The Physics and Astronomy Department at Pomona College is Hiring

Please browse our department website to learn more about us, including our strong commitment to building an inclusive, equitable department community, as well as our wonderful students, staff, faculty, courses, research, facilities, and more.

The Job Ad

Here’s our official job ad, and if you keep scrolling down, we’ve outlined some advice on preparing your application:

The Pomona College Physics and Astronomy Department invites applications for a tenure-track physics position at the level of Assistant Professor beginning July 1, 2022.  We seek a physicist with a strong commitment to inclusive undergraduate teaching, mentoring a diverse student body, and developing a vigorous, externally funded research program. We welcome applicants with broad intellectual interests from a wide range of physics subdisciplines, with a preference for experimental physics, who will develop a vibrant research program that meaningfully engages students and can teach broadly across the physics curriculum.

Our department has a strong commitment to inclusive pedagogy and to broadening access to physics and astronomy, including active participation in the American Physical Society’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance and the development of innovative, anti-racist teaching methods rooted in equitable pedagogy.  Consistent with these ideals, we seek a colleague who will actively engage with us in shared leadership to advance equity in physics, and we are especially interested in candidates from historically marginalized populations and individuals who have experience in working with diverse student populations. 

Pomona College, located 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, in Claremont, California, is a highly selective private undergraduate liberal arts college and the founding member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium. The college has approximately 1650 undergraduates and 200 faculty members, with a long history of strong academic programs and vigorous student-faculty research.  In addition to opportunities for collaboration across the Claremont Colleges and nearby research universities, Pomona College offers a variety of professional development, mentorship, and networking opportunities for junior faculty including the opportunity for entering assistant professors to apply for a fully funded leave in their fourth year at the College. The Physics and Astronomy Department at Pomona College provides outstanding facilities and technical support for both teaching and research, including scanning electron microscopy, electron beam lithography, energy dispersive x-ray analysis, atomic and molecular spectroscopy, cryogenics, and materials and device deposition, fabrication, and testing facilities.  The department has a dedicated technical support staff, including a machinist, an electronics technician, and a lab director. 

Candidates should have a Ph.D. in physics or a closely related field; postdoctoral experience is preferred. Application materials should include three statements: 1) a teaching statement; 2) a robust research plan; and 3) a statement describing a demonstrated ability to mentor a diverse student body and advance the cause of equity in our field. In addition, the application should include a letter of interest, a curriculum vita, official copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and three confidential letters of reference.  All application materials should be submitted electronically.

Our Core Values

Our department has a strong commitment to inclusive pedagogy and to broadening access to physics and astronomy, including active participation in the American Physical Society’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance and the development of innovative, anti-racist teaching methods rooted in equitable pedagogy.  Specific examples of these commitments, which are reflected in our department learning goals, include our student-led course on equitable pedagogy for teaching assistants and our annual Decolonizing Physics and Astronomy Symposium.  Consistent with these ideals, we seek a colleague who will actively engage with us in shared leadership to advance equity in physics, and we are especially interested in candidates from historically marginalized populations and individuals who have experience in working with diverse student populations. 

Preparing a strong application

With an eye towards equity, recognizing that the application process is more familiar to some folks than others, we have some suggestions on what makes for a strong application. 

1. Cover letter

Here are some resources on how to write a strong cover letter:

Your cover letter is the first thing we will read, so it is an important first impression.  Be sure to tailor your cover letter to our specific institution; help us to see that you understand what a small liberal arts college is.  Why are you specifically interested in working in our department?  Summarize your key strengths in the areas of teaching and research.  And in particular, read through our statement of core values above and help us to understand how you will partner with us on advancing equity in physics and in our department.

2. Teaching Statement

Here are two good resources on how to write an effective teaching statement:

It is helpful to us if you include specific references to courses you’ve taught (if any, and see the above resources for suggestions if not), along with any use of active learning strategies.  We are particularly interested in your thoughts on equitable pedagogy and how to create an inclusive learning environment in which a broadly diverse group of students, with wide ranging identities and academic backgrounds, can thrive.

3. Statement on Mentoring a Diverse Student Body and Advancing Equity

Here are some resources on how to write a strong “diversity statement”

We seek a colleague who will actively engage with us in shared leadership to advance equity in physics, and we are especially interested in candidates from historically marginalized populations and individuals who have experience in working with diverse student populations. Your statement should address, in specific terms, your experience with working with diverse student populations and advancing educational equity, as well as your vision for how you might engage with us in shared leadership to move our department forward on this front.

4. Research Statement

Some advice on how to write a strong research statement is here:

A core part of our mission as a physics department at an undergraduate-only institution is the engagement of undergraduate students in high-quality, publishable research.  A strong research plan should include a clearly articulated motivation for the work (why is this important?) and specific, detailed proposals for what research projects you would implement here at Pomona, specifying how undergraduate students could participate in this work.  As in any research proposal or paper, you should cite the key prior work in the area, by yourself and others.  If you have previously supervised undergraduate researchers, please include this in your statement.

A key challenge in writing a research statement is understanding the institutional resources available.  In addition to opportunities for collaboration across the Claremont Colleges and nearby research universities, Pomona provides outstanding facilities and technical support for both teaching and research, including scanning electron microscopy, electron beam lithography, energy dispersive x-ray analysis, atomic and molecular spectroscopy, cryogenics, and materials and device deposition, fabrication, and testing facilities.  The department has a dedicated technical support staff, including a machinist, an electronics technician, and a lab director. In addition to college support in the form of startup funds, access to existing resources, and technical support, many of our faculty are actively supported by external research grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, among others.

5. Letters of recommendation

These resources contain some useful advice on obtaining strong letters of recommendation when applying for academic jobs:

If at all possible, please include a letter from your PhD advisor and your postdoc advisor, commenting on your research achievements and future research directions, as well as any teaching and mentoring you’ve done.  In addition, we would welcome letters from any additional faculty members with knowledge of your experience in teaching, mentoring, and advancing equity.