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1. I am of the mind that when one lists an AOC one is both willing and qualified to teach courses in it - lower division, but often upper division, because some subjects, like philosophy of science, may be only offered as 3rd year courses. And, on a search committee, I look for evidence for claims of such expertise. For example, publications, teaching experience, graduate courses ...
2. When I have been on search committees I have never held publications against applicants, unless they are with predatory journals, or vanity presses, or other inappropriate venues. I have always wanted a colleague who is intellectually interesting and interested. So the idea that my new colleague who will teach philosophy of mind and metaphysics has published in aesthetics seems like a bonus to me.

SLAC Associate

Largely echoing the first poster:
#1: I take an AOC to mean one could and would teach an upper-level undergrad course in the area without too much prep, either regularly or even just as a one-off because the relevant specialist is on sabbatical for the year or whatever.

#2: This seems broadly attractive to me for a SLAC, insofar as it shows broad intellectual interest and also shows that the candidate knows how to publish in the way necessary for tenure. I do think it might be appropriate to have a sentence or two in the cover letter explaining those pubs, though: "In addition to my continuing area of research , I've also published stand-alone pieces that addressed lacuna in and ."


(This is how I think of 2, and may well not be reflected by SCs):

It seems to me that the research statement is the place to address the weird outlier pubs, and to show that they play into your extant research interests in some way (even if the link is just methodological, or that you read widely, etc.).

It also seems to me that, as long as you're publishing in your AOS, outlier pubs are to your credit. As a new grad, nobody will be expecting a tons of pubs from you, so I think it redounds to your credit. You'd want to avoid a situation where you're a few years out and haven't managed to publish more in your AOS, but that's all I'd worry about (not that I know anything).

Trevor Hedberg

Two quick thoughts. First, it strikes me as odd that one could get a publication in a good journal -- even on a niche topic -- without developing close to AOC level competence in the subject. This would be especially true if the paper originated from a graduate seminar in a subject area. I wonder if the student in question is underselling their knowledge.

Second, although it's rare, I have seen some CVs where people list, in addition to AOSs and AOCs, a third category like "Other Areas of Interest" or "Other Areas of Teaching Interest". I don't have any strong impressions of how that's perceived by hiring committees, but I suppose it's an option if the OP wants to acknowledge their work in these areas without labeling that as an AOC.


I think you are mistaken about publishing and expertise. I published a paper on Frege ... geez ... please do not make me teach Frege.

Grad Student

Thanks for the replies, everyone! They are very helpful. In light of the comments, I will ask some faculty here what they think about me listing maybe one of my paper’s areas as an AOC. I’m inclined to side with Trevor’s comment on at least one of my papers; it was a paper on a historical figure X and I don’t think I could teach class on X without a lot of preparation.

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