
Panelists holding teaching oriented positions at a range of institutions describe the choices they made and the paths they have chosen. Topics addressed include how and when they choose their career path; teaching loads and responsibilities; scholarship expectations; promotion and tenure experiences and expectations; what they found surprising about their job; what they like the most and what they find challenging.

3:30-4:00 Break

4:00-5:00 What Are Recruiting Committees Looking for in Candidates for Teaching Focused Positions?
Panelists: Christine Alvarado (UCSD), Dan Grossman (U of Washington),  Ran Libeskind-Hadas (Harvey Mudd)
Session Chair: Nancy Amato (Illinois)
Panelists discuss how to best prepare for a successful interview for teaching focused positions. Questions addressed include

  1. What are the attributes of a strong applicant? Teaching experience, working with undergraduates in research, management experiences, and more.
  2. What does a successful application look like? A thoughtful teaching statement, feedback on course evaluations, letters of recommendation that speak directly to teaching, customizing application material to the expectations of the school, and more.
  3. What does the interview look like? Preparing for a teaching and vision talk, preparing for and managing the meetings with various stakeholders, questions to ask and not to ask, and more.

5:00- 6:30 Networking Reception – Sponsored by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The reception will set up tables with selected discussion topics and match participants with representatives from institutions having positions they are interested in.  

Attending the workshop

To attend the workshop, an FCRC registration for the workshop is required.


Funding for this event generously provided by Google and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.



  • Nancy Amato, UIUC
  • Dan Grossman, University of Washington
  • Susanne Hambrusch, Purdue University, CRA-E co-chair
  • Ran Libeskind-Hadas, Harvey Mudd College

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