Sunday, 7 December 2003

The allegory of the cave

Today’s big exercise—besides watching the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Nashville Carpetbaggers—has been dealing with job applications. I’ve divided the pile of job listings, representing about 30 jobs, into four stacks based on the sort of packet they’ll get (Research/American, Research/Methodology, Teaching, and Post-Doc), updated and polished the vita, and printed out my old teaching evaluations.

One of the more peculiar requirements of many academic job applications, particularly in the “Teaching” stack, is that they require a statement of teaching philosophy—sometimes coupled with a statement of research interests. I have a broad idea of what I’d like to write, but these exercises, like the related need to write cover letters, always seem to call for a degree of introspection that makes me uncomfortable—I’ve never been a huge fan of the “self-marketing” exercise. I’ll get through it, but it still bugs me.