I am applying for tenure-track positions in the US and Canada. I did my PhD in the UK during which I ran tutorials for students for a few years. However, I never received any official feedback or evaluation and now find myself looking at an application asking for teaching evaluations.

What are my options? Would it be inapropriate to search for my former students and solicit feedback? It's now been over a year since my last cohort. I know one went on to do a PhD in my former group, how would it look if I asked them to write a reference letter for me?

  • What materials are you asked to provide by the institutions you are applying to? If they ask for a teaching statement, you can just provide the narrative of your experience. I doubt they would ask for a whole bunch of teaching related references or past teaching evaluations at this point - at least for an R01.
    – BioBrains
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 16:28
  • 2
    They ask for a teaching dossier comprising teaching statement, teaching materials and teaching evaluations. I can make teaching materials specifically for the application but I'm stuck on the evaluations.
    – R.Buchanan
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 16:30
  • Maybe there are some evaluations that you are not aware of? Could you ask the course coordinator or admins of the places you taught at?
    – user126108
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 16:43
  • 3
    Asking a former student for a letter of recommendation doesn’t seem the best thing to do because of the biased power dynamics (they are the ones who might need a recommendation from you in future).
    – user126108
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 16:47
  • 2
    Do you have another faculty observing your teaching? In any case, in your situation I see would have added an explanation in the cover letter and/or teaching statement as to why you can't provide evaluations. Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


This isn't an unusual situation: In many countries, teaching evaluations are either not done at all, are not public, or are unavailable for other reasons. This isn't going to be the first time the university you apply to is encountering this issue, and so the reasonable solution is to simply state

At my previous universities, no teaching evaluations were performed, and so I cannot provide any. However, attached please find the remaining documents (specifically, my teaching statement and examples of teaching materials).

They will be able to deal with this.

  • Thank you, that's reassuring to know.
    – R.Buchanan
    Commented Nov 5, 2023 at 21:38

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