Monday, October 31, 2011

Speaking of APA...

I recently received my membership renewal form from APA. It was forwarded, twice (through two countries), because the APA apparently did not make note of my new address after I submitted it to their website before they sent the renewal notice out.

Since I'm not on the job market anymore, I'm having a hard time figuring out why I should pay $100+ per year to be a member of APA. I generally think those association memberships people put on their CVs are a joke. Plus, I'm already a member of the Association of Successful Succeeders Promoting Achievement and Success Successfully! (ASSPASS)

Plus, what Groucho Marx said.

Why do I need to be a member of APA? Anyone?

Bueller?

~zombie

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Free beer at the smoker? You'd have to drink a lot to make up for the $100+. But it might make it more fun for others.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Use her up and throw her away, right? Exploit her goodies and run real fast in the opposite direction. I feel ya!

Anonymous said...

The divisional meetings still provide a natural place to stay in touch with old philosophical friends and make new ones. For me, a causal exchange in an elevator a couple of decades ago about recent articles led to a long friendship and an eventual co-authored piece in a frontline journal. Of course one doesn't have to pay the annual fees to do this, but doing so tends to keep those connections alive by encouraging attendance at the meetings. I know the APA has really screwed up a lot lately and I'm no apologist for them. But since they host the conferences and I've really benefited from them in all sorts of ways, I have to chime in about that.

WV: puslogyn; a wv that is so good I'll just let your mind run with it

Jamie Dreier said...

I asked the same question after I got a job. My spiritual adviser (well, one of them -- I had several) told me that "What do I get out of this?" was the wrong question, that I should be a member and pay dues because the APA benefits other philosophers not in such a fortunate position as I was/am. I actually don't know if that's true, but it seems like there's enough of a chance that I should do it.

Of course, you can't be on the program without being a member. So as a matter of fact, I've probably benefited quite a lot.

zombie said...

I paid cold hard cash for my membership in years past, so I wouldn't say I "exploited" APA's goodies.

I'm just not sure it's a mutually beneficial relationship anymore, and I don't feel any particular loyalty to the organization. At least not loyalty worth more than a 100 samolians. If I was still paying student rates, mebbe.

Anonymous said...

I understand. If you pay her, we can call it even. I agree. No harm, no foul.

Anonymous said...

so let me get this straight...the only reason you ever belonged to the APA was to get a job?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether we should pay for a membership, is it important at all to put such memberships on the C.V.?

One question that interests me is whether it might actually be a black mark (except at religious schools) to indicate one's membership in the Society of Christian Philosophers. I have no idea how people see these things, and I'd be surprised if search committees talk about them, but I have to wonder.

Ben said...

If you want to benefit a hard-up job-seeker, I'd suggest you pay their APA membership fee, rather than your own...

Anonymous said...

I once heard a professor tell a fellow grad student that he needed to "tone down" the Christian/religion stuff on his CV if he ever wanted to get a job.

Pure speculation: I suspect merely being a member of the Society for Christian Philosophers is likely to go unnoticed. I suppose it could be a black mark in certain departments, and clearly will be a black mark in the view of certain philosophers. But there are quite a few well-known Christians in philosophy. It might even help at a select few other places with no explicit religious affiliation.

Anonymous said...

If that's who you are, would you seriously try and hide that fact in order to get a job?

Also, Mark Lance's comments on being "interesting"/taking a stand seem to apply.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say anything about wanting to try to hide it. I asked two questions. One is whether there's a real point to putting memberships on the C.V. I don't include any on mine. Right now I'm only a member of the APA anyway, so I'm not hiding membership in any other group. I just don't see why it does any good or harm to list an APA membership. It seems not worth bothering with, when everything you put on your C.V. has to push something else further back into the portion less likely to be looked at.

Second, I wondered how it's viewed if you belong to the SCP or, perhaps even more, the Evangelical Philosophical Society. I suspect including those on your C.V. can only hurt with some people, even if it helps with others, whereas listing an APA membership probably accomplishes nothing.

Anonymous said...

12:20 and 6:24 are really abrasive. I don't know about the rest of you, but as a woman, I feel pretty uncomfortable with the suggestion that not continuing membership in the APA is analogous to sexual exploitation. I am not very good at making this discomfort explicit, but I am made very uncomfortable by these comments.

Anonymous said...

So you can take the survey and get the meeting date changed.

zombie said...

"so let me get this straight...the only reason you ever belonged to the APA was to get a job?"

The reason I belonged to APA in the past was to gain access to JFP, and to gain access to APA interviews. It strikes me that these are things that unemployed (or underemployed) philosophers ought not have to pay for. To be clear, the APA did not get me a job. I got me a job. (And it strikes me that APA is an impediment to getting a job, since they set up roadblocks that deny access for non-members.) But the APA's stranglehold on job listings (loosening, this year), and on access to interviews made membership a necessity when I was looking for a job.

(I like the idea of paying for a hard-up job-seeker's dues. Maybe APA ought to set up a fund. Or do they consider my higher dues as making the lower student dues possible?)

There are other conferences that are far more relevant to my AOS and interests as a philosopher -- the APA's generic meeting, not so much. Putting membership on my CV, or having my name in the booklet doesn't strike me as valuable.

Anon 6:46 -- your question suggests you think there was something wrong with my joining APA just because I was a job-seeker. I asked (semi-seriously) for other reasons for being a member. Do you have any?

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice that it costs money to be moral? If the APA were actually doing a good job, and I had the extra cash, I would pay my dues out of a sense of duty to be a member of the professional community. As it is, I pay only if I want to submit a paper or I need access to the job market. Anyone know what percentage of the APA's income comes from job seekers? And can I just add a bitch again about the damned website?

YFNA

zombie said...

Already took the survey. Didn't like any of the dates. Were there really no alternatives to deepest darkest winter (and predictable blizzards) and right at the beginning of the school year?

I guess the post-Thanksgiving date was the alternative.

Anonymous said...

I picked the date that included Dec 15, since at a lot of places at least, classes are done by then. I didn't like that they didn't have any sections for comments, but I can imagine why given the shit job they've done with everything this year.

I also didn't appreciate the non-nuanced question about whether they should be involved in the job process. That just sets it up in favor of them continuing to play a role since I am sure many people think they should be involved *somehow*. Still, I answered "no" precisely for that reason.

I truly truly hate the date now. This year, I will be with family over Christmas and going will end up costing me about $800 more than it would if I could just go from my current location.

YFNA

Anonymous said...

I see two distinct issues. First, the cost of getting access to information and resources that are essential to getting a job in philosophy. While I can see that job listings ought to be accessible for free (since they are on other websites like the Chronicle), I actually don't see why the services ought to be so. People do need to be paid to staff a desk. Part of the problem with the interview location lineup is that departments are just irresponsible about getting information to the APA. If interviewing departments would act professionally, things might go more smoothly. Or might even be able to bypass the APA.

But the second point is actually more serious. Zombie remarks that specialty conferences are of more interest than the generalist APA. It hasn't always been that way, and I think it is actually a bad thing for the discipline if we all go off to our subdisciplines and never engage with anyone doing anything else. That is a bigger discussion, than I can undertake here. I think that there is and ought to be a larger role the APA plays -- that of bringing the different subdisciplines in Philosophy together. It concerns me that there seem to be a whole bunch of people who don't see that as something of value.

Anonymous said...

Quick off-topic question for all you more knowledgeable folks out there: when someone asks for "complete dossier", do you include your teaching portfolio? It's the UC Berkeley job I'm thinking of here, so it's possible they don't want teaching stuff (and mine's a little odd, since I'm from the UK and don't have all the evidence that a US candidate would have, so I'd rather avoid it if possible!)...

And actually, on that note, do people really put complete sets of students evaluations in teaching dossiers? Isn't that a silly number of pages? And do you ever exclude things from this complete set? (In the only reasonably complete set of lecture evaluations I have, one student filled it in in a way that made it clear he had a crush on me - I feel a little awkward sending it off!)

Thanks for helping a clueless Brit!

Prof. Kate said...

Zombie, Zero, would you oh so kindly please consider making my comment under "A Better Way" into a new thread? I'm getting seriously frustrated with how to register for the Eastern.

zombie said...

The Berkeley ad is odd. It says: "Applicants for an Assistant Professor position should send (by regular mail) an application letter, complete dossier, curriculum vitae, and writing sample." CV and WS are generally considered to be part of a "complete dossier," unless it's a mistake and they mean "teaching dossier." What's left after the CV and WS is teaching portfolio (with teaching statement), letters of reference, and research statement. So, I'd send all that if asked for a "complete dossier."

I sent out just the data sheets for my student evals. Those alone came to 20 pages. To include the individual sheets would have been hundreds of pages, which would be ridiculous. Especially by email mail. (Seriously, Berkeley?)

If you don't have a "complete" teaching portfolio, you can address that issue in your cover letter and explain why ("I'm British...")

CTS said...

@ Anon 9:14

I agree with you about the good that a general PHL association can do by bringing us together even if our narrowest interests are not the only stuff on offer. I also think a major discipline should have a national association. For these reasons, I continue to pay up.

I'm unclear as to how departments are messing up the interview "line-up." Could you explain that?

zombie said...

"email mail" in above post was supposed to be "snailmail." Stupid spellchecker.

Stoopid me finally figyured out how to disabel teh spillchucker on my broswer.

Anonymous said...

@CTS It has been a while since I was on the job market, but the line up used to be to find out the location of the interview. Departments were often slow to get the information about both the location and the interviewee names (people to whom the location has been divulged). That might all have changed with the pervasiveness of cell phones/text messaging. I will be attending the Eastern APA for the first time in 9+ years, so it will be interesting to see how hell has changed.

Anonymous said...

Hell hasn't changed. Except now the smoker is called the "reception". Still just as silly.

Elizabeth Harman said...

Here's why you should be an APA member:

One must be an APA member in order to submit papers to APA conferences.

I frequently give this advice: one should get in the habit of submitting papers twice or three times a year to APA conferences. Some will be rejected. But I recommend having the goal of speaking at an APA conference once a year. (In case none of the submissions are accepted, one can also volunteer to comment or chair at one or two of the meetings.)

This is advice I give to both graduate students and faculty. APA meetings provide great forums for presenting one's work. And when you're at an APA meeting, people tend to ask "are you on the program?" so it becomes an opportunity to talk about your work, even to people who aren't able to attend your session.

Over the last twelve years, I've given a lot of APA talks and had a lot of papers rejected by the APA. The talks have been rewarding. Being a commentator has also been rewarding. And being rejected is good too--I pat myself on the back and tell myself I'm doing the right thing, putting my work out there. It's good to get in the habit of getting a lot of rejection and giving oneself credit for putting one's work out there. (Though I guess the Smoker blog isn't a place where I need to remind anyone that there's a lot of rejection in professional philosophy.)