The Department of Visual Studies is currently hiring three assistant professors. Positions looking to be filled are for history of Islamic art and architecture, Indigenous digital arts and performance, and East Asian cinema. The history of Islamic art and architecture position is the only one of the three specified to have a “contractually limited term.”
According to Alison Syme, associate professor and chair of the visual studies department, the department is considering implementing “teaching demonstrations” in the search for tenure-track and teaching stream positions.
“Excellent teaching is as important to the faculty as it is to our students. When we arrange teaching talks for shortlisted candidates who are invited to visit the campus, we ask students to attend and give us their feedback. Students fill in paper evaluation forms that we distribute at the talks, and we also ask students who attended more than one talk for comparative feedback after all the candidates have had their campus visits,” Syme said.
Syme added that the faculty members of the search committee assess the feedback given by students from these teaching talks. As an incentive to attend these teaching talks, the department offers students a certificate of participation or a letter of recommendation in recognition of the “important part [the student has] played in the search process.”
Syme noted that in the past, students who have given feedback relayed that their participation in the search process has been “empowering.” She explained that students have appreciated being part of the process that has shaped the future of the visual studies department.
In terms of credentials or qualifications that the department is seeking in ideal candidates, Syme did not disclose specific details. However, Syme said that generally the candidate must be an “excellent researcher, an excellent teacher, and someone who will contribute to the life of the department and the university in other ways as well.”
Syme further added that the University of Toronto’s stated commitment to equity and diversity is taken “very seriously” in the visual studies department.