1) “My philosophy of teaching” statements, usually 1-3 pages. These are often pretty routine, but occasionally one stands out as really thoughtful; and the absence of ANY such statement counts against an applicant. 2) Photocopies of student evaluations, plus relevant statistical data. Some of our faculty place more weight on the overall data, others on student written comments. 3) Comments by the applicants’ peers or graduate professors who visited the applicants’ classes. 4) Syllabi from courses the applicants have taught.
Further responders asked if the job ads actually specify that these items are required. If the absence of a teaching statement will count as evidence of no teaching philosophy whatsoever, I hope the ads tell candidates that such a statement is expected. Candidates are often told to follow the application guidelines to the letter, since sending more than is asked for could count against us. Alas, not surprisingly, the answer was:
Looking over several of our old ads, I see they vary a bit, and they definitely do not ask for all the six things I listed; but those things carry a lot of weight, and we tend to think that serious applicants should be able to figure out what unspecified items would enhance their chances. The ads have varied because search committee members have varied, and the committee writes the ad (except for the wording the university requires). One example:
Candidate should have teaching competence in XXX … must provide evidence both of proficiency in undergraduate teaching, including introductory level courses, and of potential for scholarly achievement … Finalists must successfully complete an interview and a teaching demonstration.
I love that line about "serious applicants should be able to figure out what unspecified items would enhance their chances." Yeah, because even highly educated academics believe that all people think like them, and there is only one right way to do things: the way it happens to be done at their institution. Therefore they don't have to be clear in their directions, because anyone who was the right fit (i.e. same background in academics, age, class, gender, and race) would know the unspoken code. And, hell, there is nothing capricious about assuming everyone can read their minds.
The commenter did say they would provide clarification if the candidates e-mailed, but it's hardly surprising that many won't. We don't want to annoy members of the search committee who may very well get 100 e-mails regarding the details of the application.
Reason #712 why the job market is a complete and utter crapshoot.