Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A discouraging word...

As of right this minute, there are 199 job ads listed over at PhilJobs, of which only 132 are tenure-track. (What's with all the department head vacancies?) Given that we are now at the halfway-through-October mark, or the traditional start of the job market season (for you youngsters out there, the APA used to publish an actual newspaper, made of ground up trees, and mailed it via the US Postal Service. Those were crazy times.), that strikes me as not very good.

So, maybe there are stragglers. Maybe search committees are no longer feeling the pressure of that old school October deadline, and they're taking their time. Or maybe this is going to be a bad year for the philosophy job market.

It's pretty lousy in my AOS/AOC too. But maybe better for others.

Commence to analyze minutiae/whine/whinge/grouse/exclaim/cuss/speculate/do a happy dance/whatever.

~zombie

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

A month or so ago I thought things looked alright. The job season seemed to start earlier than it used to and the ads kept coming. Although they did keep coming, my impression is that the volume of ads never really picked up. And so now the market doesn't look great. But just as it started earlier it might continue for longer. As Zombie notes, with the mid-Oct deadline gone this isn't so improbable. Let's hope so.

Anonymous said...

Every job I am applying to already has an Visiting person in that slot. Now, I know people always say that doesn't mean much. But it seems like many departments over the last few years do end up hiring the visiting person (at teaching orientated schools, at least.) So, I find myself bummed out.

Anonymous said...

This may be the beginnings of a new job season timeline (with rolling postings of ads all fall), but I'm not betting on it. I, too, noticed significantly fewer jobs in general and in my AOSs than in recent years.

Let the panic commence!

Anonymous said...

@10:54

Don't be bummed just yet. There are no guarantees for visiting faculty who apply to tt positions within the same department. I am visiting and applying for a tt position in my department, but given the competitiveness of the discipline, I am not a shoe-in. I am well-liked, get great teaching evaluations, and have some publications, but there are many highly qualified people in my area. And, hiring decisions also involve more than just qualifications. Deans have a say in hiring, so if a Dean prefers one candidate over another, this can impact the choice on who gets hired. This is the reality of the market and the academy.

@Zombie

I noticed the department head listings, too. I thought that department heads are usually promoted from within, but there are so many listings this year (and, I noticed a few from last year). Do you think this has anything to do with the competitiveness of the market? (I.e. Because there is so much competition at the junior level, this has increased competition at the senior level?)

Anonymous said...

There are not many drawbacks to taking consecutive visiting assistant prof positions. You might end up being the internal (wired) candidate for their next TT search. I know a philosopher who has been knitting these temp positions together for the past 6 years and this year he was hired into a tenured position...yes, associate professor with tenure, since the institution counted his years as a visiting assistant towards tenure. The only downside is that you have to move around a lot. But you get to see all kinds of institutions and live in different parts of the country (or even outside of the country). Good luck.

zombie said...

Not all schools promote dept chairs from within. At my grad school, the faculty took turns and the chair changed every few years. The school where I work now hires specifically for dept chair positions, and inside candidates have to apply for the position along with everyone else. Presumably, all those chair vacancies are at places that do something similar.

I dunno if there is more competition at the senior level, but I'm inclined to think not. I think it's more likely that fewer people at the senior level are retiring because of the lousy economy, which affects hiring at the junior level.

Anonymous said...

Reposting here where it's more appropriate: Does anyone know why UNC has an open TT assistant position that is only advertised in one out of the way place? Is a Philjobs ad coming or is this a bid to keep applicants low because they already have a candidate picked out? Some other motivation that I'm overlooking?

https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/60821

Derek Bowman said...

I would be pretty happy if it turned out that people in visiting spots were likely to be hired into permanent positions. That would mean that the work we do in the NTT jobs we're forced to take is actually valued and rewarded.

Of course it would be even better if they could find a way to just skip the national search in those cases.

zombie said...

12:06: peopleadmin is primarily a site for receiving/managing applications (Interfolio has a similar service for SCs).

My guess is that they'll be advertising the job more broadly, but that the SC had to set up their peopleadmin site first (so they could include "where to apply" in their ad).

I know of a few other jobs not listed at PhilJobs, but they're mostly specialist interdisciplinary positions.

Anonymous said...

zombie: can you share those jobs with us; or indicate, however vaguely, how we might find them?

Anonymous said...

"What's with all the department head vacancies?"

It's a pretty shitty job that sucks time away from your research. Lots of departments decide, "nope, fuck it, none of us want that shit, but if we hire someone, we can force them to do it."

I would never, not ever, want to chair a department that has collectively decided it's incapable of leading itself.

Anonymous said...

What's up with the Emory post on HEJ? They want someone with AOCs in Ancient, Medieval, AND MODERN, as well as one of: Bioethics, Evironmental ethics, or Phil of LAW. That's 4 required AOCs. Isn't that rather excessive?

Anonymous said...

12:06 here.

@zombie: the link I posted was to the internal application site. The job as I saw was on InsideHigherEd.

@2:33: it may have something to do with the fact that the Emory job is not part of their main campus, but at a less selective branch campus called Emory at Oxford. They have a smaller budget, smaller faculty and likely need more bases covered in terms of teaching.

zombie said...

12:32. Bioethics jobs are sometimes not posted to philjobs b/c they're open to people from a variety of disciplines (MDs, JDs, PhDs incl. philosophers, etc). Asbh.org has listings.

I've seen things show up at HigherEdJobs that are not on philjobs.

Jobs suitable for x-phi scholars can be found in non-phil departments (psych, neuroscience, cog sci) and they also don't always get advertised on philjobs. Someone somewhere probably has a blog that keeps track of those jobs, but I don't know it. The Experimental Philosophy blog keeps track of x-phi hires: http://philosophycommons.typepad.com/xphi/2014/05/jobs-for-experimental-philosophers.html

Anonymous said...

"That's 4 required AOCs. Isn't that rather excessive?"

You haven't read many CVs, I take it.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that dept heads and chairs are different from one another. Chairs rotate among senior faculty; but the chair is primarily faculty. Heads are actually an arm of the administration and often involve outside hires. No idea why so many dept head hires. Just throwing out that distinction, which I recently learned of.

Anonymous said...

How about all the (semi) open rank jobs? Lots in my AOS for assistant or associate. Maybe financial times are less tight and it's time to refill senior-ish slots that were closed for a while? Pure speculation, but I've been struck by the number of associate level options.

Anonymous said...

The comparatively low # of TT jobs is prima facie disconcerting, I admit.

But here are two inviolable truths about philosophers. First, they are lazy. Second, they like to quarrel about decisions. (By which I mean: ANY decision. I have sat in department hiring meetings in which at least fifteen minutes were spent attempting to vote on how to vote for candidates.)

So, given these two inviolable truths, I feel MUCH better (and indeed am hardly surprised that) there has not been a great deluge of TT jobs posted by what is now a non-existent deadline.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, in September we were getting a few jobs, sometimes more, posted everyday. Now that stupid Syracuse postdoc has been stuck on the top for the third day in a row.

Anonymous said...

12:39 - your department spent only 15 minutes on voting on how to vote for candidates? My department has spent hours over the course of several meetings. We still don't have a new procedure.

Anonymous said...

7:27,

That may have been true at one point, but I haven't seen any evidence of it in the various departments I've studied and/or taught in. From what I can tell, the distinction is likely, at best, a hold-over from the past.

William James said...

There are always several ads being placed later than October. Really, it is way too early to be freaking out about the perceived paucity of positions. A lot of departments are just now making appeals for faculty lines and won't be able to place an ad until November or December.

Matt said...

Anon 12:06: I'm the search chair for the UNC junior TT job. Our job ad was waiting for EEO approval from UNC, and the job listing appeared on the peopleadmin site once that approval came through yesterday. We're in the process of posting the job to Philjobs, and it should be up soon. We certainly don't already have a candidate picked out or anything like that. Feel free to be in touch if you have any questions.

Anonymous said...

So which AOS/AOCs are there more jobs being advertised for? Which less?

Anonymous said...

Looks like a pretty bad year for ancient philosophy and (by comparison with other years) ethics. There seem to be quite a few phil science positions. As always, phil language and metaphysics are not high in demand (although undoubtedly all the leiterrific open positions are aimed at recruting people working in those areas).

Anonymous said...

@Matt: Anon 12:06 here. Thanks for the helpful information. You know it's job application season when people start reading too much into everything and seeing conspiracies everywhere.

Here's hoping the rest of you are doing a better job of keeping calm and carrying on than I am. Only 5-6 more months before this (particular season) will be all over.

Anonymous said...

I haven't really been keeping much of an eye out (not on the market this year), but a friend who is has said that there are a good number of jobs in social and political, and comparatively very few in normative ethics and metaethics.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a (comparatively) decent year for Continental, and by that I mean there's, like, 7 jobs.

Anonymous said...

What's the basis for the idea that the top research schools advertising positions with OPEN AOSs are really looking for LEMMings?

Anonymous said...

1:34

Induction.
Plus, the knowledge that at leiterrific departments, real philosophy = lemming philosophy.

Anonymous said...

lemmings, indeed

Anonymous said...

there are maybe 12-15 TT jobs in phil mind.

Question: any chance that jobs looking for 'metaphysics and epistemology, broadly construed' are open to a mind candidate?

Anonymous said...

8:09am,

Yes, I believe that phil mind and phil language (and even some phil science) falls into that category.

Anonymous said...

what about applying for straight metaphysics jobs when your aos is mind? opinions? anecdata?

Anonymous said...

1:34,

My opinion: in general apply if the place does not have a graduate program. You can also look to see what sorts of topics get covered in the department's metaphysics course. If it includes the mind-body problem, phil religion, or free will, then my guess is that "metaphysics" is being used pretty broadly.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know whether Harvard and NYU are looking to hire again in moral/political, after searches that didn't end in hires last year?

zombie said...

1:34: It depends on the department. In a large department, if they're looking for something really specific, chances are they really mean it. But in a small department that needs people to teach a variety of classes, teaching competence in metaphysics might matter more than specialization within metaphysics.

Anonymous said...

@9:02 AM: I heard a few months ago that Harvard's first priority is to make a senior hire in moral in the next 2 years, but they were also hoping to have a junior search again.

Anonymous said...

huh. I have no idea about NYU/Harvard but it's interesting that there are searches that don't end in hires. I hadn't realized that happened. With most searches ending up with several hundred applicants, how in the *world* does that happen?

Anonymous said...

not exactly on topic but what in the *world* is digital humanities and why is every university looking for a post-doc in it?

also, there are *so* many ethics jobs, I had no idea! I *seriously* might have rethought my dissertation topic if I'd known what the ethics/non-ethics jobs ratio would be. (maybe there are more ethicists such that the competitiveness is about the same?)

Anonymous said...

@6:07: Just my 2 cents with random gossip about why schools don't make hires.

Yale, at least, didn't make a hire last year in metaphysics because none of their top choices accepted their offers, and then they didn't go down further on the list. This has been a problem for schools where the tenure clock has been regarded as too harsh, people want to start a job with a real possibility of getting tenure.

For a place like Harvard, because Korsgaard is there, they often have very strong grad students in ethics. Of course they aren't going to do an internal hire. But at Harvard there was a perception among the grad students that the people they brought out to campus were worse than their best grad students, and I've heard this influenced the decision to wait.

It's also a crapshoot - sometimes you misjudge people based on Skype interviews/dossiers, and you just don't get anyone good. I remember a search in undergrad (it was a SLAC so undergrads were involved a bit) where 3/4 candidates they brought out were not very good, and they just got lucky on the fourth.

Finally, the sad truth is that for places like this 'several hundred applicants' is quite meaningless because they will throw out applications not from top-20 Leiterrific (Broterrific?) schools. That claim that Harvard read every application and so found Rusty Jones is just a myth; Gisela looked for his application after hearing about him.

Anonymous said...

Also, I think some schools advertise almost every year, just to see what's out there. If nobody amazes them, they just bide their time.

Anonymous said...

"For a place like Harvard, because Korsgaard is there, they often have very strong grad students in ethics. Of course they aren't going to do an internal hire. But at Harvard there was a perception among the grad students that the people they brought out to campus were worse than their best grad students, and I've heard this influenced the decision to wait."

Why "of course they [Harvard] won't do an internal hire"? If they are looking for an ethicist, and do a search, and find that one of their students is the best of the applicants, why would they not hire that student?

Anonymous said...

"This has been a problem for schools where the tenure clock has been regarded as too harsh, people want to start a job with a real possibility of getting tenure."

And sometimes applicants don't really want to leave their current gigs, and use an offer from a school like Yale to secure some extra perks or a raise.

zombie said...

I've applied for a couple of jobs in the last several years where there was no hire. They were all in departments creating new programs, and it was the case in both instances that, although they didn't say so in the ad, they were really looking for a senior person who could bring in money and lead the program. But it is not an AOS where they would be likely to get a senior person, because there are only a handful of them, and they're all at top schools already.

And yeah, some schools advertise open rank positions every year, and are clearly fishing for big fish.

Anonymous said...

Can was say that by now MOST of the U.S. tenure-track jobs for this job market season have been posted? Or will we actually get more come November? Anyone know of positions still to be posted?

I must say that it seems like not such a great year in terms of number of positions advertised...or maybe I'm wrong

Anonymous said...

I know of two good R1 TT jobs yet to be posted

Anonymous said...

9:50
don't be cryptic and water our mouth - say which ones, what areas

Anonymous said...

Any info on what happened to the Ethics position at Temple? The ad on Philjobs is listed as having prematurely expired, and the Interfolio page for the position is gone.

Anonymous said...

I'm a first-timer on the market. Here is one annoying thing:

First, I should say that Interfolio is awesome. Highly recommended. But one problem is that these colleges that use online forms for the applications send one separate e-mail to Interfolio for each one of your recommendations. So if you have four letters of recommendation, that doesn't just count as one delivery, but four.

Thus, the price is four times as high.

If you are on a search committee, and you want to be nice to your applicants, have letters of recommendation be sent together; to, for example, an e-mail address that you set up for the search.

Plus avoid these stupid online forms and programs which are a huge time suck. Just ask for materials to be sent to you. That is my recommendation.

Anonymous said...

"Any info on what happened to the Ethics position at Temple? The ad on Philjobs is listed as having prematurely expired, and the Interfolio page for the position is gone."

The search has been cancelled for budgetary reasons. (Source: someone at Temple)

Anonymous said...

another question of the form 'should i apply to jobs for X if my area is in y?'

philosophy of science: are they open to philosophy of special sciences? Philosophy of biology? Philosophy of evolutionary psychology? philosophy of cognitive science?

thoughts?

Anonymous said...

10:52 -- as someone recently on the market, and who is now on a search committee, I can assure you that at least some SCs are sensitive to the cost issue. I, for one, pushed really hard to use Interfolio's application system, which would have been free for applicants. But... the administration dictates such things, and we were obliged to use the system they demanded.
It's not always in the control of the SC.

zombie said...

7:04: Can you teach Philosophy of Science? If so, and it's a teaching position, then apply. If not, then no.

Anonymous said...

I just want to blow quick steam and say how annoying it is when schools that you applied for (after spending considerable time catering the applications) choose to end their search prematurely.

(I'm looking at you Temple University and Brooklyn College.)

And yes, I understand it may not be any one person's fault. I'm just expressing frustration. The end.

zombie said...

The Temple philosophy position was cancelled, along with every other new position in the college of lib arts, for budgetary reasons.