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The vast majority of faculty applications I've made explicitly require the candidate to submit both a research statement and a teaching statement, and the institution usually describes the expected length and topics to be covered. However, a few institutions don't ask for any such statements, even though the position is described as one that involves both research and teaching. That is, neither the job posting itself, nor the application instructions accompanying the online form, make any mention whatsoever of a research or teaching statement, even though they may specifically enumerate other documents to be submitted (cover letter, CV, list of references, writing samples, etc.). In such cases, the application form usually does allow one to submit one or more arbitrary attachments, so it would certainly be possible to submit research and teaching statements. My question is, should I use this functionality to submit research and teaching statements? Or does the conspicuous absence of a research/teaching statement requirement in the application instructions mean that the search committee doesn't want them at this stage in the application process? (For all I know, they prefer to get a brief overview of the candidate's research and teaching qualifications from the cover letter and CV, and then ask for further details if the candidate makes it to an interview.)

I usually spend a lot of time customizing my statements (by mentioning how I'd fit or expand the institution's research profile, opportunities for collaboration with local colleagues, which existing courses I could teach, how I could further develop the curriculum, etc.) but I don't want to do all this if the statements are going to be ignored. Conversely, if any statements I submit are going to be read, then I don't want to submit generic ones for fear that I'd come across as lazy, uninformed, or taking a shotgun approach to applications.

For further context, all of the positions I've had this dilemma with have been at UK universities (and relatively highly ranked ones at that).

Also, I understand that the best course of action for any given case may be to write to the contact person listed on the job ad, though I'm still interested in hearing from the Academia SE community whether these sorts of postings really don't want research/teaching statements, and what happens to any statements that get submitted anyway.

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    I don't have too much experience with the UK personally, but in general I presume that job ads ask for what they want. The one exception, at least in the US in math, is that we normally we say we require "N letters of recommendation" where we mean N to be the minimum, but we may expect N+1 or N+2 letters.
    – Kimball
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 11:25

3 Answers 3

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I think it is farily common to not ask for specific teaching or research statements in a job application in the UK. However, it may well be that the panel expects the key points of what would be in teaching and research statements to be found in the cover letter. In a cover letter for a UK job application, I would look at the person specification and write in the cover letter a concise description of how I meet that criteria. So if the person spec said "Lead an internationally competetitve research program", I would explain in the cover letter how my research program would be internaltionally competitve. If the person specification said "Provide high quality teaching in X, Y and Z", I would write in the cover letter what I understood "high quality teaching" to look like, and provide, or point to evidence in my CV, that I could provide it.

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I have applied for multiple lectureships/assistant professorships in the UK and have never submitted a research or teaching statement. It's not common in the UK, and while I don't think you'll be penalised if you do submit them, I'm not convinced they'll be read at all. My experience in the UK is that it's a fairly rigid process: committees might literally put your cover letter next to person specification, and assess how well you've addressed each essential/desirable criteria.

I much prefer the UK process: I got a permanent position here based on a CV, covering letter & 60-minute interview. No job talk, no extended campus visit, no sample syllabi, teaching/research/diversity statements or 437 other documents.

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    At least in math, job talks are common in the UK, but they are shorter and a bit different than the US.
    – Kimball
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 15:52
  • When the committee comes to decide, however, the will be expected to use that job talk as evidence for or against specific criteria on the job spec. Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 9:22
  • You're right that the UK job ads I refer to in my OP (not to mention several others I've seen) do include a separate requirements document that enumerates various "Essential" and "Desirable" criteria. Your advice to address each of these criteria in the cover letter is very helpful.
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 18:50
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As others have pointed out, statements on research and teaching are sometimes required and sometimes not. Setting that aside, as a general rule, you can give additional material in any job application if you think it will help your application. If you think your teaching and research statements are particularly strong, or exhibit some strength in your fit for the position, you should feel free to add them to your application. Use your cover letter to explain anything unusual about your application, such as why you have chosen to include additional material.

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