During the Teaching Institute we discussed what type of university we wanted to work at once we received our PhDs. This is a huge decision and has a lot of influence on the type of materials we need to provide and the way we structure those materials. There is a difference in applying for an R1 research institution and a small Liberal Arts college and we should first, be aware of what we want as a career, and second, craft our application to fit that university.
One of the first things we did during this session was to examine several different universities’ mission statements. After reading these, we were asked to think about how we would write our application documents to fit the needs of these mission statements. Or at the very least, to help us determine what type of university we actually want to work for. This is a two-way street after all. We should want to work for a university that fits our personality as an instructor.
Next, we turned our focus specifically to our teaching philosophy. This important document illustrates to potential employers our teaching style and our ambitions as an instructor. Specifically, we discussed what a teaching philosophy is, why we might need one, the characteristics of a good teaching philosophy, and what a reader should learn about the author of a teaching philosophy. The Tool for Preparing a Teaching Philosophy Statement: Teaching Inventory & Self-Assessment is a particularly useful artifact in that it helps us to identify areas of our teaching we are particularly good at.