Saturday, October 10, 2009

VAPping versus the tenure track

In comments, anon 2:51 asks an interesting question:
I've got a very good VAP in a good city. I get to teach a variety of courses, largely of my own choosing. I have lots of good students. And I could likely extend the VAP for several more years if I keep up the good work, etc. . . . (Others will likely find themselves in such a situation. I figure that there will be many more semi-permanent or long term VAPs in the coming years. . . .)

The thing is that there are several TT jobs in places where I'm not sure I could live. The trade off--job security for terrible city--doesn't seem worth it. In fact, a job for life in some of these places sounds like a life sentence in an ultra-minimal security prison.

I'm trying to figure out what risks one runs in staying in a VAP and not taking a TT job. (Put aside the fact that I likely won't face this choice this year.) If VAPing was like any other kind of job, one where you don't get laid off every year, then I don't think it would be so bad given the alternatives. . . .
On the one hand, you might end up with a TT job in a place you hate. On the other hand, you might not end up with a TT job at all. I guess, without really knowing the details, I'd take the TT job in the unappealing location. You might end up liking it, and you can always go back on the market when you're up for tenure or something. (by the way, are there any statistics on going on the market when you're up for tenure?)

--Mr. Zero

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm an ABD, so take it for what it's worth...but you can always publish your way out of a job. So if you can publish your way out of a VAP, then stay there, if the TT in an undesirable may offer a better chance of that, go there.

Big D said...

I don't have an answer, but I do have a question: Is there anything more than teaching evaluations to "evidence of teaching excellence"?

Anonymous said...

A related concern: It seems that mobility is severely limited after one gets tenure, that is, unless you are really good. Look at how few associate and full professor jobs are posted. If you are really good, you can get poached, but the chances are that most people will be stuck. . . .

Many TT jobs this year have high teaching loads. Even if you are really good, it's hard to write your way out. Especially if you are teaching 3 or 4 sections of intro. You won't be able to use your teaching to improve your research.

It's realistic to assume that most of us will be locked in after a few years.

Another question: Why does having a TT job, any TT job improve your chances more than a good VAP? That doesn't make sense to me. But there seems to be such a bias. People talk that way on this blog.

Sure, if you have a TT job then you were selected by someone. It shows that much. You were vetted. But lots of TT jobs won't look at people who aren't likely to stay. (There are lots and lots of departments who have faculty with few or no publications. Do some looking at faculty CVs. Some applicants are sure to have more pubs than the entire department combined. Isn't the search committee going to be a little suspicious of these folks?)

Hence, having some TT jobs suggest that you were vetted and a group of people decided that you were not so good that you wouldn't try to publish your way out. Where's the value in that?

Anonymous said...

This is my fifth year VAPing and my first year VAPing with a PhD. I definitely think there are advantages to having a TT. However, if you find a VAP where you are a good fit, it's almost as good. For example, I consider my current VAP a good fit because I suspect I'll be around as long as possible and graduate to a TT, as is common practice in this dept.

I think it's impossible though to weigh your current VAP with a hypothetical TT. So much will ride on what that particular TT is like. And, sometimes, a VAP is clearly preferable to a TT. My partner left a TT for a VAP and it has proven to be the best decision ever (he was soon offered a TT, and instead took a TT at a research school).

All I'm trying to say is there's no point in fretting over this now. You'll need a lot more details to make these kind of decisions-- if you are ever actually faced with such a dilemma.

Anonymous said...

Two concerns: If you VAP for a long time and are not publishing very regularly, you get "stale". Casual empiricism suggests to me that long-term VAPing, even with regular (though not extraordinary) publishing also makes getting a TT job harder, though I'm less certain about this. Secondly, VAP positions, even ones held for many years, often vanish, sometimes for funding reasons, sometimes because the department wants to use the line for someone else they like for some reason, etc. I've seen this happen many times. So, even if the VAP is renewable indeffinately, it shouldn't be treated as a secure long-term position in most cases.

Kris Rhodes said...

Sorry, this is blindingly obvious I'm sure, but could someone define VAP?

Mr. Zero said...

VAP = Visiting Assistant Professor. Non-tenure track.

Anonymous said...

In terms of getting work done that might hopefully lead towards another TT job, TT jobs typically have a few advantages over VAPS.

1. TT Faculty tend to get priority over VAPs in terms of course assignments, and so are more likely to end up with a regular set of assignments that lead to fewer new preps in year 2, year 3, etc.

2. TT Faculty have the luxury of not having to worry about going on the market for a few years, which, can make a huge difference. I don't think that I'm alone in finding the job-application process one that used up a huge amount of time, some of it work that had to be done, much of it just obsessing, worrying and thinking about job stuff when I could have been thinking about research. VAPs while they can often be renewed for quite a few years, rarely come with a guarantee that they will, so VAP holders are typically dealing with all the market stuff each year.

Of course there are some VAPs that are comparatively secure, and some TT positions where the senior faculty shuffle your teaching every year, but I think that the above is *generally* true.

Anonymous said...

Big D, the evaluations as well as a statement about your teaching ability in the cover letter will do the job, unless the ad is asking specifically for a teaching philosophy statement.

As to nice VAP versus a fairly unattractive TT. I'd still pick a bad TT. With a TT job it will be easier to get a better job in a few years down the road. Also, I have a couple of friends who initially hated moving to the middle of nowhere on a TT offer, but ended up loving and thriving at those places. Just putting in my 2 cents...

Anonymous said...

Big D: Yes, Written class observations. Many departments require a written report of a class visit from the chair or other senior faculty in addition to student evaluations to assess teaching. If you've been teaching in a situation in which no faculty member has been assigned to provide a class observation report of your teaching, you can request one from a faculty member.

Second Year tt guy said...

Generally speaking, anyone taking a VAP over a TT position is choosing a serious risk to their career for two reasons:

1) VAPs and similar non-TT contract positions typically get eliminated before TT positions. Even if your non-TT contract position can be renewed indefinitely and the dept likes you, during times of financial crisis the VAP is more likely to get eliminated than a TT position (no matter how long you have been there.)

2) Taking a VAP position requires that you 'succeed' on the job market again. Even if you are a strong candidate, the philosophy job market is irrational and you could be left with nothing when the VAP is over. If you have a TT position it is (generally) much harder to lose it.

For those two reasons, I would be very hesitant to take a VAP over a TT position. Of course, I could imagine some situation where I would choose the VAP over the TT position.... a 2/2 or 3/2 VAP at a good school (and renewable for several years) vs. a 4/4 TT at an unattractive school is one plausible situation where I might go with the VAP. Even then I'd ask myself 'do I dislike the TT option so thoroughly that I'd rather risk leaving academia than take it?'

bick said...

so let me get this straight. the options are (1) sticking with a job one already has, namely, "a very good VAP in a good city" or (2) taking a TT job in a "terrible city." moreover, what makes the VAP "very good" includes things like having good students, teaching courses of one's own choosing, and a "likely" chance of extending the VAP for "several more years." this is contrasted with a TT job that offers job security while committing one to "a life sentence in an ultra-minimal security prison."

what is the point of this particular exercise, again?

i think we can do better than this for front page posts, mr. zero. unless, of course, the original poster wants something *other* than to be reassured that sticking with the VAP is the right decision and that he or she need not worry about the job market this year. but given the way the available options are weighted i can't see that anon 2:51 desires any more than this.

give us a real challenge. how about a VAP vs. TT that includes factors like a family or a spouse or the possibility of even *meeting* a potential spouse--where what matters are things like cost of living, the availability of childcare, the quality of the schools, the possibility of one's spouse finding employment, the possibility of having to move *again*, or the possibility of meeting someone compatible with ourselves. or perhaps the challenge of finding employment *at all* when any of these factors are included.

just not another self-congratulatory discussion of how difficult it is for us highly educated academics to live in a red state or a culturally bankrupt city to make us feel better about not applying for a job or about the fact that our chances actually getting one of these jobs is extremely slim.

evgeni said...

Big D -- often you can have a teaching letter supporting that: ask someone (dept chair?) to sit in on one of your classes and write a letter saying what a fantastic teacher you are.

Post-tenure mobility: that's a serious question. How hard is it? Granted, most tenured moves don't occur following JFP ads. But are they only of the poached-star variety?

Why is it that having a TT job increases one's chance to get another is anyone's guess (probably yes, the sense that one's been vetted already, a safer bet) - but it does. What's crucial to note is precisely that: the longer you're out without a TT job, the more unlikely you are to get one. That's a big heavy addition in the TT column, vs VAP.
Another is that TTs pay more, generally speaking. Sometimes much more - some very nice VAPs pay very little.

All this talk about how much work you'd have as a TT preventing you from publishing your way out: you have to keep publishing as a VAP, and you have a teaching load there, too.

Finally, not that an anecdote is evidence of anything, but a friend turned down a TT he thought would be hard to get out of for a decent VAP he thought would be a springboard, only to find himself with zilch two years later, a bunch of adjunct jobs three years in, and this year's JFP by way of future prospects.

Anonymous said...

Don't underestimate the value of job security. VAPs can be terminated (not renewed) at any time with no warning. I saw someone who had adjuncted in a dept for fifteen years suddenly get the boot with no warning.
As you get older and have a family and are less up for possibly changing to a whole different career, job security will just matter more.

Anonymous said...

Here's another silly question: how do people get these VAP jobs? I don't see many advertised in the JFP--are there other places to look?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, this is blindingly obvious I'm sure, but could someone please tell me where VAPs are advertised? I've searched JFP 183, and I see only one or two of those positions. Is it that they get advertised later in the season in some other JFP?

Mr. Zero said...

VAP ads normally appear in the springtime issues of the JFP.

Anonymous said...

The problem with VAPs is that they aren't like normal full-time jobs outside academia. They are more like contract jobs. Normal jobs don't end every year. Even in at will employment states, you need good financial or other reason to terminate. Not so for a contractor. Not so for a VAP. And, with normal jobs there are typically a few other companies in town that you could go work for. This is typically not the case for a VAP. The VAP is far too vulnerable. This was my principal concern. It's almost reason enough to take just any TT job. . . . But that's ridiculous. The university has far too much power here. As many schools move towards using more non-TT faculty, the situation will just get worse.

Anonymous said...

So the question comes down to this: If one is willing to take the risk, which may be stupid, does it hurt one's future chances of getting a TT job to stick with VAP? There seems to be some reason to think that having a TT helps you get another jobs, by the mere fact that you had a TT job. That seems silly. . . . Otherwise it's hard to say what's best without more specifics.

Anonymous said...

A somewhat related question: What's the norm for listing jobs or postdocs that one has been offered and declined on the CV. Leiter has some similar things on his under the awards section.

http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/cvs/OLD-bleiter_cv.pdf

Has anyone else seen anything similar?

Xenophon said...

Anon 11:43, it's not about the load, it's all about the preps. 4-4 of mostly intro is not hard: you prep your first semester, then it's 12 hours a week of performance and a little grading. The little liberal arts colleges that require 3 preps a term are the killers, where there are only 2-3 professors trying to cover the entire discipline.

As for VAP v. TT, I argued in the last posting that an unappealing TT should trump a good VAP in most cases, and I stand by that. But it all depends on your age, time out of grad school, productivity, and what jobs you're aiming for (where on the Leiter hierarchy, as it were). Over 40 and you're facing age discrimination. Over five-ish years out, and you're starting to get stale. Publication rate might be less of a problem at teaching schools, but to make the jump to a research school after several years of underemployment as a rule I think you need to be publishing at a rate (and quality) comparable to your peers who landed at research schools immediately out of grad school. And, of course, it's harder to do that if you don't have the support that they do.

Anon. 11:43, don't try to understand the logic of it. PhDs do get old. I'm not sure how fast: it seems that they stay fresher longer as time goes by. In the mid-90s, I think it was fair to say that you needed a TT gig within three years, or your odds went way down. Now's it's probably five years, maybe even six.

I don't know whether it's that VAPs are more common now, so there's less stigma, or that VAPs are more common, so depts can get a more seasoned person for the same money. But the rules seem to be in flux right now, and it's possible that the recession is going to make the rules more fungible now than they have been recently.

PLatowe said...

I'd like a sociological study of applicants that blog on sites like this. I have some prima facie evidence that bloggers see themselves privileged as deserving cushy jobs (2/3 teaching at the worst) and sent to academic hell otherwise. I'd like to know how expectations drive attitudes, and more relevantly, how those expectations were formed (parents' careers, peer expectations and social norms, etc.).

(I'm a nobody whose parents dropped out before high school. I am a full prof at a nobody 4/4 U. I am extremely grateful to have had the career I had. I do not get the despair I see here at this blog at the prospect that applicants might get less than a 2/3 teaching load, and in some hell that is less than a Starbucks-comfortable suburbia. I guess I do not see the mindset of someone who is not open to doing philosophy in less than Leiterific circumstances--unless the hammering again and again of those circumstances have unrealistically reset applicants' self-assessments of what they take as success.)

Anonymous said...

PLatowe, isn't it obvious that people's expectations are heavily influenced by the attitudes of their own graduate school professors, all of whom have jobs at Ph.D.-granting research institutions?

Anonymous said...

I agree with PLatowe. I don't understand the fear people have about TT jobs that are at not the top schools with higher teaching loads. I'm a new TT prof at a 4-4 school 45 minutes from the nearest big city. I love it! I couldn't ask for anything more. Of course, it helps that the research requirement for tenure are low (2 pubs in peer-reviewed journals with a few conferences under the belt). Thus, I teach during the academic year, and write during the summers. But, who knows, different strokes for different folks. I guess I like not having mega-pressure for research - I'll do it because I like to do it and probably be more productive than otherwise. I'd never want to be at an R1.

Potato said...

Platowe, I think the expectation we see on this blog to get "cushy jobs" need not be a form of vice, stemming from a kind of haughtiness, as your post seems to suggest. I think it is good to have the ambition, to want with all your heart and soul, to be, say, on the faculty at Cornell. Usually this kind of drive to succeed (to want it that badly) does not settle easily for less desirable circumstances. That's just the nature of "wanting it badly." I completely understand that.

So, I'm against suggesting to anyone here to change her/his ambitious aspiration, no matter how far-fetched, actually. But, I think it is very good to point out that it is possible to find relative happiness and intellectual stimulation at "middle of the road" colleges (and then, in time, find something even better). See anon 8:27 above. I thought his story was is not uncommon at all.

Potato said...

Platowe, in my previous post I left out saying that your own career story is a testimony to the possibility of flourishing at a non-Cornell U (or some such). It is great to hear such stories. Ladies and Gentlemen, keep them posting here!

Xenophon said...

Platowe asks a good question.

I think that grad students fall into two groups: those with very high expectations, which are nurtured by the profs and the culture of grad school; and those who want to teach, and hope their dissertation will be their last piece of research. I've seen the latter in grad school and at conferences, but very few on this blog.

A few years out of grad school, I think people's expectations get much more realistic. I could have survived in an R1 institution, but at this point I know I'll never get there and I've seen enough of the other side to know I'm good with that.

I'd prefer a 4-4 or a 4-3, not because I don't pursue research, but because I taught a lot through grad school (state schools) and heavy loads don't sweat me. I'd rather be paid through tuition revenue than endowment: makes me feel like I'm earning my keep.

But there's a difference between wanting the best you can do, as you understand "the best," and being happy with just any old thing. Particularly early in a career, I don't think it's healthy to feel you're settling. I'd rather see people on this blog be competitive and want more.

The professors I've met who settled early don't do anyone any good. They tend to be petty dictators in their classroom and take it out on their students, in my opinion, plus be the types to fight any change, even good ones. Faculty who feel they could get another job if they had to tend to be more constructive members of the academic community, whereas the settlers are desperate to maintain the status quo.

As for demographics, my parents had four college degrees between them.

Anonymous said...

To Anon. October 10, 2009 4:30 PM:

I think you absolutely cannot list jobs you turned down on your CV. It's not done and it would look like a very weird thing to do.

Fellowships you turned down can be listed (in cases where the fellowships go to more than one person, where you're not thereby flagging you were offered it before X was).

Leiter should not have listed a "distinguished visiting chair" he turned down in a particular year.

HOWEVER, there's nothing wrong with a recommendation letter mentioning that the candidate got these specific job offers . . . and turned them down for these reasons . . .

Popkin said...

It doesn't seem to me that people's biggest fear around here is getting saddled with too much teaching in a miserable department. My own primary fear is that I won't get any kind of job at all . . . I certainly would prefer to end up at a good department with a minimum of teaching. But I recognize that this isn't going to happen any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Platowe: I'm not sure what evidence you think you have that people here feel entitled to fancy jobs. This refrain is presumptuous and insulting. That someone wants something badly (e.g., lots of time to do research, living in or near a city) is not evidence that they think they are entitled to it. Yes, many feel that they're not given a fair shake in the hiring process, but that suggests they feel entitled to a fair shake - not to the fancy jobs themselves.

Much of the despair and worry here is not the product of fears that we won't get jobs at USC - let alone NYU or Michigan. Few if any here think they have a snowball's chance in hell of even getting their cv seriously looked at by places like that. We're worried about unemployment or having to do ridiculously exploitative adjunct work.

Anonymous said...

Ya. This isn't at all about entitlement. Many people don't like small, isolated towns. And those with partners often just can't move to some of these places, at least not for long unless they want a divorce.

We aren't all a bunch of brats.

But given the state of the profession, some of us will have to start thinking about when to cut our losses. A sad thought. . . .

ranting said...

What I don't like is that if you do your grad work at some place lower than the top 10 R1 schools and higher than the rank 50 school (I'm being somewhat arbitrary here so don't crucify me on specific numbers), you are probably instilled with the notion that you should not settle for anything less than a research school. Your professors transmit the thought that something less than that is precisely that - something "less," and hence undesirable.

I went to a school in the top 30 and there were a flock of grad students who just thought R1 or bust, as if thinking about being primarily a teacher was anathema. To them, I say, "WAKE UP!" If you want to be in philosophy and you are not at the top top schools, then you are *most likely* going to be primarily a teacher the rest of your life at a teaching school. If that doesn't suit you, then you need to rethink what you're doing.

It is only when one gets on the job market for a little bit does one begin to see the state of the facts and realize one's realistic possibilities.

So I think that it's the new people on the job market that poo-poo heavier teaching loads in not-so-hot locations, and that the "vets" are the ones who will appreciate anything.

I just think that beggars can't be choosers, and we are definitely beggars at this point in time.

So to the whole question of VAP vs TT at not-so-hot place, I say - that is such a luxurious decision to make in this crappy market. It's a win-win choice because so many of us are not even there yet.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if a 4-4 with all intros is really so plum. I see how you can make it work for certain purposes: you can get by with very little prep and have time for other things. But doesn't that get extremely boring? Don't you want to teach something new, or to vary the readings, at least? I'd go insane teaching intro over and over again the same way. I wouldn't even want to run two sections the same way in the same semester. I'd focus on different problems, or run one historical and the other problems-focuses. (I said this on an interview once. I'm not sure if they thought I was insane or lying. Well, I wasn't lying.). . .

If you try, you can get a hell of a lot out of teaching new undergraduate courses. I've been teaching new courses every semester. I've had the option of having just 2 preps, both repeats, but I always choose to do something new. It's nice to only have one or two _new_ preps a semester, yes. But to have one is great. Teaching new courses has lead to lots of new articles, and I'm becoming a far better philosopher.

Compared to teaching, graduate school was nearly worthless. I wonder if any other people feel the same way.

Xenophon said...

"If you try, you can get a hell of a lot out of teaching new undergraduate courses." What do your students get out of it? When you're teaching, it should be about them.

"I'd go insane teaching intro over and over again the same way." If you just lecture all the time, sure, intro will get really boring really fast.

Anonymous said...

Oh shit. I forgot about the students. Thanks for reminding me.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you were joking and I'm just over sensitive. If not, please try to keep from getting on your moral high horse and start accusing people of neglecting their students and of being some kind of evil lecture focused teacher when you don't know the first thing about them. It's rude and extremely irritating. But I guess that was your point. To simply cause irritation.

The thread is about us. I didn't become a philosopher as an act of charity. Although I do care about my students and my responsibilities as a teacher, this thread is about the desirableness of certain jobs for us, the teachers. That's what your post was about, right?

I'm not so sure that a 4-4 load of teaching the same class over and over again semester after semester and multiple times a semester is all that great. I think we saw a similar defense of this kind of teaching setup on another thread where someone spoke poorly of some department. (I responded to your comment, in part, because of this previous comment, but I don't remember the details. In any case, we've seen more than one defense of this kind of teaching load.)

I just wanted to emphasize that you can get a lot out of teaching new classes. It can be very productive research-wise. I'm certain that my productivity would suffer if I couldn't develop new courses, or at least a bunch of different course, or similar courses in radically new ways.

Of course not all topics are suitable for undergraduate classes. If you are only interested in chmess, then you won't be able to get much from your teaching. But if you are interested in a wide array of topics, you can.

There are huge benefits to teaching a wide array of courses, though I seldom see anyone defend the practice.

Anonymous said...

It's always easier to get a TT job once you have one; much easier than getting one from a VAP or a series of VAP positions. I'm in a TT position I hate, but I am writing/presenting/publishing my work a lot and hope to make the jump to a better institution some time in the next two or three hiring cycles.

Xenophon said...

Actually I was being completely fucking serious. There are two reasons to be a professor. One is because you like teaching and think it's a worthwhile career choice. The other is because you want to pursue your own interests (either research or sitting on the sofa eating bonbons etc.). Both are valid reasons as far as I'm concerned (so the married with children reference was kind of a joke). A lot of people in the business world try to do their job well, but they live for what they do in their private time. But I do think it's offensive if profs for whom teaching is just a day job take the high horse and pretend to have loftier motives. That's the extent of my high horse.

My basic point remains. 1) I'd rather teach 4-4 than 2-2, because I feel it's more satisfying. Your experience may differ, but I think I'm entitled to my opinion. I do hope some people will understand my reasons, and think about them, of course. Otherwise I'd keep it to myself.

2) If your decisions about what to teach are driven by what works out best for you, then you really aren't thinking about your students. Admit it. The problem is, no one's paying you to teach for your own satisfaction. Then you'd have to pay students to attend, rather than getting paid by them. Pretty straightforward, I think. I can tell you from experience, teaching a course repeatedly, modifying it gradually but trying to get it right, can actually be fun. But it's not if it means just listening to yourself read from yellowed lecture notes. It's only fun when you have a student-centered class, because it's the students who make it unique in every section. This seems pretty obvious to me, and I'm a little surprised why anyone would take offense. You're the same, your notes are the same, what differs is the students. So if it remains exciting it's because you've got new students every time. Get my point?

Platowe said...

Xenophon--join my department. Seriously. I'd take you as a cherished colleague anytime. (Unless you are already my colleague--in which case, peace brother or sister.)

Anonymous said...

"If your decisions about what to teach are driven by what works out best for you, then you really aren't thinking about your students."

Nonsense. This is far too simplistic. There can be multiple reasons for teaching a class. If you think of your own research, this doesn't mean that you aren't thinking of your students. Why would it? Of course some topics aren't suitable. I noted that.

Here's an example of how this might work. Say that you can teach a special topics course. You could teach anything. Is it so clear that your students need something in particular. Might it not be best for them to get a class in which the professor is very interested and currently pursuing some research. So you choose to teach a special topics course on, say, the emotions or one on moral realism, or one on causation. You could have done anything. Your choice might help out your research and be a great course.

The same might be said for a metaphysics requirement. You could teach it several ways, focusing on different problems. The same goes for other areas as well. For instance, how many ways could you teach an ethics course?

Why do you assume that I must be lecturing from an old yellow legal pad? This is ridiculous. Grow up troll.

You can teach, like teaching, and pursue your own interests. There can be conflicts, but not necessarily.

Popkin said...

Can we get back to having useful conversations around here?

Here's a question: different schools request different materials from applicants. For instance, I notice that Northwestern only asks you to send them a "complete CV
along with list of references." In such cases, will the committee be annoyed if you send them more than they've requested? Is it a bad idea to send your letters or your teaching portfolio or whatever to a department that hasn't specifically requested those materials?

Archytas said...

Responding briefly to the teach/research divide. So much of this depends on what the institution really (and I mean really) expects.

You do yourself no favors if, in choosing to spend more time on teaching you neglect the research which you need to get tenure.

It doesn't matter if you enjoy teaching or not. You won't be doing it too long at all if you can't pass tenure review. Sadly, even institutions that trumpet their student/faculty ratios and claim to care about teaching are now ramping up the research expectations to ridiculously high standards. They know there are plenty of desperate souls out there ready to work 90-hours a week, so why shouldn't they?

So, I would seriously advise pre-tenure and VAP folks to put the absolute bare minimum into teaching. Just enough to keep you off the radar screen of the dean and department as a poor teacher. Crank on the articles. Once you get established, then, and only then, will you have the luxury to think up great new and exciting classes, and to pour your heart into preparing and teaching them.

If you really prefer teaching over research, then try your hardest to find a job at an institution that truly, truly wants teachers first. Sadly, however, such institutions are becoming harder and harder to find. This profession has turned into a rat-race of the highest order, and it isn't pretty.

Anonymous said...

I would say that it is time to grow up. "terrible city" indeed? How does one know it is terrible until you live there. Everyone thinks that Cleveland sucks, until they visit and are shown around by a local. Every city has something good about it once you get under its skin. Perhaps not 1000's of galleries, coffee shops and hipster bars, but you can only go in to one at a time. And once you have kids, you won't go at all.

4/4 can be hard, but it is not as hard as mining coal. So unless you have good reason to believe that you are being fast tracked to a 2/2 by your advisor's friend on a hiring committeee, take what you are offered.

In sum, Take the TT and thank Dame Fortuna for bringning it along. I know a number of people who, when faced with the same choice, stayed in the VAP and are living to regret it.

Anonymous said...

Totally tangential, but yes, Cleveland is an awesome city, contrary to popular belief.