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statement of teaching interests

Recent job postings we’ve seen request a “statement of teaching interests? rather than the teaching philosophy described in the previous entry. In a recent panel in a Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) course, several seasoned search committee members opined that the teaching philosophy is deadly to read and doesn’t really give much idea of how effective the person would be as a teacher. I think that the statement of teaching interests might be a much better way to convey that.

What is a statement of teaching interests? There appears to be no consensus on the terminology, but here are some different approaches:

1. “Say what you can teach.? The following site is mainly about how to organize your entire dossier, with specific information about how to organize your CV, but down near the bottom of the page is this information about writing a teaching statement:

“A “Statement of Teaching Interests? is typically required as part of the application process for an Assistant Professor position. Tell the reader what you feel competent to teach. If you are applying for a job where teaching biochemistry is one of the requirements as stated in the job ad, then you better be sure you tell them you want to teach biochemistry. This may sound trite, but you would be amazed at the number of people who fail to follow this seemingly self-evident step.? See http://www.dartmouth.edu/~gradstdy/careers/services/vita.html.

2. The umbrella document. The following site at Emory University conceives of the Statement of Teaching Interests as an umbrella document that contains the teaching philosophy, a description of teaching experiences (courses, lectures, workshops, etc.), a description of efforts to improve teaching (workshops, courses, etc.), and then appendices such as syllabi, lecture handout, assignments, and teaching evaluations. See http://www.med.emory.edu/POSTDOC/Web%20Forms/Adobe%20Forms/Job%20Search%20Docs-%20Critique%20Service%2010.30.03.pdf, skip down to the second page.

3. Some samples:

This computer science example is interesting because it combines prior experience, advising experience, and teaching interests in a single narrative. I think it would be even more effective if it included a paragraph on approach to teaching computer science.

This web-based teaching statement by psychology professor Cynthia Angel is well-organized, with logical categories and a lot of information. I especially like the details about the courses she’s already taught:

Here is another nicely organized one: nuts and bolts, bullet-format rather than narrative. I especially like the categories; for me they really help to understand this person as a teacher: