Teaching Statement: Research-focused Institutions

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The major aim of the teaching statement for a research-focused institution is to demonstrate a serious commitment to student learning and to think through the ways you will strive to be an effective instructor and mentor at the university to which you are applying.

Compelling teaching statements for research-focused institutions will draw connections between the significance of your research and how it will inform your pedagogical approach. Draw from your areas of expertise to formulate a teaching philosophy that indicates your ability to innovate and adapt, both in the classroom and in the laboratory.

Tailor your teaching statement to the department and university you are planning to apply to. Make sure that your teaching goals and strategies line up with the mission of the university and department. Think about what courses you would like to develop as a member of faculty and identify professors with whom you would be interested in co-teaching.

  • In constructing your teaching statement, you should reflect on any past teaching, advising, or mentoring experience you may have. If you have taught or are currently teaching your own course, you should emphasize that in your teaching statement.
  • If you have not taught your own course, think about other ways you have taught or mentored others in your career thus far.
    • Highlight teaching assistantships, guest lectureships, and advising and mentoring experience with undergraduate and graduate students.
    • You may also want to reflect on your experiences as a student and think about the professors who inspired you the most. How might you want to emulate their approach to teaching and mentoring in your own classroom and laboratory?

Your teaching statement should take a student-centered approach and focus on your strategies to facilitate student learning. This will encourage you to consider the ways students engage with and comprehend new material and concepts.

  • First, outline your primary teaching objectives. What do you want your students to take away from the courses that you teach? What kind of skills do you want your students to master after taking your courses?
  • Second, what specific methods and strategies will you use in the classroom to achieve your teaching objectives? It would be useful to do some research on popular teaching strategies and approaches to show that you are knowledgeable about current teaching trends.
  • Third, how do you plan to assess student success and, as a result, your own success as an instructor? What does an ideal example of student success look like to you? Finally, why does teaching matter to you?

Back up your objectives and proposed strategies with specific examples that demonstrate your commitment to teaching. Don’t discount your experiences as a Teaching Assistant or mentor to undergraduate or graduate students. This experience can be valuable in helping you to think through how you will engage your future students in the classroom and laboratory.

For more information on what to include in the teaching statement, see the detailed PDF.

Additional Resources

‘Writing the Teaching Statement’ - Science
‘Six Tips for Writing an Effective Teaching Statement’
Teaching Toolkit- Center for Education Resources, Johns Hopkins University
‘Samples for Academic Positions’- University of California, San Francisco