How To Interview at a Teaching College


A few years ago I wrote a couple of pieces at Inside Higher Ed on interviewing for college teaching jobs.  I wrote about interviewing at a teaching college here and interviewing at teaching a church-related teaching college here.

Today at The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kevin Gannon of Grand View University offers some good advice on applying for a job at small liberal arts college that emphasizes teaching over research.

Here is a taste of his piece:

I work at a small liberal-arts college — also known by our charming acronym, SLAC. Colleges like mine are teaching-centric (a 4-4 load), largely enrollment-dependent, and quite different from research universities when it comes to faculty hiring and advancement. That’s important because the non-elite, teaching-oriented colleges are where a lot of the academic jobs are. Yet far too many advice columns on the faculty career act as if search committees only operate in one way — the way they do at R-1 campuses. You’re told how to be successful in your “job talk” — you know, the hourlong session where you publicly discuss your scholarly work, research agenda, and (typically) how kickass of a book your dissertation is about to become. That (and not getting drunk at dinner with the search committee) is key, you are told.

But that isn’t key in the hiring process at teaching colleges.If you’re in a field — say, anything in the humanities — where there’s a daunting ratio of candidates to open positions, being strategic and intentional about the application materials you send to different types of institutions can make a real difference in how you fare. A happy exception to the overload of R1 advice is Karen Kelsky’s recent column on job-searching at a SLAC (and, for once, you should read the comments, too). It’s a good start and my goal here is to go further.

At SLACs, a teaching demonstration is at the heart of our campus interview process. I had heard nothing about that when I was a Ph.D. student entering the market myself, even though all of my interviews were at small liberal-arts institutions. I quickly discovered that the hiring landscape at these colleges was much different than the one I’d been prepared for. Ultimately, I was successful, but only by adjusting on the fly to a new set of strategies.

Read the rest here.

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