Wednesday, April 4, 2012

View #8 & Update

So, it seems as though enthusiasm for the contest format of the View From Your Window series has waned significantly. And I include myself here. Going forward, I'm just going to tell you where the photos were taken.



Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA. Submitted by Nicholas Havrilla and Angela Coventry. Thanks for submitting, and keep 'em coming!

--Mr. Zero

36 comments:

zombie said...

Good ol' PSU.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean the contest is canceled? Or does it mean that it's now extremely easy to win the contest?

Anonymous said...

"Does this mean the contest is canceled? Or does it mean that it's now extremely easy to win the contest?"

Yes.

Anonymous said...

Where's the football coach having an intimate encounter with a child? Oh, sorry...wrong PSU.

Anonymous said...

We can still guess, though. Right?

I think it's University of Phoenix.

Anonymous said...

This is a comment for a possible new thread.

Over the years I have heard that top programs don't allow their students to fail out b/c it would reflect poor judgment on the smart selectors of grad students.

Now that Leiter is promoting getting data for attrition from programs this will be interesting to see.

Clearly there is a combination effect. Better students in better programs should finish. But MIT had 55 of 60 graduate with 2 still enrolled and 3 leave). That's a staggering 91 success completion rate, and if you think the two left in are from 2006 and will finish, that's a 95% completion rate.

I know my program didn't do that well. I was the only person from my cohort who finished with a Ph.D. There were a lot of M.A.s given, but 95%!

Good lord that's a lot of grads. If the better programs are doing something greater than just training good students, then we need to know. The person who told me they weren't allowed to drop out was a Princeton person. It will be interesting to see if Princeton provides its data.

Another question is: What should an attrition rate be, really?

Anonymous said...

Off topic for this thread, but not, I hope, for this blog: Is anybody else *totally done* with the "Your qualifications were very good, but we have found someone whose qualifications better fit the needs of the position" language in this year's batch of PFOs? Like, totally done? It's getting all over my nerves. I'm not sure why this jargon in particular is getting to me, but I find it terribly patronizing. So, PFO writers, if you're reading this blog, knock it off with this, okay?

End of rant,

TSS

Anonymous said...

10:52,

I'm only interested in attrition rates if we also have reasons for attrition. I would suspect that programs with poor funding, limited opportunities for professional development, or notoriously bad advisors to have higher attrition rates. But that would just be my guess.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree. I just received a PFO with that language. The person hired had three publications and was one year outside of theIr Ph.D. I have thirty publications plus two books and am five years post-Ph.D. However, I did notice that the hire is a family man, and so are most of the faculty in the department, while I'm a single gay person. Way to to use "fit" as a tool to discriminate!

Anonymous said...

4:59,

How did they know you were gay?

Anonymous said...

I told them in my cover letter. I'm out of the closet. Also, I am cross trained in queer studies. The notion that you should be private about your sexual orientation and marital status is so heteronormative.

Anonymous said...

And my next question is, how do you know that was why they didn't hire you?

It might have been their reason. But it might not have been. To assume that a search committee is homophobic because they didn't hire you is a bit extreme.

Anonymous said...

@212
Let's not assume the worst without evidence shall we? Maybe the other person's publications were better than yours? Maybe the committee thought they were more important or were in better places or fit in better in the context of the department?

Maybe it was a million things. Maybe you're cover letter isn't all that good? Maybe it was, in all seriousness, bad circumstantial luck on the part of the person reading your application (they were in a bad mood and so didn't give you the consideration you deserved) etc etc.

Anonymous said...

4:59 AM

Or maybe you just weren't as good as the other guy. Often times the 'fit' language is just used to be nice (it's not you, it's me).

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why philosophers do not "fit" with the rest of society. We're just not as good as the plumbers and CEOs of the world. Let's be honest: Search committees hire people like themselves. If you don't fit, that just means you don't come from the same social strata as they do. That might include not having the right skin color or sexual orientation.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to keep saying this until I'm blue in the face, but it's worth repeating.

4:59 writes: "The person hired had three publications and was one year outside of theIr Ph.D. I have thirty publications plus two books and am five years post-Ph.D."

OK, and so what? People on the market need to stop believing that there is a magic formula for hiring, and that Search Committees routinely get it wrong. (Yes, I mentioned this on a previous post, and will keep doing so so long as my comments get approved.) OK, so you have more publications. And if that were the sole criteria for all hiring decisions, then perhaps you could attribute their decision to improper bias. But search committees don't think that way. (If they did, why would we bother with such detailed applications? Just send us your publications list, we can do simple math, and the biggest number gets hired.)

Just from your description, I'd guess that the person they hired showed a great deal of promise. 3 publications 1 year after PhD? That's impressive. (Sure, you also seem impressive, but it's not like they turned you down to hire someone unqualified.)

But there is so much more that goes into such decisions:
1. Academic fit matters. Do you and this person overlap in every teaching and research area? If not, perhaps they wanted someone who could offer something you can't. That means you're out of the running from the start.
2. Maybe they see you as a potential flight risk. What school was this? If it's not a top researching school, the SC might worry that you would leave the first chance you get at a more research-focused job. Some SCs want the best, regardless of the risk. Others want a long-term investment. Your career trajectory may not fit what they want in a colleague.
3. Quality matters. If those 3 publications were more substantive, innovative, better written, and in better journals than your publications, that may have swayed them. (One reason why SCs don't just count the number of publications is because many of us would rather see fewer, better publications than more, weaker ones.) And your books? Written or edited or co-edited? Which presses? These things matter, and the SC may not share your views on how impressive your publications are.

The bottom line is, there is no magic formula. And SCs do not all work in the same way. Even the same department will appear to have very different values and criteria from year to year, if different people serve on SCs.

Is it possible they discriminated against you? Absolutely. Is it a certainty? Not by any means.

Anonymous said...

Let’s be honest: you’re talking out of your ass.
Many job candidates will go to enormous lengths to avoid the conclusion that they aren’t as good at philosophy as the one who actually got the job. Sometimes they’re right – choosing a colleague from the pool of candidates is a very inexact science.

Anonymous said...

Search committees hire people like themselves. If you don't fit, that just means you don't come from the same social strata as they do. That might include not having the right skin color or sexual orientation.

Prove it or gtfo.

It's understandable to want to make excuses for why you didn't get a job. I do it. What I don't do is ever really believe that a group of people who don't know me, who have had to sift through applications, have decided that the only reason not to hire me was because of some irrelevant reason. It takes a whole lot of mind-reading and wishful thinking to bring yourself to believe that with zero evidence.

In a job market as bad as ours even really excellent amazing people will not get jobs. When a search committee can ask for, and receive, applications from hundreds of people even for crazy specific bizarre jobs, I think it's delusional to assume you were the best candidate.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in the idea of explicitly mentioning one's sexual orientation in a cover letter. (a) Is this good strategy? Does the mention of one's sexual orientation increase the odds that you'll get an interview? (b) Is it appropriate to mention your sexual orientation (apart from whether it's good strategy to do so)? A sexual orientation isn't a credential. Of course, cover letters can include facts about one's hobbies, hometown, family situation, etc., and these aren't credentials either. But given that sexual orientation isn't a credential, we need some other reason to think that mentioning it in a cover letter is appropriate. What's that reason?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible they discriminated against you? Absolutely. Is it a certainty? Not by any means.

This is the truth bomb. Why are we still talking?

Anonymous said...

Obviously you don't know the meaning of heteronormativity.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you don't know the meaning of heteronormativity.



Riiiiiiiiight.

Again, there's a burden of proof here and you are unfairly shifting it. You are assuming, with no proof whatsoever, that you can divine the secret reasons behind your not being hired and that it all boiled to the fact that you outed yourself.

You were given a lot of different alternative reasons why you might not have been hired. What was wrong with those again? Why assume the worst?

Anonymous said...

Hilarious, a Rejection Generator! You must love this:
http://stoneslidecorrective.com/?page_id=441

Anonymous said...

Reagrding the issue of bias, I have no proof but I do believe that there is bias involved in SC decisions. Bias against rival views, against certain programs, against national origin, against candidates' advisors, against non-traditional programs, against interdisciplinary programs, against single people, against city people, and several other biases that some of you may wish to add...

In this so-called job market, there are too many well-qualified candidates, which makes it almost a necessity for SC's to appeal to irrelevant factors, which certainly may create bias. Again, I have no proof, if I had proof, it would be a matter of court now! But I do believe that such biases exist and lead a lot of very good philosophers to be discouraged, disillusioned, disheartened!

I also have to say that I find it absolutely disgusting to attack a person like this by implying that they are lousy philosophers and that's why they didn't get the job! Trying to rationalize SC decisions is simple wishful thinking. In this market there are no rational SC decisions! There, I said it, fight me...

Anonymous said...

This is real, and perhaps your university puts this on too. This is how we knew people are gay in the Midwest.

Time: 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Location: University Union

Description: Do you think you have good, "gaydar?" Come and test it out at our, "Guess Who's Gay Panel!" A panel of 8 people will keep you guessing! Gay? Lesbian? Bisexual? Straight?

You be the judge!

Seriously!

Anonymous said...

@11:10

You're right. In this market, just about any position ends up attracting a huge pool of candidates who are, for all intents and purposes, identically qualified on paper--i.e., they have the same number of publications, or their publications are all of roughly the same quality, or their publications are all published in roughly the same calibre journals, etc., etc., etc., etc. When that happens--as it invariably does!--the SC may choose to break the tie on the basis of arbitrary and irrelevant factors. And if we are honest with ourselves, we should recognize that this is often only one of two possible courses available to it in such situations--the other being to randomize the decision procedure entirely. But SCs would much rather be biased than fair, because at least they're getting what they want that way.

Anonymous said...

I also have to say that I find it absolutely disgusting to attack a person like this by implying that they are lousy philosophers and that's why they didn't get the job!

Wait, who implied that?
I see some commenters objecting to the *assumption* that not getting a job was due to the disgruntled commenters sexual preference. I see some offering alternative explanations.

Trying to rationalize SC decisions is simple wishful thinking. In this market there are no rational SC decisions! There, I said it, fight me...

What's to fight? You already admitted that you have no evidence. You're lying down before the fight begins.

Anonymous said...

"Trying to rationalize SC decisions is simple wishful thinking. In this market there are no rational SC decisions!"

Sigh. So *all* SCs do it wrong? Hell of a way to end a comment about the problems with bias.

Anonymous said...

And if we are honest with ourselves, we should recognize that this is often only one of two possible courses available to it in such situations--the other being to randomize the decision procedure entirely. But SCs would much rather be biased than fair, because at least they're getting what they want that way.


If I'm honest with myself I, first, do not automatically assume that search committees are racist or bigoted. Then I appreciate just how bad the market is. Then I put myself in the position of a SC member who has 30 excellent candidates but room to interview only 12.

Then I ask myself how I would break this kind of tie and which side considerations are justifiable. In my mind the following are all justifiable *and* more likely to have happened than simple bigotry:

1. You might be one of the best qualified but you seem to be a potential flight risk. I don't know if I will be able to secure funding again next year for another search so I don't want the candidate we hire to immediately jump back into the market next year.

2. If you are as qualified as you say (dozens of pubs, two books) then there is a decent chance I've met you before. If we didn't get along then there's a good chance I'll throw out your application. I'm looking for a colleague and you rubbed me the wrong way [this may or may not be defensible depending on why we didn't get along]

3. Your area of expertise is not exactly what we were looking for or overlaps too strongly with someone we already have in our faculty. Even if you are clearly superior to this person, there is little sense in hiring you when we already have someone covering that area.

4. Your cover letter or writing sample was poorly written in some way. I'm not saying that I would toss you out because you outed yourself but if the cover letter is also poorly written or seems to misunderstand the mission or aims of my university then I might toss you if we have others who are also qualified and had better letters. Furthermore if your cover letter was not up to snuff or simply just not as amazing as some others then even though you did everything right it could still be true that you just didn't measure up this time.

5. Your letters of reference implied that you would be a bad fit for this job. If this was a teaching heavy position and your letters say nothing about teaching and you yourself also say little about teaching (you did say you have had two post-docs which I assume means little teaching experience) then I'll pass you up all things considered.

6. I don't think it's entirely unfair to consider the quality or reputation of your dissertation advisers.

7. I hate gays so I pass you up.

It may very well be that you were an excellent candidate but for any number of reasons, not the least of which is 1-5 above, you just didn't make the cut. Maybe you were #13 on a list of the top 12, who knows. The problem is that it is a mistake, an understandable but still highly irrational and unfair mistake, to assume that a search committee decided against you because you outed yourself. There is no reason to think that heteronormativity ruled you out anymore than that your race or geographical location did.

You can keep believing that the one and only reason why you didn't get an interview is because you outed yourself but given the arguments amassed against you then you might as well believe that god told the search committee not to hire you.

Dr. Killjoy said...

"I have thirty publications plus two books and am five years post-Ph.D."

READING #1: In the last 5 years or so, you have managed to publish close to 30 standard length articles in top 20 general journals and/or tippity top specialty journals, as well as bust out two monographs with top presses. You fucking rule.

READING #2: Not counting book reviews, conference proceedings, discussion pieces, and edited anthologies, you still have a handful of publications in top journals and a monograph with a pretty decent academic press. Not too shabby for 5 years out. Well done, mate!

READING #3: Not counting book reviews, conference proceedings, your blog, letters to the editor, articles in journals unfamiliar to anyone outside or inside your field, textbooks with churn 'em and burn 'em presses, and books in the Philosophy of Pop Culture Series, you likely have a CV that is for utter shit. Your desperate need to pad, exaggerate. or just actively lie about your accomplishments makes you simultaneously deserving of scorn, pity, and a right hard smack to the face.

For starters, #1 is just obvious bullshit. I can think of 1 perhaps 2 people that come anywhere near this, and I am positive that you are neither. The mere fact that you would implicitly paint yourself such a ludicrously rosey picture strongly suggests that we abandon all good will and charity in order to bypass #2 and move you straight into the lying sack of shit space of #3. Furthermore, the fact that you obviously didn't merit an on-campus (and quite likely I suspect also failed to receive an initial interview) confirms your boasts to be little more than the fantastical delusions of a no-talent poser. Perhaps that had something to do with you not getting the job.

Anonymous said...

I learned a new argument form!

Fischer argues that free will is compatible with determinism. But if we are honest with ourselves, we should recognize that free will is incompatible with determinism. So, Fischer is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Philosophers who get jobs are clearly superior to philosophers who don't get jobs. Fuck you.

Anonymous said...

Fischer argues that free will is compatible with determinism. But if we are honest with ourselves, we should recognize that free will is incompatible with determinism. So, Fischer is wrong.

I was trying to blend in and have lunch among the students. This made me lol and my blending efforts disintegrated.

Anonymous said...

Dream on 11:08 dream on... Have fun in the sand!

Wait, just one question; are you being ironical, or are you just plain stupid and mean? If you're being ironical, I just got it, which would make me stupid. But if you really are a mean stupid sob, well, that's that and nothing can be done about it...

Anonymous said...

@1:47

I was being ironic, although I don't think that makes you stupid.

In a profession that has such obvious problems with sexism, racism, and classism, I, for one, do not find it all inconceivable that there gazillions of homophobes among us as well, that a sizeable portion of said homophobes sit on SCs, and that the homophobia of said homophobes occasionally works against LGBT job candidates.

Anonymous said...

4:12, nobody said it was inconceivable. That's a stupid straw man.