Information for Tenure Track Applicants
The following provides some information about the Carleton College Biology Department hiring process, in particular what we are looking for in your application for our tenure track position. We have also included links to some useful resources. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions.
Prior to applying for the position, we encourage applicants to review the structure and curriculum in our department. This position will contribute to teaching BIOL 125 in our introductory biology sequence as well as two additional courses in the candidate’s area of expertise. Generally, one of these courses will be a lab course (20-30 students with one or two 4-hour lab section(s) per week) and the other will be an upper-level seminar (15 students, focused on analysis and interpretation of primary literature; see course numbers 355-385 for examples). Additional resources to consider in applying for the position can be found here.
The application requires submission of the following documents, which are described in more detail below: 1) a cover letter; 2) a curriculum vitae; 3) a teaching statement (2-4 pages); 4) your plans for research with undergraduate students (2-4 pages); 5) contact information for references. Letters of recommendation and transcripts will be requested after our initial round of application review and must be received before we can extend an invitation for an on-campus interview.
1) Cover Letter and 2) Curriculum Vitae: In addition to discussing your interest in, and qualifications for, this position, your cover letter should speak to courses (particularly new courses) that you could envision contributing to the current curricular offerings in the department. Please discuss information about any prior teaching experiences that you have had. There are many ways to acquire teaching experience, including mentoring undergraduates and other graduate students, being a TA, etc. It is important to describe your previous experience in your cover letter and CV.
3) Statement about teaching in an undergraduate liberal arts environment and how you would contribute to a college community that embraces a diversity of people and perspectives as one of its core values: Your teaching statement is your opportunity to include discussion of your engagement with and efforts related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in your work. While these ideas might permeate all areas of your work, this is a place to be sure to include your thoughts on these important topics.
4) Detailed description of your plans for research with undergraduate students: Your research proposal should indicate how students will be included in the work. It is important to keep in mind that our whole department will read your whole application, including the research proposal, so make sure it is written for a broad audience of biologists. While it is not an expectation for this position, if your research has any previous or potential future connections to issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, it would be helpful to discuss that in your proposal. Carleton is an undergraduate-only liberal arts institution, thus it is not relevant to discuss plans for training or mentoring graduate students.
5) Contact information for writers of three reference letters: It is important that you explain to those writing recommendation letters for you that you are applying for a position where both teaching and research experience is important, so that they can comment on both of these areas. Letters will be requested after our initial round of application review and must be received before we can extend an invitation for an on-campus interview, so please make your recommenders aware that they should submit their letters as soon as possible after receiving the request.
Graduate transcripts: Transcripts will be requested after our initial round of application review and must be received before we can extend an invitation for an on-campus interview. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. If they are not in English, please provide officially translated versions.
From our pool of applicants, a subset is being selected for an initial Zoom interview with the Department Chair, Raka Mitra, and several members of the Biology faculty. These conversations will be an opportunity for us to learn more about the candidate’s experiences and research/teaching plans with undergraduates, as well as for the candidates to find out more about our program.
The interviews will be guided by the following questions. We may provide additional questions to candidates before the zoom interviews. It is likely that we will also ask follow-up questions not specifically listed here:
- What do you find most exciting about the possibility of working at Carleton College? How have your previous experiences contributed to your interest in this position?
- Carleton is an institution that puts a high premium on teaching. What sorts of courses would you hope to teach here, and how do those relate to your previous experiences in biology?
- Describe the origin of your research proposal(s). Which pieces of your proposed research program are most exciting to you? What challenges do you anticipate when implementing this program with undergraduates? Given the projects in your research proposal, where would you start once you got to Carleton? What would you need to make a start on your research goals? How do you envision integrating your research into your teaching?
- What strategies do you plan to use for teaching and mentoring a broadly diverse group of students with different backgrounds, preparation, and experiences in biology? Are there prior experiences that have shaped the way you think about supporting a diverse set of learners?
- What questions do you have about Carleton?
Visits include conversations and meals with students and faculty in the department, a teaching seminar, and a seminar about the candidate’s research.
The interview includes a teaching seminar. This is a 55 minute mock-class. Candidates will be assigned a teaching topic, and will receive information about the size of the class, the expected knowledge base of students taking the class, and room/equipment specifications one week before their interview. Candidates are encouraged to teach as if this was their own classroom. The audience will consist of faculty, staff and students.
The research seminar is another opportunity for the candidates to showcase their teaching skills. For the research seminar, The talk should be about 45 minutes long, followed by time for questions. We encourage candidates to spend some time on the introductory and contextual information. Our students are bright and interested, but most won’t have the background to follow a seminar that is heavy on results and short on introduction. The audience includes professors, staff and students. The talk, while being a research talk and not a class, should be accessible to students that have completed our Introductory Biology series, and taken one course each in the following groups: Molecular and Cell Biology, Organismic Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as specified by the Biology major requirements. It is additionally important to show data, both published and preliminary, that demonstrates your expertise in the field as well as a research plan for the first set of projects your research lab will tackle.
Finally, the interview includes time for informal interactions and meetings with faculty and staff in the biology department and the Provost, Michelle Mattson. The candidates also have time available in their schedule for a limited number of meetings outside the biology department, based on their interests. These could include faculty in other departments with overlapping teaching/research interests, technical staff shared across the sciences (e.g. the stockroom manager who set up all our labs), key people involved in faculty support (from the Learning and Teaching Center or Grants Office), staff involved in student support roles (e.g. our quantitative resource center director or the TRIO/SSS program director), or anyone else they might find interesting and helpful (e.g., faculty or staff outside Biology who can provide different perspectives on the Carleton community or life in Northfield or the Twin Cities).
- Article: Obtaining a faculty position at a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI)
- Tips for securing a Faculty Position (developed by the ACS)