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When applying to jobs I never listed AOS's or AOC's on my CV or anywhere else - I just made a case in cover letters for why I was a good fit for the advertised position. (I did *once* have someone ask me at a flyout whether I had an AOC in philosophy of law - and I honestly said that it depended what they meant by that - that I had taught lower-level classes in it, and had ideas about upper-level classes that I'd like to teach, which I went on to tell them about. FWIW, I got the job.) If thing X is listed as an AOC for a job, I'd just mention in the cover letter that I had taught my own course in X, and let the committee decide whether that was enough for them or not. Good luck!


As far as AOCs go, I don't think that teaching something once is sufficient (teaching the same class several times may not be either, depending on how static the content is, and how representative of the subfield). I also grew up with the 'advanced undergrad' criterion and, to my mind, that requires broad grounding in the history of the subfield, its basics, and its contemporary directions. That can all be acquired relatively easily and relatively quickly, but simply teaching it once won't do. (Not least because your course design the first time will be relatively uninformed, and so less helpful to _you_).

As far as the CV goes, search committees will look at your teaching experience and this weird course will pop out from a small list of courses and will be counted an asset, even if it's not (yet) part of an AOC.


As a job-seeker I find the notion of AOCs subjective and frustrating.

I try to be as representative/honest as I can when listing AOCs. I believe I have two AOCs that I can legitimately claim. I claim them because of my teaching record and areas that my research rubs up against.

This is to say, I've taught a *lot* of (for example) lower-level ethics courses, but I don't list ethics as AOC. I figure someone can see that I've taught those classes elsewhere on my CV and I mention that I've done so in my teaching statement. However, some of my research addresses issues in ancient, I keep up with the lit in ancient a bit, and I've taught some upper level courses in ancient. So, while my research isn't in ancient (i.e. I've never published anything in a journal specializing in ancient, nor on a topic that's solely on Aristotle, or whatever) I count ancient as an AOC.

So I'm completely floored when I see other people's CVs where they list 5,6,7 or more AOCs! In the way I think about it, unless you're Sober, Kitcher, Nussbaum or someone like that, I just find it hard to believe that many people can honestly list more than 2, maybe 3 AOCs. Am I wrong here and putting myself at a disadvantage? I mean, if I list everything that I've taught at some point, in some way, as an AOC, then, shoot - I've got a ton of them too!

broad shoulders

I think AOS and AOC are conceived differently during different stages of your career. Using Philpapers categories, I have two or three AOSs now, late in my career. I also am an active scholar in another discipline, publishing papers cited regularly my people working and trained in that field. But, early on, when I was on the market, I probably represented myself very broadly, in part, because I was hired at universities to teach: epistemology, logic, critical thinking, aesthetics, biomedical ethics, applied ethics, philosophy of law, introduction to philosophy (metaphysics, ethics, and epistemology), game theory and decision theory, philosophy of science, early modern philosophy, and philosophy of the social sciences. You tell me what my AOCs were?


I also think the question of what counts as an AOC sometimes depends on the kind of institution. For instance, if it's a job at a PhD-granting department, I think the "advanced undergrad" rule for AOCs is more or less spot on. However, if it's a job at a teaching-oriented institution or where there are only undergrads, I think there's a lot more flexibility: can you teach it with a winter break of prep?

Maybe also preexisting strengths in the department can determine what does/doesn't count as an AOC, but I think people are less likely to encounter the sort of case where they claim as an AOC something that a hiring department already has strengths in.

Late TT

Depends on the place. The less prestigious, the more AOCs you have. The more prestigious, the fewer. I doubt there are very stable criteria across such a range.


thanks everyone - the *advanced* ug class distinction helped me resolve things.

an opinion

Not so sure I agree with Michel.

If the job lists an AOC, it is almost surely because they want the course taught. If you've taught it, and don't put it as an AOC, but hope they catch it in your teaching experience, that's a risk. I suppose you could mention having taught it in the cover letter without putting it as an AOC. But, again, why not claim it as an AOC given that it is almost certainly in the ad because they want the course taught, and, well, you've taught it. If they want to judge that it is someone else's AOC more than yours, fine, let them.

What I say hinges on thinking AOCs really just express teaching needs. If they do something else, that'd be good to know.

East Coaster

I agree 100% with an opinion. Having been on the hiring side, reading files is exhausting. If you think something is especially relevant to the gig, flag it for your readers as much as you reasonably can. Don't expect charitable, well-rested file readers (or, at least, don't be caught off guard if they fall short of that mile-high standard!).

Bill Vanderburgh

Caveat re: "advanced". I take that to mean 300-/junior level. If that is what is meant, yes, I think that is the standard for calling something an AOC. (No need to list your ability to teach lower division/100-level Gen Ed classes as AOCs, since we would expect any philosopher to be able to cover those.)

There's an argument for putting all your AOCs on your cv, but for junior candidates, especially those without a lot of teaching experience, listing more than two or three AOCs looks bad (because implausible and shows poor understanding of how things work). (So, Sisyphus has good intuitions here.)

In general though, I wouldn't list anything as an AOC unless you actually want to teach it. A hiring department may prefer you in part for a listed AOC, and then you'll be locked in to teaching it.

I think Michel must be talking about AOS, or else the standard he is advocating is much more stringent than what the discipline as a whole generally requires. AOC means "can teach a junior level course for majors without having to do an extreme amount of prep."


Bill: No, I'm talking about AOCs. (I may have more stringent requirements than the discipline does, but I don't think I do!)

As I see it, an AOS requires depth of knowledge (preferably also breadth, but depth is the key). An AOC, by contrast, requires breadth of knowledge. Ultimately, this all boils down to how much one has read, and how targeted that reading has been.

Someone with an AOC in ethics, for example, should know a little about ethical theory, about various strands of applied ethics, and about meta-ethics. Someone with an AOC in ancient philosophy should know something about Plato and Aristotle, yes, but also the pre-Socratics. And I would expect someone with an AOC in logic to be conversant in more than just basic FOL.

There are lots of ways to acquire breadth--sometimes we get it from reading on our own, sometimes we get it from having taken classes, and sometimes we get it from our teaching. But I don't think having taught a course once is sufficient on its own. It's a great starting point (or can cement the claim), but no more than that. If I saw someone claiming an AOC in political philosophy whose sole contact with political philosophy came from the single course they once taught, which was essentially just Augustine + Hobbes + Locke + Rousseau + Mill... well, that just doesn't cut it in my eyes. That,s a great foundation, but for an AOC in such a broad subfield, I expect at least _some_ contact with work done after 1873. I'd expect someone with an AOC in political philosophy to have knowledge of some of the subfield's historical figures, but also of some relatively recent work and debates.

Like I said, I grew up with the 'advanced undergrad' criterion, which I think is a good guideline. But even there, content and breadth matter; if someone taught a 400-level seminar on de Beauvoir's _The Second Sex_, that's fantastic--but on its own it's not enough to convince me that it's appropriate for them to claim feminist theory as an AOC. There's an awful low of feminist theory, after all, most of it published after _The Second Sex_, and much of it with a different set of concerns and priorities.

Perhaps another way of thinking about it is that I expect someone with an AOC in a subfield to have read more than an undergrad who has already taken all of the classes offered in that subfield up to the current course. (That gloss may work less well for some departments and subfields, of course.)

For my part, I can tell you that there are lots of things that I can and do teach, but which I don't claim as AOCs because I don't think I'm sufficiently well-read to do so. My AOS/AOC combination doesn't exhaust everything I _can_ teach, just everything that I can teach up to a certain standard. (Well, and 'want to'--as an opinion said, it's best not to list things you don't ever want to teach!)


I also agree with "an opinion" above. I think this can vary somewhat depending on the institution and the type of position, but to me, if I see an ad that has an open AOS and several AOCs (which is quite common), that mostly just tells me the committee is looking for someone to teach the things listed as AOCs. That said, I also don't list every single thing I could possibly teach as an "AOC" on my CV — instead, I tailor a cover letter to the position and discuss what classes I have taught / could teach there. I'm not really in a position to know whether this is for sure the best way to handle it, but it seems to have worked ok for me.

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