Applying also to research universities, how do I adapt my applications materials for an opening at a small liberal arts college like Skidmore?
At a small liberal arts college like Skidmore, we are focused on undergraduate education and do not supervise graduate students. Research though is still important. At Skidmore the breakdown for tenure is 50% based on teaching, 40% based on scholarship, and 10% on service. You need to write your materials with that context in mind, so the committee envisions you earning tenure.
When talking about teaching in your cover letter and teaching statement, speak about teaching undergraduates. Look at the job ad and go to the department website to look at course offerings. What courses does the department want taught? For example, our current ad talks about teaching organic chemistry, plus upper level courses in your area of specialization, introductory courses, and in our interdisciplinary first-year seminar. You want to talk about teaching those courses. Upper level courses or electives are your place to denote what you would add to the curriculum given your expertise. For the cover letter, you may want to discuss teaching before writing about research but this is not essential, at least for us at Skidmore but at other places this can be more important. Also, be sure to include whatever else is asked for in the ad. For example, for our tenure track search, we ask candidates to address “how you will effectively engage with a diverse student body as a teacher, advisor, and mentor” in the cover letter.
For scholarship, put your research program in the context of working with undergraduates and not graduate students for both the cover letter and research statement. Keep in mind, we do high quality science at small liberal arts colleges but the pace tends to be slower than at graduate institutions. The median number of publications per full-time tenure stream chemistry faculty member at peer and aspirant institutions of Skidmore is 0.5 publications per year. At well-endowed institutions like Oberlin, Swarthmore, and Haverford the publication rate tends to be higher (0.80-1.40 publications per year). Of course, the rate also varies based on the nature of the research but 0.5 publications per year gives you a ballpark to shoot for as you think about the research projects to propose in your statement. Your research statement should lay out your research program over the next five years including how undergraduates will be involved. Think about how you will recruit students, train them, and maintain an inclusive research group composed of undergraduates. It is helpful to denote where you plan to present the work and publish it with undergraduate co-authors. If you have already worked with undergraduates on research projects, highlight that experience. While funded grant proposals are not required for tenure, we encourage applying to get feedback on your ideas and to provide you additional resources therefore it is good to identify potential external funding sources to apply to.
For your C.V., be sure to highlight your training and experiences related to both research and teaching. Also, include the students you have mentored/supervised in research. On your list of publications, denote undergraduate co-authors. Do the same for your list of presentations. Also, have a section on professional development trainings and workshops you have attended, and outreach efforts you have been part of. Highlight any leadership roles you have taken.
For details on current search in organic chemistry at Skidmore College, please see our Tenure Stream Search Page, which includes a more detailed overview of what to include in your materials.