Monday, August 16, 2010

Sometimes I think this cycle never ends

We're less than two months from the fall JFP. It seems to me that this year will be about the same as last year. I don't think things will be worse--the financial situation at my school has not deteriorated in the past year, at least. But although I've heard rumors that the recession is officially over, I don't think things have really improved or anything. From where I sit, things look no better now than they did a year ago. I am anticipating a very tough job-market season in which not many searches are cancelled, but in which not many searches are conducted.

Anyways, that's my prediction. What say you, Smokers?

--Mr. Zero

27 comments:

zombie said...

I say ACK.

I am not looking forward to another round of rejections.

I have no insight into the economic situation, but I doubt that there will be a lot of new hires this year. Still, I suppose there's always hope.

ACK.

NH said...

Honest question: do you think the TT market will improve when the economy recovers? The pessimist in me speculates that this is the new normal.

Anonymous said...

The market will be tough. Social political philosophers should make a go at applying for political theory jobs in poli sci depts. There are almost 20 theory jobs up for grabs this year. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Prediction: Roughly the same number of jobs as last year (fewer reposted in the online JFP by the APA).

Of course part of the problem is that with fewer jobs the past two years more candidates aren't getting the jobs they want further crowding things a bit.

Anonymous said...

High probability the cycle might never end. It's cyclical.

Anonymous said...

I think the market will be about like last year as well.

I was a VAP at a large state school last year and was lucky enough to get renewed for this year. Our state, presumably like most other states, has budgetary problems. Supposedly, the state received stimulus money that made last year and this year not so bad, but next year, the stimulus money is gone. So, the state schools are at best trying to maintain status quo and there has even been some talk of cutting back on faculty (even people who are currently TT and even as enrollment continues to go up).

Anonymous said...

My slightly-educated guess is that Zero is right that there won't be many searches, but that fewer searches will be cancelled. Although we might find that some schools that have weathered the financial storm better than others (I am guessing smaller private institutions not in the northeast) will go on a minor hiring kick because they think they can take advantage of the bad market. I know that this is my institution's plan (across the disciplines)...

Anonymous said...

My state PhD-granting school is still on a hiring freeze, even as we lose faculty to other places. As a result, recent PhDs are now filling the gap as one-years, adjuncts, and so on. At some point hiring freezes will be lifted, but I doubt this will cause a glut of TT offers. Probably more like a glut of VAPs of some sort.

But schools are getting comfortable with the idea of bigger class sizes, and less professors, even as administrators and their salaries increase.

Anonymous said...

I think Zero is right, and the more pessimistic commentators are as well. Once school administrators realize they can operate without a full department of TT people they will do so, especially in the Liberal Arts. Before the financial downturn, we were rapidly losing what ground we still had to STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Now they know they can teach it on the cheap. If schools have extra money, it is a good bet that in most cases it will go to STEM, not Liberal Arts. For example: we have a brand new science building at my school, and heavy use of adjuncts in the Liberal Arts.

Anonymous said...

I've been on the market for 2 years without a single APA interview (despite going to a top 15 Leiter school). Like many others, I'm confronting the very real prospect of not getting a job after 10 years in grad school.

So here's my question to those of you in a similar position: would you do it all again?

The truth is, I think I would. In fact, I knew going into grad school that job prospects were grim. But I was able to do philosophy for 10 years and support myself (albeit barely) through fellowships and TAships.

I thought about this after seeing several posts on this and other blogs discouraging people from going to grad school. Yes the job market is bad. Yes it's likely to be bad indefinitely. But if you love philosophy, why not spend 5-10 years doing it at the highest level?

After all, as many others have pointed out, a Ph.D. is bound to be attractive to employers and professional schools if you don't make it on the teaching market...

Anonymous said...

It looks very grim at my state institution. We've lost three Tenured/tenure track faculty in philosophy over the past two years, none of whom will be rehired. Meanwhile enrollments grow and budgets are being cut.

Anonymous said...

I'm at a medium-sized, private university in the northeast. Our provost told us at the end of last year that they hired 8-9 faculty at the university and that there would be very few new hires for a year or two. At the moment the financial situation is looking decent here, but that's not to say it will affect hiring immediately. If I was going on the market again I would really try to position myself in a marketable (= in demand) area, since you want to maximize your chances I think.

SLACProf said...

This year will be worse. Why?

Because most institutions use a moving 3-year window as far as budgets are concerned. Last year still had some budgeting left over from when times were flush (pre-crash). This year? Not so much. This is supposed to be, by far, the tightest year as far as institutional budgets are concerned.

I should qualify this as someone who knows how private college and unis work. Publics may have substantially different methods of determining yearly budget (state legislature idiocies aside).

Anonymous said...

10:56,

It just keeps going 'round and 'round. That's what makes it vicious. And a circle.

Anonymous said...

I think the Republican filibustering of extended higher ed. stimulus funds really will make things dramatically worse.

At my institution (big state school) the stimulus funds just prevented a declaration of exigency. We were cut dramatically even while the state received them.

There has been a hiring freeze for three years now, all the instructors from smaller departments are being laid off at the end of this semester, and smaller departments are being told they might be combined with tenured faculty being fired. Since departments are being closed, no declaration of exigency will be needed.

I pray that this is just a sign of the dysfunctionality of the state I live in, but I think the end of stimulus funds will be pretty bad everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Grapevine has it that several tippity-top places will be hemorrhaging market-ready grad students--I've heard as much as 40-50 from top three alone. While the market will be its usual clusterfuck self, it looks to promise an unusually high caliber of clusterfucking this time out.

Verification Word: Clusterfuck!

Anonymous said...

A year and a half ago, I left my LAC for another. A hiring freeze (for faculty, not admins of course!) was put in place about a month before I left. This past year, a member of my former department was not renewed on the TT. (Hint: don't take under-age students out to drink, and don't have sex with current students.) While the hiring freeze has been officially lifted, there is no word yet that the department will be able to hire this coming year.

SLACProf is right about the 3-year cycle. It doesn't look good for years to come. And once administrators realize that they've been getting by during thin times with VAPs and more adjuncts, I doubt that they'll be inclined to reverse the trend.

Anonymous said...

" If I was going on the market again I would really try to position myself in a marketable (= in demand) area,"

Which areas?

Anonymous said...

[19, 2010 6:49]:

I'm not [17, 2010 7:10], but I'd be wary of trying to predict areas that will be popular once you're done your MA and PhD. It's safer and easier to pick one or several core areas that are taught just about everywhere: logic, ancient, modern (up to Kant), and probably 19th century Germany.

At least, that's what I gather from what I've read, heard, and been advised. It makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the claim (3:21) that the top three depts will be putting out 40-50 new PhDs. I simply can't believe that this is true. I recognize the poor markets of the last two years have led to something of a completion lag (so as to remain under the safety of the schooling umbrella), and that a wee glut may be upon us, but I don't see typical numbers of 5 or so grads jumping to roughly 15 apiece. This news is supposed to have come via the grapevine; I suspect that the grapevine in question was one that was picked, aged, fermented, and consumed.

As far as the market in general, I sense a very slight warming trend. Ever so slightly better than last year. And who knows, maybe the sunshine state will even want to hire this year.

Anonymous said...

40 or 50 seems like a lot, but here are the placement records of NYU, Rutgers, Princeton and Notre Dame (they all have pages you can look up). Averages in ().

NYU: 5, 6, 3, 4, 3, 2, 2 (3.5)
Rutgers: 6, 5, 9, 9, 5, 2, 6, 5, 9, 7 (6.3)
Princeton: 9, 4, 11, 5, 8, 4, 9, 7, 10, 6, 9 (7.4)
ND: 12, 5, 3, 9, 3, 20, 3, 10, 7, 8 (8)

20 in one year is the ND high, and 11 is the high for the other three.

Given how many grad students they all have, I could easily see 30 (10 each from the departments). That a lot of people. Getting to 40 and 50. Hard to believe, but someone could go and look to see how many grad students list as ABD. Time will, however, tell...

Anonymous said...

FYI: Florida is the "Sunshine State" and California is the "Golden State.

Anonymous said...

I'm 7:10 PM.

Regarding which areas to pursue, I didn't have anything specific in mind other than the general areas many schools are likely to be looking in. You might look through last years listing and see which fields were in demand. Note that only very few research universities hire specialists in Logic, Philosophy of Math, Philosophy of Physics, maybe philosophy of language, etc. I work in a place with 9 faculty and we don't have any of these. But everyone needs someone in ancient, modern, ethics, social-political......Make sure that you are not overly specialized and/or can sell yourself as covering a major area in need.

Polacrilex said...

In response to the question posed to 7:10:

What would be the best specialties within the field? Based upon the hiring trends I have noticed: probably a combination of Applied Ethics (especially medical, bio-, and environmental) and Ancient (making damn sure to learn both Greek and Latin).

Anonymous said...

Ummm, I'm pretty sure that if you cannot already responsibly market yourself in a field currently considered to be trendy, then by the time you in fact could responsibly market yourself in such a field, that field may no longer be trendy.

For instance, suppose that ancient is currently a hot commodity: by the time you get around to having a decent command of Latin and Greek (let alone being able to say anything of substance in the field), any hiring boom could easily morph into a hiring bust.

Any such advice then is trivially helpful or potentially counter-productive.

My advice: Step 1): Pick a field. Step 2): Be saliently better in that field than most equivalent-stage people who picked that field. Step 3) Cross fingers.

Anonymous said...

About the issue/question of which areas to make AOCs/AOSs to become more marketable...I'd suggest making some area of the history of philosophy at least an AOC. Being able to say in an interview that you could teach some Ancient or Modern courses makes you a much more attractive candidate for a lot of schools. And the nice thing is that it also makes you a better philosopher.

Anonymous said...

Three year rolling averages are typically used by private schools to determine endowment draw, so wealthy schools will still be in the trough for this year and next.

Publics seem to be hosed in about 1/3 - 1/2 of the states.

Schools that are tuition-driven could be in pretty good shape, as the recession will lead more students to enroll, but who knows what the economy is doing to the ability to pay for college (no more house as ATM to pay tuition!).

These are probably not the high end research schools or fancy liberal arts colleges. So lots of Leiteroids will end up at less prestigious places than they were led to believe they would be working. Lots of the schools that aren't producing high end researchers might do very well, since they seem to produce better generalists and spent more time often on pedagogy, which are what a lot of these schools are looking for--imho.

Overall, it seems to me that Ethics will continue to be hired. This is the only part of philosophy that the illiberally educated administrators understand. Schools always need people to teach Ancient, Logic, and Modern Philosophy. But, yeah you can't predict what will be hot, so get a good broad background, be adaptable, and learn how to talk to people other than your director and the two other people who care about your dissertation. :)