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I am a mathematician on the job market this year and am wondering if I should talk at all about service and other aspects of who I am other than my teaching and research. So for example, committees I've been on, leadership roles, professional development, etc. And if so, where would I put this information? My teaching statement? Cover letter?

Let's assume that I'm applying to jobs that are more focused on teaching than research. Thanks!

  • Yes, you should mention these. Sorry, not sure where it would fit. – aparente001 Sep 27 '15 at 1:48
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Many (if not most) academic CVs have a section labeled "Service" that lists committee memberships, reviewing experience, outreach activities, and other university and community service. You could also reasonably include a brief "service statement", as an addendum to your teaching (or research) statement, that explains those service activities (and future goals) in more detail.

But keep in mind that you're not describing who you are as a human being, but rather who you are as a potential colleague. The service activities you describe should have direct bearing on your suitability for a teaching job in a university mathematics department. So coaching your daughter's robotics team could reasonably be included, but coaching her baseball team probably shouldn't.

Also remember that your service activities are almost certainly less important than your record in teaching and research. "Service" should be the last section of your CV, and any service statement should be significantly shorter than your teaching or research statements.

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If you have some experience serving on departmental or institutional committees, working with a student chapter of your professional society of even doing volunteer work at the national level as a student member of your professional society then these are things that you should probably include on your CV.

I would not list activities that aren't connected to your professional and academic career even if they do show your leadership- e.g. I wouldn't include the fact that you were the president of the campus theater group.

As a tenure track assistant professor you will most likely be expected to be involved in service at the departmental, institutional, and professional levels, but this kind of service is generally less important than teaching and research. One way in which some assistant professors fail is by putting too much of their effort into service work at the expense of teaching and research, so you don't want to give the wrong impression about your priorities.

Some of the things that you've mentioned might be more directly relevant in terms of teaching or research. For example, if you've participated in a "preparing future faculty" professional development program that's a positive experience to include but more as professional development in teaching and research rather than as a service activity.

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You should list these activities on your CV, and perhaps briefly in your other materials.

But where these activities should be thoroughly described is in your recommendation letters. Hiring departments will not just want to see that you've been on a lot of committees: it's easy to be on a lot of commmittees without accomplishing much. (Alas, this is all too visible in my own department.) Instead, hiring departments will want to hear about the impact that your service has had on the department and on the people around you, and your recommenders are the most natural people to say this.

(Indeed, I remember last year we had one applicant who was finishing her Ph.D. at a non-elite program. Her research wasn't strong enough to get a tenure-track job at a research-oriented university (at least not without a postdoc first), but I vividly remember one of the letters which went on and on about all of the ways in which she'd made a hugely positive impact on her department as a grad student. It was quite moving really. Anyway, she got hired at an elite liberal-arts school.)

Anyway, if you are proud of your service record, make sure that it is addressed by a couple of your letter writers. (You don't need to have your service addressed by all of your writers -- indeed, it is good to have a balance of internal letters and letters from people outside your own department, and the latter will probably mostly talk about your research.)

Good luck!

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