I have received an invitation to give a job talk for a tenure track Assistant Professor position in at a Agriculture university (U.S.). The position entails 80% research and 20% teaching responsibilities. As part of the presentation, I am required to discuss my teaching experiences and present my teaching plans. I am uncertain about how to create slides for this presentation and whether I should include information already mentioned in my teaching statement or CV. What should be on my slides? At this point I am unsure if they will allow to design my own courses. Can I still propose new courses?

Additionally, I am unsure about what types of questions are typically asked when presenting teaching-related slides. Can you provide some guidance on how to effectively present this information and what kind of questions I might expect?

  • 2
    Just a quick comment. Don't be afraid to ask about what is expected of you. Just send a polite email and ask, I don't think it'll hurt
    – cconsta1
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


Here are some of the questions that we seek to ask as we sit on the other side of the interview from you. I add my comments in each case.

  • Do you have adequate experience to teach Courses ABC and Course XYZ, as they will be your course assignments when you start? You should certainly ask what courses you will be expected to teach in your first years. Provide a summary that highlights where and how you have experience to teach them.

  • Are you adequately prepared to manage the administrative aspects involved in teaching a course? Provide an example lesson plan for the course that you should teach.

  • Do you have sufficient confidence in your knowledge of certain topics that should be covered in Course ABC or Course XYZ? A reasonable way to demonstrate this is to pick a specific topic for the course that you should teach and show a few lecture slides that you will use for that topic.

  • Do you project yourself in a way that will engage undergraduate (and graduate) students in the learning experience? Here again, a reasonable way to demonstrate your style in teaching presentation (versus research presentation) is to give a 5 min - 10 min lecture presentation as though you are teaching the topic (versus as though you are giving a research review on the topic).

To your specific comments, you can/should certainly ask in advance

  • What courses will I be expected to teach in my first few years?

  • To what extent will I be at liberty to design my own course plan versus following a template? An example of the former is being asked to design a special topics graduate course. An example of the latter is being told to teach one section in a freshman lecture with multiple sections, each section with a different instructor yet all required to follow the same lesson plan.

  • What learning management system is being used, and how extensively is it required that I use it in my teaching?

  • What faculty or staff resources are available to help me structure my courses and/or provide insights to improve them?

Otherwise, at the assistant professor level where you are applying, we ask you mostly to demonstrate only that you have a modicum of temper, skills, and style to avoid being a poor mark on record as one of our teaching faculty. This especially with only a 20% teaching load.

Finally, depending on the size of the department faculty and the attendance mix between faculty, staff, and students, you should not be surprised that some audience members at your presentation will not be fully up to speed with all details in your application package. No need to re-hash all the details again. Simply do the curtesy to summarize the salient aspects.

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