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Guidance for Applicants to Faculty Positions
When we read your application, we are looking for evidence that you will be successful as a teacher and researcher at Colgate University. Here’s some guidance on what makes strong teaching, research, and diversity statements.
We’re looking for evidence that you’ve thought deeply about teaching and are committed to being a successful teacher and mentor at a four-year college. There are many forms that this evidence can take. Typically your statement will be 1 – 3 pages. Some things that could be included are:
- Describe any teaching experience you’ve had. What did you do that you were proud of? What did you learn from the experience, and what would you do differently in the future? How would that teaching be similar to or different from your teaching at Colgate?
- What have you learned about teaching, outside of direct experience as a teacher? What effective instructional practices did you observe when you were a student? What have you learned by reading the science education literature? What are you particularly interested in trying at Colgate?
- What are your goals for students? You might pick a course and explain what you hope students will take out of it. In addition to specific content mastery, what else do you want your students to gain from the course? How will you design your teaching of the course to make that happen?
- What courses would you feel best prepared to teach? In addition to teaching in physics and astronomy, we expect our faculty to teach courses to a general audience of students in our liberal arts curriculum. Most scientists teach in the Scientific Perspectives component, where the main objective is to teach students about the scientific process and how science interacts with society. What ideas do you have for teaching in this program?
You cannot include all this information in a statement of reasonable length, so use that freedom to write about whatever you care about the most, and also feel free to write about things that are important to you, but that we have not remembered to include in this list.
One note: We do not normally read student evaluations from your previous teaching, but if there are any that particularly illustrate what you’re trying to accomplish, you may quote them in your statement.
We expect that, beyond being an effective teacher, you will also contribute to knowledge and involve students in the research process. Your statement should convince us that you have chosen an exciting area of research and have thought of projects that can be accomplished in an undergraduate environment. Typically your statement will be 2 - 3 pages.
Please remember that while some of us may work in fields of research adjacent to your own, others will be working in completely different areas in physics or astronomy. Please aim to convince all of us that your field of research is promising.
We’d like to know what your lab will look like. Please make clear the type of equipment you will need and the timeline for setting it up. We do have start-up funds available, and we hope to be able to supply all the resources needed for you to be successful, but our funds are not unlimited. In case there is some question about whether your plans are feasible at Colgate, it may be helpful to provide budgetary information: “I could start with apparatus X that would cost about $Y, along with $Z for general supplies. If more funds are available, I would also purchase Z at a cost of $W, but this could also be acquired through future grant funding from Q source.” Very rough numbers, even +/-50%, are acceptable here.
Let us know how undergraduates can contribute to and learn from your research. All our students complete senior research projects, and many work in our labs for summers and during the academic year. Your statement should give us a general understanding of the sorts of student projects you might mentor.
If you have established research collaborations, or if you hope to establish collaborations, describing them will help us see that you have the resources necessary to complete your research.
Diversity and Inclusion Statement
Colgate is committed to providing a supportive environment where students from diverse backgrounds can thrive. Diversity includes not only race and ethnicity, but also socioeconomic status, gender identity, and all the other things that make our students unique human beings. Write a brief statement (probably 1/2 to 1 page) that describes how you will provide an inclusive environment to students in your classroom and laboratory.