Our books






Become a Fan

« Anonymized peer-review and timely moral and political discussion | Main | Diversity in philosophy syllabi surveys - invitation to participate »

11/17/2016

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Waiting for that phone call

Can anyone confirm that UNC has scheduled interviews for their open job?

Words McCaffee

Thanks again, Marcus! I guess I'll start by asking whether anyone has any news regarding the Toronto jobs. They posted a number of them this fall and the applications were due rather early, so I expect things should be happening soon if they haven't already begun. After recent events, Canada is looking better and better so my fingers are crossed.


The other postdoc

I'd also like an update on the Stony Brook job (http://philjobs.org/job/show/5006). The philosophy jobs wiki had their previous lecturer posting up, and I noticed it was updated recently to say that interviews were scheduled. Since this was an old posting, I assume someone mistakenly updated the lecturer posting instead of adding and updating the new TT posting (the AOS/AOC were similar, if not the same). However, the lecturer posting on the wiki disappeared shortly after being updated, and now there are no Stony Brook listings on there.

Know the market

Waiting ...
I assume UNC is North Carolina. If you look at the cvs of the people under 45 at UNC Chapel Hill, excepting the one with a PhD from Europe, all got their PhDs from Leiter top-10 schools. So people should be realistic about their prospects.

Pendaran Roberts

What is the general feeling about the job market this year? Better or worse than last year?

Michel X.

Pendaran,

I haven't tried counting the number of jobs available, but my feeling is that it's worse. Both last year and this year, I applied to almost every single opening I could apply for. Unless there's a huge and late influx of jobs, I'm definitely applying for far fewer jobs this time around. I also get the impression that the AOS/AOC profiles have shifted a bit.

gradjunct

@Pendaran & Michel X

I agree with Michel. I work in Metaphysics, ethics, and Phil of Religion. This time last year I had applied to over 50 tt position. So far this year, I've only applied to 4. I think it is far worse for core analytic Lemming types.

The other postdoc

In response to those above:

About three weeks ago I compared the number of jobs posted from August through Oct. 2015 and August through Oct. 2016. There were slightly more jobs this year, but the difference was small (fewer than 10 additional jobs). At this point it might have evened out.

That being said, the AOS distributions are completely different. Last year I think there were three Continental TTs (maybe four). This year I've already seen 10. Still terrible, but definitely better.

Pendaran

Interesting. Kind of conflicting info. Perhaps though this is due to different AOSes being advertised from last year. Would love to see a rigorous comparison!

Candidate

It would be useful to know what the general timeline looks like for job market candidates - for those of us who are on the market for the first time. When are first round interviews usually scheduled? When do fly outs tend to take place? Do all schools go through two rounds of interviews, or do some schools do one round of interviews?

Thanks :)

Know the market

Candidate,
There is no set pattern. Things were more regular and consistent when the Eastern APA hosted first round interviews. But that was dreadful, anyway.
Now schools run on all sorts of schedules. I work at a typical state college that prides itself on quality teaching. We have lately had long lists of 10 with whom we have Skype interviews. Then we bring 2-3 to campus. The schedule is hardly fixed, though, to the calendar year. Usually, now, we find out if we were granted a line - and the right to do a search - in the late summer (2016, for hires in 2017). Does this help?
By the way, search committees are now strongly discouraged from giving applicants much information. First, we never know whether the search is complete until it really is; so we do not want to say we hired someone until we really have closed the deal. As a result we keep everyone else hanging until the very end. If the search fails, we have to revisit the pool; but we cannot do that if we have already sent rejection letters. Second, for liability reasons, HR departments do not want us saying anything to candidates who do not get the job. We can thank them for applying, say how we were honored to review their application material, and wish them luck in the future.

Words McCaffee

In my experience, notification of first round interviews has typically occurred in the first two weeks of December, with fly-out offers coming in early to mid January. Some schools do go straight to fly-outs. This might just be a rumor, but I heard that Princeton skips interviews altogether and goes straight to the hire. I am not sure about this though, or about whether any other departments do that.

Familiar with the Market

Know the market,

At my previous job, our chair sent out update letters to all candidates, informing them of where we were in the search process. There was no encouragement to do otherwise. I wonder who you think is giving the contrary advice.

There is no problem with alerting candidates of where things stand. For example, someone might write:

"Dear Candidate,

The shortlist has been decided upon. You are not on the shortlist. But, we might revisit the pool should things not work out. This is not likely but it may occur."

And so on.

As far as I know, we were never sued and no job applicants complained. In fact, many expressed appreciation.

Recent Grad

@Familiar with the Market-

"I wonder who you think is giving the contrary advice."

That would by HR at some, but not all, institutions.

second time on the market

@Pendaran,

I counted the TT jobs posted between 8/15/2015 and 11/27/2016 and those posted between 8/15/2016 and 11/27/2016. there were 163 jobs last year, this year there are 170 jobs. overall, it looks that the situation has not changed.
I did't count the jobs in my AOS (ancient philosophy), but my hunch is that there are fewer of them .

Words McCaffee

Does anyone have advice about how to tactfully find out about the teaching load for an advertised position that doesn't list the info in the ad (e.g., Northeastern)? I feel like potential job candidates probably should not ask anyone associated with the institution, though I might be wrong. Has anyone done this?

Marcus Arvan

Words: That's an odd (and unfortunate) situation to be sure. Although I think the ad should probably include that information in the first place, and a candidate would be more than justified in asking at any point during the process, I'm inclined to say what you should do depends on whether you want to take the risk of rubbing someone the wrong way. If you want to ask, just come out and ask. Generally speaking, quiet confidence reflects well on a candidate. But, if you don't want to risk rubbing someone the wrong way (and there is always that risk), another option is to simply wait out the process and find out the answer if/when an offer is extended. A third, final option is to find out via some more subtle way (for instance, by looking at next semester course schedules) how many courses full-time people in the department teach per semester. That's probably the safest route to get a good idea, but you won't know for sure unless you ask or get an official offer. It's also worth bearing in mind that teaching loads tend to depend on the type of school. In my experience, research universities rarely have teaching assignments above a 2/2 or 2/3, whereas loads of 3/3 or 4/4+ are more common at teaching institutions

Skef

Words:

I don't have any concrete evidence to offer, but it's my understanding that below the (perceived) "elite" level, teaching loads tend to be established at the institution, rather than department, level (with exceptions most often managed by research grant "buy-outs"). That means the load is often stated in some university document. So you might have some luck with a site-restricted Google search. So for, say, Podunk University the search could be:

"course load" site:podunk.edu

or

"teaching load" site:podunk.edu

or some other variant. Or search for "faculty manual" or similar and see what that turns up.

("site:podunk.edu" actually searches any site on the host podunk.edu or foo.podunk.edu or foo.bar.podunk.edu)

j

There is no problem about asking questions concerning the particular of an advertised position. Usually there is an email address - chair or HR person you can write to and ask. Once they reply you should write back and thank for the information. It's paranoid to think anybody will remember this or care about it. If the teaching is too high for you, you should not apply and if you are OK with it, you will apply signalling to them that it is OK with you.

Tom

Easier answer: make a pseudonymous email account. You should have one of these for any of the mildly concerning questions like this that you want to ask search committees, but don't want to have traced back to you. Once you make it, ask the committee directly, from that account.

I'm also going to admit to being surprised that I'm apparently the only one who thought the obvious solution to the problem was to lie.

Words McCaffee

Many thanks to Marcus, Skef, J and Tom for the suggestions. I think I might try checking out the course schedules or searching for the terms "course loads" or "teaching loads" on the institution website. A pseudonymous email account sounds fun, but I don't know - could potentially cause trouble.

J, I think you are right that in most cases inquiring with the search committee chair (or some other department rep) wouldn't matter. But, on the other hand, I've heard of more than one instance of a search committee member voting against moving a candidate to the next stage, in part, because the candidate made some reasonable inquiry. I doubt meanness was the motivation, but when looking for a reason to narrow the stack, I do worry that sometimes very minor things can hold some sway when they shouldn't. Just defending a bit of paranoia here, though I appreciate your viewpoint and agree that in most cases, such an inquiry wouldn't matter at all. Thanks again to all who replied.

Hopeful?

So do we think that the Northeastern jobs are requesting letters from everyone? Or is getting a letter request a good sign

Amanda

I think everyone got one. I got one. Sorry :(

Tom

Who's got PFOs? I haven't had one yet. Though I did get my first wiki-PFO (Bard).

(Also, obligatory early in the season abbreviation explanation: PFO:=please fuck off. It's the letter you get when the job you painstakingly applied to tells you to please fuck off.)

Michel X.

Tom: UNC, Oslo, and Tartu, but that's all so far.

E

PFOs so far: UNC, Deakin, All Souls (Oxford), New College (Oxford), St. John's (Cambridge), Simon Fraser (for the job starting in Jan)

Tello

Any news about Manhattan College, Baylor, or Creighton? Their deadline was a while back, but I have not heard anything from them yet.

Tello

No official PFO so far, but 3 wiki-PFO

Hopeful?

Only official PFOs for Northwestern Political/Race and UNC jobs so far.

Anyone know why Toronto is taking so long, or whether they've already scheduled?

F.

PFO from Northwestern (Metaphysics and Epistemology)

Beelzebub

Last year Toronto contacted people on their long list around this time, asking for additional materials.

second time on the market

A friend tells me: pfo from Toronto (AOS: ancient).

Beelzebub

Caltech has asked some candidates for additional writing samples.

Happy Friday

Northeastern (Applied Ethics) requested letters this morning (8 days after deadline). Don't know if they requested from everyone, and if so, why they would do so only so late rather than automatically. Also noticed someone visited my website from there this week.

Hopeful?

I applied for both Northeastern jobs, and I got two letter requests from them - one the day of the deadline and one the day after. So I don't think they are doing them automatically.

Well wishing

Hopeful?:
The letters might be sent automatically. Alternatively, there may be two search committees working independently.
Be hopeful.

Tello

Has anyone heard from Hope, Boston, Bates, Missouri State or Lycoming? Thanks!

Gardner

Boston has sent out their diversity form. Bates sent out an email to their top 25-35, asking for more writing samples. I don't know about the others! Anyone?

Amanda

Does anyone have a guess on what percentage of jobs will send request for first round interviews post christmas?

lucky

Boston U has scheduled first-round interviews.

Tello

@ lucky: Boston U for Kant or mind/language?

lucky

mind / language / etc.

hopeful

Does anyone know anything about the mind & language positions at Maryland (assistant and associate) or the phil. of neuroscience job at UVA?

Gardner

@lucky do you know when Boston U scheduled? Thanks!

lucky

@ gardner -- in the case I know of it was just recently

Tello

Official PFO from Idaho State

Tello

News from Fraser U?

Hopeful?

Northeastern has scheduled at least some phone (?!?) interviews for both the Applied Ethics and the Social/Political job.

DCandidate

Hey all,

I am wondering whether search committees tend to be forgiving when candidates botch (badly) one interview question out of very many. Suppose the entire interview went perfectly and the candidate nailed absolutely everything to the point where the search committee seemed like they were pitching themselves to the candidate - but then, in one of the candidate's last answers, s/he couldn't for the life of her answer a question about how to teach a course that was (admittedly) listed in the ad, fumbling through the answer and then honestly saying she'd need to think more about that course but would be excited to develop and teach it at institution X. Is this an immediate deal breaker?

Hypothetically, of course.

Marcus Arvan

Hi DCandidate: Good question. I'm going to open up a post on it!

Happy Friday

DCandidate;
The thing is when one thinks "the entire interview went perfectly and the candidate nailed absolutely everything", one may be wrong or the committee did not share one's feeling; when one is "fumbling through the answer and then honestly saying [one]'d need to think more about that course but would be excited to develop and teach it at institution X", this might be something the committee actually liked. It's just so random, especially when interviews last 20 minutes or so and you're supposed to say about everything there is to say about you, the importance of your work, the position, etc.

DCandidate

Thanks Happy Friday, that's a helpful perspective!

Second Time Around

Anyone heard anything about CUNY-Lehman or Saint Lawrence?

Tello

How long after a Skype interview do candidates usually hear back about possible on campus interviews? Do committees let candidates know if they have not been selected for an on campus interview, or doe they just disappear?

yep

For skype interviews in December, I've heard back as early as the same day and as late as the second week of the spring semester of the school that interviewed me. If they're interviewing right before the end of the fall semester, they might not have a department meeting until the spring semester starts. And I have heard of it being even later, particularly if they later decide to bring an additional person on campus.

No school I've ever skyped with has told me I wasn't invited to a campus interview until they had made the hire. After all, if they don't like the three candidates they bring on campus or if they all turn down offers, they might want to revisit their initial list.

And finally, I am still waiting to hear back from two schools where I had on campus interviews - one three years ago, and one two years ago. I assume I didn't get the jobs, but they never had the decency to tell me...

Michel X.

Tello: I assume you mean *Simon* Fraser? I haven't heard from them, and haven't heard of others hearing back yet. But since their VAP starts in January, I expect that those applicants will find out soon. My guess is they won't move on the TT job until they've cleared the VAP, but it's just a hunch on my part.

Hopeful?

Schools all take really different steps after first round interviews, I think. I was once told the next day I got a fly-out, and once told two weeks after an APA interview that they enjoyed talking with me but wouldn't be inviting me for a fly-out. For two interviews I had in the past week, one school told me they wouldn't be setting up fly-outs until mid-January, while the other said they were finishing up first round interviews next week and would be in touch "after that." So basically, try to do the impossible and focus on other things, and don't expect anything ever.

Amanda

I sometimes hear if I don't get a flyout and sometimes not. I think it is beyond rude if someone has a flyout and then is not told they did not get the position. I don't know why we put up with such indecent behavior. It is basic manners and you only fly out 4 people, it can't be that hard.

Tim

Did anyone else find the UIUC PFO comical? Specifically the fact that they didn't bother to include the name of their school anywhere in it. Took me a while to figure out who it was from. Tip to all universities out there: we're all applying to a lot of different places. If you don't include your name in your PFO, I won't know who it's from.

Tello

Tim: yes it was quite odd, I agree.

Michael X: yes, it is just really strange S Fraser set their deadline so early and now they are waiting so long to make a decision.

Tom

Many European jobs ask for "a copy of the PhD diploma" or some such. As an American, such requests confuse me. Can anyone explain/translate/elaborate on this?

Me

Tom,
I have just been through this (and have an offer from a European university). Scan your diploma and make a PDF of it. Any good photocopier these days should be able to handle this.

Happy Friday

Tom,
Don't you think Europeans are confused by requests of transcripts, when European PhD students often don't have any besides... the diploma itself?

Amanda

What if my diploma is framed and at my grandma's house lol. Am I the only one who doesn't keep my diploma? Will a Phd transcript work?

Tom

Me: great. That helps. I just didn't expect that anyone would actually care about the literal diploma. Happy Friday: haha. They probably are! Amanda: this is also a problem for me. I suppose I can ask my grandma, she's pretty tech savvy! But seriously, does an official transcript work? Or is it the actual fancy-lettering parchment-y thing that matters?

Waiting...

Is the Maryland job on the wiki in the First-Round Interview stage really their senior search, or should we assume it's the junior search in roughly the same area?

Me

Happy Friday and Amanda,

They really mean a copy of your diploma. I think Americas forget that these are principally indications of credentials - in the USA they have become something to hang on the wall, an ornament.
And no it is not onerous or unreasonable. I work in the USA, but am not an American. To continue working here I was required to have a syphilis test, an AIDS test, a TB test, etc. I even had to pay about $100 to have my "foreign" degrees assessed to determine if they were equivalent to US degrees (I was educated in Canada!).

Only Wednesday

re. diploma and transcripts

Most universities seem to require unofficial documents at the application stage. It's only when things get serious that they may ask for official copies. Then it's like the worst of bureaucracy, but at least you probably don't have to bother now.

Tom

Dear Me:

I don't think anyone thought it *was* odious or unreasonable. It's just unexpected, from my end. I've applied to hundreds of jobs and not once (until now) have I needed my actual diploma. So I was just worried that perhaps something was being lost in translation, and was asking those who knew better (like you!) to confirm what was being asked for.

At any rate, thanks for answering. And sorry for the preposterously invasive crap you had to go through to get/keep your current position. That's atrocious!

Amanda

Thanks that's good enough to know if I decide to do the European marekt. And unfortunately my grandma is not so tech savy. Actually now that I think about I'm sure there's a way to buy another copy from my university.

Me

Amanda
On buying as second copy of a diploma: I asked about that once. I was told that it is not possible. But then I was told that if I said my original was destroyed (say, in a fire) I could get another copy for a fee. I have such a Kantian streak in me that I could not bring myself to lie about it. lol

Amanda

Good thinking I am not a Kantian:)!

Me

Ah ... you consequentialists have it so easy in life. I think I will just go do something I really do not want to do. Good luck on the market.

Amanda

Good luck as well. (FWIW I am more of a virtue theorist)

Tello

Any news from: Mount Holyoke? Lycoming Col? Saint Joseph's University? Missouri State University?

Anna

Do you know if Creighton Un has scheduled on-campus interviews?

Tim

Boooooo! This job market it sloooowww! It makes me booorrreedddd!!!

Anna

Can somebody confirm that the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) has already scheduled the first round of interviews?

Hopeful?

The wiki says that Stanford has scheduled first round interviews, but I got an email yesterday asking for additional writing samples. Do you think that is what the wiki update means, or do you think that they just went ahead and scheduled first-rounds already? I'm hoping that it's the first one :(

Amanda

It is possible they have called some for first round interviews but have not decided on the full list. I think if they asked you for letters you are still in the running.

Amanda

I think if they asked for writing samples you are still in the running. They may have scheduled some phone interviews and not others.

Only Wednesday

Naive question: Do search committees pay attention to transcripts? Why are they required anyway? Are they just for HR?

anonymous

Only Wednesday,
HR departments really need transcripts. There are a number of cases where people have lied about having a PhD. Also, search committees can verify certain claims an applicant makes. The applicant say I can teach ancient philosophy - have they any advanced training in it?

Only Wednesday

anonymous:

Thanks. That's good-or bad-to know. Not sure having taken a graduate course is sufficient–or even necessary–for teaching a given subject. Do they really bother to look at them. I mean, they barely even look at the rest.

Marcus Arvan

Only Wednesday: As someone who works at a school that prioritizes teaching and has served on two search committees, I can assure you some people may care very much about candidates' graduate coursework and look at it carefully to see whether candidates have sufficient training to teach a subject the department needs to have taught well.

Only Wednesday

Then I'm doomed. Foreign transcripts can be a mess and unreadable to SCs.

Anna

Only Wednesday - if they like you, I doubt that your foreign transcripts will make a huge difference.

Marcus Arvan

Only Wednesday: you should list your graduate coursework on your CV in a more easily digestible form then (including your course instructors and grades as well). I would encourage job candidates recently out of grad school to do that anyway. I included my graduate coursework my first several years on the market, and have seen other candidates do the same. It is very helpful, especially given that the CV is one of the first things search committee members are likely to look at!

Anna

Marcus: I worry that will make your CV tediously long, especially if you have publications, conferences, and courses you have taught as solo instructor to list as well. What do yo think?

Marcus Arvan

Anna: I guess I would have to see the CV, but I can't recall coming across a CV of someone on the market that struck me as tediously long. Having served on multiple hiring committees, I'm inclined to think the risk of leaving something off your CV that a search committee might find relevant is much greater than the risk of including too much. This is particularly the case when it comes to teaching jobs. If the department you're applying to needs a particular course taught be the new hire, it's vital for the CV to demonstrate sufficient background in the area right off the bat. Because grad courses give a clear view of your training, leaving them off your CV seems risky to me indeed--at least in one's first few years on the market (I took my grad courses off after a few years, as the longer one is on the market, the further removed one is from grad school).

anonymous

Anna and Marcus,
I am inclined to think that three years after your PhD you should not include a summary of your dissertation. You should have a few publications by then, no doubt at one or two from the dissertation. And you should also not list courses after two years of teaching. Your teaching experience speaks much more to your abilities and preparation than your graduate courses at that point.
Also, it is not necessary to list the courses taught each year, with a separate entry for each term. Just list the courses you have taught and when they were taught (and where). For example,
Medical ethics, Fall 2015, Fall 2016
Early Modern philosophy, Spring 2016
Introduction to philosophy, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
Introduction to Logic, Spring 2016, and Fall 2016
Philosophy of Mind, Fall 2016

Marcus Arvan

Anonymous: That sounds about right to me. After 2 or so years post-PhD, the CV should focus on professional accomplishments, not dissertation summaries or grad courses. But I do think a list of courses is probably advantageous for someone less than 2 years out.

Amanda

Thanks that's good to know. I graduated in over the summer and did not include any coursework on my CV. Oh well.

Amanda

How do people feel about 1 year positions? I took one right out of grad school - a nice research position with no teaching duties, but only one year. I discovered just how time consuming moving can be. I had to get a new license, car, move apartments, etc etc. I felt at least my first month was spent doing nothing other than moving tasks. I wonder if it is worth it to take these, or if it is actually better to just stay put and adjunct close to where one received their PhD?

anonymous

Amanda,
I know moving is very inconvenient. I moved three times before I got a TT job (and a fourth time for the TT job), and two were across the continent.
But it is imperative to get off the adjunct market as soon as possible. Even with a one year position, I think search committees then perceive a candidate as "desirable" by others, and hence desirable.
This is just another way in which coming from a family with some money and resources gives a great advantage. And, incidentally, my partner is still "paying" in terms of earning power because of the moves we made for my career.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Amanda: I agree with 'anonymous'. In terms of academic job prospects, it is probably best to take 1-year positions instead of adjuncting. Of course, academic job prospects may not be all that matter to you, particularly if you have a family or significant other. But from pure job-market perspective, I've heard that 1-year posts like the one you mention can make a candidate look more desirable.

Amanda

Thanks for the feedback Marcus and Anonymous. I was indeed curious what would look better for the job market. I have a friend who refused to move because of the difficulties I described. She worked for three years as an adjunct and then got a TT teaching job. Of course, she might have gotten a TT job earlier if she had taken offered postdocs. Or she might be an exception.

Another thing I worry about is that multiple years of research postdocs will make me look undesirable for teaching schools. However, I taught a lot, including my own courses, in grad school.

anonymous

Don't overthink things Amanda. List the courses you taught in the past and make it clear that you were the instructor (not a TA).
Just be sure that you get some decent publications during the post docs.
The other piece of advice for everyone on the market is: enjoy what you are doing. Even when you arrive for a two year temp position, enjoy it, and get involved. Not because it may lead to a TT job (which it might, but do not count on that), but because it is your life that you are living! I had some wonderful times, and met great people, in the course of some very challenging times in my career.

Tim

Another data point: you can use temporary positions to move up. I got a PhD mid-recession at the sort of school that made it unlikely for me to get a job with a 2/2 load. I now have a job with a 2/2 load. I did four postdocs in between, each slightly better than the one before. It can be done. I know I was lucky, and I am not saying it's guaranteed, but it's even harder without the postdocs.

Lisa

What are the mistakes that candidates commonly make during (now) Skype interviews? I had 2 Skype interviews this year but I was not selected for on campus interviews. Now I wonder, what did I do wrong?

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Open job-market threads