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Background: I am a final-year mathematics student in the US applying for jobs at small colleges.

One of my job applications at a small, teaching-focused school requires a "Contributions to Department Statement", but elaborates very little, saying only that it's "a statement on how the candidate can contribute to the academic programs and activities of the department." That being said, what exactly are they looking for?

A few things I thought of:

  1. Undergraduate research mentorship
  2. Supervision of math club/honorary
  3. Proposals for new courses
  4. Incorporation of technology (Mathematica, for example)
  5. Recruitment/retainment of populations underrepresented in mathematics

Any thoughts whatsoever are appreciated.

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It sounds like you're on the right track. What can you do for them that they're not already doing? What special expertise do you bring? How can you move the department beyond where it is now? And -- unspoken but most important -- how does this distinguish you from other applicants for this position?

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