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I am applying for faculty positions in the US. Almost all of them require teaching philosophy and research statements. I have read some examples, but still do not understand what should I write.

  • Should they be about my past experiences or future plans?
  • Should they be evidence-based or just my ideas?
  • How they should be categorized (e.g., different topics that I taught or my teaching methods; different research topics or research strategy)?

I know that this question is too broad, but honestly I am deeply confused. How can I highlight my teaching/research potential to attract their attention?

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    And it may help to include also which type of school you are applying to: big research universities and small liberal arts colleges with emphasis on undergraduate research opportunities will have very different criteria used to evaluate both of the statements. – Willie Wong Mar 18 '15 at 16:37
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    BTW, books such as this give quite some discussion about this topic. Your local institute's career office can probably also help. – Willie Wong Mar 18 '15 at 16:38
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    There is already a lot of information on this site about teaching and research statements. Please spend a little time browsing first. (Incidentally, oughtn't we to have a research-statement tag?) – Nate Eldredge Mar 18 '15 at 16:51
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    @ff524 I think--based on the subquestions--that this question is not about the specifics of either statement, but about how they relate to each and how to go about writing both. Thus, if your view is that they are completely independent then I feel your first comment could be made into an answer ("Don't, write them separately"), rather than carving this up into subparts which are redundant to other questions and don't reflect the asker's intent. – Tim Mar 18 '15 at 19:49
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    I'd agree with @Tim that, both potentially and perhaps actually, the "teaching statement" and "research statement" are related, both in writing and in perception ... at least of some people on the receiving end. E.g., if I read two such statements that absolutely don't refer to each other, I am not as happy as when there's some connection... – paul garrett Mar 18 '15 at 22:57
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Many successful teaching and research statements do the same basic three things:

  1. Describe broad themes or approaches that tie together your research or teaching.
  2. Narrate specific relevant examples of your achievements related to these themes or approaches that illustrate your experience and qualifications.
  3. Describe your aspirations and future directions in terms of your research or teaching.

It might help to think of the research and teaching statements in terms of other items in your packet. For example, your writing samples will provide concrete examples of your work as a scholar so don't need to prove this in a research statement. Similarly, your CV will show your publication and teaching record so you don't need to reiterate this either. Instead, provide a high-level overview of your approaches to research or teaching while referring to examples from your experience that help make the case for your excellence in each area.

Statements also provide a space for you to explain what you hope to do in the future. I used my teaching statement to describe examples of graduate and undergraduate classes I could teach that were on the books at the department I was applying to and that I would design from scratch. I used my research statement to explain the areas of research I was hoping to move into in the future.

Your goals with the statement may also be to address potential weaknesses in your application. For example, if you have little teaching experience, your teaching statement is an opportunity to show that you have thought deeply about teaching and that you have gained relevant skills through experience like mentorship that might not show up on your CV.

Specific expectations, in terms of of teaching and research statements, may vary from field to field and even within fields, but you can generally assume that authors have quite a bit of latitude. Look for examples online and, perhaps, more usefully, contact successful recent job market candidates you know to ask their materials.

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  • No Name this seems like a pretty solid answer to me and it's been upvoted a few times as well. If this isn't what you're looking for you might try explaining why in a comment. – Dave Kanter May 12 '15 at 20:27
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I have recently come off the job market myself (I am ABD, soon to defend). By far the most useful information I came across was from The Academic Job Search Handbook. It has tons of useful information about Teaching Philosphy & Research Statements, plus tons of other information that might be useful to you, since it is geared toward US academic jobs. Good luck on your search!

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  • One wonders whether the authors have been on hiring committees much... – paul garrett May 14 '15 at 16:50
  • @paulgarett Good point. The Chronicle of Higher Education trusts them with a career column, so I would assume they know their stuff. Also, from their bio: "Julia Miller Vick is Senior Associate Director and Jennifer S. Furlong is Associate Director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania. They are coauthors of the Chronicle of Higher Education online column Career Talk." – Geo May 14 '15 at 17:06
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Teaching philosophy examples: http://www.uwo.ca/tsc/resources/selected_teaching_topics/teaching_dossiers/guide_to_constructing/teaching_philosophy_examples.html

Nice suggested format for research statement: http://theprofessorisin.com/2012/08/30/dr-karens-rules-of-the-research-statement/

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    The second article begins with the advice to limit the research statement to one page or two at the most. This is dangerous advice to give without indicating a scope: I gather that the author of the piece has experience in the humanities, and I am willing to believe that this advice is good for a lot of humanities jobs.... – Pete L. Clark May 10 '15 at 7:42
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    ... I am in mathematics and have looked through over one thousand research statements in the last nine years. I cannot recall seeing any that were a single page. If I read a research statement that was two pages or less that did not describe obviously phenomenal work, I would be more than halfway to dismissing the candidate entirely. Bottom line: talk to others to learn the norms of your field. Especially, get multiple rounds of feedback from your advisor. I got more feedback from my advisor on my research statement than any other one thing I did as a PhD student...and I needed it. – Pete L. Clark May 10 '15 at 7:43

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