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« Balance Series, Part 7: An Overview of Structured Procrastination | Main | Call for referees »

07/30/2015

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recent grad

This seems like a no-brainer. I wonder whether, for all the public schools, some non-academic would be willing to submit a FOIA request for placement information.

anonymous

Thesis: published departmental placement data should be anonymized. Reason: Suppose candidate X doesn't get a job in academia, despite X's best efforts. Let's say further that X is professionally very frustrated about this lack of success in the philosophy profession. Imagine further how X is going to feel if the department publishes X's lack of success on its website. Privacy issues are relevant here. Full-disclosing placement websites can be harmful to unsuccessful graduates. X may not want to be a warning to others not to come to the program.

Marcus Arvan

recent grad: I'm willing to agree that it *should* be a no-brainer! But, seeing as so few (if any?) programs report these kinds of things, it seems important to note that it apparently hasn't seemed like a no-brainer to programs or the discipline more broadly.

recent grad

I would venture that many departments know what they should do to help applicants make informed decisions, but don't (out of self-interest). This is of course speculative, but I think it's the best explanation for shoddy placement pages. In my own department's case, I've seen them add good info very quickly, but bad info never gets added (and outdated good info unrelated to placement tends to linger).

anon

anon 11:24, i also share your worries about anonymization, but I think they can be addressed while disclosing full placement data. Many departments already don't list names of grads in placement data, and that could help remedy this. Of course, one might figure out which recent candidates failed to place, by looking at websites and cvs, but that's a lot of work.

Also, the suggestion of listing aggregated data, e.g., average time to first TT job, is also good for protecting privacy.

And, in this market, I really doubt that it counts against a candidate that they are on their second or third or further go around. People know how hard it is to get a job. Besides, committees can likely ascertain this from the CV, just by checking a candidate's date of graduation and employment history.

Finally, I remember that when someone at NewAPPS (I'm completely blanking on the name...) ranked departments on time-to-tenure-track information, someone complained that at 'top' departments (they meant Leiter top..), grads get nice post-docs before jobs. As a recent alum from a very 'top' department myself, I can tell you with certainty that virtually all of our grads who do get these post-docs either get them at the same time that they get a TT job--they just delay the start of the job. Or they tried to get a TT job and failed to get one but got a post-doc. I can literally only think of one case in which someone applied only to post-docs and for that reason took just a post-doc and not a TT job. There is virtually no one from our department who took a post-doc over a TT job or because they didn't bother trying to get a TT job. So even for 'top' departments, I think time-to-TT info is extremely valuable.

anon

Recent grad seems exactly right when they say, "I would venture that many departments know what they should do to help applicants make informed decisions, but don't (out of self-interest)."

In the original comment at smoker, the issue of transparency was mentioned in the context of law school grads suing their alma maters over allegedly misleading job placement data (nice irony there, right?) So far these suits have not succeeded. But suits of this style continue to roll in, and one can't help but think that they have had a beneficial effect on all sorts of law school's placement representation.

I certainly don't *myself* have any plans of suing my alma mater, but I'm frankly slightly surprised that there hasn't been *some* class action or other lawsuit against some university or other in some field or other on the grounds that they misrepresented Ph.D. placement data. Think of the swift and radical positive effect this would no doubt have on all sorts of Ph.D. programs' data transparency.

also, having recently spoken to a cluster of senior students at a SLAC who were applying to philosophy grad school, I can confidently attest that they did not understand the philosophy job market *at all* (I was an on-campus candidate, and they all assumed I had *several* other on-campus visits to make. if only ... !)

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