Friday, December 18, 2009

Public Service Announcement

From PhilUpdates (I nice listserv you should subscribe to):
Hi All,

We're having a party to celebrate the Whiskey & Philosophy launch-as well as
the Philosophy for Everyone series-at the Eastern Division APA meeting in
NYC. Details attached or here:

http://files.allhoff.org/APA_Launch_Party.pdf

It's December 29 @ 700p, just before the start of the APA's second
reception. We'll have great stuff to drink as well. All we don't know at
this stage is the room number, but I'll either announce it here or else feel
free to stop by the Wiley-Blackwell table and ask Jeff. Or send an email to
whiskeyphilosophy@gmail.com and Marcus will let you know.

For those of you traveling to New York, travel safely; hope to see you
there. And happy holidays to all!

Best,

Fritz


Fritz Allhoff

Assistant Professor &

Director of Graduate Studies

Department of Philosophy

Western Michigan University


All I have to say is: Thank you.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I thought this was supposed to be the busiest week for setting up interviews. According to the phylo wiki, though, a large number of schools haven't contacted people. Is this grounds for concern about the reliability of the wiki or is next week traditionally busier?

Mr. Zero said...

I thought the same thing. I don't think next week is usually busier. I don't know what's going on.

Anonymous said...

yes, things are eerily quiet. wtf?

Anonymous said...

Could be that between the lower-than-average number of jobs and the higher-than-average number of people on the market that committees have enough extra applications that it is taking them a while longer to decide on an interview list.

Or, it could be that candidates being asked not to post interview information on the wikis is more widespread than might have been expected.

Or, that a lot of people just aren't using the wiki this year.

Or, some combination of these.

I’m hoping that it is the first and that I’ll get some calls the start of the week.

Anonymous said...

It is quiet.

Another possibility is that schools are not interviewing at APA, or that positions are in question.

I doubt both that people are not posting and that schools are asking people not to post on the Wiki in large numbers. I have several interviews, and each has shown up on the wiki very quickly. No one contacting me has even mentioned the wiki. It may not be a representative sample, of course.

More on topic, I wonder if the Whiskey and Philosophy book will consider whiskey as a tool to deal with job prospects in philosophy. Although a better title would be Whiskey or Philosophy. Better still might be ~Whiskey --> Philosophy

good luck.

Anonymous said...

At least partly it's because people aren't using the wiki. I know people who have interviews who haven't posted. I suspect that there are others. I feel sick.

In the Inside Higher Ed piece on the MLA they mentioned that only around 40 departments were interviewing at the APA. Could that be right? What will the smoker be like? Last year half of the room was empty. They rented a giant hall, which they couldn't fill. This year might be much worse. A few tables will be occupied in the corner of a big echo filled chamber.

Anonymous said...

~Interviews --> Whiskey

Anonymous said...

I don't know, anon 12:16, I think the correct order may be philosophy --> whisky.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:20 -- the APA that is mentioned in the article (link here: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/12/17/mla ) is the American Philological Association, not the American Philosophical Association. So there's still hope for a half filled, rather than 1/10th filled, ballroom!

Anonymous said...

So, last year on December 18th wiki was much busier than this year? I find it really hard to believe that interviews are not yet scheduled at this late day. Colgate and Hamilton, for example, had apps deadline, Nov 15h? Plenty of time to make their decisions.

Anonymous said...

Things to be grateful for: there is free whiskey. You can fill up there so you don't have to pay $8 for a Beck's (which tastes like crab piss) at the Smoker.

And the order is whiskey ---> philosophy

Anonymous said...

I have some interviews, all but one of which were scheduled this week. In every case, someone else contacted for that same interview updated the Phylo wiki. As far as I know, eleven of the departments to which I applied have not yet contacted candidates. That seems a little odd.

At the same time, many of those schools (e.g. Colgate, Hamilton, Boise State and, for all practical purposes, Bridgewater State) ran ads for an open AOS. If you do that in this kind of economic climate, I'd expect everyone and their brother (or sister) to apply.

Anonymous said...

Bridgewater will not be doing APA interviews. They will contact in January for phone interviews. I asked and was told. But what IS the deal with Colgate and Hamilton?

AppliKanta said...

Yeah, what's up with Hamilton and Colgate. Their ads said: " will be interviewing at the APA..." I've given up hope on those two, but crave information all the same. Any news on those two, anyone?

Anon 11:53 lists some plausible explanations for lack of info on the wiki. I also heard a credible rumor that SCs are inviting fewer candidates for interviews (6-8, not 20 as in the past). If they do scale down on the number of folks interviewed, the likelihood of seeing an update on the wiki is also diminished.

Anonymous said...

I also heard a credible rumor that SCs are inviting fewer candidates for interviews (6-8, not 20 as in the past).

That happened last year.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, the old wiki's history feature doesn't like to show anything when you try to look at the revisions, but you can see the state of the old wiki on Friday, December 19, 2008 by trying to edit one of the revisions. A rough count reveals that about 139/215 (65%) of the tenure-track jobs on the wiki had scheduled interviews, made offers, filled the position, or were otherwise no longer deliberating. The Phylo wiki currently shows that 78/132 (59%) of the TT jobs are no longer deliberating. That doesn't seem like too big a discrepancy to me, especially considering Anon 11:53's comment.

Just doing that count hurts: 215 vs. 132. That's almost exactly the decline cited by the MLA.

AppliKanta said...

Anon 8:52. Great post. I was hoping someone would post this info. Ouch, 215 vs. 132.

Polacrilex said...

By some strange twist of fate, all but two positions for which I have applied have not scheduled interviews yet (and only 1 was an Open). Running this close to the wire, I am wondering if schools will forgo interviewing at the Eastern APA and opt to either: 1) only do phone interviews before fly-outs; 2) interview at the Central APA. I realize that the schools have already booked interviewing tables at the Eastern, but to schedule interviews less than a week before the conference seems a bit strange. Perhaps it's not. Perhaps they figure that we'll be at the conference anyway, so why not schedule the interview the day before.

Anonymous said...

To further hijack this thread:

Giving the 215 versus 132 number, that the 215 was already a good drop from previous years (suggesting that the number of people on the market this year is likely larger than usual), talk that a larger than usual number of early TT professors are looking to upgrade (capitalizing on the economic fears of departments), and the rumors that the number of people that many departments are interviewing is down from previous years, I would expect that the number of interviews people are getting is much lower than a few years ago. Further, as others have noted, it is a buyer's market and departments can be rather specific in what they are looking for, meaning that candidates are less likely to fit with what a range of departments are looking for. Taken together I would expect that even the "hotshots" won't be getting the large numbers of interviews that often went with “hotshot status” in previous years.

Does this accord with what people are finding? What sort of numbers of interviews are people getting this year? What sort of numbers of interviews are the hotshots getting?

Anonymous said...

BTW - I am left wondering if incredibly small departments are under the illusion that people from high-profile graduate departments actually WANT to not only work for, but will want to remain in their departments. For example, I imagine that "MiddleWesternStateCollege" has gotten a lot of applicants they would not normally get because of the lack of jobs. However, let's say that they not only decide to interview, but decide to hire someone who went to a super-pedigree department. Is that tiny department under the illusion that the hire will actually be happy and want to stay there? I suspect that these smaller departments are going to be nothing more than transfer stations for many people.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:09, do you or anyone out there know how many jobs were advertised in 2007? So, what was the drop between '07 and '08?
Personally, I know of two fairly impressive "hot shots" who applied widely and got only two interviews each. So, yes, the market seems to be tough even on "hot shots." Hooray for us who went on the market in 2009! I'm feel quite dejected, my friends...

Anonymous said...

do you or anyone out there know how many jobs were advertised in 2007? So, what was the drop between '07 and '08?

It's my understanding that last year there were approx. 35% fewer jobs than was typical for the previous five years (cf. the sixth paragraph of this article). My impression is that this year there are about half as many jobs as last year. (I'm not sure I agree with the "215" and "132" estimates used above. We might be using different criteria). I think it's safe to say there are at least half as many jobs as has been typical in the recent past, and it may be worse than that.

Elsewhere in academia, the MLA is reporting a 45-50% decline in jobs from two years ago (first paragraph). Similarly, there are roughly half as many jobs for classicists this year as 2-3 years ago (see last paragraph).

There are lots of intelligent, highly qualified philosophers who will not land a job this year. While there's always room to improve one's qualifications, those who come up empty-handed would do well to look at their situation in terms of the larger economic picture.

Anonymous said...

"I am left wondering if incredibly small departments are under the illusion that people from high-profile graduate departments actually WANT to not only work for, but will want to remain in their departments."

For some of us from high-profile grad schools, 8:57, this would not be an illusion. But I don't think you have to worry. From what I hear from my cohort, small teaching schools continue to disregard high-profile applicants. I heard last year from members of SC's at such schools that they are just looking for people who take teaching seriously. So, this year I crafted--with the help of a friend at a teaching university--an excellent teaching letter, that went along with an otherwise excellent teaching portfolio. But, I did no better at such schools this year than I did last year--with is to say, I did no good at all. From what I gather from friends on the market from top programs, my experience is not unique. I know some of these friends to have taken equal care in crafting teaching dossiers, and to be excellent teachers. Lots of us have interviews from very nice research universities. Why no teaching schools? Are they intimidated?

Anonymous said...

For some of us from high-profile grad schools, 8:57, this would not be an illusion...Why no teaching schools? Are they intimidated?

If the first explanation to which you're inclined is that faculty at small teaching schools are "intimidated" by you, then perhaps that's part of your problem.

To be sure, there are insecure people everywhere (and perhaps a disproportionately high number among academics). However, I can think of a host of other reasons why it'd make sense for a not-so-prestigious SLAC or state school to hire a candidate who's not from a high-profile department.

Anonymous said...

I'm bewildered by the claims that (1) candidates from "high profile" programs aren't by and large interested in jobs at lower-tier SLACs and state schools, and (2) such schools aren't interested in candidates on account of those candidates' high-profile pedigree.

Besides some anecdotes, what evidence do we actually have for these claims? Every departmental website I visit seems to have a healthy representation of professors who received their PhDs from high-profile programs.

As someone who's served on Search Committees at a not-so-well-known SLAC, we are just as interested in job applicants from high profile programs as we are in candidates from less prominent schools. We don't assume someone doesn't want to teach for us merely because they are from NYU or Princeton or Rutgers (for example).

On the other hand, I've seen job candidates appear to exhibit a complete lack of interest in teaching. The candidates hail both from high-profile and lower-tier programs. In those cases, one can't help but suspect that the job and the candidate are not a good fit.

So, for godssakes, try and look interested and enthusiastic. This is of course a whole lot easier if you actually are.

Anonymous said...

"I'm bewildered by the claims that (1) candidates from "high profile" programs aren't by and large interested in jobs at lower-tier SLACs and state schools ... what evidence do we actually have for these claims?"

Since we are allowed to post as anonymous/pseudonymous here, are there any applicants this year from "high-profile" programs that have little to no real interest in being tenured at "lower-tier SLACs and state schools"? I have to imagine the goal of some applicants, even in this market, is to eventually be teaching very little and doing lots of research in an urban or incredibly vibrant environment. I know many tenure-track faculty at state schools who are trying their hardest to move onto (i.e. publish into) 'greener pastures'. Most of them went to prestigious programs for their PhDs, by the way.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for those who have been on search committees: Do you ever offer someone an interview knowing that there is little to no chance that you would actually hire them?

I ask because I'm a grad student at a top Leiter department that does not interview at the APA. And I know for a fact that of the 4-5 people we fly out during a search, only 1 or 2 have a real chance at getting the job.

I know this because in past years, the top 1 or 2 would go somewhere else, and rather than hiring the other candidates who were invited to give talks, we wouldn't hire anyone at all.

Now you might think that this is because the bottom 3-5 people gave bad job talks. But this isn't the case. In fact, on more than one occasion I've heard a faculty member concede that person X gave the best job talk, but that his/her work wasn't quite good enough to be hired.

So my question is: if you're on a search committee, whether one that interviews at the APA or one that only does flyouts, why would you interview / fly out someone that you know you're not going to hire?

One last thing: You should not think of interviews as rewards for good philosophical work. If you're not serious about actually hiring someone DON'T INTERVIEW THEM. In the case of APA interviews, the candidate might end up wasting a huge sum of money just to come interview with you. And in the case of a flyout, you're at least falsely raising someone's hopes, possibly with terrible emotional consequences.

Okay, end of rant.

Anonymous said...

I'm bewildered by the claims that (1) candidates from "high profile" programs aren't by and large interested in jobs at lower-tier SLACs and state schools, and (2) such schools aren't interested in candidates on account of those candidates' high-profile pedigree.

On (2): in my experience, it's (traditionally) not that "lower-tier SLACs", etc., think that high profile candidates aren't interested in them. It is, rather, that they think these high-profile candidates will be getting job offers from places that can offer a lighter teaching load, higher salary, etc., etc. -- in a nutshell, from departments that can outbid them. I think that's the most likely explanation of why, e.g., some candidates end up with interviews from Cornell and Princeton and the Leiter-top-15 but can't get one at Flyover State U (even when they really, really would prefer Flyover State U to the Leiter-top-15). And yes, this is a very real phenomenon.

Glaucon said...

Anon 8:57am,

We were under that illusion until you so deftly disabused us of our folly! Thanks! It never dawned on us that a candidate from "a super-pedigree department" might not stay, so your assumption that we who teach at "Middle Western State College" are morons is correct.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 2:30 I have a question for those who have been on search committees: Do you ever offer someone an interview knowing that there is little to no chance that you would actually hire them?

Good lord, no. That would be an insane waste of resources, and irresponsible to suppose that philosophical talent is the sole criterion for determining fit. At an institution that gives even the tiniest shit about teaching, you have to interview and pay attention to what little you can learn from those interviews.

To Anon 3:56 ["lower-tier SLACs"] think these high-profile candidates will be getting job offers from places that can offer a lighter teaching load, higher salary, etc., etc. -- in a nutshell, from departments that can outbid them

I think you are right that this is a very real phenomenon. I'm still not sure how wide-spread it is. However, putting that issue aside, this strikes me as an absurd line of reasoning on the part of these search committees. There are not enough high-profile positions available, even in good years, for all the high-profile candidates on the market. This was obvious to me in graduate school (at a relatively high-profile program) and it remains obvious to me when working on search committees (at my "low-tier" SLAC). (To be clear, I don't take myself to be arguing with you here. I took the point of your post to suggest that in fact some school do reason this way, not necessarily that the reasoning is sound.)

-Anon 4:42

Anonymous said...

"Do you ever offer someone an interview knowing that there is little to no chance that you would actually hire them?"

There may be institutional or state requirements for how many interviews a school must do, so this could mean that someone they don't expect to hire, gets an interview.

Anonymous said...

"Do you ever offer someone an interview knowing that there is little to no chance that you would actually hire them?"


...on the other hand, with hundreds of applicants per job, it shouldn't be difficult to find 5 people that qualify, so that even if the top 2 go somewhere else, you'd still be left with 3 qualified people --or at the very least-- one qualified person to hire.

Although, I have witnessed several searches where the top 2 people accepted offers somewhere else and the bottom 3 people were just total jerks.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:30, As others have said, we don't interview people that we wouldn't, as of scheduling the interview, hire. As 10:53 pointed out, that would be an insane waste of very scarce resources.

With that said, the interview--whether phone, APA, or flyout--is an *interview*. We hope to find out more about whether someone is the right person--or an acceptable person--for the job. And it's possible to find out that the answer is "no." So if we bring 3 people in then make an offer that's turned down, it doesn't automatically follow that we'd make an offer to one of the other two. Hopefully we would, but if not it isn't because we were toying with them in flying them out, but because we think we learned more in the interview.

Anonymous said...

How many of you are actually interested in teaching at community colleges with 5/5 course loads. In many ways, this would be a dream job for me. I like to teach. I don't care for research as much. I am a hard worker. I am a regular joe kind of guy (rather than a foreign film watcher kind of guy), etc. If your not really interested, don't apply so I can get the cc job.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:42 said everything I would have said in both posts. So thanks to him/her for saving me time. Especially:

"So, for godssakes, try and look interested and enthusiastic. This is of course a whole lot easier if you actually are."

Frankly, in this economy, anyone who secures a TT position at any institution should thank one's lucky stars.