Susan PaalmanDean of the College
60 College Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
The academic program at St. John’s College is designed in light of our convictions about the character of liberal education. Our aim is to nourish a life-long commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, to foster abilities that will serve any calling, and to promote the means and the will by which we become free and responsible citizens. As a consequence, the curriculum consists of integrated classes in which the texts studied, the organization, and the mode of teaching and learning serve to promote comprehensive, serious, and reflective inquiry.
Our studies focus on a wide variety of great works in the western tradition, including works in mathematics, natural science, literature, philosophy, music, religion, and theology. We treat them as original texts directly accessible to any inquisitive reader, rather than through commentaries or subsequent interpretations. The organization of our classes enables us to approach the books in complementary ways: in seminars, we approach them solely through sustained, exploratory conversation; in the music, language, and mathematics tutorials, and in the laboratory, we approach them through detailed examinations of their teachings and their elements, as well as through associated practices such as experiment and choral singing. Because of the range of the kinds of books studied, we are home to and welcome applications from scholars in a variety of fields and backgrounds, across the humanities, arts, and sciences.
Teaching members of the faculty at St. John’s, or tutors, are inquisitive, eager, and committed to learning, as are our students. There are no departments: members of the faculty are expected to teach in all parts of the program and acquire increased understanding in subjects outside their areas of specialization.
We use the title tutor to highlight that learning is an ongoing, cooperative enterprise in which some are at different stages than others. The tutor is often said to be a model learner. The role of the tutor is to engage the intellectual and imaginative powers of students—and of one another—to guide and promote inquiry, to moderate, initiate and facilitate discussion with attention to the individual student and to the class. Tutors discern and follow the contours of a discussion and guide it in more fruitful directions, without shaping or steering it to a preconceived conclusion.
The normal teaching load is three classes, one seminar and two other classes, chosen from among language, mathematics, and music tutorials and laboratories, each of which meets three times a week. The seminar is co-led by two tutors, one usually more experienced than the other. All tutors teaching the same tutorial or laboratory meet once a week to discuss the work of their classes, both substantive and pedagogical, and to learn from one another.
In addition to teaching, tutors attend faculty meetings, serve on committees, administer oral examinations, attend the weekly formal lecture and question period, participate in faculty seminars, and confer with students and colleagues.
So that tutors have time to deepen their inquiries, the college grants sabbatical leave and provides released time for positions in funded faculty study groups. The study groups meet regularly, usually for a semester or during the summer, to thoroughly explore a text or a subject.
With few exceptions, appointments are tenure-track. As classes proceed primarily through cooperative inquiry and conversation, where each can and will learn from others, the faculty are a community of peers: there are no ranks, all are known simply as “tutors,” and compensation is calculated according to years of service. Candidates are reviewed for reappointment in the fall of their first, second, and fourth years, with a tenure decision in the spring of the sixth year. In reappointment decisions, emphasis is put not on publications, but on intellectual striving and excellence, in the classroom and in other community meetings. Criteria for reappointment and tenure are, in order of importance: 1) excellence of intellect and imagination; 2) serious engagement with the St. John’s Program, as shown by learning in the areas which it encompasses, a deepening understanding of the questions arising from it, and active contribution to the learning of colleagues and students, both inside and outside of the classroom; 3) excellence as a leader and co-leader of small discussion classes, shown in part by being a model learner, a careful listener, and a resourceful guide to student inquiry; 4) ability and willingness to teach throughout the St. John’s Program; 5) collegiality and civility as a member of the St. John’s community, and responsiveness to its needs. The criteria are applied with increasing strictness with each successive appointment.
Salaries are set by a formula based on years of service, so as to avoid individual negotiations and invidious distinctions. There is no allowance for prior service elsewhere, but some adjustment can be made to an entering salary to match a previous salary. Benefits are equivalent to approximately 30 percent of salary, and include generous medical benefits, TIAA-CREF retirement contributions, and dependent tuition benefits. Sabbaticals are generous—a full year at full pay. They are, if possible, awarded to all those who are eligible, not competitively, but by length of service since the last one.
We are now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year.
Upon reading your completed application, the faculty committee responsible for appointments, the Instruction Committee, will decide whether to invite you for an interview.
An application will be complete when the Dean’s office has received the following items:
During the active application process, applicants may apply by going to this link.
We encourage applications to be submitted by December 1, 2023, in order to be given full consideration, although applications will be accepted thereafter.
Applications to the Santa Fe campus should be made separately.
The interview is part of a two-day campus visit. We ask that you arrive no later than Monday at noon in order to attend afternoon tutorials. You will have dinner with students and attend a Monday evening seminar and two more tutorials on Tuesday morning. After lunch with some members of the faculty, you will have an interview with the Instruction Committee lasting about an hour.
The interview is your opportunity to engage the members of the committee in the sort of collegial discussion that you would hope to have as a tutor at St. John’s. We will ask about your impression of the classes you observed and about how you see yourself working in that context. We will also talk with you about questions, topics, and books that are important to you. These may, but need not, be drawn from work you have done in your specialty. We do not expect you to defend a thesis, but to explore a question with us in a way that helps us all be more thoughtful about the issues involved. Towards the end of the session we will give you the opportunity to ask questions.
The college provides food and lodging during your visit, and one-half of transportation costs.
St. John’s College, Annapolis, is accepting applications for one-year Teaching Fellowships that have the option to be renewed, upon approval, for a second year. St. John’s College Teaching Fellows will teach part-time, while continuing to have time for research, writing, or other projects. Applicants for tenure-track appointments may ask to be considered concurrently for the Teaching Fellowship. Other applicants may apply directly for the Teaching Fellowship. For more details on this opportunity, please contact Annapolis.DeansOffice(at)sjc.edu and request information. All completed applications for Teaching Fellowships received by February 1, 2024, will be reviewed and considered.
St. John’s College is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We invite applications from candidates with unique backgrounds and strive to create and maintain an environment that is inclusive, equitable, and welcoming.
If you are a person with a disability who requires assistance in completing an application, please contact the human resources department at human.resources(at)sjc.edu or 410-626-2896.
It is the policy of the college to provide equal employment opportunity for all job applicants and employees in full compliance with the relevant statutes, executive orders, and regulations. There shall be no discrimination at St. John’s College in recruitment, hiring, training, and promotion on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, national origin, color, disability, handicap, sexual orientation, or other factors prohibited by law.