My #1 Takeaway from the Campus Interview Process

A few weeks ago, you may have seen that I shared some big news. The news? I landed a tenure-track position as an assistant professor in the Department of Classics at Randolph-Macon College – that is, of course, after preparing and submitting a slew of application materials and surviving a nerve-wracking campus interview.

Black woman with curly dark hair and glasses, wearing a black turtleneck and black cardigan, sitting in front of a wall of magazines. Hands are clasped in front of her.

Due to the timing of everything, I couldn’t benefit from what must have been an incredible series of workshops on the job search offered by the WCC.

Instead, most of what I learned about how to be successful on the job market came from two sources.

First, my incredible mentors. From drafting and revising and practicing job talks to setting up mock interviews to giving me advice on negotiating a contract, I couldn’t have done any of this without my support system.

Second, I spent a lot – and I mean a lot – of time reading posts across the internet relating to the academic job search. My Google search history can probably attest to that. I also spent an indeterminate amount of time combing through posts on Twitter, like this one:

My key takeaway from the whole experience?

Always. Ask. Questions.

It makes you seem interested in the position and the institution (even if you’re not). It’s also a great way to take a break from talking and let someone else take over.

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Round-Up: The Hidden Curriculum

Happy November! In case you missed it, in August I decided to make my blogging comeback with a round-up of resources centered around a back-to-school theme. In honor of last month’s installment bringing us to ten posts on the topic, this month’s round-up is all about the hidden curriculum.

The hidden curriculum series began nearly two years ago (the first post went live on January 28, 2021). As each post reminds us, the series was borne from the observation that there is a lot that we, as academics, are expected to know but are never taught.

Black dog with blue collar sitting at a desk with two computer monitors. White text with black border superimposed over the image in top right corner reads: I have no idea what I'm doing.

I figured it might be helpful to have all the posts in the series to date all in one place for ease of access.

In addition, you will find related posts providing general advice and resources, as well as links to other resources I’ve found useful from around the internet (mostly Twitter).

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BIPOC Feature: Najee Olya

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient Mediterranean studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

The series is back with a much-appreciated contribution by Najee Olya, a PhD candidate in Mediterranean Archaeology at the University of Virginia.

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Round-Up: Back to School

“Back to school” hits different when you’re a final year grad student…

Black woman with curly hair, dark glasses, and gold upside down U earrings wearing a black turtleneck and black cardigan. Looking at shelves full of books. Computer screen in the background.

Did you know that a common side-effect of being a PhD candidate is time blindness?

Okay, I don’t know that for sure, but I have been in this boat for a while. When you’re not teaching or taking classes, the days and weeks really start to blur together. Is it Monday? Thursday? Sunday?

The only way I keep track these days is by scheduling meetings, planning events, or being reminded that a new episode of a TV show I’m watching is on.

Usually, not knowing what day of the week it is isn’t that big of a problem. All I really need to know is whether it’s a weekday or the weekend, so I can decide whether I should be working or not.

Occasionally, I find it important to be aware of the beginning and end of the academic term. As a graduate student this helps me determine how frequently I should be in contact with my advisor and committee (more during the academic year, less in the summer). Right now, it’s also useful for deciding when to schedule my thesis defense (y i k e s).

As the person who’s running this blog, knowing when classes start is important for deciding when to get this post out.

After a nearly four-month break, I thought this was an easy way to get back into blogging.

If something feels super overwhelming, break it into small, easy steps. First step to reviving the blog? Make a round-up (or two, or three).

This month’s theme is back-to-school.

As it turns out, I’ve written a lot about pedagogy. So, I figured I’d put all those posts in one place, for folks who want to check them out before term starts.

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BIPOC Features: Dora Gao

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient Mediterranean studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

If you thought I’d forgotten about this series, think again!! Check out this month’s post by my friend and colleague Dora Gao for more on their journey to studying the ancient Mediterranean world and their thought-provoking and inspiring perspective on the field!

University of Michigan on Twitter: "@doraygao Congratulations! We can't  wait to welcome you ho〽️e!" / Twitter
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5 More Grad School Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

Another year, another grad school interview season underway.

This is (I think) the first year that my program (archaeology) and our department (Classical Studies) have decided to go their separate ways for recruitment. Last week was the department’s; in a few weeks will be my program’s.

I figured that now was as good a time as any to breach the subject (again). In case you missed last year’s installment, you can check out the first five questions I suggested here.

Last year’s post was centered primarily around considerations for BIPOC prospective students, including questions about interdisciplinarity, DEI approaches, and institutional support.

This year I thought more about questions that dig deeper into structural issues, such as pedagogical training, time to degree, and financial support.

A quick reminder: although some questions may seem best suited for faculty interviews, don’t forget to talk to current students! Current students are just as (if not more) valuable as sources of information about grad programs. And don’t just ask younger students – talk to the older ones, too!

I promise, we don’t bite.

Now, on to the questions.

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Syllabus Shake-Up Day Five

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the fifth and final day of the 2022 Syllabus Shake-Up Challenge.

If you missed the other days of the challenge, or if you want to start from the beginning again, here they are:

Day 1: Syllabus Audit

Day 2: Traditional vs Innovative Strategies for Syllabus Engagement

Day 3: Examples of Syllabus Engagement Strategies in Action

Day 4: Common Harmful Assumptions We Make About Students

Today’s installment of the challenge is all about reflecting on the process.

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Syllabus Shake-Up Day Four: Avoiding Assumptions about Students

It’s day four of the 2022 Syllabus Shake-Up Challenge! If you’re just joining in, don’t forget to check out days one, two, and three. In today’s installment, we’re talking about common harmful assumptions we make about students and how to combat them.

As with the previous days, there is a prompt for you to work through on your own at the end of the post. Feel free to share your thoughts with the community by commenting on this post, or on social media by tagging @ApothekeBlog or #SyllabusShakeUp!

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