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« Dissertation Reflection Series, Part 6: When Other Things Seem More Important | Main | Job ad: postdoc at Aarhus University »

09/06/2017

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rutabagas

I like the idea of mid-semester evaluations. Another possibility: discuss your situation with whoever's writing your teaching letter. Assuming they're writing you a letter because they want you to get a job, hopefully they'll be amenable to explaining why you don't have teaching evals. If they sat in on a class you taught, they could also speak more specifically to how you've compared to other instructors.

jdkbrown

I'll second Marcus's advice. When I'm reading teaching portfolios, I pay most attention to the statement and to the syllabi/course materials. I'm looking for evidence that candidates put a lot of work and thought into their teaching. I almost completely discount teaching evaluations, basically looking at them only to make sure there are no red flags--which there (almost) never are, since candidates generally curate and present them in the most favorable light.

So in Grad Student's situation, I wouldn't be put off by the lack of evaluations in the file, given that they have a reasonable explanation. What *would* give me pause is Grad Student's lack of teaching experience. But my concerns could be overcome by a strong statement, quality materials, and (echoing rutabagas' suggestion) a strong teaching letter.

UK-based job seeker

I’m in a similar position. I did my PhD at a high-ranked university in the UK, and following a research-only post-doc have a few good publications. However, my only teaching experience is TA work carried out during my PhD. TAs weren’t given access at the time to student evaluations, and my department has told me they no longer have any relevant evaluations on file. Moreover, my tutoring was only observed by a member of the department on a single occasion, early on, so none of the faculty have a strong idea of what my teaching was actually like. This is normal in the UK, I think, where the equivalent of assistant professorships don’t usually require extensive teaching portfolios. I do at least have the most basic level of accreditation in university teaching from the UK Higher Education Academy. Besides the helpful advice given above, I’d be very grateful to know if people have any more thoughts about how someone in my situation should approach the US job market.

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