Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Campus Visits for Post-Docs?

An anonymous commenter (whose comment I can't find right now*) asks about what campus visits for post-docs are like. There were a couple of replies in that thread, but nothing like the sort of lively discussion for which we are known far and wide. So I thought I'd go ahead and post a real post about the question.

There are, of course, (at least) two different kinds of post doctoral fellowship: your teaching post-doc, and your research post-doc, and the two kinds are likely to have different kinds of campus visit. But I don't know about this, since I've never been invited to campus to interview for a post-doc.

What say you, Smokers?

--Mr. Zero

*This was a little while ago, and it was posted in a thread that was mostly over. I meant to post a post about it at the time, but things got away from me. Then the person came back and asked to have a main post about it, and I meant to post about it then, but things got away from me again. Sorry. I hope this isn't too late to be helpful to that person.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unrelated comment:

I just recieved a self-identification form from a school to which I applied. There was the usual bit which said that completion of the form is voluntary and won't affect the status of my application.

The unusual part was that at the end it asked whether I do or do not give permision to release the data to the search committee.

If a candidate does give permission to release the data then the committee will know the candidate's gender/race. And it seems that this could certainly affect the status of the candidate's application (for better or worse). And if the candidate's file does not include that information then the committee will know that either the candidate did not release the information or that the candidate did not complete the form. And this seems like it could affect the status of one's application.

So it seems likely false that completion of the form won't affect one's application. But also, I'm just not sure what the prudent action is for a candidate given his or her race and gender.

Thoughts?

(and I don't mean to highjack the thread, just curious what others think)

Anonymous said...

I have had two campuses visits for post-docs over the past two years (though one was technically a dissertation completion fellowship, but the school also offers a post-doc). Both required very little teaching commitment and were meant to increase diversity at the school. Both were for minority students and were university-wide competitions, meaning each dept., if they so choose, submits a candidate and a selection committee narrows things down. The department is deeply invested in you winning the post-doc so I got mostly soft-ball questions from them and information about the program and the department. Sometimes these post-docs are meant to increase the diversity of the faculty in the long-run and while no promises were made there was suggestions that they want to keep good people there. Anyways, the committees were made-up of members of different departments and sometimes they ask about research, other times about teaching. Despite the minimal teaching requirements, there were more questions about teaching and adapting to the school. They wanted me to feel comfortable there and fit was big deal to them. In both places I presented a paper to a general audience (philosophers were greatly outnumbered so it had to be accessible to people in various humanities) and for one place I gave a teaching demo. It's not much different than on-campus visits go otherwise, meet a bunch of people in the faculty, see the school, see the neighborhood, meet with the dean, dinner out. Everyone was very nice both times (I haven't really had a cut throat interview so it wasn't different from any other interview I had except more people from different disciplines). Good luck, but I don't think it should be approached any different than a regular campus visit.

Anonymous said...

I had an on-campus interview for a two-year postdoc at a liberal arts school a few years ago that was the same as other on-campus interviews I've had for tenure track postions. I gave a mock-class on a relevant topic (of my choice), met with members of several departments relevant to my work, met with admins, was given a campus tour, etc. That particular institution had a rule that all job candidates (even for one year positions) had to bring candidates to campus, so I don't think my interview was very different than it would have been if I had been up for a tenure-track job.

That said, I think practices vary widely from place to place. I was offered a different (more research-oriented, but which still involved teaching) postdoc at a research institution based on my "paper" application alone. That school didn't even call or Skype me before emailing me about the offer.

Anonymous said...

I completed a research post doc at the Centre for Research on Ethics at the University of Montreal. No in person interview was required. I also applied to and reached the finals of a teaching post-doc at Lawrence University. I did not get it, but again no flyout was part of the interview process.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know how the Bersoff searches run? Do they interview at the APA? Do they do on campus interviews? Or do they just make offers?

Anonymous said...

Thanks admins; I was the original pos(t)er of the question, and I appreciate the follow-up. Cheers!

And thanks to all for your helpful advice and anecdotes. I had no idea what to expect, honestly. (From the visit, not from you.)

Anonymous said...

1:56:

In the only case I know of from experience, they just make offers.

Anonymous said...

I interviewed for (and got) a 2-year research postdoc in last year's hiring season. The on-campus visit was almost identical to the on-campus I had for a TT job: 30-minute to 1-hour interviews with individual faculty members, an "informal" lunch with several members of the department (clearly also still part of the interview), and a job talk. The only thing I found odd was that the visit did not include a dinner or other evening social event. They flew me in late the night before the interview, and out the afternoon of the interview.

Anonymous said...

A related question: If one has a 2 or 3 year post-doc (not "1 year with possibility of renewal") is there an expectation that the post-doc is going to stay the whole term, and not go back on the market the first year? I know this probably differs depending on the appointment, but I wonder if anyone has experience with this.

Anonymous said...

It's true that there are no flyouts/interviews specifically for the Bersoff, but in years when NYU is doing both junior tenure track and Bersoff searches (like this one), there's significant overlap between the applicant pools. So some Bersoff applicants will also be flown out to interview for the tenure track position. My understanding is that for such candidates, the flyout effectively serves both as a flyout for the TT position, and a flyout for the Bersoff--if you totally bomb, you probably won't get either, whereas if you do pretty well but they don't make you a TT offer, they might still offer you a Bersoff.

zombie said...

Anon 10:49 -- I had a two year post-doc, and I went on the market the first year. And the year after. A TT job is, of course, better than a post-doc if you're looking for long-term employment, and post-doc programs know this. The lag between being hired and beginning a TT position is several months, so you would still be staying at your post-doc for a good stretch. But, if you get a TT offer, some schools will also permit you to complete a post-doc and defer beginning your TT job, because having a post-doc is a unique educational opportunity that can make you a better scholar.

zombie said...

FYI, I ended up leaving my post-doc a few months shy of my official end date to take a TT job. But I still completed all my post-doc requirements, so I think it was a win-win.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anon 9:21.

I considered going on the market the first year, but considered that I would probably burn some bridges by doing so. I also was still trying to dig my way out of the financial hole that the move had put me in (no moving aid with the post doc). In some ways, I regret not going on the market the first year though.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard anything about the Yale Humanities Mellon Fellowships? I'm wondering where they are in their process so it would be most useful to know if there are people out there who have heard from them...