20 Portland State University Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at Portland State University.

Portland State University is a public research university that offers in-person and online education courses for undergraduate and graduate programs. The university is located in Portland, Oregon, United States.

PSU offers a variety of majors and minors, including business, engineering, computer science, and liberal arts. The university also offers online courses and programs for students who cannot attend classes in person.

PSU has a strong commitment to research and offers many opportunities for students to get involved in research projects. The university also has a strong commitment to community service and offers many opportunities for students to get involved in community service projects.

Portland State University Interview Process

The interview process at Portland State University can vary depending on the position you are applying for. For some positions, such as Graduate Research Assistant or Graduate Teaching Assistant, the process may be fairly straightforward, with only one or two interviews. However, for other positions, such as Assistant Professor, the process may be more extensive and involve multiple rounds of interviews. Overall, the interview process is generally positive, though it can be intense for some positions.

1. Why do you want to teach here at Portland State University?

This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your interest in teaching at their university. When preparing an answer, it can be helpful to read through the school’s mission statement and values to see if you share any of those same beliefs.

Example: “I am so excited to apply for this position because I believe that Portland State University has such a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. As someone who grew up with a learning disability, I know how important it is to have teachers who are willing to go above and beyond to help students succeed. I would love to teach here because I think I could make a real difference in my students’ lives.”

2. What makes you a good candidate for the position?

This question is an opportunity for you to show the interviewer that you have researched the position and understand what it entails. You can use your answer to highlight any skills or qualifications that match the job description, such as relevant experience, education level or certifications.

Example: “I am a highly motivated individual who has always strived to exceed expectations in my previous positions. I believe this drive would make me a great candidate for this role because I know I could help PSU achieve its goals by providing students with quality customer service. My communication skills are also something that makes me a good fit for this position, as I feel I can effectively communicate with both students and faculty.”

3. How would you describe your teaching philosophy?

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how it aligns with the university’s mission. To answer, you can describe what makes you a good teacher and why you believe in these methods.

Example: “I think that every student learns differently, so I try to create an environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and expressing their thoughts. I also encourage collaboration among my students because I find that they learn from each other as well as me. For example, when one student was struggling with a concept, another student helped them understand it by explaining it in a different way.”

4. How would you approach teaching students with different learning styles?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you adapt to different learning styles and preferences. Use examples from your experience teaching students with varying abilities, interests or needs.

Example: “I have had a few students in my classes who learn differently than others. For example, I once had a student who was deaf but wanted to take an online course. We worked together to find ways for him to communicate with me and other students during class discussions. He also used sign language interpreters when he needed them. Another student of mine has ADHD and dyslexia, so we found ways to make his assignments more manageable for him.”

5. Provide an example of how you have helped a student overcome a challenge in the classroom.

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your teaching style and how you help students succeed. When answering, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation in which you helped a student overcome an academic challenge or develop their skills.

Example: “In my first year of teaching, I had a student who was struggling with the material we were covering in class. The student would often raise their hand but not answer when called on, so I decided to meet with them after class one day to see if they needed any extra help. After talking with the student for a few minutes, I realized that they didn’t understand some of the basic concepts we were learning. I created a study guide that included examples of the concepts from our lessons and assigned it as homework. By the next week, the student’s grades improved.”

6. What are some areas that you feel need improvement when it comes to education.

This question is a great way to show your passion for education and how you can make improvements. When answering this question, it’s important to be honest about what you feel needs improvement in the educational system. You should also provide specific examples of how you would improve these areas.

Example: “I believe that one area that could use some improvement is the lack of diversity among teachers. I think that having more diverse educators will help students learn from different perspectives and backgrounds. To solve this issue, I would implement a mentorship program where minority students are paired with their own mentors who are already working as teachers.”

7. What is your experience with designing and administering exams?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with creating and grading exams. Use examples from past experiences to highlight your skills in organizing, administering and grading exams.

Example: “In my last position as an instructor at a community college, I was responsible for designing and administering the final exam for each course. I would meet with students before the start of the semester to discuss their expectations for the exam and how they could prepare for it. Then, I would administer the exam during class time and grade it within two weeks of its completion.”

8. If hired, what would be your first priority as a teacher?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a plan for how you would approach your job. Your answer should include what you would do first, why it’s important and how it will help students succeed.

Example: “My first priority as a teacher would be to get to know my students. I believe that knowing each student’s strengths and weaknesses allows me to create lessons that are tailored to their needs. This also helps me identify any learning disabilities or other factors that may affect their performance in class.”

9. Have you ever had a problem with a student before? How did you handle it?

This question is a great way to see how you handle conflict and whether or not you have any experience working with students. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation where you had to work with a student who was having trouble in class or needed help understanding something.

Example: “I once had a student who was struggling in my biology class. I noticed that they were missing several assignments and tests, so I asked them if everything was okay. They told me that they were going through some personal issues and would try their best to make up the missed assignments. I gave them extra time on all of their assignments and exams, and they ended up passing the course.”

10. Do you think you could teach someone something they weren’t interested in?

This question is a great way to test your ability to motivate students and encourage them to learn. It also shows the interviewer that you can be flexible with your teaching methods.

Example: “I think it’s important to understand what motivates each student, so I would first try to find out why they’re not interested in the subject matter. If they don’t have an interest in the topic, then I would try to show them how this information could help them achieve their goals or solve problems in their lives. For example, if someone isn’t interested in learning about biology, I might explain how knowing more about biology can help them take better care of themselves.”

11. Tell me about a time where you used technology in the classroom. Was it successful?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the university’s technology resources and how you can use them in the classroom.

Example: “I have a background in computer science, so I’m always looking for ways to incorporate technology into my lessons. In one class, I used a program called Scratch that allows students to create their own games using coding language. The students were able to learn basic programming concepts while having fun creating their own video game. They also had the option to share their game with other classmates.”

12. Have you taught any online courses before?

This question is a great way to show your experience in teaching online courses. If you have, be sure to mention the platform you used and how it helped students learn. If you haven’t taught an online course before, you can still answer this question by mentioning any relevant experience with technology or distance learning.

Example: “I’ve never had the opportunity to teach an online class before, but I do have some experience with using technology for education. In my last position as a professor at Portland State University, I was responsible for creating a digital library of resources that could help students learn more about their subjects. I also created a website where students could submit questions and receive answers from other students.”

13. Are you comfortable working with a diverse group of people?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine if you have experience working with people from different backgrounds. To answer, think of a time when you worked with a diverse group of people and how it positively impacted your work.

Example: “I’ve had the opportunity to work with students from all over the world at my current job. I find that each student has their own unique perspective on life, which makes our team more creative and innovative. In fact, one of my coworkers was able to use her background in dance to help us create an exercise routine for our fitness class.”

14. Describe your experience with conducting research.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your research skills and how you apply them in the classroom. To answer, think of a time when you conducted research for an assignment or project. Explain what type of research you did and how it helped you complete the task.

Example: “In my first semester at Portland State University, I took a psychology class that required us to conduct primary research on a topic we chose. I decided to do my research on the effects of stress on students’ grades. I used several different resources to find information on the topic, including academic journals and online articles.”

15. How do you plan on using the data collected from your experiments?

The interviewer may ask this question to understand how you plan on using the data you collect during your research. This can help them determine if you have a specific goal in mind for your experiments and whether or not you are prepared to use the information you gather. When preparing an answer, think about what goals you would like to achieve with your research and how you will apply the data you collect to reach those goals.

Example: “I am planning on using the data I collect from my experiments to create new hypotheses that I can test again. I believe that by testing my hypotheses over and over again, I can eventually find patterns within the data that lead me to discover something new.”

16. What was one time you disagreed with a colleague’s idea/opinion? How did you resolve it?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle conflict and disagreements with others. It’s important to show that you’re able to communicate effectively, listen to others’ opinions and compromise when necessary.

Example: “In my last position as a marketing manager, I disagreed with one of my colleagues about our company’s social media strategy. My colleague believed we should only post on Facebook once per day, while I felt we could increase engagement by posting more frequently. After discussing it further, we decided to try both strategies for two weeks and compare results. We found that posting more often increased engagement by 20%, so we implemented this new strategy.”

17. How would you improve our curriculum?

The interviewer may ask this question to gauge your knowledge of the university’s curriculum and how you would improve it. To answer, think about what courses you’ve taken at PSU and which ones were most beneficial or interesting to you. Explain why you enjoyed those classes and how they helped you develop as a student.

Example: “I took an introductory psychology class in my freshman year that really opened my eyes to the field of study. I loved learning about human behavior and thought processes, so I decided to pursue a degree in psychology. If I could change anything about the curriculum, I’d add more classes like that one because I feel like they’re important for students to learn about their interests.”

18. Would you say you prefer to work independently or with a team?

This question is designed to help the interviewer understand your work style and how you might fit into their team. It’s important to be honest about your preferences, but also highlight any skills that make you a good collaborator.

Example: “I have always been an independent worker, which has helped me develop my time management skills. However, I am also very comfortable working in teams when necessary. In fact, I find it helpful to bounce ideas off of others and learn from their feedback. I think this can be especially beneficial for brainstorming sessions.”

19. What is your experience with mentoring undergraduate students?

Mentoring is an important part of the faculty role, and interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your experience with mentoring students. If you have previous experience as a mentor, share some details about what you did and how it helped your mentee. If you don’t have any prior experience, you can talk about why you would be interested in becoming a mentor.

Example: “I’ve had several opportunities to mentor undergraduate students throughout my career. I find that being a mentor helps me stay connected to the student body and gives me valuable insight into what they’re experiencing on campus. In my last position, I was able to work one-on-one with a student who was struggling with her coursework. She felt overwhelmed by all of the material she needed to learn for her major, so we met once a week to go over her assignments and discuss strategies for studying. After a few weeks, she started feeling more confident in her abilities and ended up getting an A on her next exam.”

20. What is your experience with writing papers and publishing them?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your writing skills and how you approach a project. Use examples from your past experience with writing papers, publishing them online or submitting them for publication in journals.

Example: “In my last position as an English teacher, I had students write several essays throughout the year. I always encouraged them to submit their work to publications so they could get feedback on their writing style and grammar usage. Some of my students were able to publish their work in local magazines and newspapers.”


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