Our books






Become a Fan

« Book Reviews: Should You Do Them? | Main | Poster Presentations »

07/23/2012

Comments

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

Marcus Arvan

Excellent post -- and boy do I have a lot to say about it. My experience is that I was in *no* way prepared for a TT job out of grad school. At the time I graduated, I wanted a TT job just like everyone else. Now I feel very lucky that I got a post-doc (at UBC) and a revolving term position (now at Tampa). These positions have helped me find my footing both as a researcher and as a teacher -- all without a looming tenure clock.

Now, of course, I had better get a tenure-track job sometime soon (else I run the risk of never getting one). But this isn't really the point of my comment. The point is that, in my experience, I think I benefited tremendously from not going straight into a TT job. I was most certainly not prepared to supervise grad students straight out of grad school, and it took me 2-3 years to even begin learning how to publish and teach effectively. I can only imagine how stressed I might have been if I had to learn all that in a TT job (with a tenure clock hanging over my head).

Mark Alfano

Interesting set of questions, Kyle. As someone who was on the hunt for jobs for the last two years, I can tell you that I just applied for everything: TT-jobs, research post-docs, teaching post-docs, and VAPs. It's hard to get anything, so in my opinion the best strategy is to carpet-bomb the market.

On the uses of post-docs, I think you're right to distinguish the various types. A research post-doc is more like a traditional science post-doc: it helps you pump out articles, chapters, or maybe even a book while you burnish your other credentials and connections. I'm sure that one of the reasons the 2011-12 market was easier for me than the 2010-11 market was that I had a post-doc at Notre Dame that functioned as a mark of approval on its own and also provided opportunities to publish.

A teaching post-doc and a VAP, on the other hand, seem to be more of a way to fly in a holding pattern while you go on the market again. Some of these have light teaching loads (1-1, 2-1, or 2-2), which simultaneously helps you get into the groove of teaching and leaves some time for research. Others come with really heavy teaching loads (up to 4-4); people can research in such a context, but it's harder to get a lot done.

Two crucial questions to ask about any non-TT position, I think are whether 1) it's renewable beyond a single year and 2) it provides health insurance.

David Morrow

It would be worth taking a look at the last few tenure-track hiring threads for people who get TT jobs after holding post-docs. My impression, which is not backed up by research, is that a lot of people land very good TT jobs after taking post-docs. I'm not quite sure what to make of that fact (if it is one), but it suggests that some post-docs are much more than just a way to mark time.

Mark is being modest here, but he's one of the people I have in mind. He's been churning out articles and books--yes, plural--during his post-doc, and he got a TT job at the University of Oregon this year.

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.)

Current Job-Market Discussion Thread

Job ads crowdsourcing thread

Philosophers in Industry Directory

Open thread on hiring timelines

Categories