This is an exam, so study up.
- Get to know the school website. What are their trademark specialties? What is the college’s self-image like? Browse the catalog and current course offerings. Estimate the full-time to part-time faculty ratio or see if it’s reported somewhere. If more than half the courses are taught by full-time faculty, this is an average-to-good sign in today’s climate.
- Learn the names of the people you are likely to meet: president, dean of instruction, department chair, senior English faculty.
- Google everybody.
- Check out state and county websites for demographic information on the region the college serves. What’s the average income? Is the area gaining or losing population? (good site for this: http://www.naco.org/)
- See how bad the bad guys on the Sherrif Dept’s Top Ten Wanted list are.
- Look up the college’s reports on their Office of Institutional Research.
- Decide what you will talk about with the president and academic officers. Can you find what they did their dissertations on? What was their discipline when they were faculty? What other institutions have they called home? Have they authored any books? (check World Cat).
- And you might as well give in to temptation and check the Rate My Professor evaluations for those faculty whose names you know — but do not give into the the temptation to mention this during your visit.