Questions on the business analytics jobs

I’ve received a few questions on the business analytics jobs advertised last week. I think it is best if I answer them here so other potential candidates can have the same information. I will add to this post if I receive more questions.

1. What are your expectations in terms of outputs (KPIs)?

Typically, a person at Level B (Lecturer) in our department would be producing at least one refereed article in a good scholarly journal per year. Someone at level E would most likely be producing at least two such papers. Some people produce substantially more than that. When assessing performance of our staff, we do take account of the lumpiness of publication and look at a publication record over a rolling 3-year period. We also take account of the quality of the outlet — a JASA paper counts for much more than a paper in a lower level journal, for example.

These are only very rough guidelines. I do not like to be too specific because it depends on the nature of the research involved, and the quality of the work. Just counting publications is not a good guide to someone’s research output without taking these other factors into account. If we only counted numbers, we would be encouraging staff to churn out poor quality work for publication in low-level journals. We would rather encourage staff to do high quality research and aim for the best journals they can.

2. What is a normal teaching load?

For a “research-active” staff member, the normal teaching load in our department is 2 units per year and supervision of one honours or masters student. (A “unit” usually involves about 24 hours of lectures).

3. How does Summer School and Sunway College (etc.) fit in with teaching loads?

Staff at Clayton campus do not teach units in Malaysia. We have only a few subjects in summer semester, but it would be possible for one of these new appointments in business analytics to be asked to teach a unit over summer. Our policy is that no-one should teach in both normal semesters as well as summer semester. So anyone teaching over summer will have one of the normal semesters free of teaching duties.

4. What is the range of class sizes?

Our largest classes are first year statistics subjects with several hundred students. Our smallest classes are third year and honours subjects which may only have a handful of students taking them.

5. How tight is the university on research funds?

Research funds are available via grants. You can apply for nationally competitive ARC grants, or faculty grants, or some other grants. Getting research funding is always competitive, but we do have “New academic staff support grants” which would be appropriate for these positions. We aim to support new staff to develop their research in the first couple of years, until they are in a position to generate their own research funds through one of the ARC schemes, or via contract research grants.

The department also supports research through funding for conference attendance in Australia and overseas, or for collaboration with coauthors in other places.

6. What are some examples of committees that I could become involved in?

We do not want these new business analytics staff becoming distracted from useful work by sitting on committees, at least for a few years.

7. What opportunities exist for consulting work?

We encourage consulting work if it leads to research outputs. It is also a useful way of obtaining funding for other research activities.

The university supports consulting work by providing professional indemnity insurance, a legal office to review contracts, and an invoicing service. Finding suitable consulting projects is the responsibility of individual staff members.

8. What is the process/timing of selection e.g. casual chat, panel interview, mini presentation…?

The applications close at the end of June. We will probably create a short-list of candidates to interview during July. So interviews are most likely to be in late July or early August. Those being interviewed will also be asked to do a presentation on their research interests at around the same time.

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