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Going away to teach

Marcy Brown mbrown at BILBO.BIO.PURDUE.EDU
Mon Mar 18 12:43:10 EST 1996

I am currently in the final stages of my Ph.D. research, and have planned
to defend my thesis a year from now.  The faculty at my alma mater have
recently been asking when I would finish, because they are currently trying
to fill a position vacancy in the biology department there.  My old advisor
left the position when he became an emeritus professor, although he has
continued to teach even though he has retired.  He has always wanted me to
come back and take the position, given that I am one of only a handful of
students that have followed in his footsteps to do avian research (most of
the other students go on to med school).  Until recently I never even
considered the job, but now that I am nearing the end of my work here the
prospect is enticing.  I recently visited the university, gave a talk and
taught one day of class, and talked with the department head and several
administrators about my plans and their interest in my becoming a member of
the faculty.

Thus far I have agreed to teach two classes at my alma mater this Fall
(Animal Behavior and Comparative Anatomy), although I am still working on
my thesis.  Because this has been a trap into which many have fallen (i.e.
taking a job while still working on a thesis, only to find that ten years
later the thesis is never finished) I have been careful _not_ to consider a
permanent position there until after I have my degree in hand. However, I
feel that this semester of teaching will be good for several reasons:  1) 
because of funding I would have been a TA at my home university this fall
anyway  2)  developing and teaching my own courses will be a much better
experience than being a TA for the eighth semester  3)  the money is better
4)  teaching this semester will  put me first in line for a permanent
position after I finish and 5) I know I will be back at my home university
in the spring to finish the thesis.  There are some drawbacks, such as 1) 
I should probably assume I will be too busy in that semester teaching to
work on my thesis at all 2)  if I do get work done, I won't be able to
discuss it with my advisor until I come back and 3)  I will have to endure
greater geographic separation from my fiance (19 hours away instead of only

So,  given that I have already made the decision, does anyone have
advice/warnings for me? Is this a unique opportunity?   My advisor is
backing me on the decision, as is my entire committee.  However, any
additional information would be great.  Thanks for your help in advance.


Marcy Brown                                     
Department of Biological Sciences
Purdue University                                        
mbrown at bilbo.bio.purdue.edu         

"I see you over there, just clinging to the wall. Because they told you
like ivy you were bound to crawl.  But you kept looking up, girl, and I
know why.  You knew someday you were gonna touch the sky." John Hiatt

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