Letters of null reference

So I’ve been applying to semi-academic teaching jobs for the past month.  I say semi-academic because they are at institutions of learning, higher education even, but give no information on expectations of research and require no publications to apply.  They still require letters of reference though, which is proving to be a bit of a problem.

I have been self-employed for the past 11 years, and at my school I have exactly one coworker, who I happen to be married to.  In addition to that, my main job, I have worked part time at a university for the past year, but like many university jobs (so I am gathering) the administration has very little involvement in your day-to-day teaching.  The result of all this is that I have had very few supervisors in my teaching career, and zero who have actually seen me in a classroom.  My fellow instructors at the university are in a bit better of a position to comment on my work, but their job titles seem to be mostly made up of caveats: “Junior Associate Non-Tenured Part-time Faculty in the Department of Required Courses”.  Their endorsements would be meaningful to me but probably not a hiring board.

The web forms that some schools use for job applications also automatically use your stated work history to determine the choices in the drop-down menu for where your professional endorsements work.  That means that only people who work at my school (again, me and my wife) or at the university where probably three or four people besides my students know me by name can stand as professional endorsements.  I’m left with the unpalatable option of listing people who know my professional life better, mostly JALT acquaintances, as employees of my school or the university and then stating in my cover letter that these people don’t actually work for the places the web form says they do.  This was an issue we definitely did not foresee when starting our own business back in 2005!

A solution just occurred to me: maybe I should hire a bunch of people I know for a day.  It wouldn’t be too much more than the cost of evaluating foreign transcripts.


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