As mentioned in my new year resolutions, I will apply for a tenure track position as Assistant/Associate Professor of the History of Philosophy in Groningen. The requirements are: “A completed PhD in philosophy and, depending on rank, further research experience; a strong publication record; a willingness and ability to apply for Dutch and/or European grants for research projects; excellent didactic qualities”. This certainly makes me eligible: I obtained my PhD in 2009 and have been doing research since 2004; I’ve been publishing for almost ten years now (and been told that my track record looks good) and successfully obtained grants twice, plus the VENI application in the pipeline; I’ve been supervising and teaching for more than ten years and been always evaluated very positively.
However, to obtain the position, I do not merely need to meet the basic requirments, but to be the best possible candidate. Besides past performance, I need to make clear what I intend to do in the future and to show the capacity for vision and leadership.
I see no lack of work for me in the longer term: the original plan for my current project encompassed 9 years, since it was intended for a 3-year postdoc position, renewable twice. The VENI project would only span 4 years, but could be easily extended. For instance, Brentano’s idea of philosophy as science was partially inspired by Aristotle, hence the 19th century Aristotelian renaissance (partially due to Brentano’s teacher Trendelenburg) would certainly be relevant to take into account.
Already as a student I never hesitated to take on responsibilties and develop new initiatives, as secretary of the students association, as member of the faculty council, as co-founder of the faculty journal, etc. At the Husserl-Archives Leuven I soon became editor of the newsletter and webmaster, and I helped organize conferences and the edition of proceedings (down to the tiniest detail, since I also did the layout of the books). Having been involved in creating and maintaining such channels of communication, I do think to have the required skills to facilitate the flow of information in a group, create clarity and consensus around an issue, and to direct it towards a solution.
What am I forgetting to include or stress and what should I absolutely avoid in my cover letter, research statement etc.?
Bit risky if they’re a very conservative department, but perhaps stress your affinity with modern technology / social media (like this blog). Don’t know if it’s necessarily considered an asset by them, but it probably makes you stand out in the field.
Either way, good luck!
Carlo Ierna said:
Thanks for the suggestion! That might indeed be a good idea. However, I would separate the two: I certainly do have skills and experience with “modern technology” (XHTML, CSS, LaTeX & BibTeX, PHP, MySQL, etc. plus of course Office, Scrivener, DevonThink, etc.), but I’m fairly new to social media in an academic context and still exploring what it could mean for my research and teaching.