Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If You Don't Have Interviews, Don't Go

I strongly agree with the advice of anon 9:19, here:

If you have no interviews and are on the market, I _highly_ advise you to avoid the Smoker and the APA. If you've already bought tickets, just let the money go. There is no pain like being interviewless at the APA (if you're on the market).


I may have written about this before, but I went to the E-APA with no interviews my first year out. It was aggressively terrible. I was surrounded by friends who had interviews, who were acutely and intensely stressed out about doing well in their interviews. I, on the other hand, was experiencing a much deeper, existential anxiety. I felt like a ghost. Everything was going on around me, but I couldn't touch it. My friends could at least go some distance toward managing their stress by preparing for their interviews; I had nothing.

Sometimes people say that you should go once just to get a taste of the meat-market atmosphere without the pressure of being involved. That's possible. But I don't think it's worth it, and if you're going to do it, you should do it before you're on the market at all. By the time you're on the market, it's definitely not worth it.

--Mr. Zero

157 comments:

Anonymous said...

Many job ads do not specify whether or not the hiring departments will interview at the APA. A few say they will be at the APA, and a few say they will do Skype or phone. But if an ad is silent on the interview format and location, is it likely that the department will be at the APA (i.e., is that a reasonable default assumption)?

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of schools this year are going it alone without the APA meeting. This is especially the case for smaller schools. Things seem to be in flux this year and the APA's purpose and authority seem to be weakening. So, I don't know what the default assumptions should be.

zombie said...

I agree with Zero's "don't go" advice. I was given the same advice in grad school: don't go to E-APA unless you have interviews. (I suppose if you are giving a talk, that's a reasonable exception.)

Anon 10:15 -- I don't think that's a safe assumption. Some schools are foregoing the first interview altogether and going straight to campus interviews (that's happened to me twice, and it's how I got my job). Some are doing phone interviews, but haven't made their long lists yet. But the lack of evidence in the ad is not dispositive.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing a fair number of people who'll read this also got rejected from Barnard College in the last day or so. 700 applicants. That's insane. There's just no chance for anyone, with that many. The job market is now so bad that it can be used for the lottery paradox.

Anonymous said...

Unless you live in or near D.C. it is absolutely a bad idea to go to the APA without Interviews. Only bad things could happen there.

Anonymous said...

What's even better, is the non-blind CC from UIL.

Yes, 700 is nuts. I guess that about 500 of those were just utter junk. There just aren't 700 good people on the market.

Anonymous said...

At least one school, Millersville, said in the ad they would be at the APA, but the deadline was the 15th. I don't think they will schedule interviews, but it seems like you could help yourself by showing up to talk to them. I will be only about 45 minutes away anyway (visiting family), so a metro ride down won't be a problem. But for people farther away this kind of uncertainty in the ad is not cool.

Anonymous said...

Skipping the APA helps a lot of SCs save money and spend quality time with family and/or friends, but since not all SCs follow this, it doesn't help job applicants save money/spend quality time. Suppose, for instance, you have 2 APA interviews and 4 Skype interviews. You'll still be inclined to go to APA.

Anonymous said...

Re: Barnard

I don't see why we should think that only 200 applications were relevant. The job market has stunk for years on end now and every new year brings with it new applicants. Departments are getting larger, not smaller.

To call most applicants "utter junk" is a bit much no?

Anonymous said...

11:50, I had assumed that Millersville's line about being available to meet with applicants at the APA was an awkward way of saying that Millersville will conduct APA interviews. Is there a precedent for some non-interviewing department just to hang out at the APA and allow applicants to approach them at will? How and where would one do this--at the Smoker?

Anonymous said...

Millersville has scheduled interviews at the APA.

Anonymous said...

700 applications for one job (no matter how cherry) makes me want to vomit. And I suspect that a great deal more than 200 of those candidates are of exceedingly high quality.

Reading this all makes me want to curl up in a ball and die. (And I have tenure, at a lovely institution in a nice region).

No one deserves the sort of treatment academia in general (and philosophy in particular) inflicts on job seekers. It is evil.

Anonymous said...

I would advise that if you have spent the money, go and try to enjoy yourself. Here are things you need to remember.

There are talking going on. You never know who you might meet or what idea might spark the next great idea for you. I know that I was always pumped up by going to talks (even when I was on the market I went to talks).

The book exhibit. Don't laugh. Talk to editors. Talk to the publishers. See what's out there. And there is always the Oxford half off on the last day.

You never know who you might meet and who you might impress.

Finally, if you never get a job, you will never get to go to the APA again. It is a conference you should go to and enjoy as much as possible. Even when I was on the market and it was enervating as all get up, I still enjoyed doing philosophy and talking philosophy to people who could do it with me. That is invaluable.

There are good reasons to stay home, but not having an interview isn't one of them. Go try to be a philosopher for once where the best of the best are doing it too. Talk to people and visit people you haven't seen in a long time or ever.

As much as Zero complains that philosophers are misfits and socially awkward, I have had great experiences with my friends and other philosophers. Try to stay positive about the things you can control, and move forward. No one like a negative person. And I am not trying to be a super optimist, b/c that 700 number is stupid. But embrace this time to do something that you won't be able to do again. These chances are far an few between...embrace it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:18. Sit in on papers in your area and get a better sense of what it takes to get one accepted in the future. Get to sessions with the big names to see what they have to say about today's "hot" topics. Put names with faces in your specialty. Ask a good question during the discussion. Strike up conversations with other junior people, perhaps even a senior one you'd like to know (if you can avoid being too obnoxious about it). There are lots of lonely looking junior people at these meetings - strike up a hallway conversation and learn what you can about their work, their school, etc.

This all depends on how much you would really save by cancelling. If you got a cheap nonrefundable airfare and had made arrangements for cheap shared rooms, learning a little more about the profession you would like to enter will be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Is the Eastern APA in particular an enjoyable conference? It seems to me that with everyone (SCs and candidates) running around doing interviews, the quality (or at least, the quantity) of philosophical interaction would be a little low.

Mr. Zero said...

I guess I was sort of assuming that people had been to philosophy conferences before. And I guess if I were advising people to go to the APA in order to learn about what the profession is like, I'd advise them to go to the Pacific, not the Eastern.

Anonymous said...

HOw do you know that Barnard got 700 applicants?

Anonymous said...

I'm the original poster, and I guess the "you-might-as-well-go-to-hear-talks-and-shmooze" reasoning doesn't really fly with me. If you are of unusual psychological makeup, you might be able to forget that you sent out all those applications and, unlike all the other grad students just like you who are there, got no interviews. You might be able to forget all that, and just enjoy yourself. You might be able to just overpower your self-and-other-all-consuming hatred and not feel like you're alone in the world. You might be able to overcome the feeling that your shmoozing is going into the void and that you're just annoying everyone you're talking to. But if you're on the market and failed, it is very unlikely, if you're at all like the vast majority of marketeers, that you'll be able to do any of this. (And this doesn't even say anything about the particularly vivid pain of filling out a CV and putting it into the little file folders in job-seekers room. Uuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhh.)

zombie said...

Barnard is open/open. It's NYC, and Columbia, and open. So, yeah, everybody will apply for that.

They advertise that job every year. They've no doubt been getting hundreds of apps for it every year too. You'd think they'd grow weary of it all.

Anonymous said...

Strike up conversations with other junior people, perhaps even a senior one you'd like to know...

Sure, I can just imagine the conversation.

Me: "Excuse me, aren't you Senior Big Shot Philosopher? Your most recent book has been really helpful for my research."
SBSP: "Thanks. Are you writing a dissertation in that area?"
Me: "Yeah, I just defended."
SBSP: "So, I guess you're here for interviews?"
Me: Awkward.

Save for victims of memory loss, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Why do it as a job market candidate during the most discouraging point of your career?

Anonymous said...

Some are encouraging candidates with no interviews to still attend the APA. I'm curious to know if those individuals are themselves on the market or occupy the vastly more desirous position of having jobs.

I have interviews, and, frankly, I hate being at the APA qua job candidate. It's hard for me to imagine a more atrocious way of introducing people to the larger profession. Once I get a job, I hope I never have to go back again.

Anonymous said...

In their PFO e-mail, Barnard told the 700+ of us who were rejected that there were 700+ of us.

Which is kind of comforting, in an "insert desperate deranged laugher here" way.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even get the PFO letter from Barnard...NICE!! Make that 701 then...

Anonymous said...

Millersville gives the option of doing a phone interview in lieu of the in-person APA interview if you're not planning to attend. Save your money, stay home, interview naked...it's your prerogative.

Anonymous said...

Millersville has scheduled first rounders?

Anonymous said...

This advice is either stupid or directed to fragile neurotics.

I don't have any interviews (yet), but I've spent the money and can't get it back, so if nothing else, I'm going to go, meet a few people, attend a few papers, and spend the rest of the time enjoying DC.

I've never been to DC, but there is supposedly a fair amount to do there...what with all the monuments, museums, etc.

machine for brains said...

I like 1:18's attitude; it is admirable.

But it's not the advice I would give. I'm with the original poster/2:14. I find the Eastern hideous. I always have. I haven't been a job seeker in many years and I still won't go unless our institution is hiring. The Pacific is nirvana, comparatively speaking. As Zombie seems to suggest, if you want conference experience, go there.

1:18's advice is good for if you're resilient, optimistic, emotionally healthy, etc. If you're like me (depressive, sullen, oversensitive), then going to the Eastern as a candidate with no interviews will destroy. your. soul.

Anonymous said...

This advice is either stupid or directed to fragile neurotics.

No, it's not. For some people, not getting any interviews is an incredibly huge deal. As in, not getting interviews for the nth year in a row means they might have to leave the profession in order to support their family. For people in that situation, I'm not sure that going to the APA is the best thing.

I do however think you're absolutely right about going to DC in order simply to visit DC. (I've spent plenty of time there, so that aspect didn't occur to me). There's a ton of stuff to see in DC. So, yeah, if you've never been and can't get your money back, then that sounds like a good way to make the most of it.

Anonymous said...

My first year on the market I didn't get any interviews, and the E-APA that year was in DC. I went anyway and actually had a good time considering. I gave support to my friends who did have interviews (e.g. got them tea/coffee or some food while they rehearsed, practiced their spiels with them, etc.) and saw what the whole circus was like, e.g. people walking up the stairs shaking their heads, someone sitting on a bench and sobbing on the phone, etc. I went to a few talks, experienced the whole smoker/reception phenomenon, met up with old friends, and actually checked out DC (they have a great subway system).

I know it's hard when nobody asks you to the dance. But if you've never gone, it's worth it to try and suck it up and get the most out of it that you can. I do understand the devastation of not getting interviews, failing interviews, etc. Believe me, I know. But you know, as Omar Little says, "It's all part of the game!"

-GI

Anonymous said...

quoting omar little is a trump card. anything you say after that becomes truth.

Anonymous said...

It's the smell of flopsweat that gets to me…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKrCgk_txOM

Anonymous said...

1:18 here. If you didn't get any interviews, and you cannot go b/c you don't have the psychological constitution to deal with it all, then I would recommend not continuing in philosophy. I am not being mean about this. I am not trying to be a dick at all. The number of rejections philosophers get it stupidly large, and sometimes makes no sense at all.

In most every other profession your skills would be rocking, but the constant rejection is very hard in philosophy. And sometimes the rejections aren't even fair.

I was given really good advice about rejection from a faculty member when I was a grad students. He told me that if you get a paper rejected, look at the comments, make adjustments, and get it back in the mail in 48 hours or less. Don't let rejection determine your worth. Remember, it only takes one interview.

If you let the rejection get to you, it will crush your soul. If your soul is crushed to start, then that's another matter. But rejection is the name of the game in the academe, and it is never fun, but it shouldn't be personal, and you have to move forward.

Go to the Lincoln Memorial at night. If that doesn't fill you with some awe, nothing will. The Capitol at night is really cool too.

Anonymous said...

Luckily, s/he said nothing after quoting Omar Little.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not. For some people, not getting any interviews is an incredibly huge deal. As in, not getting interviews for the nth year in a row means they might have to leave the profession in order to support their family.

Ok, yeah, in this case I fully understand. I pray to Allah I don't end up in their shoes, but I understand.

Still, DC is a violent racially segregated dump, but has really nice museums, etc.; so if you've already bought your tickets and hotel room, there is no reason to "let the money go".

Go and have fun instead.

Mr. Zero said...

I think anon 1:18's advice about paper rejections is good. I live by it. But surely anon 1:18 can see a difference between getting your paper rejected and getting shut out of the APA.

Fritz J. McDonald said...

If I have not received a rejection from Barnard yet, does that mean I am in the top 200 or so?

For what it is worth: I endured the Eastern APA, "smoker" and all, on my first year on the market after I had defended my dissertation. I had 0 interviews. It was a painful, depressing experience. I found enduring that experience itself very useful I went to a few more APAs over the next 2 years to seek work. As "Anonymous December 20, 2011 7:56 PM" states, to work in this profession, you will have to be able to endure a lot of rejection. Dealing with that rejection head-on rather than avoiding it can help thicken your skin.

The advice I received at the APA when I had 0 interviews, from one of my mentors and advisors, was to never give up. I give all of you good folks that advice as well.

Anonymous said...

I think it's "It's all in the game."

You don't get points for *mis*quoting Omar Little.

Anonymous said...

How you gonna run with the wolves at night when you spend all day sparring with the puppies?

Anonymous said...

Anon. 8:40, you're right about that - I misquoted. No points for me!

I have to agree with 8:39 and 7:56. It's painful and hard, and the despair can be overwhelming at times. In the end, though, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

-GI

Big D said...

I would usually be psychologically resilient enough to take 1:18's advice, but my marriage is currently in a state of collapse due to my spouse having an affair. Since I have no APA interviews lined up, I'm simply going to skip this year.

On the other hand, I've had one Skype interview so far, so maybe some more of those will come along . . .

Anonymous said...

O.k. so all the schools I applied to have now scheduled first or final round interviews, so I now know that I got 0 interviews...to say that I am suicidal is understating it. I won't be going to the fucking APA, I don't care what any of you say. I didn't graduate from a Leiterific school, but I do have some good publications including one at PPR and one at JPhil (among others). You'd think that would be enough to land at least a first-round interview. The lesson is that in this climate, only a super-human publication record will mitigate the bias against not having been to grad-school at MIT. Totally unjust, I'm bound to think, but there it is.

Anonymous said...

1:18 here. To Mr. Zero's claim:

"But surely anon 1:18 can see a difference between getting your paper rejected and getting shut out of the APA."

In fact, I cannot. I had a similar experience as Fritz McD. No interviews my first year. I spend my money and experienced things and tried to take it all in. I can tell you as a competitive athlete, "being there" is something that is very hard to create. Going made me a better interview the next year.

If you want this to be your profession, dive in, and deal with it or avoid it and go home. There is no other way to get these jobs.

I know the rejection feels worse b/c your names are all on your CV, but it's the same rejection at that point. I have been on two search committees. You cannot take it personally. There are literally hundreds of people in your shoes. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are shut out. But you should be brave and go anyway.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who say go anyway, even if you have no interviews. Learning how to deal with rejection is without a doubt one of the most important things to learn in this business. There is nothing worse for a person than to "stay home" when dealing with failure. You will fail again and again in this business. The ones who make it are
the ones who get out there anyway, learn new things, meet people, and learn to love doing philosophy for its own sake even in the face of rejection. I went with no interviews last year and was so upset seeing people who had interviews that I spent two days at the APA writing a paper. That paper is now published. If I had stayed home I probably would have relaxed for the holidays and never written it. When life knocks you down you must soldier on, not stay home. I've never seen staying home help anyone in any area of life.

zombie said...

I'm not seeing the connection between dealing with rejection in philosophy, and going to APA despite a lack of interviews.

There is something you can do about a rejected paper. It might get rejected again, but again, you can do something about it. You revise your paper or submit your paper elsewhere *because* it has been rejected.

I don't see how going to APA is the same thing at all. If you really want to go to the meeting for the papers, or to support your friends, or to network, or to sightsee, then those are reasons to go. But if your reason to go was to be interviewed, those other reasons, while valid, have nothing to do with "dealing with rejection." They are reasons to go despite being rejected, not *because* you have been rejected.

Mr. Zero said...

Like Zombie, I don't see the connection between going to the APA and dealing with rejection. I deal with rejection from journals fine. I literally got a rejection just now, and it doesn't bother me at all. I'll send the paper back out later today. No big deal.

No interviews at the APA is way, way worse. That means almost all your job applications for an entire year (thought his is becoming less true as departments move away from interviewing there). I have no idea why not wanting to be in the midst of the interview clusterfuck under those circumstances evinces some sort of deep character flaw. "How are you going to deal with getting your paper rejected if, after finding out it's another unsuccessful year on the job market, you can't even fly down to DC for four days and stay in a $170-a-night hotel and watch the people who got interviews worry about their interviews?"

1:18 says,

Going made me a better interview the next year.

Specifically, how? And how do you know, given that you have no comparison case?

If you want this to be your profession, dive in, and deal with it or avoid it and go home. There is no other way to get these jobs.

What are you talking about? If you don't have any interviews, you're already not going to get any of these jobs.

5:35 says,

I went with no interviews last year and was so upset seeing people who had interviews that I spent two days at the APA writing a paper. That paper is now published.

I'm glad it worked out for you. But you have to realize that this is atypical, right? I mean, if you met your spouse at a Def Leppard concert, you don't advise other people to go to Def Leppard concerts, whether they like Def Leppard or not, because how are they ever going to meet someone if they dont, do you?

I've never seen staying home help anyone in any area of life.

How about their relationship with their spouse and/or offspring?

Anonymous said...

Fritz,

Isn't it likely that of the 700 or so PFO letters Barnard sent, a few got lost in the mail?

Anonymous said...

I'm with Zombie and Mr. Zero. Going to the APA without interviews seems like a relatively fruitless way to toughen my skin to rejection.

I've been to a bunch of conferences and know what they're about. Hearing some new papers would be nice, but I could also be working on publishing papers and finishing my dissertation. Most of what I gain from going to conferences is from talking to people informally. Having everyone be stressed out about jobs will make those conversations awful and unproductive.

I can also guarantee you I'd be sitting in the talks thinking, "I can do this, why don't I have their job?" Not because I'm psychologically "weak." But because the hiring pipeline is so screwed up that there are often no clear reasons why some people get hired and others don't. Getting a job is too often a matter of contingent factors entirely outside our control. If I want to spend time facing the ultimate emptiness of the universe, I can sit on a cushion at home and meditate.

In sum, I would rather spend the holidays with my loved ones. Since I didn't have to drop a lot of cash on the trip, that's no big loss for me. But otherwise I could totally see dropping in on the conference for bit and then spending the rest of my time enjoying DC and sitting in a cafe reading or writing.

Anonymous said...

Those who are framing the issue in terms of "dealing with rejection" are completely missing the point.

If I send out 100 applications, get 99 PFOs, and 1 job; then I would be ecstatic. As a job market candidate, what I'm most concerned about is not avoiding or minimizing rejection; rather, I'm most concerned about securing the opportunity to do professionally the teaching and research I've been trained to do for the past ten years of my life. That's completely different from the experience of having a paper rejected.

There are candidates who had the misfortune of going on the market for the first time back when things blew up in 2008. These are people who know how to persevere. Every year they publish or otherwise further their research; they design and teach new courses to improve their teaching portfolios; they apply for jobs; sometimes they get interviews, sometimes they don't. These are people who are used to getting knocked down, and they know how to get back up. Telling those candidates that they "need to learn how to deal with rejection" is incredibly fucked-up and condescending.

Anonymous said...

Best ever rejection from Augustana..."we had
several qualified individuals apply for the position [...]". Glad to know all the other few hundred of us were completely unqualified! ;)

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it likely that of the 700 or so PFO letters Barnard sent, a few got lost in the mail?"

I can verify that Barnard isn't totally on top of things when it comes to emailing their job applicants. I was lucky enough to be given a chance to interview, and after I called the search committee chair and we scheduled a time (so it wasn't a mistake), I was emailed the rejection mentioning the 700 applicants.

Anonymous said...

The Augustana rejection was good. I imagine this is the difference between a letter from the philosophy department and one from the HR department. Augustana appears to be relying on the latter...

Anonymous said...

"The lesson is that in this climate, only a super-human publication record will mitigate the bias against not having been to grad-school at MIT."

This just isn't true. It wasn't true when I was on the market the year of the collapse (2008-2009, arguably the last non-disastrous year of the market), when I got a lot of interviews with no publications (and got a TT job). And it isn't even true this year in what is a horrific job climate. A close friend of mine is doing *very* well, getting interviews at top places (but not just top places) without any publications. He did not go to a Leiteriffic school (although it was a top 20 school).

So what gives? I think there are two things.

First, his work is very creative and decidedly not narrow. It is also very nicely written. I suspect that it really sticks out in a pile of applications that, by comparison, contain writing samples that seem narrow, nit picky, and, for lack of better term, too literature based (indeed, he has been told as much). We all know that a lot of published work, even in top journals, has that kind of narrow quality to it, so I think it is possible for one to have published in top places but to not fare well against someone whose work kind of "pops" (even if that person has not published anything). Of course, I don't know anything about 4.15's writing -- perhaps it has this quality too. I would add that my friend also has a lot of writing polished and ready to send to places when they ask, so they know he has stuff ready to go to journals and that he is productive. That it *in fact* hasn't been published doesn't seem to be a concern for the departments that are interviewing him.

Second, although I don't know that this is the case, I suspect his letters, which come from very well known people, praise him *very* highly. My guess is that such letters make an application stick out...and then when the writing sample seems to justify the praise, an interview is forthcoming.

And no, I am not talking about myself. This person is doing far better than I ever did.

Having said all that, I have a friend on a search committee who said that the people they are interviewing for a junior position all had very impressive publication records and that, as a result, my friend would not have made it past the first cut. So clearly there are (many) places where having publications matter a lot.

FemFilosofer said...

I had a surprisingly pleasant time at the snowed-in APA last year. I was on the market, had one interview but it was canceled because of the weather. I tried my best to get the first plane out of Boston, but since there were no planes in Boston, I was stuck there for the duration.

I met up with old friends, made some new friends, and got to see some really good talks. I wasn't actively interviewing or worrying about my own presentation, so I got to just be a philosopher amongst other philosophers.

But I'm the kind of person that enjoys meeting people, talking to strangers and I wasn't in too much of a rush too get a job (I was ABD). If *you* think your psyche will be further damaged, or that the financial outlay is unwise, don't go. But there might also be benefits to the conference and if *you* think it might be worth it, take a chance. Self-reflection might beat out universal principles here, though it breaks my Kantian heart to admit that.

Anonymous said...

I'm from a ranked-but-just-barely department. I've been out for around a year and have about 8 publications in very good places. I've gotten a handful of interviews at top 20 programs, and suspect that without my publication record I wouldn't have any interviews at all.

I think the lesson is this: unless you have top 20 pedigree or raving letters from extremely famous people, you'd better publish hard and fast. Plan on at least 3 articles per year. Seriously. People might care if your writing sample "pops", but you need to get past the first round of cuts before anybody will even look at your sample.

However, landing interviews at more teaching-oriented schools is still a mystery to me.

Fritz J. McDonald said...

Anonymous 9:55 AM,

Thanks for dashing my last minute amount of hope!

I pity the persons/people at Barnard who had to send out 690 or so rejections. Let's hope she/he/they have a really nice relaxing holiday.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:21

"Plan on at least 3 articles per year. Seriously."

Seriously? Who publishes three articles per year? I worry about this because 1) it creates unrealistic expectations about what we should all be doing and 2) if you are publishing three articles per year there is a good chance that they aren't helping you very much on the market unless you are publishing them in Mind or Ethics. There is such a thing as publishing too much I think.

Anonymous said...

"Seriously? Who publishes three articles per year?"

People graduating from low or unranked schools that want TT jobs in research institutions.

It seems like the new job track is PhD -> Several years in adjunct serfdom -> Job (maybe).

This is also why the quality of undergrad education is declining as adjuncts become a larger and larger part of departments. I'm an adjunct and I spend all my time working on my own stuff trying to get into the dwindling pool of TT jobs.

I don't grade shit. Scantron is the only way to go.

Anonymous said...

Fritz, 9:55 AM obviously has no idea how awesome and successful you are. Pay no mind. If anyone should still have hope for Barnard, you should. Perhaps you should inquire with respect to your status in light of 4:43pm's comment.

Anonymous said...

@5:07 and 6:21

I was on the market last in 2009/2010. I defended my dissertation in 2009, was on the market with 5 publications in good journals, and 2 years of real teaching experience. My PhD came from a top-30 Leiter school. I ended up with 9 first-round interviews (6 at the APA), 4 campus visits, and 3 offers.

What was common between all of these schools was that, as a teacher, I'd be expected to teach a somewhat broad range of topics--logic, history of ancient, history of early modern, moral philosophy, and political philosophy. During every interview, I asked the committee what made my application stand out. Nearly all of them said that I appeared to be versatile, able to narrowly focus when it came to my publishing (which is, of course, necessary to publish), but able to teach a very wide range of undergraduate courses at different depths. They made a point of saying that the vast majority of applicants did not appear as if they could do this.

When people talk how many qualified applicants there are on the market, I think the definition of what counts as a "qualified applicant" varies greatly. The vast majority of schools hiring in philosophy have administrations that see philosophy as a service department--it does a service to the university by providing the students with semi-interesting, requirement killing humanities courses. The person who specializes in feminist epistemology, although he is an excellent scholar in terms of being able to publish good articles in this area, is useless to the vast majority of schools that are hiring.

As for going to the Eastern APA... that is a complete shit show. Why anyone would want to go there unless forced to by search committees who refuse to phone/skype is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

"100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School": http://100rsns.blogspot.com/p/complete-list-to-date.html

Anonymous said...

I'm an interviewer this year. @6:21: If the writing sample was in the AOS, it was read carefully by four people. Interviews were granted almost entirely on the basis of the writing sample. Those writing samples will receive another close read before the interviews.

The rating of the department granting the PhD matters not at all (to us).

When I was on the market, this wasn't the norm. It kind of pissed me off. If you're going to interview me, at least take me seriously enough to have read my work.

Anonymous said...

Look, I've had my PhD for a few years, have been adjuncting since, so have lots of (broad) teaching experience and have been publishing my 3 articles a year in great places. I didn't go to a Leiterific school. I got no interviews and will have to drop out of the profession. Perhaps that's down to my writing sample not having the "pop-up" thing in some cases, but that fact, if it is a fact, cannot on its own explain why I got 0 interviews. The point is that a lot of people just coming out of Rutgers, MIT, NYU etc. have got a few nice publications AND went to Rutgers, MIT, NYU...In this climate, unless you went to grad-school to such a place AND have a couple of publications in good journals, you don't have much of a chance. No amount of publishing, short of say 3 JPHIL articles a year, will make up for not having the golden formula on your cv of Leiteriffic graduate + 2 or so publications in good journals.

Anonymous said...

"No he didn't!" You are about to catch hell over that "feminist epistemology" comment.

Anonymous said...

It seems highly doubtful to me that all the committee members carefully read all the candidate's writing sample and that even if they do they are not at all biased in their evaluations of the work by what school the candidate is at/whether the writing sample was deemed good enough to be accepted experts in a top-quality journal...

Anonymous said...

I'm Anon 9:38 and I agree with 8:25.

@Anon 3:16: Every job that gets posted has 300+ people applying for it. It is simply not possible for you or anyone else to read 300+ writing samples between the deadline and when the interview calls have to be made. Even with four members on the committee splitting up the work, I find it tough to believe that all of the writing samples were read. It simply does not make sense.

For the non-Leiterific school people, there's hope. When we hired last year, we specifically looked to avoid someone from a top school because we figured that our top-50 US News research institution would be seen by the person as a stepping stone to a top-25 US News research institution. We also knew that if we had an asst. professor leave, we'd have to compete with other departments to get the funds to rehire. Very often, departments do not select the *best* person when there are practical concerns. What you want is the best person who you think will remain at your school.

Anonymous said...

@8:48: I suspect Anon 3:16 was on a search committee for a relatively narrow AOS. Not every job got 300+ applications; for instance, I can guarantee you that 300 people didn't apply to the handful of jobs looking for AOS Medieval, or AOS Plato, etc.

Of course, that just means that 3:16's experience can't be taken as representative for all search committees. Those searching in broad fields like ethics likely couldn't even glance at all the writing samples, let alone reading them all with any degree of care.

Anonymous said...

Based on anecdotal evidence, I'm inclined to believe that having your PhD from a top school is a serious advantage, and I'm wondering at what point publications (by people with PhDs from less ranked or unranked departments) can trump this halo effect.
What exactly do commenters in this thread mean with publications in good places? Only places like Phil Review, Noûs, Mind. Or perhaps also Phil Studies, Analysis, AJP? Or how about specialist journals like Mind&Language, Biology&Philosophy, JAAC, Philosophy of Science? Or a bit lower down the ladder still?

Glaucon said...

I've never seen staying home help anyone in any area of life.

Au contraire, mon frere. Hitler, he did stuff, but don't we all just wish he'd stayed home and gotten stoned? Check and mate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILDU7-C60VE

John Morrison said...

Hi,

I'm a member of the Barnard search committee. We received 738 applications and no more than 50 were "junk." There are hundreds and hundreds of exceptionally talented philosophers without a job. Reading and then rejecting their files was depressing and I can no longer in good conscience encourage anyone to enter our profession.

I'm very sorry about the rejection notices. With that many entries in our database it was inevitable that some email addresses were entered incorrectly and others were duplicated, which is perhaps why a few of you didn't receive notices and other received them despite being interviewed. We did the best we could given the numbers. At this point all our interviews have been scheduled.

Zombie, Barnard's last search was in 2008 when they hired me and Elliot Paul.

John Morrison

Anonymous said...

John,

Thank you for your reply and for that information. In your estimation, what percentage of those 688 non-junk applications were from people who were tenured or tenure-track and simply looking to move? It seems like Barnard would attract everyone, especially people who already have stable positions and are just looking to move up.

Anonymous said...

That's a kind post, John. Thanks. (I was one of the many Barnard rejectees). I think that your post should be put up in Leiter reports so that the philosophical community at large is aware of just how grim things look right now.

Anonymous said...

the most recent rejection i just received hit me kind of hard. i didn't think any of them would and now i feel like shit.

Anonymous said...

I'm anon 3:16. We had about 90 applications in the AOS. All papers were read carefully. I've been putting in 85 hour weeks for the last month and will continue that through the 30th.

Of the 14 people we're interviewing, most are ABD, only a few have publications.

Anonymous said...

"I wish I was little bit taller,
I wish I was a baller
I wish I had a girl who looked good
I would call her
I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat
and a '64 Impala
I wish I was like six-foot-nine
So I could get with Leoshi
Cause she don't know me but yo she's really fine"

and this too shall pass

Anonymous said...

i don't understand how someone with publications in PPR and JPhil could not receive any interviews. terr-i-fy-ing.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the deal with Howard?

Anonymous said...

Yes please- anyone know anything about any of the Howard gigs? Or any other gigs that the wiki is silent on, for whatever reason?

Anonymous said...

I'm from a non-Leiter school, have no pubs (some under review), and four first round interviews all at teaching places - regional state schools. I think there are other things that make my dossier good, but my teaching portfolio is awesome. Teaching does count for something, folks. And thank fucking god for that, because that is, after all, what we mainly get paid to do.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 1:59

If I posted my email, would you be willing to send my a copy of your TP?

I have a bit more pubs than you, but am mostly applying to teaching gigs and still getting nada; so I'm beginning to wonder if my TP is the reason.

machine for brains said...

8:48 wrote:

For the non-Leiterific school people, there's hope. When we hired last year, we specifically looked to avoid someone from a top school because we figured that our top-50 US News research institution would be seen by the person as a stepping stone to a top-25 US News research institution. [my emphasis]

(I'm going to throw out my first reaction here even though I'm sure that if had I more information, it would influence my view.)

I just cannot imagine avoiding looking at candidates from "top" schools! Why? I teach at a decent SLAC (nice location, 2/3 teaching load) and as I wrote elsewhere on this blog, it is a buyer's market. We want to hire from among the very best candidates (and at least some of these will, I hope, come from "top" schools). It makes no sense to me to rule out candidates you think will be a flight risk. The market is too lousy for "fleeing" to occur with sufficient frequency.

Anonymous said...

As for how pubs in PPR and JPHIL dont get you an interview, take a look at what the articles in PPR and JPHIL tend to be about. Take a look at the AOSs and AOCs are for the jobs in Phylo and PhilJobs. How many applied ethics articles get into the top journals? How many historical papers? Conversely how many schools are hiring LEMMings? The journals are publishing things that the perceived top practitioners in the field think is important and interesting. This doesn't have much to do with what gets students to become majors and the opinions of Deans.

I am not making a veiled criticism of the establishment. I think journals like PPR, PhilReview, etc. are publishing really interesting stuff. I think LEMMing stuff is cool, fun and important. But training people to do this stuff does not maximize their chances to do well on the job market. My AOS is ethics. Including open positions I have found 120 jobs to apply for this year (didn't apply to all of them. now that I have no interviews I am really regretting avoiding the fight with my wife about considering a move to deepest coldest Canada). I don't want to imagine what someone with an AOS in Philosophy of Language is facing. The open positions and maybe 15-20 jobs that want Phil Lang? And the competition you are getting working in that area has to be fucking unreal.

As for Howard, all those positions were contingent upon funding and that department was almost eliminated last year. I would love to have a chance at it. At this point it is the job I would most like to have because of location, but I will not be surprised if they don't hire anyone. I expect them not to hire for more than one.

Anonymous said...

"For the non-Leiterific school people, there's hope. When we hired last year, we specifically looked to avoid someone from a top school because we figured that our top-50 US News research institution would be seen by the person as a stepping stone to a top-25 US News research institution. We also knew that if we had an asst. professor leave, we'd have to compete with other departments to get the funds to rehire. Very often, departments do not select the *best* person when there are practical concerns. What you want is the best person who you think will remain at your school."

I guess I am not sure what 'Leiterific' means. I am from a perennial top 10-20 Leiter school. I am not sure if that that merits a 'rific'. I and the grad students I am closest to there do not think of teaching jobs this way. I actually prefer teaching jobs. I like teaching. I know at least two or three people on the market from my school this year who feel the same way I do. The sense I have from my placement director is that this year has been a disaster for our candidates. More than 10 of us on the market and the odds are none of us will get an offer. Few of us even got interviews.

Its great to know that there are schools out there who might be ruling us out for jobs we would be comfortable in for the rest of our lives because of their guesswork about our intentions.

This profession is so deeply fucked up. I have worked for grocery stores, big box retail stores, the US Census, and a mental health organization since entering grad school. They all had more rational hiring processes than academic philosophy. If it weren't for the fact that I love reading and teaching philosophy my experience on the job market would make me happy about my near certain exit from the profession.

P.S. I know that people from non-Leiter ranked schools have it hard too. I am not suggesting that I and my friends have it worse. Perhaps the benefits from our school's ranking makes up for the exclusion mentioned above. But the chance I was excluded for that reason makes me angry and depressed at the same time.

Anonymous said...

My AOS is ethics. Including open positions I have found 120 jobs to apply for this year...

Does that number include non-TT jobs?

Anonymous said...

Barring a miracle, I seem to have struck out on the market for the second year in a row. However I do take some consolation in the fact that the job market isn't just an utter disaster in philosophy or academia.

My girlfriend is a 3L at a fairly respectable law school and her entire class is essentially graduating into unemployment and moving back home with their parents. They aren't even able to get jobs as para-legals!

So, with all respect to John Morrison and his very nice comment, this problem is much bigger than "our profession." What we are witnessing is essentially a "lost generation" in the making.

Maybe when the Boomers start to retire, things will begin to improve, but that will probably happen much later in academia than in other fields.

Anonymous said...

It includes a few. But at least 100 TT jobs, including open positions, that I can justify fitting the AOS for. I also have Phil Mind as an AOS, but that only netted a few jobs (my background in PhilMind is very specific so I didn't apply for jobs that clearly were going for something in PhilMind I couldn't claim to do). Go through Higher Ed Jobs, Chronicle, PhilJobs, Phylo and the JFP from around August onward and you will find around that number.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have news as to whether Waterloo has scheduled APA interviews?

Anonymous said...

2:34, I'm sorry to hear you received bad news from a Canadian school. Might you be willing to share which school has sent PFOs? I applied to a number of Canadian schools myself, but haven't heard a peep from any of them. I'm losing my mind! Anyone else willing to share any info they may have regarding Canadian schools??? Including Waterloo (echoing 7:04)?

Anonymous said...

Very often, departments do not select the *best* person when there are practical concerns. What you want is the best person who you think will remain at your school.

I don't come from a Leiter-approved school, but I'm beginning to think this might be a problem for me. I've been applying almost exclusively to teaching schools since my PhD isn't from a highly ranked dept.

However, I also have a very active research agenda and have no real desire to stay at any of these schools permanently. Perhaps that comes across in my application materials...

I don't know. Is this a legitimate concern? It seems a little too self-flattering for me to take seriously.

Anonymous said...

The sense I have from my placement director is that this year has been a disaster for our candidates. More than 10 of us on the market and the odds are none of us will get an offer. Few of us even got interviews.

This is going to sound flippant, no doubt, but how many of those more than ten (1) have a publication in a decent journal and (2) have defended? I'm genuinely curious.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe when the Boomers start to retire, things will begin to improve"

Not really. Many retired faculty are replaced with part-time faculty, or multiple positions are collapsed into one TT hire. I have seen both happen in my department in the past 4 years. We have 1/3 fewer TT faculty members in my department and twice as many adjuncts, compared to the year I was hired.

I used to think that the way to solve this problem was recruiting more majors. If we had more students, I thought, we could justify more TT hires. That, however, is not the case. We will see more part-time hires and larger classes before we see a rise in TT hires. (For what it's worth, this is at a state school, and I'm not generalizing for the entire field here.)

Anonymous said...

8:50

I didn't get a PFO from a Canadian school. I refrained from applying to some Canadian schools because of how much moving to some areas of Canada would diverge from my wife's legitimate interests.

Anonymous said...

9:45

I am not sure what the numbers are for everyone. I do know that almost all have defended. Not that many have published (I know of one who has). I was told not to try to publish while a graduate student when I was there. The idea was to wait until your dissertation was done, and then just publish bits of that. I am in the process of following that advice. I am not sure how good the advice is. We have a good number of people do poorly on the job market, and the lack of publications may play a role. But we also occasionally place people at the most prestigious hiring institutions for a given year, even though the candidate didn't have publications.

This idea that publications are a necessary condition for getting a job is just wrong. Take some time to look at the people who actually get hired (you can follow the eventual Leiter thread, or just go through your job spread sheet sometime over the summer and check out the new faces on the department web sites) Lots of them don't have publications. This seems like the kind of thing that depends on who happens to be on the SC, as well as institutional culture. I know of several hires in the last few years at top-20 schools that didn't have publications at the time of the job offer.

Anonymous said...

10:09,

In my eagerness, I'm afraid I miss read your post. Thank you for clarifying.

8:50

Anonymous said...

I've been on the market for the last five years and have scored various numbers of T-T APA/phone interviews and ended up with VAPs each year. It got much worse in 2009 than it had been in 07 or even 08, but the upshot is that a lot comes down to good luck. Some SCs like someone with pubs, while others like someone with diverse teaching experience. Sometimes extra-academic experience can make the difference. Other times, it's just that you or the other candidates happen to blow the interview. There might be generalizations (e.g., if you aren't from a top 10 program with pubs, don't waste your time on Barnard), but there really is no "formula for success." It's a crap shoot.

Anonymous said...

I agree with advice not to go to the APA unless you have interviews or unless you live close to D.C. Hell, I think I would skip the APA even if I had one or two interviews. Is it worthwhile to spend $500-$1000 on airfare and hotel for the privilege of being one of twelve candidates for one or two interviews? If you are at the top of the twelve, maybe, but how many candidates can guess where they stand (if there is a ranking)? This system is fucked up beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 first-round interviews, 2 at teaching-oriented and 2 at research-oriented universities. My school is not Leiter-ranked (because it lies in continental Europe). But I have a diverse teaching record, and an (I believe) good publication dossier. There's hope yet.

Anonymous said...

Publications are not necessary, or at least were not necessary, if you are either a graduate of a top school, or have an AOC that is Applied Ethics/Ancient Philosophy etc. (i.e. non-LEMMINGS). Up to now, if you were doing a LEMMINGS subject and did not come from an elite school, then you could mitigate that with good publications. But it looks like the competition is so stiff this year that no (human) amount of publication will achieve that.

It seems to me that good publication records should count for a hell of a lot (and much more than they currently do) for jobs at research schools. After all, you are hired there to publish in good journals. So if you've already done so, you've proved that you can do the job. But, it seems to me, that SC members often have this ridiculous, romantic idea that they'll catch the next philosophical supernova from MIT before it's exploded that they become slightly irrational about their decision making.

Anonymous said...

This idea that publications are a necessary condition for getting a job is just wrong.

I agree, but I find it disturbing that research-oriented departments hire candidates with no publications, especially when there are so many who have published in reputable journals. I assume that the best evidence that a philosopher will produce publishable work in the future is that he or she has done so in the past. That is an empirical claim, of course, but I'd be surprised to learn that it's false.

From a brief look at the hiring threads on Leiter's blog from previous years, most of the PhDs who get jobs in the absence of publications come from Leiterrific departments. This is a distressing sign that, in some departments, institutional pedigree is as important as publications in the hiring process.

Anonymous said...

I am on the market as an ABD, but I could defend at a moment's notice. According to my letter-writers, they stress that I am finished with my dissertation in their recs. The reason I do not defend now is that I do not want to relinquish the years of graduate funding that remain to me, in case I don't get a job this year. Now, are hiring departments less likely to interview me given my ABD status, even though my committee assures them I could defend very soon? I am wondering whether I should change my strategy next year: defend in the fall, relinquish subsequent grad. funding, but be able to show hiring departments I have a PhD in hand.

Anonymous said...

If you aren't from a top 10 program with pubs, don't waste your time on Barnard

Do not succumb to this trap -- it costs you very little to send out an application, and the potential gains are huge. I'm from a lowly ranked program, and I've got an interview with Barnard this year.

Up to now, if you were doing a LEMMINGS subject and did not come from an elite school, then you could mitigate that with good publications. But it looks like the competition is so stiff this year that no (human) amount of publication will achieve that.

I'm a LEMMing from a non-elite school who has published my way into quite a few R1 interviews. I think the market generally still rewards those who regularly publish good work (and 2-3 pubs per year is not unachievable for us humans with teaching and family obligations).

Anonymous said...

Did Boston College really wait until the 23rd to contact people for their Kant position?

Anonymous said...

Take a look at a few of the people who've been hired in the last few years without pubs. Many of them still haven't published. (I don't care if they have a couple of papers posted online. They aren't published.) I've seen this gamble go wrong several times. The most tragic cases are where the person just doesn't do shit. Can you imagine getting a tenure track job at a top program and just not publishing. It's shameful and insulting. It's insulting to everyone who applied.

If you publish, you can lose your aura in the eyes of a few pedigree hungry departments.

Anonymous said...

This is a distressing sign that, in some departments, institutional pedigree is as important as publications in the hiring process.

No, it's a sign that candidates sometimes have good work that is not yet published.

I know it's hard to believe, but search committees really do read writing samples and discuss their quality completely independently of whether or where they have been published.

zombie said...

7:44 -- if your letter writers all but guarantee that you can defend before taking a job, that will probably be good enough for many depts. It is ABDs who are not that close to graduating who are risky.

zombie said...

I did not go to a Leiterrific school. My program was ranked modestly in my AOS, but otherwise, not a distinguished department. I did not publish at all in grad school. I went on the market in 2009, the Annus Terribilis. I was lucky to get a postdoc, and got published a lot in the next couple of years. I also have a lot of teaching experience. In numbers of interviews, I did far better last year than in previous years -- about 10% of my apps resulted in interviews. And most importantly, I got a TT job I love at a research school. (There were additional factors, I think, in the job I got, such as some of my extracurricular work, and AOCs, which were of interest to the department and the school.)

I think my case clearly demonstrates that you can publish (and teach) your way up in philosophy, since I am working at a better-ranked school than the one I graduated from. All but one of the schools I interviewed with last year were significantly better than the school I graduated from.

So, all is not lost. But the fact remains, there are more philosophy PhDs than there are jobs. It's not possible for everyone to get a job.

Anonymous said...

I assume that the best evidence that a philosopher will produce publishable work in the future is that he or she has done so in the past.

Just an addendum to this, which should be obvious but I'll say it anyway: Things surely depend in part on how long someone has been around for. If you've been out of grad school for four years and published three papers in that time, you *might* (depending) reasonably be thought of as a worse investment than someone with no pubs but who finished only this year.

Anonymous said...

Rumorville says lots of Phil positions will be opening up at Penn State (especially AOS Ethics) next year because of the Sandusky scandal and a large scale exodus of faculty. This includes faculty at the main and satellite campuses. So don't lose hope if no interviews were forthcoming this year. You might be invited to become a Nittany Lion (old women who like boys are cougars, old men who like boys are nittany lions).

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether Oxford College of Emory has scheduled first round interviews? They don't seem to be on the wiki.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:12 here again.

No, it's a sign that candidates sometimes have good work that is not yet published.

I know it's hard to believe, but search committees really do read writing samples and discuss their quality completely independently of whether or where they have been published.


I agree. But your explanation doesn't make me any happier.

In recent years, there are several individuals with no publications who have been hired by "top" departments. Most of those individuals come from other "top" departments. As 10:49 points out, some of those individuals have produced very few publications since they have been hired. If we accept that one's inability to get a paper published (in any journal whatsoever) is a sign that one's work is not exceptional (but not necessarily bad), then the unpublished work of such candidates at the time of hiring was likely not as good as the published work of other candidates who were not hired.

Whether or not this is the norm is irrelevant. What we need to ask is "on what basis were such candidates judged to be `superior' to other candidates with extensive publication records?"

There are, of course, several explanations. Here are two plausible ones (that are not mutually exclusive):

1. The committees' decisions were strongly influenced by factors like institutional pedigree and letters of recommendation.

2. The committees mistakenly thought a candidate had promise on the basis of a writing sample that was either (a) un-representatively good, in the sense that it was better than typical work produced by the candidate, or (b) not good, but thought to be good by the hiring committee.

Regardless of the correct explanation, there's likely something wrong with hiring practices of such committees. We've already discussed the problem with using pedigree as a predictor of future publishing success.

In the second case, some candidates were thought to be promising because they had *one* polished, unpublished piece of writing. That seems to be a strange predictor of success. Candidates obviously try to submit their best work. I assume most candidates, even the best, also have some work that is not particularly good. So, if hiring committees are making decisions using writing samples as you say, then they are evaluating candidates' abilities on the basis of their best work, without regard for the variance in quality of work.

If the candidate is like Gettier (i.e., he or she needs only one paper to be influential), then making decisions on the basis of one piece of work might be reasonable. However, I have a dim view of this decision-making procedure in general.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what a good teaching portfolio looks like? I think mine seriously screwed me...

Anonymous said...

It is frankly disgusting the number of people who get top notch jobs with no publications who then go onto publish nothing. It is not just several people. It is shocking how common it is, and yet these people repeatedly get interviews over the rest of us, even those of us who have been very, very productive. One works one's tail off to publish, one even succeeds at it, and one still sees people who have next to nothing to their name beat one out for jobs. If that's not a rigged race I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

Oxford College of Emory has scheduled APA interviews.

Anonymous said...

12:47 -- You really should take this possibility more seriously:

3. The hiring department judged that the candidate's work was excellent, the candidate's work was and is in fact excellent, although the candidate has not (even now, a few years later) published any of it.

It's of course a problem if someone hasn't published enough as the tenure clock winds down. But the goal is a strong tenure case, where strength is measured primarily by quality, not by quantity. In my department, for example, you need only six publications for tenure. But those six publications had better be really really good. (I don't mean 'well placed' -- I mean simply: good!) As in the original hire, the work is assessed for quality (at tenure-time by neutral outside referees, in addition to members of the department), not for prestige of venue.

Anonymous said...

no one gets hired by a top program and goes on to publish *nothing.* if they do, they don't get tenure. who the hell cares if they don't immediately start cranking out 4 papers a year as soon as they get the job? this attitude is symptomatic of the absurd emphasis some people place on publication quantity. have you picked up a top journal recently? they're flooded with esoteric stuff that no one will read. why should we care how many fo those articles someone writes?

Anonymous said...

Before reading this post/thread it had been my understanding that there was some possibility of acquiring interviews AT the APA (i.e., even if a candidate has no or few APA interviews on 12/26, she/he could still line some up at the actual meeting). Is this not the case this year? If it still is the case that one can line up additional interviews at the APA, how might one go about doing this? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that there are some people who get good jobs and go on to publish not very much. However, I imagine that the number is much less than is being suggested. It is not uncommon, as I'm sure many people here realize, for many journals to take over a year to review a paper. And it is not uncommon for journals to reject good papers. There is a serious time lag in publishing - so it's not entirely surprising that there might be people with jobs, who are productive, but 2-3 years out don't have published work - even though they have plenty of good stuff out for review.

That said, I can also imagine that there must be pressure to publish *only* groundbreaking stuff at some top research places rather than just good, solid work - so that may also contribute to lessening the publication rates of some people. Some people take good, but not amazing, work to be evidence that this is the capacity one has for philosophical work. So not publishing as much at top places in one's early years might be explained by this. It's the same reasoning used to discourage grad students from publishing. It's easier to believe someone might be a superstar if they don't already have things that you (wrongly) take as evidence that they'll just be an average philosopher.

I should note I'm at an SLAC so I don't have first hand knowledge of this - I'm just speculating. Although at my grad program I did hear some justifications along these lines for making offers to unpublished people "with star potential" over those who have published and "proved that this is what they're capable of".

Anonymous said...

As someone who has served on SCs:

"1. The committees' decisions were strongly influenced by factors like institutional pedigree and letters of recommendation."

Well, is this such a bad thing? Letters of recommendation *should* carry weight. Honestly, if I'm not "strongly influenced" by your letters of recommendation, then those letters aren't doing you any good. Also, institution *should* matter. There are good reasons why people apply to top programs; many top philosophers work at those schools. Rutgers carries a good name because, let's face it, their faculty do good work and they produce good students. And let's not forget how often people throw around another kind of professional affiliation: publishing in top journals. If publishing in a top journal (as opposed to a mediocre one) means something, then graduating from a top program (rather than a mediocre one) means something, too. In both cases, the relevant work of the individual was evaluated by top scholars and found to be superior.

"2. The committees mistakenly thought a candidate had promise on the basis of a writing sample that was either (a) un-representatively good, in the sense that it was better than typical work produced by the candidate"

Well, this happens. And that "un-representative" writing sample may be a wonderful article in a top journal, too. Publishing one great article does not mean you're destined for a wonderful career. It means you show promise, which is what (most) SCs are looking for. Unless a SC is explicitly making a senior hire, that's what we look for: promise. And we are going to evaluate it based on all the available information (where you worked and with whom, what samples of your work are made available, what your letters state about your work and your potential in the field). And yes, sometimes we get it wrong. But remember, while you may look at someone and complain that they didn't pan out, there's no sure way to know how anyone would do. You may be a fantastic applicant who, if hired by a department, turns out to be a bust. It happens.

"Regardless of the correct explanation, there's likely something wrong with hiring practices of such committees. We've already discussed the problem with using pedigree as a predictor of future publishing success."

Pedigree is no worse than any other predictor. As you note above, someone may write a fantastic work that turns out to be "un-representative." All predictors of future success are imperfect.

"In the second case, some candidates were thought to be promising because they had *one* polished, unpublished piece of writing. That seems to be a strange predictor of success. Candidates obviously try to submit their best work. I assume most candidates, even the best, also have some work that is not particularly good. So, if hiring committees are making decisions using writing samples as you say, then they are evaluating candidates' abilities on the basis of their best work, without regard for the variance in quality of work."

What do you suggest? Sending SCs everything ever written? All graduate seminar papers, plus all conference papers and drafts of articles? Should SCs specifically ask for mediocre work, so as not to be blinded by quality, however impermanent?

"I have a dim view of this decision-making procedure in general."

You should have a dim view. It's imperfect. Future success cannot be predicted. To go to football: JaMarcus Russell should have been a top QB based on his college success, but performed miserably in the NFL. Todd Marinovich had superb training, but burned out early and never recovered. And Brett Favre was drafted in the second round, after Marinovich, and he will be a Hall of Fame QB. There are no guaranteed predictors of future success. So given that, how would you change it to better predict future success? What, in your opinion, would guarantee that SCs always get it right?

Anonymous said...

have you picked up a top journal recently? they're flooded with esoteric stuff that no one will read. why should we care how many fo those articles someone writes?

Part of the problem is that philosophy has become so hyper-specialized (and full on garbage) that a qualitative assessment of a tenure candidate's work is basically impossible for most departments.

Hence the emphasis on sheer quantity.

The fact that no one will read this garbage in the future is some consolation...but then diamonds get buried under the pile of shit as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that there are some people who get good jobs and go on to publish not very much. However, I imagine that the number is much less than is being suggested.

There were several in the dept. where I went to grad school.

One guy has literally published nothing in over a decade since he got tenure (for a single crappy book if I recall). He also constantly blows off his office hours and lets students run most of his classes.

Must be a nice gig...

Anonymous said...

"What, in your opinion, would guarantee that SCs always get it right?"

Well at least an emphasis on publications is meritocratic.

Hearing people talk about making hires due to some ephemeral perception of "star quality" makes me sick.

It's like baseball before stat-based recruiting took over.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should give all of those NFL examples. Almost all of the flame-outs -- Jamarcus Russell, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, etc. -- were guys who had pedigree and one good year in college. All of the surprise successes who were drafted low -- Brady, Brees, even Montana -- we're guys who had sustained personal success in college. NFL scouts, MLB scouts, and yes philosophy department hiring committees, all get so enamored with the person with "all the tools" that they stop paying attention to whether the person can actually perform. The person from the top program who hasn't published hasn't proven him or herself any more than the Jamarcus Russell's of pro football have. There needs to be less emphasis on a person's "promise" (whatever that is supposed to be, and if history shows anything, it is that people are very, very bad at
predicting it) and more emphasis on true achievement and tangible results.

Anonymous said...

4:02 here again...

"Well at least an emphasis on publications is meritocratic."

Only if you assume that publications are the best judge of merit. What makes an editor's judgment of an article any more valuable than an advisor's judgment of an unpublished dissertation? If we are going to assume that publications effectively or accurately denote "merit" in ways that can't be measured by a PhD defense, then we shouldn't just look at publication itself. Because in both cases (PhD defense and article acceptance) we have a small sample of people evaluating that work (graduate committee v. editor/outside readers). Rather, we should evaluate the actual effect that publication has had on the field. How often has it been cited, by whom, and in what contexts? But of course, we can all see where this is going: if we start going down this road, then all hires become senior hires, in that we no longer look for "promise/potential" but rather for "influence/effect on the field."

I think that publications are a good judge of potential for future scholarship, but they are no better than other imperfect indicators. However, if the field as a whole decides that publications are the benchmark, then let's make it official. Instead of asking for "writing samples," SCs should ask for "article offprints."

Thursday 9:45 said...

I was told not to try to publish while a graduate student when I was there. The idea was to wait until your dissertation was done, and then just publish bits of that. I am in the process of following that advice. I am not sure how good the advice is. We have a good number of people do poorly on the job market, and the lack of publications may play a role. But we also occasionally place people at the most prestigious hiring institutions for a given year, even though the candidate didn't have publications.

It's probably wise not to publish in mediocre journals. But if you're already producing good work, good enough to crack the top tier of journals, then it seems unbelievable to me that you would just sit on this work waiting for your star quality to get noticed, unless you really are at a top-5 program and have famous advisors who will vouch for this work. That said, there are also many, many other things you can do to get noticed, giving papers at conferences obviously, but also getting involved in the profession as a whole. Many if not most of the grad students in philosophy that I know are not motivated enough or street-smart enough to do these things, and then find themselves at a loss on the job market. For what it's worth, I don't think doing these other things is at all unrelated to the practice of the profession of philosophy, as opposed to say, simply producing philosophical scholarship.

Could you give some sense, 10:17, of the ranking of your department? That would give us some context for your alarming story.

Anonymous said...

Please let's not forget that some jobs do not have very demanding publishing requirements for tenure. At my state school (regional), I had to publish three articles over 6 years to get tenure. There is more of an emphasis on teaching and service at my school. I had no pubs when I got the job. I had some nice conference presentations, solid letters of recommendation including two very strong teaching letters, and a very strong teaching record. In my opinion the profession over-values publishing anyway.

zombie said...

2:38 -- the APA has a "placement service" at the meeting. It's basically a bunch of mail slots for SCs who are willing to consider additional candidates for interviews. You can leave a printed copy of your dossier there.

Someone here once posted that they got an interview that way. I suppose it could happen. However, they aren't generally "new" (i.e. previously unadvertised) positions, so chances are you've already applied for the jobs. But if you're already going to APA, it doesn't hurt to leave your dossier.

Mr. Zero said...

What makes an editor's judgment of an article any more valuable than an advisor's judgment of an unpublished dissertation?

Seriously? An advisor has a vested interest in the success of her students; a journal editor has no such interest.

Anonymous said...

The hiring process is only slightly less scandalous than the grad school admissions process.

Anonymous said...

"Seriously? An advisor has a vested interest in the success of her students; a journal editor has no such interest."

Advancing the careers of sub-par candidates would not serve the advisor, or the program as a whole, well at all.

And editors do have interests, just maybe not the same ones. Editors have vested interests in promoting agendas, and will sometimes publish work that promotes an intellectual or political agenda, even if better work was submitted to that journal. (And let's not forget that many graduate students have been published in journals that their advisors edit, or included in collections edited by their advisors. So would such publications fall under the bias of an advisor's agenda, or the bias-free work you see being done by editors?)

Anonymous said...

"Only if you assume that publications are the best judge of merit. What makes an editor's judgment of an article any more valuable than an advisor's judgment of an unpublished dissertation?"

Well you do have something of a point there.

I've have good papers (and I don't mean that in a self-flattering sense) rejected from journals for the most asinine reasons. My favorite was when a reviewer complained that I "had not EVEN cited" the most recent scholarly paper on the topic—even though I did, four times.

Regardless, I sent that paper to another journal and they published it right away.

So while I get your point, it's a bit like the guy that complains that his ex is crazy.

Sure, they often are, but there are plenty who are not. If ALL your ex's are crazy (i.e. you can't get your paper published anywhere), that says something about you, not them.

So even though the publication process is full of the same corrupt/stupid BS that fills much of academia, ultimately good work get published.

And thus I think publications really do have to be considered paramount in any hiring decision.

Mr. Zero said...

Advancing the careers of sub-par candidates would not serve the advisor, or the program as a whole, well at all.

I'm not saying that advisors lie in order to advance the careers of their sub-par advisees. I'm saying they're not impartial. They know their advisees and they want them to do well. Editors don't know who's submitting to their journal, and they don't give a shit if those people live or die. (Obviously I'm exaggerating.) Advisors have interests in the well-being of their students; editors may not be perfectly impartial--it may be better for them if they publish bigger names more often than small fries--but for one thing blind-review procedures are designed to prevent stuff like that, and for another thing they don't have any of the investments that advisors do. If you can't see that this might make somewhat of a difference, you're not thinking clearly.

Anonymous said...

10:17 here

Never seen it lower than 20, never seen it higher than 10, though a few times we thought we might crack it.

To be clear, no one said, 'Sit on this publication that could clearly get published in PPR or PhilReview'. The claim was that if you had a choice between starting work on a paper you meant to publish or working on a chapter for your dissertation, you should work on the chapter. If someone was able to write a chapter for their dissertation that was good enough to publish, I don't think anyone would have told them not to do it. But the attitude towards publishing was it was only something to do if it is a natural outgrowth of your dissertation activities. And as I am just one grad student it is also possible that behind closed doors faculty members I didn't work with were giving very different advice than I was getting. But several of us got the 'don't worry about publishing yet' advice, and we got it in public areas, and I was never present to see a debate amongst faculty about it.

And from a certain perspective I understand the advice. It strikes me as bad for the profession to have every new or near PhD trying to publish several papers at once. It creates a backlog at the journals, it creates a huge workload for departments and faculty involved in running the journals, and most of the papers aren't that good. I know that this will not be a popular thing to say, but it seems obvious to me that the work of graduate students is just less likely to be interesting and worth reading than the work of established philosophers. Of course there are exceptions. Some very established people end up publishing real crap (or it was a good article the first time they published it in a slightly modified form a decade ago. Now that the point has been made it is a waste of paper, ink, pixels and bytes), and some young people publish great stuff. But grad students just haven't had the time to do the reading that more senior people have. That is going to lead to more historically and empirically uninformed scholarship on average, two things that need to be avoided.

So I understand the profession general reasons to want less grad student publication attempts. But there is a real collective action problem here. I think I am at a real disadvantage relative to other people coming from schools like mine. I already knew that if I was competing with someone from Princeton I was going to have trouble. But other Leiter-teeners who have two or three publications out just look better than me. And I am not even sure that it is much of a hindrance to publish in non-prestigious journals. Most of the jobs on the market are from schools staffed by people who haven't sniffed a chance to publish at the top journals in their lives. They aren't going to look at a second or third tier journal publication and turn up their nose. That is the place they hope to get published themselves.

CTS said...

This is quite the thread. I will not repeat my oft-repeated comments about the hiring process, rankings, etc.

I am interested in the 'supposed-stars who produce nothing' in X years (before tenure) issue.

I have known, only one such case at a good school. That was partly a matter of the person's being well-connected and the department's buying everyones' assurances that the next-great-thing was forthcoming. But, I think it was also that the person really did heavy lifting for the undergraduate program, as well.

Aside from that, I wonder why here is so much emphasis on numbers of articles? What if the supposed-star is working on a manuscript?

Sometimes, a prospective book-author likes to seed the philososphere with an article or two, but books require a special kind of sustained effort - and few prospective book authors want to 'spoil' what they hope will be the splash of the Work. Further, given the absurd waiting period for review/publication at many journals, some prospective book-authors might not think it worth their time to work on articles rather than the manuscript.

For what it's worth.

Happy holidays to everyone. Keep your chins up: you are gifted people, and I do believe you will earn the rewards you merit.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember what time I posted, but I posted earlier about being from a top-50 US News school and made comments about our search last year.

All schools operate different; all SCs operate differently. At my particular school, we are overworked and underpaid in philosophy. We have a significant number of classes taught by visitors and adjuncts--a bad thing for our students (not because they're bad teachers but because of the yearly turnover).

The most important factors we were looking at when choosing who to interview (and ultimately hire) were (1) how well the person fit our needs as outlined in the ad and (2) how likely it was that the person would stay and not use our school as a stepping stone to a better school.

Here is why, for us, (2) was important. We simply cannot risk having the person we hire leave after 1, 2, or 3 years to take another TT job somewhere else. If this person left, we would likely not get the money to hire another TT person to replace him/her. So we had a couple of people who applied from some top-10 Leiter schools, but we decided that it was much safer to go with other people who struck us (mostly via their cover letters) as being interested in our school for who we were, not someone who we should be interested in them because of how amazing they were (and, again, some of these people looked very, very good).

Perhaps it was a foolish thing to do, but we got someone who was a great fit, loves our university and city, has a partner who also loves the city and has a stable job, has some publications and is fairly active with current projects, and we all think that this person will be with us for a very long time. This person did not come from a top-10 or 20 Leiter school, but it's a school that everyone would know and the parents of our students would immediately say "that's a good school", whether they know the quality of the philosophy program or not.

Again, all searches are different. But, many times, there are considerations that applicants can never account for. As someone earlier said: it's a crap shoot.

Anonymous said...

"Editors don't know who's submitting to their journal"

Zero, do you really believe this is always true? I know we like to believe that all review is blind, but that simply isn't true. I'll agree that in most cases, review is likely blind. But certainly not all. I can only speak to what I know, but I know a former journal editor who had no problem admitting that he would fast-track articles for colleagues coming up for tenure, or give more-than-favorable reads to students working with his closest friends, in an effort to help them on the job market. Even if this happened only a couple times, he certainly cannot be alone. Additionally, one of my colleagues is a reader for a journal and has more than once correctly guessed that a submission was written by someone studying with X, based on the content, form, and style of the piece, and later found out he was correct after that article was published. (I have also heard him complain when reading a submission that the author must be working with Y, because he clearly suffers from Y's terrible influence.) Once a reader starts making these assumptions - right or wrong - can we really assume they are still unbiased readers of the work with no agenda regarding the authors' careers?

Yes, I see the difference you are making. I'm just pointing out that the difference is not as hard as you seem to suggest. An editor may not have the same investment in a graduate student as an advisor, but if that editor can help out a friend's student, well, sometimes that happens. I think it's faulty (to go back to my original point) to assume that publication is unbiased and therefore always an accurate indicator of comparative value. But as someone who has published in some pretty good journals, I'm willing to concede that I am wrong, and that my publications do make me more valuable than those who have not had my success. :)

Mr. Zero said...

Zero, do you really believe this [i.e. submissions are anonymous to editors] is always true?

Of course not. But it's usually true; and even when it's not, the editor probably doesn't have a personal relationship with the author; and even when she does, it's probably not as close as the advisor/advisee relationship. And no reputable journal accepts articles at the sole discretion of the editor--that's what referees are for. And refereeing is almost always anonymous.

I can only speak to what I know, but I know a former journal editor who had no problem admitting that he would fast-track articles for colleagues coming up for tenure, or give more-than-favorable reads to students working with his closest friends, in an effort to help them on the job market.

Then you should regard articles that appeared in this journal during this person's tenure as potentially suspect. You should not besmirch the good names of journal editors everywhere, or those of us who publish in journals, because of this one person's bad habits.

And even then, it's not as though the journal editor is less objective or has more skin in the game than the dissertation advisor.

Once a reader starts making these assumptions - right or wrong - can we really assume they are still unbiased readers of the work with no agenda regarding the authors' careers?

Who said anything about unbiased? Who said anything about no agenda? Less biased. Less of an agenda. Jesus.

I'm just pointing out that the difference is not as hard as you seem to suggest. ...if that editor can help out a friend's student, well, sometimes that happens.

I guess I don't see what point you're making. You see somebody with an article in Nous, and you say, "well, this guy's advisor is friends with Ernest Sosa, and it's possible that Sosa green-lighted this thing as a favor to the advisor," and so you can't assume that the publication is a reliable indicator of comparative value. Okay. There is that possibility. Whatever.

But then you read the letter from the guy's advisor--and now I'm stuck. Do you think that the advisor is objective and unbiased in a way that Nous's editorial board isn't? Do you think that the Nous people are more likely to have an unjustifiably high opinion of the person's work than the advisor on whose behalf they have fast-tracked the submission?

Problems with the review process are obviously possible. But the mere fact that this occasionally happens doesn't demonstrate that the judgment of editors is no more valuable than that of advisors.

Anonymous said...

Going over the past few threads, I'm wondering if we could have a new thread: What *should* SCs use to make their determinations?

If I'm not mistaken, various posters have suggested that:
- SCs should not put so much emphasis on writing samples,
- SCs should not put so much emphasis on letters of recommendation,
- SCs should not put so much emphasis on prestige of the program/advisors,
- SCs should not put so much emphasis on teaching demonstrations.

Granted, these were (likely) different posters, but if we take all that advice, what is left to consider?

I ask because I'm a relatively new faculty member, and know I will be serving on a SC soon (provided funding to replace a colleague we know to be retiring next year). So, Smokers, if you're applying to my school's job next year, what *should* I focus on in applications?

Anonymous said...

So, Smokers, if you're applying to my school's job next year, what *should* I focus on in applications?

If 1) you're looking to hire an historian of philosophy and 2) want someone who will do first-rate scholarly work, then make sure the candidates you shortlist possess the relevant language skills necessary for doing scholarly work in their AOS. I'm always surprised when search committees appear to overlook this.

In addition to that, I would focus first on the writing sample, the scholarly reputation of the dissertation director, and evidence that the candidate will be effective in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

What should you look for in a candidate?

Publications.

Then the other stuff you mention, but publications should be most important. The other stuff does count, of course...just not as much.

It's not that hard. The complaints here add up to a simple and coherent picture, not some lame reductio...

Fritz J. McDonald said...

By the way, the APA added a session (III.5-A, Wednesday 7:30-9:30PM, in the Washington II room) on philosophy and Occupy Wall Street. Speakers are Elizabeth Anderson, Chad Kautzer, Charles Mills, Darrell Moore, and Annika Thiem. I suggest it as a healthy and appropriate-in-these-times alternative to the concurrent "Smoker."

Anonymous said...

12:42

You look for what your insitution needs, and those needs are relativized. Kant is good for absolutism about morality, which oversimplifies stuff by universalization from an elitist and smug perspective about ethics, but different campuses serve different students, and the hypothetical imperative is a lot more relevant in making effective hiring decisions.

Can publications can be universalized to being an effective professor?

As they say on ESPN--C'mom man!

Anonymous said...

I didn't say that publications were the *only* thing one should take into consideration. But they are the most impartial (therefore just) indicatior of quality that we have available. So they should be have the most weight, especially at research schools. Why is such a simple equation so hard to understand...indeed, c'mom man!!!

Anonymous said...

To those few that are non-Leiteriffic graduates but have got some interviews this season (and are LEMMINGS): where have you been based since graduating? If you've been a post-doc at somewhere like (say) St. Andrews in England with big guns shooting for you, I hardly think you consistitute evidence that publications can overcome the bias against pedigree in the current market.

Anonymous said...

7:14: I love you.

And I agree - it is silly to think that publications should matter the most for every job. I am amazed by how so many of us think that we are hired primarily to be philosophers. Some of us at least are hired primarily to be educators.

Anonymous said...

"Some of us at least are hired primarily to be educators."

Fair enough, but what is the most accurate predictor for teaching excellence?

Anonymous said...

"Fair enough, but what is the most accurate predictor for teaching excellence?"

It isn't publishing, if that's what you're getting at.

Anonymous said...

"It isn't publishing, if that's what you're getting at."

I'm not "getting at" anything. I'm actually asking: what is the best way to ensure hiring a good educator?

Anonymous said...

3:37 I agree with your point, but St. Andrews isn't in England.

Anonymous said...

I always thought that "evaluate an academic by counting up the number of her publications" was something philosophers were inclined to accuse philistine administrators of doing. So I'm amused that so many here seem to think that it is *unjust* not to let the number of publications drive hiring decisions.

Anonymous said...

3:43:

My own personal theory is that academics in general (and not just philosophers) will cry foul when anything they are not strong in is used to hiring, tenure, and promotion decisions. Lots of articles? Then let the publication record decide! Strong in service? That must be of value to the university! Excellent teacher? Well, that's what most academics do anyway, so that must be the deciding factor!

But when it comes to publishing in particular, I suspect that everyone in the conversation assumes that they have strong publishing records, or has some excuse as to why their work is solid but - alas - remains unpublished for reasons that have noting to do with the quality of the work.

Anonymous said...

I've got a theory: people who make up silly theories about academics and why and when they cry foul are often people who don't like a reasonable consensus view emerging about what constitutes the fairest way of evaluating prospective adademics only becuase it doesn't make whatever they think they are strong in count enough.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually asking: what is the best way to ensure hiring a good educator?

I'd look for a combination of the following:

1) Breadth of teaching experience (in terms of both the courses taught and the variety of institutions in which the teaching occurred);

2) Strong course evaluations;

3) Teaching observation reports;

4) Experience working with a diverse group of people (either teaching or some other kind of work experience where interpersonal skills are important);

5) Ability to communicate one's research both to trained philosophers who don't specialize in the candidate's AOS and to, say, undergraduate majors;

6) Awareness of one's strengths/weaknesses regarding teaching and thoughts about how one might improve;

7) Ability to design and implement courses which are not only new but also successful.

That's not a perfect list. But if a candidate satisfied most, if not all, of those criteria, then that would give reason to think the candidate would be an effective teacher.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. All of those points make sense. But I wonder about the first one: "1) Breadth of teaching experience (in terms of both the courses taught and the variety of institutions in which the teaching occurred)"

This would, it seems, give preference to those who have been on the market for a couple years, would it not? I suppose from the position of sitting on a SC, this isn't something I should really be concerned with. However, if all SCs for teaching colleges followed this advice, wouldn't we basically be teling job applicants that a couple years on the market adjuncting is now a basic requirement for a job?

I understand this is where the field is going anyway, with far more applicants than jobs, so maybe my concern misplaced. But I'm wondering what the field can do to help keep young academics from a couple of years of poverty before the possibility of full-time work. A few ideas:

1) Directors of Graduate Studies could work to ensure that graduate students have a variety of courses under their belts before graduating.
2) Departments could offer post-defense funding for graduate students to give them an extra year of teaching, if they don't get a job in their first market run. (Something like an internal post-doc, focused on teaching.)
3) But then what do we do about the variety of institutions? Maybe DGSs could work with local colleges (without graduate programs) to place graduate students into adjunct positions while working on their degrees?

Anonymous said...

Adjuncting for several years post-Ph.D. isn't the only way to get a variety of teaching experience. Taking longer than the guaranteed funding lasts is quite common at my Ph.D. institution, and lots of people teach continuing ed classes, online classes, and summer classes at my Ph.D. university (a large, private, non-elite school that is Leiter-ranked) and take adjunct positions at the local Jesuit institution, the local community college, and a small state college nearby. Sometimes they adjunct also after finishing their Ph.D., but lots of this goes on while writing their dissertations, sometimes for years.

Also, lots of people are on the market for the fifth or sixth time jumping around from VAP to VAP or tenure-track jobs they want to move out from. You don't have to adjunct for several years to meet this expectation. There are several other ways to do so. Teaching during graduate school has become much more important, I think, to getting a job than publishing during grad school, just because there are so many more teaching schools than research schools.

Anonymous said...

I just want to vomit, because I feel guilty. I got hired at a CC last year. It took me three years to get a TT job, but my three years pales in comparison to what so many on here are going through.

I've never attended an APA meeting, and now, after reading this, I might never attend one.

Anonymous said...

This is a response to Anon December 20th, 7:56, who said:

"I was given really good advice about rejection from a faculty member when I was a grad students. He told me that if you get a paper rejected, look at the comments, make adjustments, and get it back in the mail in 48 hours or less"

I think you really have to be careful with this kind of advice. The reason is that following it too religiously can result in not taking seriously enough or dealing fully enough with the critical comments of your referees. And here's the worry about that: if you submit an insufficiently modified paper, and you get the very same referee that rejected your paper the first time, your paper will get rejected out of hand. I have been asked to referee three times in the past year for papers I have already rejected for other journals, but which were completely unchanged when they came to me from the new journals. In all cases I told the editors the situation and asked if they still wanted a report from me. In two of the cases, I was asked to write the report. Obviously, in both cases the report was negative. This is not just because it's really annoying to write detailed comments and then have the author not even take them into account. It's because the flaws in the original paper were not fixed. So, my advice is not to get it back in the mail in 48 hours or less. My advice is to take into account the referees' comments, so that if you end up getting the same referee (or a different one with the same concerns), your paper won't be re-rejected for exactly the same reasons. Take into account the referee's comments, that is, even if doing so requires more than 48 hours to satisfactorily do.

(I'm posting this now, rather than at the time, because I just received the latest such request, and so I was reminded of Anon's comment. I'm also posting anonymously to preserve the blind review process for the papers I just finished refereeing.)

Anonymous said...

The important question is: Did you send the same referee report, unchanged? (I would have done so.)

Anonymous said...

I sent the same referee report, with a little explanatory note at the top.