I'm applying to an elite liberal arts college for a tenure-track job and all the advice I'm seeing suggests that it's even more essential than in applications to other schools to make clear I am attracted to the institution and that I understand it.
But this raises the question: how direct can be about it? Can I actually say, e.g. "I have long wanted to work in a liberal arts college setting because...' (small groups, close-knit setting, etc.)? I'm from a system where small-group teaching is the main mode of teaching and personal pastoral relationships between lecturers and students are at the heart of university life, so I absolutely mean all this - but is this just too direct a way of saying this? Or do I need to be a more "show, don't tell" (which I would do, but I'm already having to cut a lot from my draft so I was hoping this doesn't actually need to go beyond two or three lines)?
TL;DR: Is it crass/ineffective to say, "I want to work at this liberal arts college because it has the same sort of educational setting as the kind of college education I experienced as a student and lecturer abroad in a system none of the department are familiar with"? What's the alternative?