Monday, November 24, 2014

Worst year ever?

According to PhilJobs, there are, as of today, 228 active job listings, of which 115 are for TT positions. I count 80 expired ads that are already past deadline, giving us a total of 195 jobs.* Compare that to last year's hiring numbers (again, PhilJobs, so those are self-reported hires, and not likely to represent the actual number) where there were 216 TT hires. Which adds up to fewer jobs this year compared to last year. Possibly a lot fewer. And we are really, really past the point where a significant number of new jobs are going to appear, I should think. The torturously slow trickle is going to get slower. And then stop. First round interviews are already being scheduled. And PFOs are already going out. (This is actually a PFO thread, since a Smoker requested one. But first I'm gonna do some complainin'.)

I still have a couple of applications to get done, but my numbers are very low this year. 17 applications total (although I'm being geographically very, very picky this year). Still, I applied for about 60 jobs last year, and I was being pretty selective then, and this year there are only about 70 jobs total in my AOS (broadly construed).

I don't remember the numbers for my first year -- the year everything went to hell in a handbasket -- 2008/2009. And we were still in the JFP days then, so getting an accurate count was near impossible, but I don't think it was this bad.

On the plus side, my impression is that there are a lot more postdocs and fellowships than in past years.

PFOs. I got one last week.**


*I don't see a way to search PhilJobs for expired ads from the current job season without getting ALL 3,000+ expired ads, so it's possible there are more jobs that are already past deadline and expired. I count 80 such jobs going back to Aug 1, but make no warranties as to the accuracy of my eyesight and counting. Chalmers and Bourget: any chance of getting a search field added to limit searches by date or some such? Please?

** If your PFO indicates how many applications were received, please share that info.

Friday, November 21, 2014

In Support of Cheryl Abbate

Late update: John Protevi writes in to clear up some of my imprecisions in my original post:
[A] few things to correct. McAdams is an associate professor, not a full professor. And there were two students; one asked the question in class, another one pursued the matter after class with the recording and so on.
Thanks for clearing things up, John!

(Don't forget about Zombie's important post about interviews! You can use this as an open thread about the market, too.)

If you've been paying attention to the philosophy blogosphere, then you know that Daily Nous has a post up detailing a "political smear campaign" against a Marquette graduate student, Cheryl Abbate. According to Daily Nous, Abbate made a classroom decision during a discussion of Rawls to head off a discussion about gay marriage that a student attempted to initiate. She had a conversation about this decision with the student outside of class justifying her management of the classroom (that the student recorded and, it appears, lied about recording), and is now being attacked for "censorship" in the classroom by a full professor at her own school.

Please consider signing this open letter by John Protevi in support of Abbate. And read this by Charles Hermes, who encouraged us to write a post on this topic and who nicely details why it's important to support Abbate.

Read the following if you need to get caught up (or any of the links above):

At the center of this campaign, is a Political Science professor, John McAdams, who, it appears, has just emerged from a cryogenic freeze that started in the late nineties/early aughts, gnashing his teeth about the pernicious effects of "political correctness" and using terms like "gay lobby" without a hint of irony (so "trigger warning," if you click on this link).


After (if I'm remembering correctly), encouraging the student to record his conversation with Abbate, McAdams, emboldened by the remembrance of David Horowitz, posted snippets of it on his blog (without hearing Abbate's side of the story). McAdams criticized Abbate for her decisions about classroom management and accused her of being part of the vast left-wing conspiracy to silence all dissenting opinion or to make conservatives feel uncomfortable to voice their opinions.

Again: SMDH.

This is rich, coming from a man whose Rate My Professor listing is littered with references to his conservative, right-wing political beliefs (and suspenders) [sic throughout]:
Okay teacher. His bigoted attitude caused some views to be imperiously ignored. Also, according to him, this class requires a thorough background in Economics, which is not a prerequisite for the course. Conform and go along with what he says, and you'll be fine.
I took Policy with McAdams. FABULOUS suspenders everday. HOWEVER- If you are not a member of the Ron Paul fan club, the college republicans, or you don't write for the Warrior, you will be pissed off at his straight-up economist's approach to public policy. NO social graces.
So, why are we not using these testimonials from students to launch a campaign against McAdams' classroom management style? Perhaps we should send these students to record their conservations with McAdams and then "report" those conversations on our blogs expressing our worries about McAdams' inability to keep his political beliefs out of the classroom? No.

We understand that the classroom is a complicated place with dynamics that are unique to each class; hard decisions have to be made by teachers about how to manage classroom time on the basis of the unique dynamics of that class; and second-guessing teachers, especially graduate student teachers (and refraining from second-guessing students), doesn't create a space in which teachers are able to do their jobs well based on the unique dynamics of that class (also within the demands set on those teachers by the policies of their universities).

If anyone is undermining academic freedom and chilling speech, it's John McAdams.

--Jaded, Ph.D.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Do you have any questions for us?

This is the question I dread, the capstone of the interview, where I am to show (I guess) my interest and enthusiasm for the job/students/school/department, but NOT ask any questions that I could have looked up myself by perusing the department's website.

I always default to some variation on: Tell me about your students. And everybody always says the same thing about their students. And frankly, I have found students to be more or less the same at every school where I've taught. They're diverse. They range in ability. Blah blah blah. I mean, I've never taught anywhere that the undergrads as a whole were just radically better, or worse, or different, than anywhere else.

That stupid question does not seem to have hurt me, so I'm kind of inclined to think that it's just a rote question everyone asks to finish up the interview, but the answer doesn't matter (unless you massively blow it somehow).

So, open discussion here, as first-rounds approacheth: what questions do you have for them?


Friday, November 14, 2014

Deep Thought for Friday

I fucking hate this god damn shit.

--Mr. Zero

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Still gathering info about 1st-round interviews

I posted something about this a long time ago, but no it's a bit more of an appropriate time.

I'm trying to gather information about 1st round interviewing practices for 2014. You can help me by taking a few minutes out of your day to fill out a form.

You can access the form by clicking here. If any search committees or candidates have information, please consider filling it out.

So far, I've gotten a few responses:

(Click to embiggen)


(Comments are open; think of it as a job market open thread. Doesn't need to be related to this post.)

--Jaded, Ph.D.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hopefully Only Once More Unto the Breach

Obviously, it's job market time again. I'm doing job market stuff. It sucks. Here are some stray observations:
  • I have between 35 and 40 jobs to apply to as of right now. This is slightly below average, but not too bad. Unless you consider that in the two years prior to the Great Recession I applied to now fewer than 75 jobs a year, and have not been able to apply to more than 45 in any single year since. Then it's fucking terrible. 
    • Just for clarity's sake: I include 2008 as a year prior to the Great Recession. 
  • 100% of the jobs I will apply to accept online applications. The trend against paper/snail mail applications is nearing its inevitable endpoint. 
  • I'm doing applications while watching Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Feels somehow appropriate. 
  • There's a new application-management software package some of the HR departments are using. It's basically fine, but for some reason it won't let my browser autofill any information. (I'm using Chrome, but not for any particular reason. Should I be using something else?)
  • I'm glad to see that AcademicJobsOnline is being used more. I will use it six times this year, as of right now. It and Interfolio-for-search-committees are the easiest ways to apply for a job, and AJO is slightly easier than Interfolio. 
    • And another thing. AJO and Interfolio allow you to bug your letter writes once (each), instead of bugging them anew every time you apply for a job.
    • Is there a way to use AJO or interfolio to forward your letters to institutions that use their own in-house HR software package? For free? 
  • One school's application-management software, which seemed to be idiosyncratic, wants you to click "apply now" before you can go to the page where you upload all of your documents. Not sure I see the logic. 
  • This sucks. But only a little. 
    • Just kidding; it sucks a lot. 
  • I would rather not have to keep doing this year after year. 
  • I've applied for jobs at some of these places before. Some of them more than once. They should really consider hiring me. The way I see it, it's a total win-win. 
  • I mentioned this last year or the year before, but it's still true and I still don't like it: every year I see advertisements for jobs I find very attractive. Maybe it's a good school; or I'm friendly with some of the people who already teach there; or it's close to where I grew up; or it's in a nice area (not near where I grew up); or something else--who knows. When I see that, I automatically start thinking about what it would be like if I were to be hired--how nice it would be teach at that school, or have those colleagues, or live in that area, or whatever. Which then sets myself up for the inevitable disappointment when it doesn't happen. I wish I could stop, but it seems that I can't. 
    • There's also the question of where the motivation to apply for these jobs might come from if I wasn't/didn't allow myself to become interested in them. 
    • There's also the question of where the motivation to apply for these jobs is coming from in light of the fact that, if past experience is any guide, I won't get any of them anyway. I leave this as an exercise for the reader. I have no idea. 
  • I continue to be happy with the JFP/PhilJobs merger. Although I miss the time when there would be a "JFP Day" in October and then another in November, I like being able to search by AOS/AOC, and being able to save ads I'm interested in, and being able to download a spreadsheet with pertinent details of all the ads I've saved--makes it so much easier to execute a mail-merge. I especially like not having to wade through two print editions and two supplemental online editions that are loaded with duplicate ads in order to find the few new ones that would come out after November JFP Day. 
  • This whole thing is very frustrating and unpleasant.
  • Good luck, Smokers. 
--Mr. Zero