Helping Women Achieve in Academic Science

Service Statement

The three areas of a tenure track job are Research, Teaching, and Service. Your packet must address each of these three separate parts, but let’s be honest, no one really cares about service.  So, check with your department chairperson and look at the packets you got from others and ask, “Do I need a separate service statement?” If the answer is “no” make sure that your CV has all the information about your service in it, so that people know what you did. If the answer is “yes” then you need to write a separate service statement.

This statement is even worse than the teaching statement about knowing what to write because most people don’t have a vision of service. You usually just do the service you are assigned and don’t mess up too bad. But, if you think about it, you might find that some of the service you do might be aligned in some way, and you can write about that. For instance, did you serve on the graduate admissions committee and mentor new graduate students and served on the qualifying exam committee? You can write about your commitment to training graduate students. If you were an undergraduate advisor and served as the liaison between the department and the undergraduate student club, you can talk about undergraduate mentoring and education. Not all your committee assignments will coalesce, but you don’t have to detail them all. All your committees are listed in your CV, so you just have to outline and point out the ones you want to here.

Another aspect of service is your scientific community service. This includes the panels you serve on, the papers you review for journals, the meetings you organize, and any national committees you serve on for your societies. This is the easiest to describe, since it is closely aligned with research, and maybe you actually sought some of these service activities, instead of having them randomly assigned.

Any other suggestions? Comment or guest post!

Comments on: "Service Statement" (4)

  1. I would guess that professional service is typically more important than department/college service. What is your impression of this?

  2. I will give a wishy washy response, because this is so divergent and institution-dependent. So, in my opinion, it probably depends on your department. Figure out if you department has a rule if service to your research community is to be considered as “service” or as “research.” I would also directly ask your chair and the chair of your personnel committee, if they are different people. If research service goes under service, definitely highlight it by putting it up front, especially if you did extensive meeting organization or served on national committees. If it counts under research, make sure you highlight it in your packet if you did such great stuff. Because there are so few women in many fields, they get tagged for these things early – before tenure often. Make sure it is clear that you are not only doing excellent research and teaching, but are also doing a heavy service load to your community.

  3. […] some that you never took yourself, see post), work on service for the department and college (post), and take on larger and larger service roles for your scientific community. Each of these has a […]

  4. […] that this is standard in your field (see these posts about your tenure packet: research, teaching, service) and make sure your allies are in place (tenure tips). Yet, two papers of your own independent work […]

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