Monday, June 22, 2009

APA Boycott?

Spiros at Philosopher's Anonymous points out several more APA fuckups, and suggests a boycott. I guess I'd like to boycott--stop wasting money on useless dues and effect social change. It's a win-win. But they have me by the balls since I'm hitting the job market again in the fall.

I mean this in all seriousness. How can we make the APA not suck?

--Mr. Zero


apa-thetic said...

Those fuck-ups look to me like very minor problems. One is a typo, one extends the deadline for APA Central ballots because not enough time was originally given. The third I don't understand, so maybe it's worse.

I think you should say clearly what you would like changed about the APA. Maybe a suggestion or two aimed at the right spot can improve things.

Mr. Zero said...

Those fuck-ups look to me like very minor problems.

Agreed. But apart from being ugly and user-unfriendly, the website should should contain accurate and up-to-date information. We've been over the problems with the JFP and placement services a bunch of times, and those criticisms still stand. Also, it should, you know, do stuff, and stuff.

Anonymous said...

One thing to consider is that the dues and/or conference attendance fees for most other scholarly professional organizations are _much_ higher. (to just attend an Association of American Law School conference, for example, it's more than $600. A student membership in the Political Studies Association in the UK is significantly more expensive than an APA membership, etc.) This helps explain the fact that the APA has a small and not always wonderful staff. You get what you pay for and, despite the bitching people often take part in, the APA is quite cheap compared to many other scholarly societies. Also, the structure of the organization doesn't allow the central office to coordinate very well, and when it has tried to take more control the divisions have opposed it (and ousted an executive director.) But the divisions are run by philosophers, people not exactly known for their organizational brilliance. So, this further adds to the trouble. I don't know how to solve the problems, but to my mind it seems the problems flow pretty much completely from the members to the organization.

diomedea exulans said...

I've actually been discussing this issue a bit, both with fellow grad students and a few faculty members.

One potential function of the APA would be as an advocacy group for the discipline. I know how much philosophers hate marketing, etc. (I do too). However, it seems clear that the APA, as the primary professional organization for the discipline, should be putting our best foot forward toward the public and, more importantly, university administrations.

Instead, they mostly facilitate short-format presentations and, of course, job interviews. Adding advocacy to their list of functions would go a long way toward being more useful.

I'm not an APA member, so perhaps I'm just out of the loop on all of the other important functions the APA fulfills. On the other hand, if I knew of other important roles, I might actually become a member.

Another incompetence issue I have recently uncovered is that the JFP webpage is publicly available, despite that it is in the "members only" section. I'm not sure if this was intentional. I have a hard time imagining that it was. On the other hand, all of the other pages require signing in. Maybe they want us to believe that we must pay dues, when we really don't? (Are there legal reasons?) In the end it's either incompetence or deceit. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Note: I am sharing this as an example, not to suggest that you should or should not hunt down this link and access JFP without paying membership dues.

apa-thetic said...

I’d agree with 8:11 AM that the problems flow from the members to the organization. But let me try to be more constructive.
If there are serious problems with placement service (and I believe you that there are -- I’m just not familiar with them), then I think the sensible thing to do is to get some rough consensus on them, maybe using this very forum, and then send a note to the placement committee. Other problems might be addressed in a parallel way. The APA is a democratically run organization, not a for-profit corporation, so there ought to be more productive strategies than boycott.

chrono said...

Relatedly, how can we make the journal wiki not suck?

Anonymous said...

Re: the Journal Wiki
Just have 1 list of all of the schools, and under each school list each position available and provide updates under that entry.

Why someone thought it was a good idea to have 7 entries in 7 different places for 1 job is mind-boggling.

zombie said...

I was just wondering, as my membership application came in the mail this week, if I want to bother with it this year. I have a two year fellowship. I will definitely be on the market in fall 2010, and now that I'm post-doc, I've got to fork over those non-student dues. I'm not sure if it's worth it just for JFP. In bioethics, a lot of the jobs are posted elsewhere, for free.