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elisa freschi

This is completely anecdotical, but I did not submit any teaching letter for the position I am currently in (at University of Toronto), just because I did not know that teaching letters existed, and no one even mentioned it during my job interview. Perhaps they are more relevant for college positions?

Tim O'Keefe

I'd contact the search chair, explain the situation, and ask them what they'd prefer.

Teach first

I have three research letters and a teaching letter. I also have a version of one of the research letters that my diss chair adapted to include much of the content from the teaching letter, to use in those circumstances where only 3 letters are permitted.

Trevor Hedberg

When I was applying for jobs, I based this decision on the type of institution and the type of position. If it was a teaching-focused position, then I included a teaching letter. If it was a research-focused position (especially one at an R1 institution), then I included only research letters, though I should acknowledge that one of my research-focused letters did briefly mention my teaching. In my various cycles on the job market, I got interviews and job offers for both teaching-focused and research-focused positions, so I think this strategy was effective -- or at least that it did not hurt my chances.

British Grad Student

I hadn't really thought about this and am now a little worried. Is it really that important to distinguish between research and teaching letters?

I just asked my supervisors for letters of reccommendation without thinking about it, and assumed they would write about both my teaching and research. Is this something I should follow up on?

Asst professor applying out

I'm applying for jobs at good R1s, and not submitting a teaching letter. I have many years of teaching experience with consistently strong evals. I figured no one will worry about my teaching or really care at these research-focused institutions. I imagine them taking a look at my evaluations and statement and thinking 'she'll be good'โ€”and then thinking no more about teaching. I did this to have a broader swath of people, none of whom are at my current institution, speak about my research, which is (I assume) the main factor in hiring at places like this.

But maybe that was a mistake? I don't know.

anonymous assistant professor

@Asst professor applying out, I do not think that was a mistake. (I was on the R1 market repeatedly starting a few years after starting a job, without a teaching letter or anyone even talking about my teaching (since, like you, my writers were outside my institution), in a similar situation to you (very strong evals and lots of experience) and I did pretty well, including at places that I know really value good teaching.)


In many European countries there is no expectation of a teaching letter. Teaching really is regarded as secondary to research PERIOD

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