We recently drafted this guide for the chalk talks for faculty candidates to our search in BTS. We thought it might be useful to others, so we are posting it here.
- The goal of the chalk talk is to get a sense of the potential directions of your lab. A good general rule is to map out the major themes and questions your lab will address in the first 5-7 years. The audience is faculty-only.
We will start with about 5 minutes uninterrupted for you to introduce the area and provide any brief background highlights. If you would like this 5 minutes to be from a projected set of slides, let us know and we will make arrangements. Alternatively, the entire content can be whiteboard. During the intro, we want to know:
- What is your vision?
- Why is it new, exciting, and important?
- Why are you the right person to execute on it?
- Our preferred format for the rest of the chalk talk is on whiteboard. We will provide markers and erasers. The rest of the talk generally, but not always, consists of mapping out 2-3 projects.
- We will make sure you have ~15 minutes in the room to prepare and, if you choose, to pre-write anything on the board. Of course, you are welcome to refer to your notes during the chalk talk.
- During the chalk talk, most questions will follow from the scientific content of your presentation. In addition, some faculty may ask you how these broad directions map to a grant strategy or to potential projects for a student/postdoc - but it is not essential to structure the directions around those potential questions.
- Our goal is for the chalk talk to be a constructive brainstorming conversation that is full of new ideas!