Santa Fe Faculty Applicants

The Academic Order: “What is a Tutor at St. John’s?”

At St. John’s, the teaching members of the faculty are called tutors. The title professor is avoided to signify that it is not the chief role of the tutors to expound doctrines in their field of expertise. Instead, learning is a cooperative enterprise carried out in small groups with persons at different stages of learning working together. All participants in a class are expected to prepare for their discussion by studying the text that is the principal teacher of the class, which might be a work from Plato, Newton, Jane Austen or one of the other authors who wrote from the high point of their learning.

What then is the role of the reading and talking teachers, the tutors? First of all, they should be good questioners, able to raise important issues that will engage the intellectual and imaginative powers of their students. Next, they must be good listeners, able to determine the difficulties of their students and to help them to reformulate their observations and examine their opinions. The tutors should be ready to supply helpful examples and to encourage students to examine the implications of their first attempts at understanding. In summary, the role of the tutors is to question, to listen and to help. The help might take the form of translation, experimentation, demonstration or explanation, but first of all the tutor will call on the students to try to help themselves.

In order that conversations at St. John’s will not be limited to what fits neatly inside a single discipline, it is essential that St. John’s tutors re-educate themselves to acquire increased understanding in those parts of the Program that are outside their field of post-graduate training. For example, tutors with advanced degrees in mathematics would prepare themselves to lead language tutorials requiring translations from Sophocles or Racine.

The advantage of this for students is that they are under the guidance of active learners who will not parry their far-ranging questions with the reply that these matters are handled in another department. There are no departments! The advantage of this for tutors is that they are involved with a variety of works of such richness that they are continually tempted to strive for greater comprehension of them. Some tutors do find time to write articles and books, but their first duty is to prepare themselves to teach the St. John’s Program. This preparation is necessarily demanding because no full-time tutor is confined to a single part of the Program. They are, and have to be, teaching members of a seminar and of either two tutorials or of one tutorial and a laboratory section, and they are continually teaching their colleagues and learning from them.

It is important that tutors have time to probe more deeply into the foundations and wider contexts of what is studied at St. John’s than the preparation for classes usually allows. In order to avoid staleness and the ever-present danger of succumbing to routine performance, they are granted sabbatical leaves to allow for leisure and serious study. Between sabbatical leaves, faculty study groups are set up. Leaders of such groups are sometimes relieved of part of their ordinary teaching duties. The groups engage in a thorough study and exploration of a subject chosen by themselves or the Instruction Committee of the faculty. Scholars from other institutions may join the group for certain periods. Although the subject under study may not be directly related to the St. John’s curriculum, the work of the study groups opens new perspectives for teaching and learning at St. John’s.

Procedures for New Appointments to the Teaching Faculty in Santa Fe

Completed applications for tenure-track or teaching fellowship appointments received after April 15, 2022, will be held on file and activated for our next cycle of review. This review, interview, and appointment process will begin in Fall 2022, for appointments in Fall of 2023.

All completed applications received by January 15, 2022, will be reviewed and considered for a first round of interviews, for faculty appointments beginning Fall 2022 (Appointments and compensation cycles begin on July 1, 2022. First formal duties commence in mid-August.). Applications received after this date may be considered or may be held for a possible second round of interviews or a subsequent application cycle. Interviews for finalists are projected to be held between February 1 and March 1 with offers and acceptances as soon as possible after interviews are completed. Please contact us if you have any questions about the timing of this appointment cycle.

As part of our response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we will only be accepting electronic submissions of application materials. Please send your materials to santafe.deansoffice(at), and have your references send their letters of recommendation to that email as well. Please ask them to include your name in the subject line of their emails. The same materials requested below should be included in your electronic application.


Applications begin with assembly of an application file. This is complete when it contains the following materials:

  • A very important part of the candidate’s file: a letter explaining in some detail your understanding of St. John’s College, and how you envision yourself as a tutor here, given the requirement that tutors teach across the Program. It is especially helpful when candidates give special attention to those parts of the Program outside of their expertise.
  • A resume of educational and professional experience, of honors, publications, and professional memberships.
  • At least three letters of recommendation from former teachers, students, or colleagues. Please do not send class evaluations from students.
  • Transcripts of completed formal academic studies (undergraduate and graduate).
  • Brief manuscript or published articles.
  • Please note that we will only be accepting electronic submissions. Complete applications should be sent to santafe.deansoffice(at)

Download a PDF of the Application for Employment

Preliminary Visit

A preliminary visit to the college can sometimes be arranged, but this is in no sense a requirement, and it cannot be regarded as a substitute for the formal interview (visit described below).


As part of the application procedure, the dean or subcommittee for faculty appointments may also choose to correspond with candidates who are being seriously considered for appointment.

Review and Visit

When the likelihood of a new appointment arises, the dean, with the help of a faculty committee, reviews the completed application files and selects applicants to be invited for a formal interview visit. This customarily takes two days, including a Monday or Thursday evening (to permit a visit to a seminar). The college provides food and lodging on campus, and reasonable transportation costs. The visit includes several opportunities to audit classes and to converse informally with students and faculty. It also includes a leisurely, formal interview with the Instruction Committee, the faculty committee charged with making appointment recommendations to the president.

St. John’s College is an equal opportunity employer.

Two-Year Teaching Fellowships

St. John’s College, Santa Fe is accepting applications for two-year Teaching Fellowships. 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 full details on this opportunity and how to apply, please contact santafe.deansoffice(at) and request information. All completed applications for Teaching Fellowships received by February 21, 2022, will be reviewed and considered. We expect to complete this cycle of awarding Fellowships by March 15.


J. Walter Sterling, Dean of the College in Santa Fe
505-984-6070 | santafe.deansoffice(at)

Completed applications for tenure-track or teaching fellowship appointments received after April 15, 2022, will be held on file and activated for our next cycle of review. This review, interview, and appointment process will begin in Fall 2022, for appointments in Fall of 2023.