I have an adjunct position teaching at an HBCU (Historically black colleges and universities).

I was wondering what is the best way to emphasize teaching at a minority institution on my CV?

Where do I stress that the school is an HBCU? - teaching experience, mentorship, other? ...

I want to emphasize that I have experience teaching at an HBCU, but I almost feel like it's too forced to mention it in the teaching experience area of my CV.

Suggestions for how to best "sell" myself with this experience?

2 Answers 2


Usually, academic CVs aren't really the place to "sell" anything. Unlike professional CVs, academic ones are usually fairly comprehensive, but ultimately boring, listings of everything you did and achieved. Think of them as the phone book to your entire academic persona - it's a good place to check up on specific things a committee might be interested in (how many papers has this person published, and in which journals? how much money has he brought in? etc.), but not much more than that. That means that you would definitely add the information to your CV, but should probably not attempt to sell your experience through it.

The place(s) where you as a candidate would frame how you want to be perceived, and what of your activities you want to emphasize, are the cover letter, and your research and teaching statements. In that sense, you would want to emphasize your teaching experience in your teaching statement if, and only if, you think this is something central to your teaching philosophy, or if you think that this is going to be a big plus to the place you are applying to. If you really want to emphasize it you can also add one or two sentences to this end to the cover letter, but I would probably only go that far if the place you applied to is also an HBCU or has made clear that such experience is of particular interest to them (a standard blurb at the end of the job announcement does not count).

  • +1 for the dramatic difference between industry CV and academia CV. Aug 16, 2017 at 4:33
  • I strongly disagree with the first sentence. The only purpose of a CV is to advertise the value of your experience. What you should say is that a CV should sell with facts, not opinions. The teaching statement should definitely mention experience teaching underrepresented or disadvantaged groups. Aug 16, 2017 at 7:11
  • @AnonymousPhysicist If the purpose of an academic CV is to sell, then I am sad to say that about 90% of the CVs I see utterly fail :) and those that do not are generally junior people with much less to write on their CVs.
    – xLeitix
    Aug 16, 2017 at 7:39

There is no reason you can't create a new section with its own heading. Ideally you would pad this out with a couple of other, related things. Example:

Support for Diversity in Education

(time period) Taught at HBCU, (name of HBCU)

Minor in Ethnic Studies (years, name of institution)

Served as Secretary of the ________ Club, (description)

Each of these can have a concise description if you like.

You may also bring this to the forefront in a cover letter or philosophy of teaching, where you might analyze the role your experiences in the HBCU have played in your pedagogical development.

  • 1
    Does anyone actually have a separate section on their CV? It seems like a bad idea because it looks like you're trying to be a good "diversity candidate" rather than a good candidate who also has a background that would enhance diversity. Aug 16, 2017 at 5:33
  • 1
    @ElizabethHenning - Of course people organize their CVs into sections. Example CV (chosen arbitrarily, from a highly rated Academia SE user who uses his real name here) uses section headings Employment, Education, Scholarly work, Grants and awards, Graduate students and post-docs mentored, Talks, Teaching experience, Professional service. Aug 16, 2017 at 11:12
  • 1
    Probably @Elizabeth Henning meant "Does anyone actually have a separate section on their CV for this?" That's a good question -- I'm not sure I've seen this myself, but though I've seen many CVs in my time, I've certainly not seen "all of them." My opinion: it's fine to put this on a CV, but don't expect to gain many points by just putting it on a CV. The last paragraph of your answer is exactly what I think a candidate should do in order to maximize the chance that potential employers actually pay attention to this. Aug 16, 2017 at 13:54
  • @PeteL.Clark - Agreed. Whatever aspect of yourself needs to be brought to the fore and driven home in the cover letter and an essay if that's an element of the application. Also, you may choose your references carefully to bring out a specific aspect of yourself clearly, and you can mention to a reference, "For this next application, such-and-so aspect is important to stress because in their ad I saw that this is a big priority for them." // Pete, some institutions have recently become quite strongly focused on hiring people who will support diversity. // Forest Ecologist, I forgot to say,.. Aug 17, 2017 at 2:51
  • ... (I think you probably realize this already) -- it's not enough to simply cite the name of the school, you also need to talk about specific ways that experience has influenced your work, your approach to science, etc. Aug 17, 2017 at 2:53

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