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Teaching Pubs

Another thing to add is that you can try to publish on teaching. I am on a postdoc with a PhD from a Leiteriffic program, but I also have a teaching publication and several posts on the blog of the APA about teaching. Along with having taught about 7 or 8 classes as the principal instructor, these have seemed to land me a number of teaching interviews this year (flyouts at multiple teaching-focused institutions)

East Coast

I suspect 1 & 3 + a cover letter that shows that the application is not just part of a shotgun blast. When I have been on SCs or around them, I have rarely heard the "they will leave worry" _except_ in cases where the CV screamed "All I am interested in is publishing."

For most of us mortals, I suspect a great job of 1 & 3 will preclude 2. But for the best of the best of us for whom 1 + 2 + 3 + great cover letter is possible, I would not refrain from 2.


I think the OP should substantially revise their view that elite SLACs are research-focused jobs.

I've taught at a top-10 SLAC and it was *very* clear (indeed, my colleagues directly told me) that my teaching was the reason I got the offer. I had a good publication record at the time, which I think helped get my foot in the door, but it was exceptionally clear that you cannot get a job at an elite SLAC without truly excellent teaching and, more importantly, it being clear that you actually CARE about teaching.

Of course, tenure expectations at these places will require good research as well. But it is simply not the case that you do not need the research record of someone at an R1 -- e.g., 2-3 papers in top journals every single year on the TT -- in order to get tenure.


I echo the point above about publications related to teaching.

Also the OP should ask one or more of their letter writers to explicitly state that they are most interested in teaching.

Many universities now also have workshops or certificate programs related to teaching that grad students can take. Taking some of those will help build a CV that screams "I'm a teacher."

Guy Crain

I work at a CC and when I applied, they were concerned about getting someone who was just biding their time until a uni-gig opened up. They were also concerned to find someone who was prepared to work with a CC student body--a very different demographic group compared to the students at most Leiter-ish type schools.

I would also add that attending teaching related conferences is helpful (and, of course, indicating them on your CV). Also, applying for teaching awards and indicating which ones you win on your CV.


This is what a cover letter is for. In the closing paragraph, just say that although your PhD-granting university typically prepares its graduates for research-focused jobs, you have discovered more and more that teaching is the aspect of the job you like most. You would be excited to attend University X where you can make teaching the focus of your career going forward.


*erratum: 'attend' should be 'be hired at'


I think a lot of the advice in this thread focuses on how to communicate that your interest in a teaching job is sincere. But a lot of teaching institutions will still be worried about sincere applicants who are still judged to be a flight risk because they are taken to be somewhat naive about what being at a teaching institution involves.

Suppose you're competitive for jobs at R1 institutions, and that you'll stay competitive for them. Then you're still likely to be judged a flight risk if you eventually decide that you want what these institutions offer. For comparison, consider jobs in the University of Wisconsin system. (For which salary information is publicly available.) An Associate or Full Professor at UW-Madison, the R1 flagship, makes between $100k and $200k on a 2/2. An Associate or Full Professor at one of the regional universities (e.g. UW-La Cross, UW-Stout, UW-Whitewater) makes between $60k and $75 on a 4/4. So being in a "research-focused job" can earn you twice as much for half as much teaching. (There are, of course, exceptions. I know someone who recently moved from an R2 to a community college because the pay was better.)

Since you can enjoy teaching more than research but still take such an R1 or R2 job, teaching institutions will be worried that you will. So what can you do? One option is to talk about the mission of the institution in your letter. If they have an "access mission" for the city they're in, talk about why that's important to you. If they're a regional university, talk about why serving that region is important to you. If they have a religious mission, talk about why that's important to your values. If the philosophy "department" is actually part of a bigger department (e.g. communication, religious studies, humanities), talk about why you're into that. And so on, and so forth.


I work at a CC and I'll second the idea that 1 and 3 are big, especially 1. Relevant experience is huge! I think the biggest thing you can do is to try to get some experience teaching at a teaching focused, non-elite, four year institution, a CC, or both. Once you have the equivalent of an MA you should be qualified for adjuncting gigs doing both so you can get the relevant experience in grad school. If you're in a major city it shouldn't be too hard to get CC and teaching experience at non-elite four years. Of course this takes time, but so does trying to publish and as Marcus has done very well to point out you can't be competitive for every type of job and have to choose where to invest your time and effort. I also personally think that one can tell a lot from a teaching portfolio and if that were part of the application and I were looking that would be something I'd look at pretty closely. And when they're part of the packet I do think they carry a lot of weight at teaching focused schools. Unfortunately, not every teaching focused job asks for one. My school didn't when I applied and I don't think we have for faculty searches in other departments since I've been hired. Personally I think this is kinda dumb, but HR sets the parameters to some degree. Anyway, my point is that 1 is a bigger deal since you might not always be able to submit a portfolio. I'll also add that being at a prestigious school cuts a lot of ways. Philosophers who are plugged to rankings and such in might notice your application because you're at a Leiterrific school and give it a read when they wouldn't do that for less prestigious applications that are otherwise similar. They'll probably also scrutinize it more closely to see if you actually do care about teaching and will stay than they would others. I do know that on the search where I was hired several people from the top 15 made the next to last cut and at least one got an on campus. There's also a decent chance that the people reading your application won't know about the perceived prestige of your school within philosophy if that differs from its perceived prestige overall. Many teaching focused faculty, especially those much over about 50, don't follow such rankings closely or at all. And deans, who tend to have a huge hand in searches at CC's, pretty much never have any idea of what the Leiter rankings say or even that they exist. They do know and care about US News rankings though. I got my PhD from a school that's very well ranked in US News general rankings but low in the PGR and I remember getting more than a few worried questions in my interview from the deans about why someone from such a prestigious school would want to teach at a CC.

Shane J. Ralston

Student populations at colleges that emphasize teaching also tend to be highly diverse. Here I'm thinking of community colleges in poor rural and urban areas. Diversity doesn't mean the same thing at these teaching colleges as it does at R1s. At R1s, diversity is a talisman, a magical word that deans and administrators use to secure more funding for their programs. At these teaching colleges, it's a far more grim reality. Socio-economic status figures prominently. Student POCs at these institutions are often struggling with poverty, working multiple jobs in addition to pursuing a degree. So, revise your diversity statement to include practical examples of working with these student populations. If you lack such experience, volunteer to work as a tutor at a local community college. Prepare to have not only your pedigree become an objection to being hired. Also, your skin color and socio-economic background can work against (or for) you. These institutions prefer faculty who look like their students and have similar backgrounds. If you're a first-gen college student, emphasize that fact in your diversity statement, letter and interviews.


By the time I had graduated a very good, though not top-10 school, I had taught about 35 sections of about a dozen widely different, but standard classes: intro, logic, modern, phil of religion, phil of law, ethics, stuff like that (none, though in my AOS). All of these were in "regular schools," not ivy league seminars. I had a few decent publications too. I never had an interview question that started with "We need X taught, how would you teach it?" I did end up answering a few of "We need X taught, how did you teach it?" or "how did you diversify your teaching of X?" If you can do that you are well poised to be a good teaching candidate.

Your publications are supposed to show how smart you are. Your teaching is supposed to show how you would be with students.

Having been on search committees, after looking at impressive resumes, I've heard and said things like "she has no idea what it is like to teach _our_ students." That is the "kiss of death" for a candidate for a teaching job. Nothing about your teaching portfolio should tell the committee that you are clever. It should scream "if two years down the line you will randomly need someone to teach ethics to our criminal justice students, you can count on me."

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