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There is no HR reason i can think of to not to notify someone after a flyout, once an offer has already been accepted. That is just the *faculty* being assholes. I do think at the first stage there is admin reasons for not doing pfos earlier.


In the fall I applied to a postdoc position. I wasn't explicitly notified about this, but I've since learned that my application was unsuccessful. They're now advertising open positions for this postdoc with a new spring deadline for applications. So my question is: is there any point for me to reapply for this position?


Unsuccessful: Of course - if, that is, you want the postdoc. Virtually all professors and post-docs you see were not #1 for the vast majority of places to which they applied. That doesn't mean the places didn't think highly of them!


Unsuccessful: also, it's quite unlikely it will be the same search committee. So your past rejection means very little about a future rejection.

Endless Apps

About job titles: I, like lots of people, have a very long list of "adjunct lecturer" job titles on my CV. This is my second year on the job market, and last year I simply put "adjunct lecturer." But this year our university's placement people suggested I just put "lecturer," and that this wasn't a big deal. Even though I'm working a full-time load by most standards (3-5 classes per semester), I'm not technically a full-time employee. What do people think?

Marcus Arvan

Endless Apps: I think you might get away with it, but technically it's lying on your CV. Full-time lecturer positions (e.g. at schools like mine) are a very different kind of job, with different responsibilities. Maybe it's unlikely anyone will catch it and raise a fuss, but if they did it could create a heap of trouble for you.


I think a general problem here is that there's too much variation in how non tenure track work is categorized. At my institution, you can be teaching a course not on the tenure track and have 4-6 different job titles. One of those titles is Lecturer, and our use of "Lecturer" doesn't entail that you're full time or a permanent member of the department.

Slac Tenured Professor & Chair

Endless Apps:
Why attempt to deceive? Just state it as it is. It would be a deal beaker if I discovered someone lied on their application to me. Your experience is not a deal breaker.

Someone this year lied about having a forthcoming article in a special issue that I was a part of. It sunk their application at my institution.

In short, just be honest and keep plugging away and something will work out.

Endless Apps

Yeah, I've gone ahead and reverted my CV. My understanding was that it was a matter of emphasis, rather than deception. But I can see how skirting that line isn't actually helpful for an application!


Slac Tenured Professor & Chair - I'm curious about the lie on the CV. Was the issue the paper was just under review for the issue, and not yet accepted? Or did they just completely make it up?


I think it is worth noting that in mid-feb., two TT jobs have been posted. My guess is there is more to come. This is for sure a change in the pace of things. Interestingly, R1 jobs seem to be posted earliest.

Slac Tenured Professor & Chair

Amanda: It was listed as "forthcoming", when it was not yet accepted (still under review at the time we were reviewing the applicant's cv), and in fact, ended up being rejected (after our assessment of the applicant).

Dr. Job Seeker

Here comes another rant. I had a Skype interview two months ago. I know that two weeks later they scheduled fly-outs and that at least some of those (if not all of them) have already happened. Yet I haven't heard a word from them since my Skype interview. It's ridiculous! And I had another Skype interview elsewhere about one month ago. I don't know whether they've scheduled second-round interviews. But I shouldn't have to wait and guess until I simply lose hope.

I understand that there can be policies about when they can send official PFOs, but there is absolutely no reason that search committees cannot send an informal email to say that, although *technically* I'm still a candidate, they have already moved on to second-round interviews. The job market takes enough of a toll on us without this BS on top of it all.


that's a good point. skype interviewees should be notified within a month of whether they've advanced to the next round, or a month and a half if the interview was right before Christmas.


Thanks slac chair. And yeah, that's not cool. He was probably over confident about acceptance but that just won't cut it in a job search.


Dr Job Seeker and Anon,
You do not get it. They cannot send an informal note saying they have moved on, or some angry job seeker will contact HR and threaten to sue. Because an informal note is NOT official, it does not represent the university. Remember faculty are university employees.
To add to this, I worked in the private sector before. There were absolutely no norms around response from interviews. I do not think you are being reasonable here.

Dr. Job Seeker

Anonymous: I think this talk of possible lawsuits is overblown. Threaten to sue? On what possible basis could they threaten to sue? "Your honor, this university interviewed me. And then they told me that I wasn't selected for a second round interview! I would like $1,000,000 please." Perhaps state laws differ and there is some legal prohibition I'm not aware of. But I have dealt with several universities that were very transparent about each step they took in the hiring process. They did not seem to be worried about such lawsuits.

Furthermore, the hiring practice of the "private sector" is not some univocal practice. So perhaps your experience of the private sector involved being ignored after initial interviews. But I also worked in the private sector for 10 years before going into academia and my experience was quite different. The turnaround times were much quicker and the business were much more transparent about their hiring processes. Not once was I simply ignored after interviewing for a position. And besides, even IF every business in the world neglected to notify interviewees, we could still be justified in complaining about that practice. We all know that "is" does not imply "ought."

Dr. Job Seeker

I was a bit flippant in my previous comment. I apologize. Also, I should add that I am genuinely curious which laws are possibly being violated if schools were to do a better job at notifying candidates of where they are in the process.


I've gotten lots of emails after skype interviews saying I didn't make it. So I guess those schools weren't concerned about being sued. Honestly I think the odds of being sued for getting a rejection email are very low, and the odds of it going anywhere are very, very, very, low. I would be pretty surprised if there was any academic example - but if I'm wrong point it out to me.


Hmm.... lots of moving parts here. So there's a point about an informal note. What's formal vs. informal? There's also a worry about suits and/or threats to sue. There is, among other things, a further thought about representing the university.

So a search chair can't represent the department doing the search, and thus the university, in sending out a letter? Don't they so represent in sending campus invitations? I don't see the unreasonableness, though perhaps there's something else to see here.

(Sidenote: Cool re private sector, but is one's experience representative? If so, does that matter in education, which straddles public/private? Just genuinely curious.)


What's the timeline for the market -- when do all the final offers tend to be out? My guess is May-ish. Any idea?


Well a new TT job was just posted two days ago- so hard to say.


I know from various sources that at least 3 of the places I applied to have made offers which were accepted. Yet I got no rejections... Do these SC's or hum res offices not even bother to hit the send button anymore?!... Are we losers not even worth a sorry pfo anymore?! Where does our abuse by these people end?!...

bewilldered, PhD

Does anyone know what "open until filled" means on job ads? I presume it doesn't mean they take the first good looking applicant who comes along--surely the committee has to review a few and deliberate, right? Does it mean as soon as they have enough to review a few? (Often I end up not applying for these jobs unless I really want them, since there's no deadline.)


It is the opposite of what you are thinking. The search committee is not trying to rush things, and take the first that fits their needs. They are saying they will not hire from a pool that arrives on some set date, if they do not like any of the applicants. It permits them to keep looking until they find what they want.


I applied for a TT Assist Prof position at UNC Chapel Hill in September 2016 - I received an official rejection email on October 2018. That's just one example, I have many: being a finalist and getting 3 rejections emails for that position throughout 2 years, etc. Leaving aside the absurdity and ludicrousness of that, as "socially conscious," concerned about "well-being,and "non-discriminatory" about anything universities / philosophy departments claim to be, they propagate precisely the opposite practices through their conduct during job market searches: not being able to send a peer philosopher and PhD as much as a generic and meaningless PFO after 2-4-6 months (or 2 years) does not have to do with laws/privacy, it has to do with the bubble of affected superiority and hypocrisy that academic philosophy has isolated itself into.


Many of us are putting their best into this process of finding an academic job, while going through mental pain, different types of sacrifices, constant feelings of social and intellectual inadequacy, wonderfully unjustified imposter syndromes, etc. is it too much to ask to be treated with the "decency" of being an automatic receiver in a mass PFO email? We overanalyze, rationalize, and wax intellectually about all these absolutely horrendous practices here, but it seems that when we finally become part of the system, picking up the slightest scrap of a position of "authority," we immediately forget how it is to be on the other side: an awkward, pathetic victor's justice.


I get being upset when you have a skype interview, or a flyout, and don't hear from someone. That is rude and I really think there's no excuse for it. When you have a personal connection with someone, and then ignore them, it shows nothing but blatant disrespect. But I don't get being one of 400 applicants and being mad you didn't get a PFO. Why do you want an impersonal form letter from HR? I mean this question sincerely, I just am confused why someone would care. Obviously sending a form letter doesn't mean the department thinks anything of you. I also don't think when I apply to a job that there is any guarantee I will hear from them. If I don't I obviously didn't get the job.

Dr. Job Seeker

Confused: I completely agree. Getting a form rejection letter doesn't mean anything important. I mainly take issue with the lack of communication after interviews.

However, I will say this. If it weren't for this website and the phylo wiki, I would have a list of about 60+ jobs where I would not know whether they had moved onto interviews. Of course, as time moves on, I have more and more reason to believe that they have already scheduled interviews and that I wasn't selected. But I think the complaint is that we shouldn't have to go through this process of waning hope over time. Several schools issue PFOs shortly after making their short/long list. And it's reasonable to expect/want other schools to do the same.


What exactly is involved in a teaching demo? Does the institution normally assign you a topic/class to teach? Or is one expected to come with a class already prepped? Does it vary by institution? Thanks in advance, Cocoon!

Job seeker

LM - it definitely varies by institution. I had one teaching demo where I was asked to teach anything I wanted for an ancient phil class, another where I was asked to teach anything I wanted in decision theory, and another where I was asked to teach on anything I wanted in my AOS. I've also known people who were told to prep whatever was assigned for that day by the professor teaching the course (sometimes in a course relevant to the AOS, sometimes not). The only unifying thing I've seen was not being able to assign readings of your choice. Definitely ask for details from the search chair.


LM, my experience is quite similar to Job seeker's, though I have had the opportunity to assign reading ahead of time (only once). That was for a teaching demo at an elite SLAC, on an Ethics topic of my choice. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the best teaching demo I've done - the students were coming to the lesson with some background knowledge, and I got to use higher-level/more active activities than I otherwise could have.

A less typical example: I once did a teaching demo at a Catholic SLAC that asked me to plan a 30 minute lesson that addressed the question, "“What is the difference between “studying” philosophy and “doing” philosophy?" I could use any content/teaching methods I liked - that was the only instruction I got.

I second asking for as many details as possible from the search chair - who the students are, how many of them there are, what their philosophy background is, what the room is like, whether there's a computer/projector (if you need it), how long the lesson will be, whether faculty will be there to observe or if you'll just be videotaped, etc. It can be helpful to ask for a copy of the syllabus for the course you'll be dropping into to get a sense of what the students have been reading and to think about how to draw connections to things they've already done.


It is amazing how strong and ubiquitous this tendency of exclusionism is. Also picking some fact and building a hierarchy around it to decide who is worthy of what... Even for a lowly pfo they do this... This is how I see it when people say that only those who got interviews deserve pfos and the losers who did not get an interview deserve nothing. Sigh...


When you say someone "deserves" something it typically implies that something has some type of value, otherwise it wouldn't matter. What I question is why a PFO would have any value. Apparently some people want it to move on - but this seems odd since PFOs are rarely timely, and typically by the time I got one I knew it didn't happen.


LM: I've given just one teaching demo, but I was invited to choose any topic in my AOS, and to assign a reading.

I've seen two demos where the department assigned a specific topic: "what's the value of teaching the history of philosophy?" and something about the relationship between teaching in the AOS and curriculum development across the university.

I've also seen several demos where the candidate just taught whatever was assigned for the class that day.


Confused: I suspect that the point about desert is this. If one has invested nontrivial time applying for a position and/or cares about one's chances at the applied-to school, and if a department knows this, then a department might owe it to the person to provide (and the person might deserve to get) a response not long after applying. It is psychologically costly, for many applicants at least, to need to leave open the possibility that various places just might invite one for an interview. Certainty - via, say, a simple 'no, but thanks for applying' to one's application - is less costly. A thought, anyway

Looking for TT

Hey everyone,

I recently had a Skype interview in which I had to give a 15 minute teaching demo. I found it rather difficult, as there wasn't enough time to do an exercise of any sort, and lecturing for the whole time seems like an odd way to do a teaching demo when I do not lecture for the entirety of my classes. Any advice on how to approach this?

Dr. Job Seeker

Looking for TT: A teaching demo over Skype sounds incredibly difficult. You're trapped inside a little computer screen! I can't speak to that specifically, but I can say what I've done for similar in-person teaching demos. Was this for a community college (CC)? In my experience, community colleges have asked me for 15 min teaching demos in my first round interviews and universities have asked for longer teaching demos during the second round where I would take over an actual class for the day. Your approach to each should differ. I'll speak to CC teaching demos since I've done 3 of them at first round interviews and I made it to second round interviews for all three. But that's a small sample size, so take it for what it's worth. Anyway, here are my two cents.

1. State the student learning objectives(SLOs) at the beginning. You only have 15 minutes. What do you want the "students" (i.e. the committee) to know or be able to do after this 15 minute lesson? I typically have 2 (or maybe 3) learning objectives. This way I can state what I aim to achieve and then they can decide if I actually achieved it. This sort of protects you from them thinking "Oh no. She/he should have talked about X" because you already laid out your objectives and X was not part of it. This also demonstrates to the committee that you have thought about SLOs, which CCs in particular care a lot about.

2. It's ok to lecture, but still try to make it interactive. Don't break them into groups and have them do some think-pair-share activity that will take several minutes. You don't have that kind of time. But you can still have them participate in some way. For example, one of my teaching demos was on Descartes. To start the session I asked them to name some ordinary things that they take themselves to know and then I wrote their answers on the board. I then applied Descartes' method of doubt to their first couple examples. And then I let them apply the method of doubt to the last two examples. Another time I was teaching them about inductive arguments and what makes them good/bad. I saved some time at the end for sample arguments and I asked them to identify whether/why the arguments are good or bad. Bottom line: you can still lecture for a significant portion of time while still making it interactive.

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