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I'm applying for faculty jobs and was considering including sample syllabi for courses I could develop (which are currently not offered at the target institution). My idea was to include them as an appendix to my teaching statement.

Would this be a good idea? Are there any pitfalls I should look out for?

In particular I'm thinking for US liberal arts colleges, but I would be interested in views for more research focused universities as well.

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I take it that the position you are applying for don't specifically ask for such samples. In some cases, hiring committees will look at only what is asked for, nothing more. This is to protect the commitee's time and to ensure that each candidate is considered in equal light. While you likely won't be penalized for offering more, don't be surprised if the extra pages end up in the trash can before the committee sees them.

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I used to be faculty at a US liberal arts college, and am now at a research university. I think the appropriate decision here depends mostly on their instructions. Follow what they requested. If they do not request certain kinds of materials, then including them might be an annoyance because it requires more work organizing and (hopefully) distributing your application to a committee. Any difficulties in that process can downgrade your application. If they ask for a 1-page teaching statement, then I would recommend not including syllabi. If they ask for a 'teaching portfolio', then you could include them. In either case, you could post them online and link to them with a URL in a shorter document. Finally, I think an entire syllabus might be too long for an application that doesn't ask for it, but you could consider a 400-word summary.

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Sadly, your attempt might be interpreted by some as criticism of why they aren't already doing that. There are some people and some institutions that don't really welcome change or even growth. "This is how we do it here. Get used to it." (The "smart ass" was implied, not spoken.)

I don't think many would admire such attitudes and I hope that most would welcome alternate ideas and experience, but I've actually been in such situations and learned that the best way to survive until I escaped was to just keep my head down and STFU.

I hope you don't encounter that, but it happens. In an application, give them what they ask for. And if you find yourself at such a place, plan your escape. And at any place, take some time to evaluate the local culture before you try to make many changes.

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