Our department would like every applicant to have access to the application conventions and expectations that we will apply during our review process. For that reason, it is worth telling you a little more about ourselves as a department and about what we are looking for in your application materials.
About Colgate University
Colgate is a small liberal arts college, despite having “university” in the name. Almost all of the classes are small and discussion-based; the average class size is 17 (which includes a few big lecture classes in the sciences). Our students create work at a very high caliber, and they expect to be challenged. Colgate takes the liberal arts education model very seriously indeed, which translates into an emphasis on intellectual inquiry, rather than practical professional training. We all see ourselves as researchers, and we bring our scholarly interests into the classroom with us — and not just pedagogical research.
About the Department
As a department, we work toward equity within and beyond our classrooms. Given that communication is rooted in the dynamic of difference and power, almost all of our classes examine the cultural, social, economic, and political implications of rhetorical activity. We work to maintain an egalitarian departmental culture across rank, to the extent allowed by university structure. The campus too is addressing diversity issues with renewed vigor, making equity and inclusion a central tenet of the Third-Century Plan (a strategic plan for the university on the occasion of its bicentennial) and recently hiring a cabinet-level Vice President for Equity and Diversity. The Diversity and Inclusion webpage gathers together a number of resources and initiatives that can give you a sense of campus activities and values.
For our tenure-track position in public address and rhetoric, we are asking for a cover letter, your curriculum vitae, the names of three references, and a teaching statement that addresses inclusion and diversity.
Your cover letter should describe you as a scholar and as a teacher. It should be 2-3pp. single-spaced, and the usual convention is to open with your research, then discuss your teaching, and finally mention your experience and/or interest in service (at the departmental, university, or disciplinary level). We expect equal attention paid to scholarship and pedagogy, with somewhat less discussion of service. The goal of the cover letter is to spotlight the most significant aspects of your work in each category, so that we understand your career thus far as you see it.
Your CV should list all of your teaching appointments, with dates, and all of your publications. If you have held non-teaching positions that you consider relevant or that might help us to understand your intellectual trajectory, feel free to include them, but don’t feel obligated. For publications, please include any works in progress that you have started drafting. Also, we would appreciate a list of all the classes you have taught, with instructor of record vs. teaching assistant clearly demarcated.
Names of references
At this stage in the process, we don’t need reference letters, but we would like the names of your recommenders (and their titles and universities), either at the end of your CV or in a separate document. If we would like to see letters, we’ll contact you, so that you can request them from your references. We do recommend that you ask your recommenders to draft their reference letters well in advance of your application, so that the turnaround time for requests can be quick.
Typically your statement will be 2 - 3pp. single-spaced. We’re looking for evidence that you have thought deeply about teaching and are committed to being a successful teacher and mentor at a four-year liberal arts college. Because our department foregrounds the study of rhetoric from different disciplinary positions, it will be helpful for you to articulate your approach to the teaching of rhetoric (historically, theoretically, critically), as it relates to not only to skills or craft (writing and public speaking), but also to ways of knowing and being. Moreover, we do not ask for a separate statement on diversity because we feel that equity and inclusion (for both students and course materials from a broad variety of backgrounds) is an integral part of good pedagogy. Addressing how you approach issues and systems of power, advantage, and disadvantage -- and how these play out for students of different intersecting identities — is important as well.
To illustrate these broader themes, there are many forms your evidence can take. Here are some possibilities, but do not feel compelled to address each one:
- What are your goals for students? You might pick a course and explain what you hope students will take from it. How will you design your teaching of the course to make that happen?
- What courses would you feel best prepared to teach? What ideas do you have for teaching in this program?
- Describe a 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 your direct experience as a teacher? What effective instructional practices did you observe when you were a student? What are you particularly interested in trying at Colgate?
You cannot possibly include all this information in a statement of reasonable length, so write about whatever you care about the most. Also feel free to write about things that are important to you but that we have not included on this list. Above all, we are interested in understanding who you are as a teacher and scholar.
These are the initial materials we are asking for. At the next stage of the process, we will ask for a writing sample (i.e., an example of your scholarship) and recommendation letters from your three references (which we’ll ask you to request, rather than us contacting your references directly). If you have questions about materials, you should feel free to write the chair, Meg Worley, at email@example.com.