I am now completely swamped with work, hence the dearth of posts. The posting frequency will likely go down to zero over the next couple of weeks (proposal deadline) and I have multiple trips out of town .
In the meantime, here's a minimal-effort post, complied from my overly wordy comments on other people's blogs.
On how much I prep for stuff and how I teach (from comments to Unbalanced Reactions's post and a related Dr. Pion's post):
[How much time it takes me to prep for a 1-hour lecture?] Depends on the level of the course and if I have taught it before. I should also say that I am the type who does not prepare any materials before the semester starts, plus I am largely a chalk-and-talk teacher.
Undergrad and entry-level grad, taught before: maybe half an hour
Undergrad and entry-level grad, haven't taught it before: about 2 hours, as it inculdes writing lecture notes for the first time, etc.
Upper level grad, taught before: half an hour to an hour
Upper level grad, not taught before: 2-3 hours, as just designing the course is demanding and often there are no textbooks but you have to assemble materials from different journal papers, so this search can take a long time. Plus writing lecture notes.
The first time I teach a class I actually prepare detailed notes that are distribuited to students: so they take much more time than it they were just for me, as I try to make them comprehensive and coherent and with all the needed details. I distribute them at the beginning of the semester for courses I have taught before, and they are somewhere in the 150-page count. They are handwritten, and the students invariably tell me they love them. I include way more details than I would in PPT (I don't like PPT as the students seem not to take notes much) and students still take notes in class, as I derive everything on the board. Occasionally a student will say they prefer PPT's, but overall my evaluations are high and the students seems happy.
Comment left at Prof-like substance's, to his post on whether spousal hires are effective as faculty retention tools. (I wrote on spousal hires here a little while back.)
[if] spousal hires can and should be used to increase faculty retention?
Abso-fucken-lutely. Outside of academia, help with spousal placement is a normal thing. I don’t see why academia can’t do the same.
A colleague of mine has a wife who was not hired when he was hired (both sought TT). Instead, she took a faculty job at a lesser institution 2 hours away and they had a difficult commuting situation for 4 years — at which time the wife, who kicked serious research ass at her place got early tenure. She has now been successfully recruited to join her husband, and I think one would now consider her to be the star of the couple. They endured 4 very difficult years though, I would say needlessly, and some resentment built up there…
I am a beneficiary of a spousal hire, but my husband is not a faculty (he has a Master’s degree). I would not have taken this job if it hadn’t come with a position for my husband.
My husband's job was one of the strongest recruitment tools when I was weighing different offers and is now an incredibly effective retention tool, because I cannot imagine him loving another job more. I have offers to go to more highly ranked schools, but considering how much my husband loves his job here and how well the whole family is settled, it is unlikely I will move soon (if ever).
So yes, a happy spouse means a happy and productive faculty. I know several star faculty who could go anywhere they want, but remain here because of the family’s happiness.
[Dr.O then asked when I brough my hubby up during the interview.]
Dr. O, at every single interview, multiple people asked me about my husband (I wear a wedding ring) which enabled me to mention what he does and what type of job he would want. I think a lot of people were relieved that he was not looking for a TT position, I think non-TT are easier to find. I don’t think you should hide your family situation — it is what it is and the place that wants to hire you will want to make you happy and keep you, and that involves spousal placement. I don’t think a place would not have given me ab offer just because I mentioned my husband (or maybe I am deluded).
[FCS then asked if my kids came up]
FCS, no one actually asked about the kids. However, at the first interview it actually came up in casual conversation and I said that I had a preschooler. My host went “Wow!” and said that having a kid makes my CV even more impressive (apparently, as achieved under the stress of childrearing). My impression is that, if you come to a faculty position with a good research record and a kid (or kids) in tow, it is in fact assurance that you can achieve high performance and have a family. So I in subsequent interviews I did mention my kid and I don’t think it hurt me.
My attitude is: people are curious about your family status, and even if they don’t ask many want to know, if for no other reason but to let you know what a wonderful and family friendly place they have. I think this holds for assistant prof men as well, as they too overwhelmingly have working wives. So I would share the information about my husband and my child as it seemed appropriate, i.e. if asked explicitly or if tt came up in a conversation. I think going out of my way to avoid it would have been much worse. It's a battle not worth fighting.