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Number Three

You had 13 flyouts to teaching schools your final year? You didn't burn out? Any advice on maintaining sanity in those circumstances?


Massive amounts of alcohol.

Fresh, not stale

What makes files or applicants look stale are extended periods with no research productivity. Even at teaching places, we want to know if you can manage a number of tasks, teaching, research and service. If you are showing signs of struggling, given the market, it is not worth taking a chance. At a typical teaching college, a department will always push for someone who has still managed to keep their research moving along. Then they will be a sure thing for tenure.


I think Marcus meant 13 first-round interviews, not flyouts, right? I don't know how anyone could manage 13 flyouts - just logistically. I had 4 flyouts one year and the time, energy, and mental stress were incredible. Flyouts are very time and energy consuming. This is frustrating, because when you are doing them you are under of a ton of pressure to work to improve your CV, which you might not have a lot of time to do. This is one of many reasons I recommend against not applying to schools when you think you wouldn't want to live there. Some recommend to apply anyway for interview experience. I think the time is too high a cost, as well as the pressure to take the job if it is offered to you.

While it is uncommon, I do know a few people who went from teaching state schools with 4-4 loads to R1 programs with PhD programs, many years after their PhD. The key of course was maintaining an impressive research record, which is incredibly hard to do when teaching a 4-4 load. I don't know how they did it. Anyway, I know one friend in particular who got his PhD at a fairly late age, meandered around adjuncting for 12 years, and then finally got a TT position at a state school. He was hired for that post at age 54. I think what mattered to that school was simply he had lots of teaching experience, a solid research profile for a teaching school, and was a good fit for the department.

Marcus Arvan

Number Three: Yeah sorry, that sentence was ambiguous. It was 13 first-round interviews my final year. I've corrected the sentence.

I want to be fresh

"What makes files or applicants look stale are extended periods with no research productivity. Even at teaching places, we want to know if you can manage a number of tasks, teaching, research and service."

I agree with this, but I don't think that regularly producing good research necessarily makes one look fresh. I'm on the tenure track at a research university and have been on the market for the last two years in search of another job. I handle admin, a full teaching load, supervise a few PhD students and publish about 2-3 articles a year in good generalist and specialist venues. I haven't had much success on the market though (two skypes and one on-campus this year, only one Skype last year). Perhaps this has to do with my AOS, in which case it seems like there isn't too much I can do to improve my chances in the short run.


Wanting to be fresh, why are you trying to move? Are you looking to move from a research to a teaching job?

I want to be fresh

Climate of the department, but also I'm abroad and want to (eventually) get back to the US. I've been applying to both research and teaching jobs, but mostly research. My sense is that there are so few research jobs and so many impressive candidates that it is a bit of a lottery. Perhaps all one can do in the short run is to continue to buy lottery tickets by publishing papers, applying for grants, etc.

Any thoughts on how to improve one's chances in the medium run?


I think if you are coming in near the end of your assistant professor years (like you have been at the other place 4-6 years, or more really) research schools are looking to higher someone who is a top player in their field. There are just too many people out there with impressive publications for that to stand out. So you need to be known for a particular thing, be part of the small group of people at the very top of your speciality, etc. You might have this given what you said about your AOS. In that case, it is just really a matter of waiting until a research school is particularly looking for your AOS.

If you really want to move back to the US, I would at least try for teaching schools with a 2-2 load. They usually care a lot about impressive publications, and the fact you are specifically looking to move for location reasons is a plush for them. They would also like all your administration experience. Basically, the research market is very difficult, and so depending on how much you want to move, you might want to expand that search.

I want to be fresh

Hi Amanda, thanks for the response. Yeah, I think it will take many tries to land something. I've made two attempts and I've still got a few more tries before I come to the end of my assistant professor years. Part of why I was trying to leave soon is because once you get to the late-assistant/early-associate level I was worried the standards would jump considerably and, as you mention, research schools may expect such a candidate to be a 'top player.' I don't want to bank on that happening! Haha

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