Update: We have now received sufficient interest that we will begin to match mentors and mentees. However, we would also like to encourage people to continue to sign up, and we plan to launch a permanent website for the project in the near future!
Update 2: Thanks to reader feedback--and to clarify our program--we will not prioritize according to gender. Members of any gender are welcome in the program, and will be equally prioritized. We merely ask that women interested in being mentees approach The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy first (as our aim is to complement, rather than compete with, that program)!
By Helen De Cruz and Marcus Arvan
This past week, Daily Nous featured a post announcing The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy. We (Helen and Marcus) applaud this program, as there are indeed unique challenges that women candidates face on the job-market—and we think it is really great that there is a program to help women candidates navigate these challenges! It also came to light at the Daily Nous thread that there are other classes of job-candidates who might benefit from a similar program, e.g., trans* candidates (including trans men), candidates with disabilities, non-white (non-female) candidates, and candidates who lack access to adequate job-market mentoring (due, for instance, to lack of institutional support in their graduate program).
Consequently, we have decided to propose a job-market mentorship program for these individuals here at the Cocoon to complement the Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy: that is, a philosophy job-market mentoring program for those in need who cannot utilize the Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy. The aim of this mentoring project will be just what it sounds like: a scheme to enable job candidates in philosophy who face special challenges, including those with little access to mentoring (e.g., because their department or advisor does not offer this), to receive advice and support from more experienced members of the profession.
Here is a brief proposal we have drawn up:
- We hope to have mentors and mentees sign up to take part on a survey designed by Qualtrics.
- Since this is a job market mentoring project, mentees need to be ABDs or PhDs in philosophy. The scheme will be open to job candidates, from any department, geographic location, gender, age, etc.
- Although the program is open to job-candidates of any gender, we encourage women candidates to utilize The Job Candidate Mentoring Program for Women in Philosophy, as our program is intended to complement rather than compete with that program.
- Although we will do our best to accommodate all candidates in need, the program will prioritize candidates with special job-market challenges, for example, bi, gay, andtrans* candidates, candidates with disabilities, non-white (non-female) candidates, and candidates with inadequate access to job-market mentoring (e.g., candidates out of graduate school lacking access to their grad program’s placement director/mentoring, etc.).
- We hope to then match mentees with mentors who are either tenure-track or tenured professors.
- What happens then is up to the mentor and mentee.
- However, in order not to overburden mentors and to follow best practices, people who enroll in this program would commit to the following:
- The mentoring is focused on the job market, including such things like looking at CV, cover letter and other materials, strategizing which jobs to apply to, thinking about which writing sample to send, considering what would work best for a teaching demonstration. The aim is not to help improve/comment on papers of the mentee.
- Standardly, the mentor commits to the mentoring for one job season only (i.e., until next summer) (this can be extended by mutual agreement, but the mentor should not feel pressure to do so).
- Everything that mentors and mentees discuss is strictly confidential, will not be discussed with anybody outside the mentoring agreement
- If there is any conflict of interest, it is in the best interest of mentor and mentee that they are aware of this (e.g., mentee getting shortlisted for a job that a student of mentor applies for), and if need be, break of the mentoring relationship.
Here, then, is what we would like to ask. First, we would like to ask potential mentors and mentees (i.e. job-candidates in need of mentorship) to fill out this survey, so that we can determine the overall level of interest (and whether our proposal is workable, as outlined above. Second, we would like to solicit feedback, from you our readers—and particularly, possible mentors and mentees—on the proposal we have outlined. Does this sound like the best way to run such a project, or, might another scheme work better? We’re all ears, and look forward to your feedback!