Adjunct Faculty Cover Letter

Instead of being one of a hundred, you’ll be one of four or five candidates. Alexis Nelson remembers the 60s as a participant rather than as a student of pop culture; she has taught writing and literature classes at Spokane Falls Community College since the early 1980s and currently serves as chair of the English department.Sharing another post in our new semi-regular series, “Missives from the Editing Trenches” written by long-time TPII editors.

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The following suggestions are born of a quarter century’s work in a community college English department, including service on a score of instructional and administrative screening committees; read no further if your ambition takes you to a Research I university.

If your heart is set on teaching, however, these hints may help in crafting a rhetorically effective letter. Explicitly match the description of your skills to the requirements of the job as it is posted.

Essentially, cover letters are included using the resume to really make it seem a lot more professional.

It really is a letter of introduction that briefly clarifies the purpose of submitting the mentioned doc.

Sure, it is serious work to comb through college Web sites, but the work introduces you to the audience so that you can adapt your message to them.

The letter that is more interesting than 95 others will get its writer into the interview pool where the odds are much friendlier.The committees themselves create job descriptions and screening instruments, but at many institutions, a human resources officer reviews these.Such oversight by a legal authority means that a candidate could be the brightest nabob of post-colonial literature and have published five articles in the last two years, but if the college hasn’t advertised for that specialty, the committee cannot legally value it highly. Since the subject of your letter is way you’ll fit the institution, show yourself to be professionally active and intellectually engaged.It is not a mistake to suggest how you would approach the general education or core courses of the department as well as specialty courses because doing so involves concrete examples and details. This can be done in a variety of ways: by quoting particular passages from student evaluations or by including single-page summaries of numerical evaluations and comments in an appendix (avoid sending scores of pages). In the jargon du jour, show yourself to be both student-centered and discipline-oriented.If you’ve been nominated for or won a teaching award, talk about it as modestly and tastefully as you can. My department’s most recent hire Jared illustrates how these can be combined: “Teaching basic writing at X Community College and at Y State University, I have worked effectively with students from diverse backgrounds [who] have been identified by placement examinations as under-prepared for college-level writing.Here are three stylistic choices to avoid (admittedly fussy, perhaps idiosyncratic, but nonetheless worth noting): 8.Avoid the salutation “To Whom It May Concern”; instead, use “Dear Members of the Screening Committee” or “Dear Selection Committee Members”—more accurate and personable. If the posted job asks for a résumé rather than a CV, do not tell your audience the kind of job you seek.Screening committees don’t want to hire slackers, so they look for candidates with intellectual muscle, believing those people to be more professional and thus likelier to grow the department.Every act of hiring is an act of molding a department, infusing the fresh ideas incarnated in the new hire.“I’m an effective teacher” said 42 ways becomes dull but “Students find my classes challenging and engaging” less so.The level of work involved in writing an effective letter may seem daunting, but the skills applicants have honed in graduate school — research, analysis, synthesis — serve them well when it comes to the job hunt.


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