What makes a sample syllabus stand out?




In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, an ABD grad student asks:

What are job search committees looking for in a sample syllabus, or what makes a sample syllabus stand out?

Good question. At least offhand, I’m inclined to think that four things stand out:

How well it fits the advertised job: is the syllabus for a type of course the hiring committee needs taught?
The selection of readings: does the candidate just use a textbook, or a carefully curated list of readings?
Strategies for student engagement: how do they get students to read and participate in the classroom?

Does the syllabus indicate the candidate does cool/unique things in the classroom?
Do they have more or less standard assignments (exams, term papers), or do they do non-standard things that might enhance student experience and learning?

In brief, I think the teaching portfolio is a lot like other job-market materials. It is difficult to stand out from the crowd, so any way that you can show that you are an especially good fit for the job and unique or imaginative can help (provided, of course, that the unique things you do seem well-motivated!).

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? It would be great to hear from other search committee members!

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More