The following provides some information about the Carleton College Chemistry 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 if you have additional questions.

The Application

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 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; 4) a detailed description of your plans for research with undergraduate students; 5) contact information for writers of three reference letters; and 6) undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

1) Cover Letter and 2) Curriculum Vitae: In addition to discussing your interest in, and qualifications for, this position, 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, Inclusion, and Respect 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 fine to focus on one main research project, rather than presenting multiple projects, as you might for an application to a research university. 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 chemists.

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.

6) Undergraduate and graduate transcripts: Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. If they are not in English, please provide officially translated versions.

Zoom Interview

From our pool of applicants, a subset is being selected for an initial Zoom interview with two Carleton 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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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 chemistry?
  3. Describe the origin of your research proposal(s) and how you would pitch them to undergraduate students. 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?
  4. What strategies do you plan to use for teaching and mentoring a broadly diverse group of students with different backgrounds, preparation, and experiences in chemistry? How have your prior experiences shaped the way you think about supporting a diverse set of learners?
  5. What questions do you have about Carleton?

On-Campus Interview

On-campus visits include the following elements:

  • Informal meetings and meals with Chemistry faculty, staff, and students
  • Opportunities to meet support staff outside Chemistry and faculty in other departments, based on the candidate’s interests
  • Meeting with students to discuss background they need to know ahead of the candidate’s seminar
  • Seminar about the candidate’s research
  • Conversation with Chemistry faculty about the candidate’s research proposals

Further Details:

The interview does not include teaching a mock class, so the research seminar is the candidate’s opportunity to showcase their teaching skills. The talk should be about 45 minutes long, followed by time for questions. We encourage the candidates to spend a great deal of time/effort 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 will include professors and students (majors and non-majors), and the talk, while being a research talk and not a class, should be accessible to students that have completed our 100 and 200-level course sequence (two terms of introductory chemistry and two terms of organic chemistry).

In addition to the talk, candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to engage students during a meeting with students on the day before the seminar (no faculty attend this meeting). The candidate’s goal for this meeting is to prepare the students to get the most out of their seminar. Candidates can format this 45-minute meeting in any way that they prefer, but we encourage the candidate to think of it as an open office-hour, where they can have an interactive discussion with the students to help them understand important concepts in their work.

The research conversation will last 45-50 minutes and includes all faculty in the department. The audience, while experienced, is very broad. Candidates can assume that Chemistry faculty will have read their research proposal(s), but most candidates prepare a few slides to introduce their ideas. In addition, the candidates should also be prepared to answer a wide variety of questions ranging from viability of projects in our context, to funding, to possible collaboration within and outside Carleton.

Finally, the interview includes time for informal interactions and meetings with faculty in the chemistry department and the Provost, Michelle Mattson. The candidates also have time available in their schedule for a limited number of meetings outside the chemistry 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 instrument project manager who runs our “makerspace”), 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 Chemistry who can provide different perspectives on the Carleton community or life in Northfield or the Twin Cities).