So questions similar to this have been bandied about a lot here but I haven't really seen an satisfactory response to this particular one. I gather that the Visiting Assistant Professor (VAP) at a small liberals arts colleg (SLAC) blows your chances for schools that prioritize research (R1) tenure track positions. Fine, not going to get those jobs anyways.

But how does either an school with less research emphasis (R2) or a SLAC look at this experience on my CV?

Background: 5 years as a post-doc with no actual teaching experience. Only teaching experience was TAing in graduate school. Pretty strong publication record but not top of the world.


1 Answer 1


I'm in applied mathematics, at a school that you would probably describe as "R2" (the old Carnegie classification system has been replaced by a newer system that no longer uses terms like "R1".) In my department, that year of experience as a VAP would make you a more attractive candidate, since you don't currently have enough teaching experience to be a very strong candidate.

It would also be helpful just in terms of your having a broader range of experience in higher education- many candidates that we talk to simply have no idea what it would be like to be a faculty member at our institution and have unreasonable expectations.

  • and have unreasonable expectations — I'm curious about what those expectations might be (even though I understand that this is not the main point of your answer; +1 by the way).
    – Mad Jack
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 13:51
  • 3
    The fundamental problem is simply that students have done their graduate study and postdocs at prestigious research universities expect that all colleges and universities will be similar. They're often surprised by the relative balance of teaching and research, the limited resources, the vastly different students, and the different institutional cultures that they encounter. Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 14:01

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