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Anonymous SLACer

I have a job market question that may or may not belong here. If not, please feel free to ignore. The reason I say it may not belong is that I was just granted tenure this year. I am very happy about this, of course, and recognize that in many ways I have won the academic lottery. However, for a variety of reasons I do not want to spend my entire career at my current institution. My question is about applying for jobs now that I am an "Associate." Should I bother to apply for a position advertised at the Assistant level or not? If I do apply to such positions, should I make clear in my letter that I am hoping to be considered at the Associate level? More broadly, is there any hope to move after one has tenure if one is not also a "name" in the field?

I am Moved

Anon. SLACer
You can move. I would not bother applying for assistant prof positions UNLESS you want to redo the march to tenure. Most places won't bargain on this. They may have only been approved for a entry level position. You had better have something to offer, if you think you can move. Do you have special administrative abilities (can Chair a dept with success) or some notable research accomplishment. Otherwise you will not likely look like such a great catch. A WORD OF WARNING: applying for jobs sometimes produces discontent in your current job. That is, as you apply you imagine moving, and then see more and more reasons why you want to move!


Does anyone know how common teaching demos are? In my experience, some teaching schools require them (but not all) and some research schools require them (but not all). Is it completely random, or is there a pattern?


On the teaching demos question: my experience with campus visits was that all schools with a 3/2 teaching load or above required a teaching demo, and those with a 2/2 didn't. (I base this both on my own experience and those of friends I was close to through the job market.) I, personally, don't know of any research-focused jobs that do require a teaching demo (although the institution that I've ended up at is pretty balanced between research and teaching and did require a teaching demo; my guess is that at research-heavy-but-undergrad-focused programs there will be the most variance). That said, you might have a teaching demo for a teaching-focused job at a research-oriented job (e.g., a permanent lecturer position).


I agree with Lauren. I've never heard of a teaching school that didn't have a demo, or a research school that did. And oh my the flyouts without teaching demos are so much easier. Just a lot less stress...things can go very wrong in a teaching demo.

Anyway, the exception might be elite liberal arts schools which in some sense are considered research schools but they likely have a teaching demo because they are also very student focused. Would be good to hear from others who had interviews at elite liberal arts schools.

Recently on the market

I have done multiple on-campus interviews that included teaching demos at non-US schools that self-conceived as research schools. YMMV of course but I would warn against a strong expectation that you won't have to do a teaching demo if you're applying to non-US research schools.

Marcus Arvan

I too did on-campus visits at multiple non-US schools, and every one included a teaching demo, including visits at schools clearly recognizable as research institutions.


Is it just me or are there (already) an unusually high number of open AOS open rank job searches this year? Are these even worth a shot?


In response to Amanda: just one data point, but at Wellesley we don't do a teaching demo. Rather, we encourage the candidate to make sure their talk is pitched to an undergraduate audience.

SLAC tenured professor & chair

We do something similar to what EHM has suggested. We want a talk aimed at an undergraduate audience. It is more of a hybrid at my institution.


We're on 3/3 with some research expectation. Candidates for tenure-stream positions in our program do both teaching demos and research talks.

At my grad school, candidates for tenure-stream positions did both as well.

I had an on-campus at a teaching school ten years ago. I was asked to give one talk, a research talk that would be accessible to undergraduate majors.


In my experience teaching oriented schools--SLACS and non-research-intensive universities--*tend* to require teaching demos, and research-heavy schools *tend* not to. However, there are exception.

When I was an undergrad, my selective SLAC didn't do teaching demos. (But this was over twenty years ago.)

And hen I was first on the job market, I had campus visits at two very similar institutions (in the same state, even)--lower-tier research universities with Philosophy MA programs, but no PhD program, 3/2 load--, and one required a teaching demo and the other didn't.


Thanks for these helpful replies! There is nothing that terrifies me more about interviews than teaching demos.

SLAC tenured professor & chair

Anon: Don't worry so much. I've been the chair of a search committee 4 times in the past 6 years, and only 1 person has done poorly in their teaching demo. Most people leave me feeling bad about my teaching and inspired to try new things because they are so darn good.


I agree teaching demos are stressful. I'm not sure why...but for me having someone watching me teach is way more nerve wrecking than giving a talk. Maybe because I am used to the latter. And often for teaching demos I had to prep a course on a subject I had never taught and knew little about. Not only that, but you are (at least sometimes) going into a class, in the middle of a course, and you don't know the students, their names, or their personalities. That all makes it very difficult, but clearly as SLAC tenured professor says many people succeed in spite of the difficulties.


Thank you for your encouraging words, SLAC tenured professor & chair. I really needed to hear this.

SLAC tenured professor & chair

I should also say: we want to like you when you come to campus! We want candidates to be awesome and to be successful (at least that is the healthy view myself and my colleagues take). We aren't looking to knock anyone down. We would love it if we had 3 candidates that were awesome that we had to choose between.

Recent grad


I think teaching demos are stressful because teaching is somewhat of an act. We get into character, we often tell noble lies, we encourage the student who asked a somewhat silly question, we make jokes, we tell prepared stories, etc. The faculty watching know it's partly an act and when those parts are. Giving a talk, however, is less of an act. And when it is an act, it is less clear that the audience knows exactly when.

junior faculty

I'm curious to get some perspectives on the appropriate time to tell your current institution (if you are in a permanent position) you are applying/have applied to other positions.
Seems we have options all the way from "as soon as you make the decision to start applying" to "only once you have accepted an offer". And I imagine there is some variability in thought.


I told them once I had signed a contract. But I did not even say where I was going (except to those I could trust). Do not give people more information than they need. Their inner-arsehole just might rear its ugly self.


I would never tell someone until you have an offer. And if you are for sure taking the offer then don't tell them until you sign the contract. I don't know why anyone would even consider otherwise. Telling them you are going on the market seems a terrible idea.


I have similar questions/worries, and I am extremely stressed out about applying from my current TT position. Suppose someone is teaching a MWF schedule and lands multiple on-campus interviews. The faculty member will likely have to miss a number of teaching days. What is one supposed to do in this situation? How is one supposed to explain multiple absences, especially at an institution where there are strict policies that discourage canceling class?

junior faculty

Thanks for some of the responses re: telling current department.

I guess, from my perspective, if you actually like your department or the people in it - but perhaps are leaving just for a better type of position, etc. - then it seems rude to leave them hanging so late in the game.

By the time you get a contract offer (or accept the offer) it may be very difficult for your current department to replace you for your classes the following year.

So, I guess common courtesy is the main reason I see for telling earlier rather than later. But, of course, self-interestedly, I can see why you'd wait.

Also, given the discussion on campus visits and canceling class, letting your department know around then is a way to avoid having to lie about why you are canceling class!


Junior faculty, do you think most philosophers will be understanding and still okay with being your colleague in the event that you do not receive an offer? It seems like it could be very awkward for some people to disclose interviews, go to them, not get an offer, and so stay at their job. But I definitely agree with your points.


Junior faculty: if you told them early most likely they would not be allowed to search until you have an offer anyway. That is institutional policy in many places, and anyway just makes sense. Why would they do a search if you might be staying? Besides, it is a buyer's market, finding temps is easy. Second, I guess it always depends on the vibe of your department and administration, but in my experience departments do not take this well. I liked my colleagues, but when I left only two out of six faculty members wished me well, and I didn't hear a word from the administration (sure felt like a silent treatment). If you are not tenured, you put your odds of getting tenured at risk. If you are tenured, you have less to worry about, but an awkward work environment is well, not good for one's mental health, especially long term. Lastly, since it is not common to disclose these things, if you do they might wonder why. Like is so and so this unhappy that he/she has to shove it in all of our faces that he/she is trying to leave? Sure, you may be leaving for great reasons, but that doesn't always matter, especially when you think of the higher-up administrators.

Dr. ItsJustAJob

Junior faculty: Did you sign a contract stating that you must inform your employer that you are searching for a new job? If not (which I presume to be the case), then it is YOUR business whether or not you want to search for a job, and no one else's.

Telling people that you are looking for another job, especially in academia, involves placing yourself in a position of risk = "s/he doesn't want to work here"

It's just a job. Don't think of it beyond that. Without a contract stating otherwise, you have EVERY right to look for a new job without informing your employer.

Anyone who says differently, is simply giving & following bad advice.

SLAC tenured professor & chair

It IS just a job. No question. But one might want to act out of concern for one's co-workers that they have come to value and out of concern for the program that they have had a hand in being a part of. Certainly one is under no obligation to harm oneself in the process, but a genuine concern about when to inform co-workers of a possible departure seems warranted and simply put, kind.


I have no idea where the threshold is that needs to be crossed before asking people to write an outside letter. For example, I’ve corresponded with several senior people about my work via email, we’ve met several times at conferences and I imagine that they’re aware of my existence and roughly aware of my research. But that seems a pretty thin basis on which to ask for an outside letter (am I wrong?). I’m sure there’s a lot of variation among individuals here but what more might be required?

Marcus Arvan

ConfusedaboutLetters: Here's my simple answer - it can't hurt to ask. Seriously. There is no determinate threshold. If you know someone a little, have some reason to think they know your work and might have a good opinion of it, and think a letter from them might be helpful, then there's no harm in asking. I've done it on several occasions. It worked each time.


I think it can hurt. I've heard of people making these requests and then the person says "yes." However, they write a really short and not particularly strong letter, which does more harm than good. That said if your grad program has a means of vetting letters, then yes, it probably can't hurt (other than the hurt of rejection if they say 'no'!)

Marcus Arvan

Hi Amanda: fair point. The question posed was only about when to ask for a letter, so that's all my comment addressed. Making sure you get a good letter is a further issue and, as you note, an important one!

For what it is worth, one of my letter-writers told me they could only write a short but positive letter, as they only knew some of my work and could only comment on my work they knew. Nevertheless, their letter appeared to help me on the market. So, short letters are not necessarily bad. It all depends, I think, on who the letter writer is and what they write.

In any case, I do think it is good to get one's letters vetted, if possible. But it's not always possible. I was so far out of grad school when I got my outside letters that I wasn't able to get them vetted. I just had to send them out and pray they were positive. Fortunately, it appears they were - and, in cases like that, I think one may have to take the risk and trust the letter writer.

(As an aside, I do think the responsibility falls on letter writers to let you know whether they can write a positive letter. If they have reservations, and am not sure they could write a very strong letter, they should let you know!).


Yes it does seem letter writers have a moral responsibility to tell you "no", if they can't endorse you earnestly. But I know not everyone does. Some seem to think it is like some strange duty to the profession to agree to write letters and then write bad ones, as horrible as that might sound. However I suspect this isn't common.

Bard applicant

Bard has announced their hire 31 days after review of applications officially began. If anyone on this blog was interviewed for that job, could you tell us what it was like to be part of a recruitment effort that moved so quickly?


They extended their deadline to Oct. 1, so I think the process might have been even faster. Curious about what happened there.


While I'm here, to what extent are APA-Eastern interviews still a thing? One job ad I'm interested in specified that they would be interviewing at the Eastern, which surprised me - I don't remember that showing up in any of my job ads last year.

Dr. X

[Moderator note: comment edited to protect candidate anonymity]

There should be a discussion of the types of misleading information to avoid putting on one's CV.

An example that everyone should know by now to be deceitful: listing something under review as a "publication". JUST. STOP.

A more underhanded example: claiming that PhilPeople metrics declares you as being, say, "top [X]% for citations (past five years) for [Y]", without also noting the extremely narrow criterion for entry into PhilPeople's data pool...

Bard applicant

anon: Good point. It appears that they moved the due date back two days *after* the ad was initially set to expire.


Hi, can you say where Bard announced the new hire? I can't seem to find the info online. (Or maybe this was in a PFO to candidates? I didn't apply for the job but am curious.) Thanks!


The PFO from Bard used the phrase 'we have decided on a candidate whose credentials and experience we think best suit our current needs'. I interpreted this not as an indication that they really had already hired a candidate, but rather as an attempt at a "nice" way of saying that I didn't get an interview. The e-mail was from human resources, not the phil dept, and seemed highly generic.


Last I checked about 5-10 schools interview at the APA.

Bard applicant

The PFO from Bard is word-for-word identical to the PFO from Bard I received on 4/18/17 and (like that PFO) uses the singular "a candidate" so I think the most reasonable interpretation (barring further information) is that they've decided on "a candidate." That said, I of course don't know if that's true, but it's the best explanation at the moment.

I'm curious whether anonymous (5:15 pm) applied and didn't get the PFO; if so, that would be good evidence that my initial interpretation was incorrect.

Monash Applicant

Received a PFO from Monash.


I applied to Bard College and didn't get that email.


I also applied to Bard and didn't get the email.


The TT job at Bates is clearly an inside track hire. The ad basically reads like it is for the current Visiting Prof there.

This seems like an unfortunate trend I have heard about and seen more and more.

Any thoughts on this practice?


David I don't know about the case at hand, but legally speaking departments are forced to advertise even when they want to higher a VAP. In itself I see nothing wrong with an inside higher. If a department likes their VAP, and they are qualified for the jobs, I see nothing wrong with hiring them. I do see something wrong with advertising and having people apply when the decision is already made. However this is out of the department's hands. Also, although I think this is wrong on the department's part, sometimes they end up going with a different candidate even thought the VAP was all but told they have the job. I tend to think inside candidates are at a disadvantage because human nature likes the mystery of not knowing someone's faults.


Thoughts on whether it's okay or recommended to mention in a cover letter that you have strong personal reasons to want and keep a job if hired, e.g. spouse needs to be in the area for work or family?


Amanda and David
Remember the VAP who is the insider may get offered another job, one they think is better (because of location, or some other consideration).
So you still need to think of such positions as open in some sense. (Believe me, I was interviewed at a few places where they had an inside candidate.)


Outsider: yes, that's a good point.

E- absolutely! Especially for teaching schools.


I have a question about "National Liberal Arts Colleges" vs. "Regional Universities" (to use the U.S. News terms). There seems to be some obvious differences, including that national liberal arts colleges are typically small private institutions with lighter teaching loads (3/3 or less, rather than 4/4) and larger endowments. They also tend to be more selective, which I guess fosters prestige. Perhaps that's about it, but can anyone offer other observations about working at one vs. the other? If we discount the very top end (e.g., Williams, Amherst, etc.), what are the practical benefits (if any) of a mid-tier nationally ranked college (as a random example, Hendrix College in Arkansas) over a mid-tier regional university (as another random example, Longwood University in Virginia)? Does it primarily come down to personal preference (living in Arkansas vs. Virginia), or are there other compelling reasons to make a jump from a regional to a national?


Bard Applicant: While they may have changed the due date on PhilJobs after the initial due date, they changed it on Interfolio and elsewhere a few weeks after first posting it, and well before that initial deadline.

Marcus Arvan

Anon: I don't know the answer to your general question. But one thing I think is relevant here--and suspect many candidates may not think about enough--is the overall financial situation and direction of a university.

I have heard that many state schools and SLACs are struggling financially. I had on-campus visits at some schools that were clearly struggling--whose buildings and infrastructure were crumbling. And I know one person who recently got a TT job as such a school who is already worried they are going to lose their job due to budget cuts. And of course there seems to be an increasing number of SLACs and state schools that are closing programs, letting TT and tenured faculty go, etc. I can only imagine how awful it might be to find oneself in such a position.

On the other hand, other SLACs are moving in a more positive direction. I work as such a school--one that is growing financially, putting up new buildings, moving up in regional and national rankings, and creating new benefits for faculty (family leave) rather than cutting things. Although I can only speak for myself, my experience is that it is exciting and a good experience to work in a situation like this.

In short, I know I didn't really answer your question, viz. national vs. regional schools--but I guess my point is that maybe that's not the most relevant distinction to think about as a candidate. What matters more, I'm inclined to think, is not whether one's school is regional or national but rather "where it is heading" on the whole. For again, as I think most of us know, this is a tough time for higher-education--with a lot of schools cutting back, closing programs, etc. Although any TT job is better than none, the overall financial situation and direction of one's school can make a huge difference in one's day-to-day experience and job-security!


Marcus, thanks - I think that's a very helpful way to frame some of the issues that my question raises. And focusing upon the general financial situation/direction might lead to other relevant considerations. For example, suppose a 2,000-student "national" liberal arts college has a 200-million endowment, and a 10,000-student "regional" university has a 50-million endowment. That may not be the end of the story if the national has been stagnant/complacent in recent years, while the regional has taken innovative approaches to reach new student markets for growth, development, and so on. I guess it ultimately depends upon the specific circumstances at each institution - though I imagine there are still general features that apply to most nationals vs. most regionals (beyond the standard differences mentioned in my original post). Thanks again.


Anon- some, many, liberal arts colleges have acceptance rates of upward of 80% And some state colleges are pretty selective. So for the most part, it depends on the institution. (The same with teaching loads, although I do think 4/4 is a bit more common with state schools.)

As for general differences - I think there is a bit more job security and generally better benefits with a state school. I think liberal art schools tend to have a much better sense of community. State schools are more likely to have larger classes and some type of graduate degree program (I don't mean in philosophy). But even these things I mention vary. So really I would be hesitant to make any general claims about which is better to work at.

Recent grad


Another important issue is how much an institution uses its endowment to cover its annual budget. Some institutions use little of their endowment for this purpose. While that may sound like a good thing, it also means they're very reliant on tuition or state support every year. Just something to keep in mind. As Marcus said, one of the more important issues is direction. I'd prefer a $50 million endowment that's growing than a $200 million endowment that's shrinking.


Writing sample question:

Suppose your most fitting writing sample paper for a particular job (in terms of AOS, predicted interests of potential search committee members, etc.) is co-authored. Should you submit it over a much less fitting paper, which is single authored?


I've heard that you should never submit a co-authored paper as a writing sample or presentation. I would strongly advise against this, admitting that there are exceptions to every rule. And yes, I would submit a less fitting single-authored paper over a fitting co-authored paper. If you do use a co-authored paper, it is less risky to use one written with a peer as opposed to a senior person in the profession.


I would find it extraordinarily bizarre to see a co-authored writing sample. I’m not condoning my knee jerk reaction, but it would be a strike against for me. It raises a lot of questions (which may have good answers) but in a buyer’s market I would just move on. Anything to get the pile of very good applications down to a managable number. When you are searching you still have all of your regular duties plus 200-700 applications to deal with. Early on the name of the game is cut cut cut. Once you are around 25 you start thinking “who do I want to have around here for many years to come?”.


When do TT jobs tend to stop getting posted? Are we there yet, or should we expect more?

Marcus Arvan

I agree with Al. It would be extraordinarily bizarre to receive a co-authored writing sample. While co-authorship is the norm in scientific disciplines outside of philosophy, my sense is that in philosophy hiring committees are interested in gauging your promise and capacities as an individual.

One obvious problem with a co-authored writing sample is that it is simply unknown how much of the work the applicant is responsible for, as opposed to their co-author. A second problem is the "message" a co-authored writing sample might seem to send to search committees: namely, that your best work isn't work you did yourself, but rather work you did with someone else.

In sum, I think submitting a co-authored work is absolutely not worth the risk. Your aim in a writing sample is to convey the best work that *you* are capable of--and submitting a co-authored piece, even an excellent one, may leave that question (what you are capable of as an individual researcher) largely unsettled in committee members' minds.


I don't disagree with the anti co-authored advice. It is good advice. But it is also kind of sad. It is sad that sending a message, "my best work is with others" is somehow not only a negative, but extremely negative message to send. In itself there should be nothing wrong with doing great philosophy with another philosopher. And if that is what you are best at, so what? (by the way, I hardly every co-author so I don't have skin in the game)

It seems at least possible, that philosophy as a whole would improve if co-publishing was the norm. The way it is now, at least in many areas, co-authoring is almost a waste of time because it hardly counts for any professional accolades. (And for those who are un-tenured, or have no job at all, you need to care about professional accolades.) Rather than each person getting 1/2 the credit, each person gets no credit!

Anon - I don't think we are anywhere near the end of TT jobs. Last year there was a lot through December, and the latest TT job I recall was posted in March. Each year things get pushed further out.


I agree - but disapprove - that it’s risky to submit a co-authored piece as your writing sample. But saying it’s ‘extraordinarily bizarre’ sounds a bit over the top to me. Maybe, maybe if it’s THE writing sample, but even then I’m not sure. As long as it’s clear co-authors shared equal credit, or the applicant is first author, it’s perdexly reasonable to have among one’s best recent work something that’s coauthored and relevant to the job. It’s harder to get a coauthored piece published in a top journal than a single authored piece in a mid tier journal. FWIW, you can submit coauthored work along another piece, and I know someone who got a job presenting a coauthored paper as their job talk. And it was clear to the audience the paper was coauthored. So for me it’s extraordinarily bizarre to hear that norms cannot and should not be challenged. It’s a coordination problem, but if folks on SCs keep responding like that it’s not going to change.

Marcus Arvan

Nick (and Amanda): Those are good points. I agree with both of you. The prevailing norm against co-authored pieces as writing sample is unfortunate. I'm also all for challenging problematic norms. It's just that job-candidates are not in general in the best position to challenge such norms, given their tenuous status as job-seekers. So even if it's "perfectly reasonable" to have a co-authored writing sample, I'm still not sure it's a good risk for a candidate to take, with the possible exceptions described below.

Nick, I like one possible workaround your remarks imply: using a co-authored piece either as a second writing sample or job-talk. Some jobs permit multiple writing samples, in which case submitting a co-authored piece might be just fine (or even beneficial). Similarly, a job-talk on a co-authored piece might be fine too--as a lot of what job-talks are about is the performance, Q&A, and so on.


Although I disagree completely with the norms, I think it would be very risky to do a job talk with a co-authored piece. Now just because there are exceptions doesn't mean it isn't risky. Maybe if it is published in a top journal with a peer then it might be okay - but there are very strong norms against co-authored pieces. I have seen search committee members look at CVs and dismiss every co-authored piece as "not real." As for including one in a set of say, 3-4 writing samples, that is less risky.



The market this year is shaping up to be a catastrophe, at least in my field (analytic political.) To be sure, more jobs are forthcoming, but historically they will begin to peter out about two weeks from now. And they will get progressively less appealing. There are exceptions, of course.


Does the job market look more dismal than last year? It strikes me as though there are fewer tenure-track jobs this year than at this time last year.


Is it reasonable to expect to hear about interview opportunities (positive or negative) before the holidays, from departments in the US advertising tt jobs with deadlines in October or November?


I'm not sure how well PhilJobs does at keeping expired ads around, but for whatever this is worth:

Searching for expired ads from August 1 2017 to November 9 2017, filtered down to TT, gets you 170 ads. Searching for ads this year in the same date range (August 1 till today), filtered down to TT, gets you 178 ads.

(And of course PhilJobs isn't the whole story, but this seems to give us a rough sense of jobs.)

(And also it seems to categorize some non-TT and tenured jobs as TT jobs, so this is off by some additional margin.)

Additionally: last year in between Nov 10 and December 31 saw 24 TT jobs posted, and 33 fixed term jobs posted, although all the same caveats apply to those numbers.

SLAC tenured professor & chair

My department doesn't have as many applicants as I would have expected at this point to be honest. We still have a few weeks before the deadline though and I'd assume that would translate to at least 100 more applicants and likely 200 more.


RoundTwo: I think there are fewer jobs with open specializations this year. I count 27 on PhilJobs since August.

Recent PHD

I have a teaching dossier question. The sample syllabi in my teaching dossier are not for any courses in my AOS. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to teach a course specifically in my AOS as a graduate student. Should I create a sample syllabus in my AOS for the dossier, or will departments safely assume that I am capable of teaching such a course?


As a search committee member (and as someone who was recently on the market), I honestly don't care about sample syllabi. I also think pulling them together only for a teaching portfolio is a waste of candidates' time, unless they have no sample syllabi at all. I sympathize with the fact that job candidates are over-worked, under-paid, and stressed. You all have more important things to be doing. However, I know that some of my colleagues feel differently and would like to see sample syllabi for courses listed in the ads we put out. So I think this will depend on the people evaluating your apps.

to recent phd

One reason to prepare a syllabus for a course that you have never taught is to have your thoughts actually worked out. When you are in an interview, you have no time to think and plan. Your answer will be somewhat impulsive. But a worked out syllabus can aid you in acting impulsively but thoughtfully.

Marcus Arvan

to recent phd: that's such a great comment. The worst interview answers to teaching questions are the ones where the candidate makes it look like they're trying to figure out how they would teach the course right then and there. It looks bad--especially when other candidates have really detailed, well-thought-out answers. If you're a job candidate who doesn't have an actual syllabus for a course in a job's AOS, it would behoove you to at least sketch one out to inform an interview answer!

Recent PHD

so, would it be a good idea to bring syllabi for courses that were mentioned in an ad to an interview (assuming they weren't in the teaching dossier? or is that overkill? Thanks for all the feedback everyone!


Recent PhD: I would. I'd even bring copies of syllabi in the teaching dossier. That way, if you're asked, you can hand them a copy and give them a quick run-through.

Marcus Arvan

Michel is exactly right. At one fly-out I was having coffee with one search-committee member. He asked me, "how would you teach a course on X?" I said, "Funny you should ask", told him I had a syllabus in my bag, and asked him if he'd like to see and chat about it.

I didn't get the job, but we had a great conversation and he seemed super impressed--and I learned later that he fought very hard for me in the final decision of who to hire.

Number Three

I also received my current tenure track job, and I brought syllabi to the on-campus. I even artificially created the opportunity to show them the syllabi. ("Hey, so this is sort of out of nowhere, but I created six syllabi for some of the courses I would be teaching here. I brought copies for you all, if you want them.")

At the very least, it didn't sink my candidacy.


I am currently putting together a mock job talk.

The talk is based on a paper that I hope to send to a journal. The paper is organized with a lot of the news worthy claims and arguments towards the beginning of the paper. Many folks have suggested this to me as way to get a paper through review.

But, this seems like a bad way to organize or layout a job talk.

I normally make clear my aims, goals and gloss terms at the beginning of any talk. But, I feel the need to go a bit slower in setting up background with a job talk.

How should a job talk be organized?

How much time should be spent setting up an argument's background?

Didn't do my homework, but it worked out OK

Counterpoint to the discussion of why it's wise to create syllabi for courses you haven't taught: my first time on the job market, I applied for a job at a teaching-focused school that listed area X as an AOC. In the APA interview, I was asked how I would teach a class in area X. I had done absolutely no preparation for this question (because I was an idiot and it hadn't occurred to me to that I should prepare an answer), so all I could do was mention one or two topics in area X I would teach in that course. The interviewers said "Well, that's in the ballpark, I guess." I ended up getting an offer for that job anyway.

Lesson: your mileage may vary.


I have interviews and would love to have a discussion about imposter syndrome. How do people manage imposter syndrome in preparing for/ actually being at interviews? I am finding that the more I prep, the more I feel like I don't know anything about philosophy.


@ Anon, I'm curious if you have interviews whether you'd mind reporting these under the job market reporting thread. Good luck, regardless!


I've said it several times on this blog and I'll say it again, I feel like the question: "How would you teach X?" is, in skype interviews, mostly useless. Whether or not you're prepared is beside the point. I've screwed my answers with lots of preparations and nailed improvised answers. You don't have time to elaborate, you have no idea what/how much they want to hear, you already sent syllabi and if they want more, well they should ask more. You just can't explain HOW YOU'RE GONNA TEACHING A FREAKING COURSE in one minute. You can say things about assignments, balance of materials, perspectives, and activities, themes you'd like to cover. But that's about it. Being on the market is hugely time-consuming. You can spend extra time drafting syllabi for potential interviews at every place you apply to, but I'm not sure this is worth the extra effort. As long as you have 1. syllabi of courses you know well relevant enough to the AOC; 2. a few ideas of courses you'd like to teach; 3. some sense of what it takes to teach, then you should be fine.

My two cents.


Is there an average amount of time from when a search committee informs an applicant that they would like to interview her to when the applicant is interviewed?


In my experience this can vary from 24 hours to a couple weeks. No idea about an average, though.

Recent PHD

I have some questions about joint departments of philosophy and religion. Do these departments favor candidates who can contribute to their religious studies program, or are these departments pretty much separate? If one CAN contribute to teaching or an interdisciplinary collaboration with the religious studies section of the department, should one flag this?

The answer to this question, of course, probably depends on a case by case basis. But I am wondering if one should draw attention to this in the case where the ad does not in any way flag that this is a desired quality. Could this be a desired quality that the department isn't making explicit?

Marcus Arvan

Recent PHD: It depends entirely on the department. I know someone who works at a Philosophy & Religion department where a candidate who can do religious studies would be at a clear advantage. However, I also know someone who works at another department where interest in doing religion might actually be a disadvantage, given the attitudes of the philosophy faculty toward religion and religious studies.

Also, my experience (serving on three search committees) is that if a search committee desires something, they will make it as explicit in the job ad if possible. Consequently, if it's not in the job ad, my suggestion is that candidates not flag it. If something is not in a job ad, it is either not a real need the department is looking to fill, or worse, it is an area the department actively does *not* want to fill.

Recent PHD

Thanks Marcus! That's super helpful.


Two departments that I applied to have sent me emails that request me to either (a) log into an online system, other than interfolio, to provide basic personal information or (b) upload my CV even though I already sent it through interfolio.

One job's deadline was 11/01 and the other's was 11/15.

Are these administrative requests sent to all applicants?

Should I take these as a sign that I made some kind of initial cut or list?

Or do most applicants receive these?

I ask because if these requests are evidence that I made some kind of list, I will devote more time to preparing for interviews.


If they were e-mails requesting demographic or affirmative action information, these are standard for all applicants.


would anyone here be willing to give me just a bit of advice on applying for TT jobs at community colleges?

I have read somewhere that in addition to the cover letter, even regarding your CV, it might be wise to remove sections about research?

Anyone have a lot of experience or success applying for these types of positions?
Tips? Advice?



The wiki has Notre Dame interviews reported - does anyone know what AOS(es) they ended up interviewing?

SLAC tenured professor & chair

Why would you REMOVE areas of research? Certainly one should prioritize items differently based on a solely teaching job vs a research position, but if you're applying to a community college I wouldn't eliminate any trace of my research - that would imply you are similar to another with no research.

Recent PhD

SLAC tenured professor & chair, it might sound strange, but I have heard similar advice in the past. I think that the worry is that CC hiring committees are reasoning like this:

1. The job market is so bad that people will apply for (and accept) any/every job possible--including jobs that they don't really want to stay in for extended periods of time.
2. Per 1, some people that apply for community college jobs are "flight risks." They don't "really want" this job. They are merely settling for it and will leave at the first chance they get.
3. If someone has a strong research profile, that is evidence that a 5/5 teaching job at a community college is not really where they want to be. They are a flight risk.
4. We don't want to hire a flight risk.
5. Conclusion: We don't want to hire people with strong research profiles.

So hiding one's research might seem like a good idea to some people. However, despite hearing this advice some time ago, I have anecdotal evidence against it. I applied to 6 TT CC jobs last year and I got 3 first-round interviews (and subsequently 2 second-round interviews where I was told I was the runner-up). Alas, I didn't get any of the jobs. But I was ABD at the time with 1 publication in a good specialist journal and 1 R&R in another pretty good specialist journal. I doubt that I would have made it to final interviews is my research was such a red flag to them. I didn't hide my research, but I did talk up my teaching. I also think it helped that I had attended a community college a long time ago, so I spoke about how much I appreciated the system and understood the kinds of students who attended there.

I have also heard from a current CC tenure-track professor that having a research record doesn't typically harm people's chances for CC jobs. Despite what some might think, community colleges do not dislike research. They just want to make sure that the candidate knows that research is something that is above/beyond the call of duty for a CC job. The applicant's focus should be on teaching and committee work.


Recent PhD: being runner-up twice must have been super frustrating! But in a sense, encouraging, since you were only ABD. I hope you did (or will) end up getting something great for you.

anon phd

I think there is a dilemma that some of us on the job market have. The dilemma is this: how many papers should one try to publish while on the market? It seems that the best situation is for one to get a job with as many papers still in the arsenal as possible so that they will count towards your tenure file. However, as it is likely that one will not get a job, one needs to try to improve their profile for the next job market season.

I guess my issue is this. I am trying to hold on to as many papers as possible without sending them out, in hope that I get an interview sometime soon. But if I don't get interviews, at one point should I go into publication mode, and just try to publish as many of the papers I have lying around as possible? January? February? I understand that there's another wave of VAP and Post Doc positions that will be posted in the Spring...but my question still stands.

As an aside...I currently have two publications (both in general journals: one top 20, one top 30 - according to Leiter's recent rankings). How many more publications would significantly improve my profile?

Marcus Arvan

anon PhD: I did some research on this a few years back, and the single best predictor of job-placement appeared to be total number of publications. I would not advise holding anything back. I published as much as I could while on the market, and my interview numbers rose dramatically—just as my research predicted. Don’t worry about having enough to publish after getting a job. You have to *get* a job first! And trust me, if you begin publishing a lot, the ideas won’t just dry up. My experience is, the more you publish, the more the ideas come.

anon phd

Marcus, thanks that's very helpful. I guess there's a very real fear when you finish a PhD about how many good ideas you're going to have. I don't think this is something we talk about much.

There's a certain humility that I have now about publishing good philosophy. I believe it takes a long time to come up with a good idea. So I just worry about that sometimes...but I think you're right, it's best to let things go and see what happens!


This is the sort of thing that I'm sure has been spoken to elsewhere on this blog, but after looking a bit I couldn't quite find it, so I hope folks don't mind me posing the question here: how many people do committees tend to select for Skype interviews for a TT position? (Or does this vary too much to make a general statement about it, perhaps based on the size of the applicant pool/etc.?)


12-ish Skype; 3-6 for on-campus in my experience on the market and as a search committee member.

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