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Would someone without any major publications almost be immediately disqualified from consideration for a TT position?

Recent PHD

I'm not a search committee member, but if you scan appointments on philjobs or placement records on "top" department websites you will see that there certainly are people who get jobs without publications. A trend seems to be, however, graduating from a very "top" school.


I teach in a program with a very non "top" PhD program. When our graduates get tenure track jobs, they exclusively get teaching-focused jobs. And they do so sometimes with publications and sometimes without. But when they do have publications, they are often not what I would consider "major" publications. However, I do think that having publications is a significant advantage for teaching jobs as well as research jobs.


I have different sort of question than anon, above. I earned my Ph.D. from an unranked program in 2016. My sense is that the unranked school at the top of my CV pretty much disqualifies me from R1 type schools. However, I've published a lot for someone at my career stage in an effort to overcome the unranked program that I'm coming out of. To date, I've got 11 publications. 2 are in general journals in the 15-20 range on Leiter's recent poll, a handful are in good specialty journals, and a couple are in edited volumes. Given my publishing record, though, I'm now starting to worry that I've published myself out of some of those teaching jobs.

I've had some success on the market so far. I had a fair number of interviews the past couple years, and I got a handful of offers for VAP/Postdoc jobs this past year (I'm currently in a postdoc at a med school). However, I've been pretty much shut out of the TT market. My worry is that my unranked PhD means I'm not a candidate for research jobs and my publication record means that I'm not a candidate for teaching jobs. Is this a legitimate worry? If so, what can I do?


Marcus I'm sure will start a thread on this, so I don't want to really reply. But I will just say this - yes, unfortunately, that is a legitimate worry. Whether it is a legitimate worry for you in particular is unclear, I would have to see your CV.

anonymous lemming

When a candidate fits the AOS of a position but not the AOCs, is it still worth applying for the job? I've seen a fair number of positions in the past couple years with a LEMMing-type AOS and social/political-type AOCs. I have the former but don't really have the latter. I always apply anyway because there are so few jobs, and I figure a person who fits exactly those specifics is going to be rare and unlikely. But so far I haven't had any success anywhere, these included.


What would publications from https://1000wordphilosophy.com/ look like to a potential search committee members?

The editors do come right out and say

"We publish approximately 10% of essays that are submitted, usually after substantial revisions and editing.

Most, but not all, of our published essays are by professors of philosophy or advanced graduate students in philosophy.

Essays published at 1000-Word Philosophy are peer-reviewed publications. "

I realize not as much weight as journal articles but I
am still curious.


Hi anon--just one perspective here but my guess it is somewhat representative of folks on research-focused hiring committees: having a publication like this would make no difference to me one way or another when assessing a file. My guess is that some faculty at research-focused would (unjustifiably) count it as a very slight negative, because it makes you look "less serious" as a researcher or something, and that some would count it as a slight positive (but not much of a positive). I have no idea what people in other kinds of institutions/departments would think.


This may have been asked answered and the response might, ultimately be, that publications are the single greatest asset to getting TT, no matter the type of institution.

I have a another related though perhaps not easily answerable question:

If one is currently a VAP or lecturer at a fairly reputable institution in terms of research but was hired solely for teaching purposes and one's ultimate goal is to end up at a SLAC, would trying to get another VAP or lecturer elsewhere boost their chances?

In other words, would it best to try and remain in a potentially renewable position at a research institution or seek out VAP's elsewhere where teaching is the primary focus of the school (given a SLAC is one's ultimate destination?

Sorry if that is potentially complicated.

Martin Shuster

Last anon - if you have a stable gig that gives you teaching experience and allows you to stay productive, then I would say absolutely do not mess with it. SLACs will want to see teaching experience and good results (including a well thought out approach to pedagogy) and a good understanding of what happens at SLACs and what will be expected of you ... you can acquire those things without being at a SLAC. So, I'd stay wherever gives you the most stability and allows for greatest productivity until you land something permanent. Good luck!

Throwaway Name

Could search committee members discuss their thinking when they evaluate, on paper, whether a candidate is a good teacher? Do they weigh certain application materials more than others (e.g. teaching statement, letters of recommendation, student evaluations, etc.)? In their own experience, are strong application materials of a certain kind correlated to strong teaching abilities? Are strong application materials of another kind not correlated to strong teaching abilities?


I very much second "Throwaway Name's" post.

"Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness" is often a standard phrase for jobs, but how is that evaluated? How does that stand out?

I really think this deserves a thread of its own.


I've had a couple interviews in which I could reasonably answer most teaching questions by reiterating information from my application materials. My question is: in future interviews, would it be better to straightforwardly reinforce the things I've said about courses and teaching practices in my materials, or would it be better to bring up other courses and practices (working under the assumption that the committee is already familiar with my materials, given that I made it to the interview stage)?


I have a question about the best talk to give for a on-campus interview (in a research university).
I have been asked to give a talk of around 45/60 minutes (way longer than talks usually people give at conference). I was wondering about the best strategy, and I have been given the following advice, which I find really good. The idea is to give a talk that (a) sets out a larger project or research agenda, and then (b) presents one portion of that project (e.g., the equivalent of a paper or chapter) in more detail.
What do you think?

an academic abroad

Perhaps someone can say a bit more about applications from those who have made a career abroad and are now applying in the US or UK? Our career trajectories tend to look a bit different, and sometimes the whole AOS/AOC thing doesn't apply as straightforwardly either. In some countries, lots of publications come through edited volumes, not journals, and sometimes we have publications in foreign languages.

Moreover, for those whose semesters are structured differently, or for universities in which student evals play less of a role, we might have different teaching materials. For example, my seminars meet only once/week over the course of 15 weeks. Evaluations are given mid-semester to allow instructors to "course correct" if necessary, not as end-of-semester assessments of instructor competence. The focus here also tends to be on reading less and engaging more intensively with the material. This means my courses are structured differently, and my syllabi look different.

Where I'm at, institutions also place more emphasis on research-based teaching and less on "intro" or survey courses, since those tend to be taught as lectures by the full professors. We aren't in a liberal arts system either, so there are few "gen ed" courses and students to be offered. It's not that I can't teach such classes. (In fact, I love teaching these kinds of courses.) But there is little opportunity for me to do so.

Likewise, it seems like valuable application material space is often spent explaining these differences - and/or why one has made one's career abroad and why one wants to enter/return (in)to the US academic system, when it seems to me that space could be better spent motivating why one is an awesome scholar and a potentially good future colleague.

International scholars can bring lots of really good things to the table and can be really great additions to a department, but I feel like they are often overlooked unless they are senior scholars who have already made their careers, or unless they attended a US/UK institution and went straight from there to the US/UK job market.

Are departments less inclined to give interviews to international junior and mid-career scholars? Any tips for successful applications?

Recent Grad

I'd also like to hear more about how applicants who are applying from positions abroad (but who have phd's from a US/UK institution) are viewed by search committees. I've applied to a few things overseas this year, mainly in Southeast Asia, and the possibility has crossed my mind that taking a position there could hurt my prospects in the US/UK market, especially for US teaching schools.

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