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« Universities as Trade Schools: What is to be done? | Main | A Series of Teaching Portfolio Questions »



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Here is a question that I'm too embarrassed to ask anyone in person.

Should everything look the same? I'm specifically thinking of my syllabi: over the past couple of years I've used different formatting, fonts, and different ways of setting up the course schedules. Would it make my teaching portfolio look messy if I were to include syllabi that all looked sort of different?

The rest of my questions aren't quite as embarrassing.

Also, how many syllabi do people include? I've taught a lot of different courses and wouldn't want to include a syllabus for every course.

I haven't yet taught a course in my AOS. Should I draft a syllabus for that and include it in the teaching portfolio?

How common is it for someone to use her writing sample as her job talk? Any advantages or disadvantages to doing this?

Martin Shuster

Anon - this is based on my, quite limited, experience.

I doubt different fonts on your syllabi will matter at all, but the content of them might.

Number of syllabi is hard to answer -- I think it'll depend on the job, but you will surely want to demonstrate that you can do introductory courses as well as more advanced ones.

I wouldn't recommend using a writing sample also as your job talk, but if that's all you have for each, use your best work in each case.


A couple of letter-related questions.

If you've been out of grad school for a few years (and your research is no longer focused on the questions you dissertation concerned), will hiring committees still expect you to have a letter from your dissertation supervisor? And what about the other members of your dissertation committee? Relatedly, if your dissertation supervisor has not been reading your most recent work, would it be inadvisable to still include a letter from him/her?

How common is it to ask someone you have not met in person for a letter? Is doing so commonly considered rude? (I'm thinking of someone who you've exchanged papers or comments with via email; an expert in your field who has said nice things about your work). And is a hiring committee likely to be put off by a letter that includes a sentence like "while I have not actually met so-and-so . . ."?

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