Friday, May 13, 2011

the hell?

This is surely the craziest VAP ad I've ever seen.
27. UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS, ST. LOUIS, MO. Visiting Associate Professor, two-year appointment (non-tenure track), Department of Philosophy. Begins Fall Semester (August 15) 2011. AOS: logic, philosophy of science, game theory. AOC: decision theory, philosophy of biology, ethics. Undergraduate and graduate teaching; two courses per semester; thesis advising; no service except professional. Research expectations in keeping with the highest level (“research intensive”) described in our departmental workload document ( Applicant must have a record of securing outside grants and be prepared to submit grants to fund research in Rational Preference aligned with the interests of our campus’s corporate partner, Express Scripts. Salary competitive. Send CV, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample to VAP Search, Department of Philosophy, University of Missouri-St. Louis, One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121. The University of Missouri is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply. Application review will begin May 26, 2011. (190W), posted: 5/12/2011.
A record of securing outside grants? Be prepared to submit grants "aligned with the interests of our... corporate partner, Express Scripts"? For a 2 year VAP. (Visiting Associate Professor? Why would a tenured prof take this? This is not a research-only gig. This is a 2/2 plus research plus submit a grant plus submit a grant our corporate sponsor likes.)

(Express Scripts is some kind of prescription fulfillment company, which I'm sure is not as much fun as it sounds)

I've seen TT job ads where there is an expectation of eventually securing research grants. (I will have one of those jobs in the fall, in fact.) But this is more than that. I have not before seen a job that (a) expects a VAP to submit grants and (b) expects those grants to be "aligned with the interests" of a corporate sponsor. Indentured servitude times two.



PBR said...

Perhaps the entirely salary is being provided by the corporate sponsor. The requirements seem reasonable in that light. Perhaps this is the future for philosophy?

Anonymous said...

Another possibility is that they already has a candidate who fits into all these conditions. They just need to make a public advertisement for administrative purpose......

Anonymous said...

Leiter commented on this on his blog, and he posts a response from the chair of UMSL:

"UPDATE: Stephanie Ross (Chair of Philosophy at UM St Louis) writes with a useful correction to the misimpression the ad creates:

The CEO of Express Scripts is an alumnus of UM-St. Louis. He recently built new corporate headquarters on the edge of our campus and generously made available research funding for which all our faculty can compete. We expect the first round of funds to be disbursed next year. There are no strings attached re: the focus, let alone the results, of the research that can be supported. And Express Scripts plays absolutely no role in our hiring. The specification of Rational Preference in our ad comes from our desire to establish an emphasis area in Reason and Rationality within our M.A. program. That area would embrace the research of a good number of our faculty and thus make for interesting synergies. I would like to assure readers of your blog that we have not sold out to the corporate world."

That said, I don't understand the claim that they want to establish an emphasis area in their MA given that this is just a 2 year VAPship. Unless this is a trial run and they hope to open up a TT position in the next year or two?

zombie said...

Well, that's an interesting explanation, but it still makes no sense to me that they would REQUIRE a VAP to compete for those funds. Or build a new MA program.

It also seems disingenuous to say that ES plays no role in the hiring when the dept clearly aims to hire someone who can (reasonably be expected to) compete for the funding.


Eric Wiland said...

I might be able to shed some more light on our ad. The ad is indeed unhappily worded.

The position is not funded by Express Scripts. Our MA program isn't new, but the source of grant money is. Express Scripts wants to fund UMSL faculty who research decision-making. It is a gift; they otherwise control nothing -- in much the same way that professors expected to compete for NSF funding are not controlled by the NSF. There are already a few of us in the Department who do research in this area, so we naturally are delighted by all this. And we want our new hire to take advantage of this opportunity too. A visiting professor who wins a grant at UMSL should be able to take that grant back to her home institution. There is also the possibility that the position will become permanent. I'm happy to answer any further questions by email.

Eric Wiland
wiland at gmail

Anonymous said...

Looks like an ad written for a specific person, even if all the comments above are true.

PBR said...

Looks like an ad written for a specific person, even if all the comments above are true.

I hope it's written for me!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone do a total count of how many jobs there were this year compared to last year (and the year before)? My impression is that this year was a bit worse than the last year