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Should I be trying to get people to notice my papers in some way other than just publishing and putting them out there? Cold emailing relevant interlocutors, posting about them in a public Facebook post, something like that?

Cautiously Optimistic

I have just finished my undergraduate career and am soon to start my MA (a funded program). I have gotten a taste for academic life (as a TA, presenting in conferences, etc.), and I enjoy producing scholarship and am most interested in working with students. While in high school, I job shadowed professors (in music and in English), since the profession appealed to me. So I would like to be a professor. I have been told the healthiest approach is to go for it, manage my expectations, and have a good backup plan in the likely case it doesn’t work out. Any general advice as to how to manage your expectations, while not setting your heart on something that is acquired in large part through chance (rather than merit alone)?


Is there any specific advice about how to write your application for transferring Ph. D programs other than the obvious — don’t trash talk your old program, etc.?


if you were waitlisted at a program and are applying again, is it appropriate/helpful to mention this?


About the paper that you focus a job talk around. Suppose you have something at every stage of the pipeline - including, say, a manuscript that's not quite submitted for review, a manuscript that's under review, a manuscript that got an R&R decision, a manuscript that you've revised and resubmitted, and a conditional acceptance.

Are any of these options clearly a bad idea? On the one hand, as we get towards the end of the list, they're more polished, and you'll presumably look better presenting them. But also, as we approach the end of the list, they're more "done", and you run the risk of looking like you don't have new things coming.

One-Time Job Candidate

In response to the question about job talks...

Just my opinion here, but I think the choice of topic for a job talk depends a lot on where you are giving the talk. If it's at a place with a PhD program, I would choose something new, interesting, ambitious, that may not be as far along in the process.

But at teaching-oriented places, I think it's better to give a safer talk in the sense that it's on a better-known topic which is accessible to a lot of people. At least, this was my experience with the job talks I had a few months ago. All were at teaching-oriented places, and none of the talks were based on a paper. Rather, they were overviews of my research program as a whole, tying my work into recognized and accepted philosophical problems that everyone can appreciate.

It was clear that the audiences appreciated this, including the undergraduates in attendance.


Would it be career suicide to skip the job market and adjuncting for a year (or maybe even two) to expand my family and be a stay at home parent for a little while? I would still attempt to write, publish, and present at conferences (in fact I'd have much more time to attempt to do these things if I wasn't adjuncting and on the market while parenting a young child). I was on the market during my first pregnancy and adjuncted right up until my due date. I'm not keen to try that again while also parenting a toddler. I also don't want to put off having another kid until after I get a permanent job (since it may never happen anyway). Would schools consider hiring someone with this kind of gap in teaching? If so, would there be a good way to explain it in my cover letter and/or CV when going back on the market at a later time?


Make a point of listing it on your c.v. or in your letter that you were on maternity leave. There are civilized departments out there. Hopefully no one will ask you to show the placenta to prove it.
Good luck on the market.


I am writing mainly to ask for advice on how to deal with an unresponsive journal. Here is a rough timeline

Dec 2018: Submission
March 2019: Journal responds that my submission is not formatted correctly
April 2019: Re-submit with correct format
10 days Later: accepted for publication with revision
2 days later: re-submit

Since April 15: no response to several e-mails confirming it has been received.

May 25th: e-mail asking if it had been received.

I imagine this is not uncommon but it is frustrating nonetheless and I am sure there are far worse stories out there than this but it is getting close'ish to job market time and I'd like to know the precise status of it.

But am I best to just keep waiting at this point given that it is the summer?

Do more e-mails asking about it just annoy the editors?


anon: I think it depends what you mean by "accepted for publication with revision". Was it conditionally accepted? If so I think that you might want to contact them, since conditional acceptances often don't go back to referees to check up on. (But also if so: you can put this on your cv and I think people will consider it to be = to a publication, so I also don't think you need to worry too much about getting it officially accepted pre job market season.)

But if you mean that they suggested you could revise and resubmit the paper, your timeline looks like it's still in the normal range to me. Sometimes journals intentionally get a new referee, or one referee drops out, or referees take a long time even at the R&R stage. It's bad that they aren't answering your emails, but at the same time it's easy to imagine being in an editor's shoes and having hundreds of authors writing these kinds of emails...


The e-mail I got said "The decision is to publish with revisions" so I assume that is different than revise and re-submit, right?
Is that considered conditional acceptance?

It said the following:

"The review is complete for your essay. The decision is to publish with revisions. Here is the record of the review with the revisions noted. If you choose to complete this work, resend the revised essay and we will review it to confirm its completeness."

Marcus Arvan

Hi anon: it is strange that the journal hasn’t responded. But given that you’ve already sent several emails and the journal conditionally accepted your paper (which it definitely did), I think the thing to do at this point is to just list it on your CV as a conditional accept and wait.

One thing I wonder about, though, is whether the journal is receiving your emails at all. Recently, I had an entire email chain blocked by my university server. None of the emails from anyone in the chain ever appeared in my inbox, nor in my junk mail or clutter boxes. Instead, Microsoft exchange (which my university uses) simply *blocked* them. If this is what is going on (though I think it is unlikely), then it is possible that none of your emails have been received.

On that note: is this a journal that uses a manuscript submission site (e.g. Manuscript Central), or is it a journal where you literally email the paper in. If it’s the former, I wouldn’t email the editors any more. They have your paper and should be given time to consider the revisions. However, if it’s the latter, then I could be a good idea to try to determine whether your emails are just getting lost somehow (because in that case they may have never received your revisions).


This job-market season, I accepted a tenure-track job at a large state teaching-focused university.

I am coming right out of graduate school.

I was very happy that part of the offer included relocation funding.

But, the relocation funding is provided through reimbursement. This is a problem for me because I have been a graduate student in a major US city for the last 6 years and as a result I don't have the money to spend on relocation such that they can reimburse me.

Is reimbursement typical or standard in academia when it comes to funding moving or relocation expenses?

If it is typical or standard, this practice seems to assume that graduate students have access to thousands of dollars of cash or credit.


Relocator: I dealt with the same problem. It is indeed typical to not pay up front and assume the hire has the money or credit to pay for everything. And this will most likely be true for everything in the future, notably conference travel.

When I signed my contract I was told it would be easy to get moving money paid in advance. I then followed up on this, and was meet with massive layers of bureaucratic red tape and apathetic administrators. In the end, it just wasn't going to happen. So I got rid of all my furniture. Put the rest of what I could fit in my car, and drove across the country staying in Motel 6's.

And yes, everyone assumes you have thousands of dollars on credit cards. They absolutely assume this, and they assume that if you don't, then you can apply for a credit card and get one. They don't take into account that not all people can do that, that some of us have a bad credit history which could be from medical bills, a crisis in grad school, or just bad personal choices with credit (these types of choices, though, are typical when you come from the lower middle class and below.)Even talking to many friends I simply cannot get them to believe that it is (or was)impossible for me to get a credit card. It is like they think it is a myth that credit card companies turn down people with low scores. How I wish it was a myth... |

To be fair, though, most grad students *do* have thousands of dollars on credit cards. Even the few people I know who have bad credit either have a spouse with good credit, or a family member who would cosign. However, it is still wrong to assume we all have this option. I didn't.

Other bad news: in 2018 the tax law changed, and reimbursement is taxed at an outrageous rate. Do not expect nearly the amount offered. I almost cried when I got my reimbursement check. And no, I didn't get any of it back when I did taxes.


I have a question about moving from a VAP to a TT-job. Is it possible, in your experience, to count the years you have been VAP in the tenure clock when you move to a TT-job? For instance, if you had been VAP for 2 years, then you get a TT-job and you can go for tenure after 4 years. I'm interested in this especially in terms of articles published during the VAP period. Thanks!


The rules around "prior service credit" as it is sometimes called, vary widely. I was able to get some credit for prior service at other institutions - for 5 years, they gave me three years credit, the maximum the institution would give. It does, though, add pressure to you. You are expected to earn tenure on the publications you do AT the new job (at least at some places). But I have seen people told they cannot count post doc positions, and other temporary positions as prior credit. So some institutions only count years at another tenured positions, or years in full time employment (ie. where your title is Visiting Assistant Professor). So count on nothing. In fact, I was not told how much prior credit I would get until AFTER I started the job!

Bernardo Vargas

Greetings! I am recent graduate of an MA Phil. program in the US and I am looking at PhD programs in the UK. However, I am looking at distance-learning programs because of family circumstances such as the Uni. of Birmingham or Uni. of Leeds. However, from my understanding (and please correct me if I am wrong), programs like these in the UK are not funded. My question is, does anyone have any advice in regards to how to find funding for a PhD program in the UK given that I am a US citizen. Also, does anyone know of any programs that are funded (my interest is in philosophy of religion, aesthetics, and their relation to one another)? Thank you for any help or advice!


I hope someone can provide you helpful advice. But I would also recommend writing to the chair of the departments or graduate directors and asking. Each program will have some differences, so no one will know better than those currently working for the university.


I have a friend with a BA from a Canadian institution, and MA in philosophy from a US institution, who, for compelling personal reasons, wants to do a PhD in Europe (non UK). They have US and EU (non-uk) citizenship. I am putting this here because I wasn't sure what advice to give. Ideally, my friend would like to create the best possibility of being competitive for US jobs once the degree is complete (they are not ruling out Europe jobs, but those are limited).

1.Is there a clear philosophy prestige hierarchy in Europe? If so does it carry over into the United States?

2. The vague impression I get is that search committees often treat all non-uk European PhDs the same, kind of like a low ranked US program, although there is often the disadvantage of lacking teaching experience.

3.Somewhat in conflict with what I just said, other times I get the impression that, especially at research schools, a European PhD is much preferred to a mid to low ranked US PhD. This seems to be because the former has a negative reputation (among elite research schools) while the latter really has no reputation. There is also some sort of plus from the mysteriousness of it all.

4.The more elite liberal arts schools often like the diversity this would bring, especially if you speak multiple langues (again, this is just my impression that is not based on anything known to be reliable.)

If anyone is knowledgeable about this, that would be great. Other things of interest are odds of getting accepted from the US (but with EU citizenship) and odds of getting funded, how long it takes to finish, etc.

Thanks to anyone who can help.

junior anon

The blog has talked extensively about how to write and achieve a contract for a monograph. I wanted to know what the process is like for getting a contract for a volume. How does one start the process? Presumably one cannot have all the papers ready beforehand. Does one simply pitch the idea to a press (e.g. Cambridge), and depending on your expertise in the field they may bite? Does one have an introduction ready?

Any help on this is greatly appreciated.


Hello, I am beginning a PhD this fall at an unranked program that has a decent placement record into teaching schools. I was was wondering whether or not there is any benefit to playing to one's somewhat niche strengths. For example, I can speak, read and write in a foreign language (not German or French) and wonder whether it would be worth it to pursue some research topics in an area that allows me to use said language. My thinking is perhaps this could increase my professional network and would give me more opportunities for conferences? Along with that, despite this language's continued relevancy in literature and international politics, there is quite the lacuna of work being done in English on philosophers writing in this foreign language. Appreciate any advice!


Anon - I think it would completely depend on whether the niche area you are thinking about is an area that teaching schools often hire in. All that networking won't help if there are hardly any jobs offered in that niche area. If there are a lot of jobs, then it seems fine....but I am a bit skeptical when you say that there is a lacuna of work being done in English. This makes me think it is probably not an area that is hired in frequently, and you would be shooting yourself in the foot. An area that does not have much written on it can be okay if it is a topic within a discipline (for example, a sub-area of what is clearly ethics). But if it is a subject matter into itself, then this is not good, strategically.

Your language skill will probably help you get a job at a liberal arts college regardless of what area you work in. Many liberal arts colleges simply value language skills. So you wouldn't need to do anything but write about it on your CV to have an edge.


Marcus - I was thinking of writing a guest post (if you are okay with it) on different types of schools. The big divide that is always discussed, of course, is teaching and research schools. But for many reasons, I think this is far too broad of a brush, and I thought it might be helpful to distinguish different classes, and what each class tends to be looking for in job candidates. Or, at least, to do this from my own perspective and allow others to respond with what they think. I obviously do not have some magic access to an objective list of university types.

Marcus Arvan

Hey Amanda: sure, a guest-post would be great. Just email it to me at [email protected] - thanks!


A proposal for a new "how can we help you" post. Why don't you write about pros and cons of attending the APA conferences?
I landed a TT job and I am close to getting tenure, but I never attended it. Also, I don't have a website/academia page/facebook account and the like. Perhaps I am not much of a social philosopher. I am not a good networker.

I have been invited to comment on a paper at the APA. I liked the paper, so I accepted. However, the bill is rather expensive (175 $ to become an APA member - yes, I wasn't even an APA member; 125 $ for the conference; 400 $ for the flight; another 400 for the hotel: I'll end up spending 1200 US$ for three days in Philadelphia. I have research fund, but they aren't great and I have the impression I am wasting them). This is the cost. What are the pros? I know most of the people in my field (except current grad students, whom I'll be happy to get in contact with). There'll be a few good papers to listen to, but wasn't it better to use the 1200$ to attend a conference in my subfield?

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