When an academic apply for a faculty position, the main criteria of selection are usually his record of research and teaching (and other academic affairs).

For the case of research, it is straightforward: research publications, other research outputs, funding, etc.

But how one can have an exceptional record of teaching and academic affairs?

When someone has many high impact papers, he can be confident about his research records. With what records, one can be confident about his teaching/academic records?

2 Answers 2


The following points would contribute to a good teaching record:

  • List of courses that someone has given. Note that this shows the quantity of teaching, but not the quality. Still, I would consider it the key part of someone's teaching record, and to some extent quality might improve with quantity in this case.
  • Undergraduate and graduate student theses that one has supervised. Some measure of teaching quality might be how well the theses were done (e.g. prizes/publications), even though this says more about the student than about the teacher.
  • Teaching evaluations from students. That's probably the best way to really assess the quality of teaching.
  • A formal teaching qualification and any teaching prizes will be a nice bonus, of course.
  • very good points, but the second and third points cannot be incorporated into the CV, which is the basis of judgement in a job application.
    – user13854
    Oct 16, 2014 at 8:13
  • @user13854 This may be country-specific. Where I live, committees sometimes do ask for teaching evaluations, or applicants include them even without being asked for it. And why can't you include supervised theses? Not even anonymized?
    – silvado
    Oct 16, 2014 at 8:26
  • @user13854 I very definitely incorporate a list of supervised theses in my CV (and I insist on the theses themselves being publicly available as well). Teaching evaluations are a bit more tricky - among other factors, my evaluations from my grad studies are in german, hence they are not overly helpful in most of my applications.
    – xLeitix
    Oct 16, 2014 at 10:39
  • the second and third points cannot be incorporated into the CV — Say what? My university requires me to list those in my (university-internal) CV.
    – JeffE
    Oct 17, 2014 at 1:01

Defining or even giving an example of an exceptional record is hard. An easier thing is to compare two things, and see which one is more exceptional. So:

  • you have only taught one course (perhaps multiple times) or you have taught a great number of courses.
  • you have taken over courses that already existed, or you have introduced a topic to your department for the first time
  • you have taught only undergrads, or at all levels within your university
  • you have taught only your own department, or throughout your university
  • you teach in one very narrow area, or a number of difficult topics

in all these cases, the second is more exceptional than the first. Then consider things like being nominated for (or winning) awards or commendations, and you can start to tell a story. Some rare people will have achievements like "so many students want to be in my section of this course that I lecture in a 1000-seat hall" and while this is certainly exceptional, you can construct a good tale of why you're great even if you don't have that particular anecdote.

To me, it's put important to put your claim and the evidence together in a paragraph that starts by asserting your claim ("I have an exceptional teaching record") and goes on to back that up by listing what you've taught - or just stating a number if it's too many to list - and what's exceptional about your record. Don't just include a whole pile of facts about you and hope people will realize this means you're a great teacher. Show that you are and claim that you are.

  • 1
    interpret exceptional as excellent.
    – user13854
    Oct 16, 2014 at 13:15
  • well yes, even though the worst teacher ever would be an exception, most people would not be describing how unusually horrible their record was. But while everyone can be excellent, not everyone can be exceptional - whatever everyone is, that's normal. So it's a little unfair to demand all applicants be exceptional, yet that is what happens. Oct 16, 2014 at 13:21

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