It is quite common in almost all position opening announcements in academic institutes to demonstrate EXCELLENT teaching capabilities. For instance sentences like below:

Applicants are expected to demonstrate excellent undergraduate and graduate teaching capabilities

But the question is HOW to demonstrate that excellence? Is just listing subjects taught during last couple of years sufficient? I guess we can use teaching statement or teaching philosophy to demonstrate that ability too. But, what type of sentences show that excellence in teaching statement?

  • 4
    Student evaluations and letters of recommendation specifically addressing one's teaching should be quite helpful. Jul 26, 2014 at 9:58
  • 1
    In my university, surprisingly, results of student evaluation is confidential and is not shared to the lecturer!!! So I cannot use them.
    – Espanta
    Jul 26, 2014 at 17:32
  • Well, then you are left with the letters of recommendation. Jul 26, 2014 at 17:45
  • I guess the go-to method is to list your teaching awards if you have any. Jan 26, 2015 at 1:06

3 Answers 3


It is a great question that I have asked myself in the last several years and I'm also looking for an informed answer. In the mean while, I have come up with an idea to demonstrate my teaching abilities to potential employers:

After graduation, I taught several graduate courses mainly on mathematical analysis, such as measure theory, harmonic analysis, C*-algebra. Based on these experiences, I have written a lecture note on C*-algebras which is available in arXiv. I thought if a serious employer really wants to evaluate my teaching abilities, nothing speaks better than my lecture notes.

  • 2
    Thanks Vahid for your hints. You are right, but again it is something you have prepared and it does not really reflect your capabilities in effectively managing classes and dealing with very smart or too slow students.
    – Espanta
    Jul 26, 2014 at 17:31
  • Can you provide a link to your lecture notes?
    – Ryan
    Jul 30, 2014 at 15:27
  • @Ryan: Sure, it is available in here.
    – user4511
    Jul 30, 2014 at 15:50

In my department (biology, at a large public research university), applicants give a job talk in addition to a research talk. They also provide a statement of teaching philosophy.

An applicant demonstrates excellence by:

  1. Providing a teaching statement that discusses evidence-based teaching theory and gives an example or two of how the applicant has applied this ("Even in large lectures, students should spend time discussing the concepts they have just learned. I incorporated the use of clickers to expose a common misconception before each new topic, and had students work in groups to find the best answer.")
  2. Preparing and delivering a job talk that a) demonstrates competence with the material, b) shows you are able to ask and answer "student" questions from the audience, c) incorporates at least a smidge of student interaction, and d) actually fits in the time allotted

I suppose if there is no job talk scheduled, an applicant might prepare as if there were one and be ready to discuss how they would teach topic X, with examples.


In my university, we have a quality system and part of this is the collection of student feedback. The feedback is gathered systematically and in an unbiased manner.

When applying to other positions we can refer to this feedback in stating excellent undergraduate and graduate teaching capabilities. The hiring body can contact our university/faculty/department to verify and receive a document regarding this.

Further, this is also used as basis for gaining additional, teaching skill based, percentages in ones salary.

When properly implemented, I think this is a great system.

Edit: forgot to mention the most important thing: We were struggling with the same issue as in the question and we suggested and implemented the feedback gathering as a partial solution to this.


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