2-Year Interview Questions -- II

Eric Baer shares another round of questions -- touching on student populations and potentially challenging situations -- asked of those seeking to teach at community colleges.

March 2, 2011

The following are questions you may be asked on students, the faculty, and difficult challenges a faculty member might face. A previous column offered questions on education, teaching and "fit."

Working With Diverse Populations/Students

  • Would you share your experiences working with a diverse population and provide us with any specific examples of how your personal knowledge, influence, or expertise has helped women or persons of color advance in ____________ or other areas?
  • You will have students in your classes from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range of abilities. What are some strategies you might use to enhance the learning opportunities for all of them?
  • How would you deal with the diversity of age, preparation, motivation, and background of your students?
  • What experiences and/or studies prepare you to promote the value of and work with a multicultural population?
  • What challenges does a culturally diverse classroom present to a teacher, and how do you meet these challenges?

Dealing with Situations/Problems

  • A student comes into your office and says he or she is thinking about entering your academic field. How will you respond? What questions would you ask and what advice would you give?
  • Please describe a teaching project or new curriculum element that you tried to implement that did not work. Describe why it failed and how you would successfully implement it.
  • What is the most difficult student problem you have had to deal with? How did you resolve the problem?
  • Some of the current concerns at the community college level involve student retention. What would you do to encourage retention?
  • A student is not prepared for classes, is not getting homework completed, is not attending class daily, and cannot understand why ________ is such a difficult subject. What advice do you give?
  • A student received As in other classes with the same effort and is getting Cs in _____________. How would you respond to this student?
  • Can you give us specific examples of how you have accommodated students who lack language and reading skills, are too immature, and/or are generally underprepared academically for college level courses?
  • What does grade inflation mean to you? If there is a problem, do you have suggestions for its solution?
  • Describe the worst working or teaching situation that you have been in. How did you handle that situation?
  • What kinds of concerns or apprehensions do you have about the position?
  • What do you think will be the hardest part of your first year of teaching?
  • The following is a hypothetical statement by an instructor. "State law requires the use of lab safety eyewear, but several of our lab exercises do not involve hazardous materials, so I don't require my students to wear their protection in those situations." Comment on your reaction to this statement.

Role of the Faculty

  • What values or qualities would you bring to _______ Community College that would make a positive contribution to the campus? Give us examples of how these values are manifested in your teaching, the work of your students, and in your work at your current institution and its outlying community.
  • Aside from the teaching of classes and holding of office hours, what do you think are the components of a faculty member's job?
  • What is your idea of what shared governance means? What are you doing in your present assignment that demonstrates your commitment?
  • As a faculty member at _________ Community College, you will be called upon to work in many group or team situations, both within your department and across campus. Please share with us what strengths and skills you bring to team work and what strengths and skills you look for in your fellow team members.
  • Describe a project that you have been involved in where you had to work collaboratively with your colleagues.


  • If we could bring your most recent supervisor to this room for a private conversation, what would he or she tell us are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would your recent supervisor describe the quality of your work and your attitude on the job?
  • What would your last class say if we asked them about your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would your present students describe you?

Wrap Up

  • Besides your expertise in your field, what would you bring to __________ Community College that you feel makes you an attractive candidate?
  • Is there any other information you would like to share with us?
  • Do you have any questions for the committee?


Eric Baer teaches geology at Highline Community College.


Be the first to know.
Get our free daily newsletter.


Back to Top