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08/15/2019

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nobody

Your discussion and reporting thread links are still pointing to last years'.

Can I ask why have the reporting thread, which spreads information out that used to be centralized on the job market wiki? Now people will have to check both instead of just one.

Marcus Arvan

Hi nobody: The links to last year's discussion and reporting threads were intended to point people to those threads to give them an idea of what those threads were like. I've now removed the links to avoid confusion. This thread is this year's discussion thread, and there's a permalink to it on the blog's right side-bar.

In terms of why to have two threads, the simple reason is that these threads get *very* long, and serve different purposes. To save people the trouble of having to scroll through tons of discussion to find job news, I figure those interested in discussion can go this thread and those interested in news can go to to the other. I think this has worked well in past years!

anon

FYI: I know the current VAP at Worcester State and while I do not know for sure, the current ad certainly reads like it could be for him.

Not dissuading anyone from applying but worth mentioning I thought.

joe

"I know the current VAP at Worcester State and while I do not know for sure, the current ad certainly reads like it could be for him."

I think people should never read too much into it. There is almost always an obvious reason for this overlap - the department has hired a VAP/lecturer in an area it has teaching needs. Either because the search they had failed and so they hired late in the season for a year, or they could not get other than temporary funding. Once they have funding (or new season comes), they run a search in the area. The temporary person looks just like someone "tailored" for the position but, in fact, he/she is rarely in a different position than others who aare applying for it. Very very often, the VAP is not converted to the TT and a new person is hired.

Marcus Arvan

Another reason to not read too much into this: committees can be looking for very different things in a candidate when hiring for a temporary position versus a permanent position. When hiring for temporary positions (VAPs), a committee may care most about whether the candidate is a good teacher. When hiring for a tenure track job, research may be weighed much more heavily. My sense is that this is why people who look like they might be an “inside hire” are often not hired. They may have been regarded as a good candidate for a VAP but not as good of a candidate for a permanent job.

joe

There is a significant drop in the number of published ads this year (so far), for the same time period (fisrt half of September). Almost 20%. Hopefully, things will pick up...

Anon

Hi Joe, where did you get the numbers?

joe

Philjobs - 1-16 September 2018, 58 job ads posted. 1-16 September 2019, 43 job ads posted. It's actually 25% less ads in the same period.

Anon 2

I agree that things are feeling slow right now, joe (especially for those of us that aren't in ethics). That said, if you look at a wider range of dates, this difference may go down a bit. Searching for August 15-September 15, I see 91 jobs in 2018, and 82 jobs in 2019.

(The August jobs are, as far as I can tell, mostly relevant - there may be a few "urgent for the fall" ads in there, but most of them seem to be post-doc / TT.)

Michel

IIRC, the trend for the last few years has been for jobs to trickle in, generally at later dates. It's just a consequence of the de-centralization of the JFP. I wouldn't worry about it until January.

anon

Also, I feel like higheredjobs has to included in any calculation as there are often jobs on there that are never posted to philjobs

postduck

There are SO MANY jobs in the ethics of AI/Big Data/technology. I can't say I know of more than a handful of people who actually work in that area, but those who do are certainly going to have a good year. This must be the new way that Philosophy Departments are justifying their existence to their universities: you need us to make sure your computer science grads don't turn into Mark Zuckerbergs....

Anon

postduck: I saw 4 jobs in that area (Northeastern, Toronto, CalTech, UC Davis). Have you seen more? Also, I don't think it's just a way of justifying existence to universities. Some people think that philosophy can really make a difference on these topics.

Joe

4 is a lot comparatively (say, to Phil of action or German idealism). Also, the job market is still showing relative weakness compared to last year.

postduck

Anon: Coastal Carolina, Utah, Scranton, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Notre Dame all mention data ethics in their posts in one way or another. That seems like a lot to me (by contrast, there have only been three jobs in my area, which I would have thought was considerably less niche).
I honestly don't know whether philosophy has a distinctive contribution to make in this field. But I strongly suspect that the interest in this area on PhilJobs has a lot to do with savvy dept chairs convincing their deans that they it does in order to get another tenure line. More generally, universities are making lots of investments in data science, comp sci programs, and I'm sure philosophy depts are able to make a good case for why they should get in on the fun. But hey, more jobs is good for everyone, so I'm not complaining (that much). Just noting a hiring trend.

Several years post-PhD

I have a question - When applying for jobs from a TT position and several years post-PhD (more than 3), at what point is it appropriate to begin using someone other than your dissertation advisor as one of your three references? In my case, I'm not really in touch with my advisor anymore other than reference requests, and I have other people who can serve as references and are more familiar with my recent work and activities.

Few

Several
If you already have a TT job and you have been out 3+ years, I think it is fine to get letters from people other than your PhD supervisor. At one point, especially beyond entry level jobs, you should be having letters from the most reputable people who support you. I never knew any of my current letter writers even 5 years after my Ph.D. They are people who know my work well, and think highly of it.

Reluctant

Dear Colleagues,
This may be off topic but I'm curious to see what you would think about this question: is it wrong to submit job applications when you know you don't stand a chance even for getting a skype interview but you do it anyway just to let people in your field know that you exist, trying to contribute to your field from the periphery despite low wages, no research support, and noone around who understand or value your work?

Mr sympathy

Reluctant,
If the situation you describe is accurate, the main wrong done is to yourself. You would be spending valuable time applying for jobs even you do not believe you are remotely qualified for. Your file, if it is thin, as you seem to describe it, will not leave anyone with a positive (or any) impression. So it is not worth doing.
People who are not moving in elite circles (publishing in the highest regarded journals; invited to talk at conferences and in elite departments) who apply for jobs at Princeton, for example, do not bother Princeton (I would think) But they certainly waste their own time and resources.
I would recommend that you try to publish a paper in a decent journal. That is a better use of your time.

Reluctant

Mr. Sympathy,
Thank you for your response... But I think you misunderstood me, I had to be more clear in my question... I did publish articles in top journals as well as others, that is what I meant by "contributing to my field." I have earned master's and doctoral degrees from American R1 universities but I am not an American and I work in a middle-eastern country with a non-AngloSaxon name. This puts me in an isolated position far away from the "elite" circles in North America or western Europe which lowers the chances of people in the center discovering my work let alone interact and maybe collaborate. This is why submitting job applications, I think, may be helpful in announcing to the "center" that I exist in the "periphery" and doing important work. The departments won't be willing to invite me for campus visits because I'm far away, won't bother to sponsor a work visa either, or will simply be too prejudiced to consider me a genuine candidate but they will at least know that I am here and worthy philosophy is done in the periphery as well.

Philosadjacent

Reluctant,

I think that Mr. Sympathy's response here is still applicable. Specifically, your goal (exposing your work) does not align with the strategy (job application). The reason is that when reviewing dozens or hundreds of applications, no reader internalizes that much about any single applicant until the pool is narrowed. Moreover, the people reviewing the application may not be the best placed to take notice of your work.

I think a better use of your time in this regard is to reach out to people directly in some way. You can share papers, ask questions about their papers, ask for copies of their papers that aren't available in your library, submit to conferences, etc. Not everyone will respond, but lots will. I am an associate prof in a good place, and when people reach out because they like my work I'm over-the-moon (it happens, like, once a year). I haven't started collaborations that way, but I have had very good conversations.

I also think you may underestimate people's willingness to interact based on geography.

Good luck!

Reluctant

Philosadjacent,
I did do everything you suggest over the years but achieved no real results. But you're right, I may be making the assumption that people, who are already prejudiced against non-western names and geographies, will carefully read through a job application, which really is a ridiculous assumption. I guess I was too optimistic, again... I will just have to accept the simple fact that the world of philosophy is biased against non-westerners and they will just ignore me... All I can do is hope that my articles will survive and some time in an enlightened future they will be read without prejudice...

Philperson

Reluctant,

Sorry to hear of your difficulties on the market. I know of famous philosophers who've said they wouldn't have gotten a job in this very competitive environment. Hope you're keeping your head up.

One thing to consider is the strength of the department in which you earned a PhD., whatever the university's overall ranking. Another thing is how many times you've been on the market, whether you've applied for post-docs and visiting positions or only tenure-track positions, and so on. And how strong your letters were (quality and how well respected the writers are) and publication trajectory (a paper in Phil Review is much better received than a paper in a strong but not spectacular journal).

Being a non-Westerner might actually help in many applications, perhaps, or at least not hurt, though there are also some bigger associated obstacles such as learning a new system. But perhaps it would work against you in some places, though if this is because intolerance, you presumably wouldn't want those colleagues anyway (or, at least, those on the search committee). In any case, our field often gets 200-800 applications for junior positions, so without knowing the very best of one's competition, it's hard to tell why one wouldn't get a campus visit, etc. Five publications in strong journals looks great, but there might be competitors with three in the very best journals, or with fifteen, or with 'only' two pubs, but letters from famous philosophers saying they are the best philosophy student they've ever seen in forty years of teaching.

So basically, it might just be a very crappy situation for almost all applicants. On the other hand, maybe you have good evidence that 'the world of philosophy is biased against non-westerners.'

For what it's worth, I know of several philosophers from top-5 programs or other very good ones that together average maybe one campus visit every two years or so - so, some superb philosophers are getting no visits, sadly. I also know of some folks with books at top presses who still haven't found a permanent position. Just a few quick thoughts, though - not to be depressing, but in case it's helpful at all for perspective. Hope you can keep your head up. And I agree that if you are rationally confident that your application won't meet with success, then skip it, even if it's hard to know who's reading it and whether it'll catch someone's eye (among, unfortunately, the hundreds of files). Wishing you the best of luck with everything.

joe

Is the phylo jobs wiki still working?

Michel

Joe,

It was last year, although I think it had fewer contributions than in previous years.

LM

Is anyone else having trouble finding the link to apply for the Memphis job?

KA

Apparently the WUSTL job just doesn't require a cover letter this year. That may be the first job I've seen which doesn't.

Anyone know if that was a mistake? Or a new policy of some sort?

VAP

Loyola Chicago appears to be the first app of this season that requests mailed materials. I only saw one like this last year. I thought we were done with this!

anon

If a job ad requests three letters, but does not specifically say to send no more than three, should one ever send more than three letters? Or would this be considered bad form?

on the jyerb market

^ I would be interested to know this as well. I've always sent a fourth letter.

Amanda

Whenever it allowed me to, I sent more than 3. Sometimes way more. As far as I know this isn't in bad form, unless they specifically say "no more" than 3.

4th letter

jyerb
One thing people forget is that each letter they add to their file usually "lowers" the quality of your application. We may all be able to get three people to say great things about us as philosophers. But the fourth is a stretch. ... and the fifth! Then the letters usually get a little thin. When I have seen six letters from candidates, the candidate starts to look mediocre. Their strong letters are eclipsed by the mediocre. And to make matters worse, one is left with the impression that the candidate has poor judgment. After all, they had these lack-luster letters sent. Do yourself a favor - send three letters only.

on the jyerb market

Hello 4th Letter,
Thank you for giving me something to think about.
I think you're right about no more than 4.

Usually the first two letters are my main advisors. I feel I need them both, 1) because not having both might seem weird 2) I need both to explain why different parts of my projects are interesting.
Then I have my teaching letter because let's be honest, I'm not getting the Princeton job and neither am I going for those jobs.
Now I don't go to the most Leiterific school, but I have been able to secure a letter from one big name and I can't help but try to help level the field, prestige-wise, by using that letter as much as I can.

But I think you're right, any MORE than 4 isn't just overkill, but might hurt, (at least as an ABD)

In the know about Loyola

It's not a mistake: Loyola Chicago does seem to request hard copy, and the materials they ask don't entirely overlap with what's online. Apparently they couldn't make up their minds about whether to go electronic or not and so they ask both! This will be so confusing for the search committee!

Amanda

Well, for almost all of my applications I used 5- 8 letters, and I did very well on the market (by most standards, anyway.) I also know one other person who did the same, with the same results (He is the person that convinced me to use them all.) I guess we could be flukes. I do think it depends on how confident you are in the quality of a letter, but you should be getting someone trusted to read your letters, anyway.

Will Work for Tenure

Amanda,

Do you mean that you sent 5-8 letters on applications that explicitly requested exactly 3 letters or just on applications that indicated that candidates have the option of sending more than 3 ("at least three letters of recommendation")?

Joe

Each year I see more and more ads from German universities advertising PhD positions on philjobs. I wonder if they are aware that this is not a website to advertise grad programs to undergrads thinking about graduate school in philosophy. I know that being a PhD student in Germany is more like a job than like being a student, but that is hardly the relevant consideration. So the postings seem really misplaced to me. And I wonder if the people running the website make this clear to them (it does cost money to post the ad). Or maybe they advertise there nevertheless, in order to satisfy some HR requirement in their university?

Norseman

Joe,
I assume that the German universities doing this are trying to reach a larger applicant pool. In northern Europe, post docs and Ph.D.s are well paid, with pension contributions. They are, at least in many places, employees of the university. This may help explain the practice.

Joe

Norsemen, I get that. But are undergraduate students looking at philjobs? You can try to reach wider applicant pool, but it seems to me that that is not exactly the place to do so...

Amanda

I teach at a R1 program with PhD students, MA students, and undergrads that often apply to grad school. I checkout philjobs because I'm curious in what is happening professionally. It's possible I'd recommend a German program to a student after seeing it in philjobs. Maybe even a PhD student looking to transfer. So maybe it isn't the most direct way to spread the word, but it might help some. And as far as I know there isn't an obvious alternative for posting such information, so maybe they are doing the best they can with the available options.

Also, while undergrads probably aren't looking at philjobs, lots of MA students are, and German programs are surely interested in reaching them.

curioserandcurioser

Am I right in thinking that the University of Arizona job (AoS open, but interested in phl lang and ancient) published a few weeks ago on PhilJobs is now cancelled?!

anonymous

curioserandcurioser: yes, the job was canceled. Very likely for budgetary reasons, given the state of things at the University of Arizona.

Joe

Amanda: yes, I can see what you are saying. I guess here graduate schools in the English speaking word profit (well, maybe not ALL of them!) from something like PGR - a list with some sorting into specialties and so on, whereas German universities have no such comparable platform.

Anon

Arizona has a new search - it is open, but rather than philosophy of language and ancient, they now look for something like philosophy & ethics of technology.
Anonymous: what do you mean by "given the state of things at there University of Arizona"? Can you be more specific? Thank you.

Anonymous

Anon: can you link to a job posting? I haven’t seen one.
I don’t know a lot of details as I’m not affiliated with the department but from what I have heard there are financial issues at the University that seem like they would naturally affect the department’s ability to get lines. (Also might you be talking about the Arizona State job? Different university.

Anon

Anonymous: this is the job - https://philjobs.org/job/show/14382

I'm sorry, probably we meant different universities - I'm not very familiar with academic institutions of Arizona

Not An Aussie

I would love an (urgent!) piece of advice, especially from anyone who has knowledge of the market in Australia. I had an online interview a week ago and they followed up last night by asking for letters from my letter writers. Before, on the application, I filled in three potential referees and clicked that they had permission to contact the referees themselves.

From the email posted below, I think they want non-generic letters from two (only) of my three writers (I am not sure whether they are asking me to select two or they are asking for personalised letters or both). Does anyone have experience with such requests? Should I ask my letter writers to tailor letters to this position? Who should these be aimed at? (Do you think these are for HR? For convincing the Dean?) Is it familiar in Australia (or elsewhere) to ask for letters after the first round of interviews?

Email below:

"We would greatly appreciate if you could please contact your referees to provide two references only and ask them to e-mail these with the reference number [...] in the subject line, directly to me on recruitment.admin@[...] as soon as possiable.

Please forward a copy of the advertisement, and Academic Reference Guidelines (both attached) to your referees, as it will assist them in commenting on your suitability for this role.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or your recruitment consultant/partner directly."

Past Marketeer

Not An Aussie, I have no advice for you, only commiseration. What a nightmare. It does seem like they are asking for custom letters of reference. I have no idea why departments do this—do they really believe they are so special as to merit custom letters of recommendation, in preference to the hundreds of other schools that are hiring? What a joke.

JS

Past Marketeer, I'm sure others will be quick to point this out but this sounds like it is a university level requirement, not a department one. I believe that in Australia, like the UK, departments are more constrained in things like this by university/government hiring policies.

Some hapless marketer

Some of the NTT advertisements this year are amazing. The Texas Rio Grande one basically says they want you to be an exceptional teacher, who also is able to start new programs, do research, and contribute to their “bilingual, billiterate” mission. So basically, do all the things a professor does, plus do a bunch of other exceptional stuff. But do it all for less money and less job security than a TT job. And the Georgia AI lecturer job requires teaching graduate students.

This is the future, they are just going to keep raising outrageous expectations, phase out tenure, and we will all be working precarious contracts if we are lucky. Meanwhile, the tenured people keep competing to make senior hires, and fighting about the best hiring practices, fighting over the arrangement of deck chairs while the profession sinks.

VAP

I know it is 'still early' and 'there are lots of jobs still out there', etc. etc., but I am already starting to feel the despair creeping in as folks report getting interview requests for jobs I thought I stood at least a chance of getting an interview for.

Of jobs I suspect either must have decided by now (and just haven't been reported to the thread here) or have been reported by others, I am currently 1/24 on Skype interviews. (I'm not complaining about that 1, to be sure! I just thought, this being my third year on the market, I'd be possibly more competitive by now.)

How do folks deal with this? I thought I'd be better at it by now, but it doesn't really get any easier. I tell myself that it's a crapshoot/numbers game/etc., but the truth is that some people are getting lots of first round interviews and I'm just not.

curious

Without the Phylo wiki, it is very hard to tell the timeline of the current market. Do you think it is similar to the previous years? Or is it more dispersed/delayed?

Anon

I have applied to 34 jobs, but I have to say that many of them had very late deadlines (just before Thanksgiving) or they are not expired yet. So yes, I think that the market is far more dispersed than the other years, or at least the past two years

Phylo Curious

Does anyone know what's up with the Phylo wiki? I tried to add several jobs a week ago, but they still haven't appeared. (I've added jobs there in past years).

Candidate Number Five

Hey, VAP. This is my fifth year on the market. I have worked a series of temporary positions. My publication record and teaching background gets better every year. My letter writers all say they're only making my letters even better, which has been confirmed by my placement directors. Still, I get fewer and fewer TT interviews at places I would actually like to work every year. It seems like the second year was my best year--I had something like 6 or 7 first round interviews at places I would like to work. Last year I had exactly zero TT interviews at places I would like to work. I don't know if that's normal, or if I'm a special case though.

In any case, here's how I deal with it. (a) Have a back up plan in case nothing materializes in the spring. For me, that's just having a healthy savings account built up from working decently-paying temporary jobs. You might not have that, but you can come up with a different plan. (b) Recognize that TT opportunities are still coming down the pipeline--probably not all of those 24 jobs have scheduled interviews, and some TT jobs haven't even advertised yet. (c) Working a salaried temporary job is objectively not a bad outcome, and most of the ads for those jobs haven't even come out yet. Although my TT interviews have dried up the past couple of years, I still get lots of VAP interviews at good schools with not awful salaries every year. (d) As Marcus has often mentioned on this blog, mindfulness is really helpful. I try to fully engage with what I am doing in the moment.

I don't know if that's helpful. But just keep in mind that you are not alone. Lots of people are going through the same thing, and you're not a failure. You got an interview! That's more than me so far!

VAP

Candidate Number Five: Thanks for your reply. It's not exactly inspiring to hear that things are also difficult for you, but it sounds like you're in a good place about it, which is something maybe I can strive to emulate.

R

Not An Aussie, I don't think you need to worry about having the letters of recommendation customized. That looks like a generic HR line to me.

Bearing in mind that they're asking for letters after you already had a Skype interview, which means letters didn't play any role at all in deciding who to interview, I strongly doubt the letters will play any significant role in the remainder of the process. The letters are probably just an HR requirement. I think this is somewhat common in the UK and Australia.

Michel

VAP: I was in a similar boat last year, and it ground me down a fair bit. To get just one interview when your file is way, way, waaaaaay better than in previous years, when you also got 0-1 interviews, is pretty demoralizing. It made me feel like there was absolutely nothing I could do to actually, concretely improve my lot. I don't have any good suggestions for you, except to say that it's totally normal, and you're not alone in feeling that way.

I got lucky very late in the cycle and snagged a long-term (and pretty decent!) local NTT job while I was in the midst of applying for non-academic jobs, and having that safety net under me as I apply going forward is pretty incredible. Not just for the luxury of applying selectively and all that, but just because it means I don't have to feel that total dejection and despair again.

I hope you get lucky, too. Good luck!

Amanda

A lot of people complain when lecturers are *not* allowed to teach graduate students. We just had a complaint about that on this site recently. Lecturers jobs (assuming they are the permanent types, i.e. technically renewing contracts but unless you do something atrocious you stay for 20 years) *can be* very good jobs where you are just as much a part of the faculty as TT professors and where you get paid similar amounts (pay varies from school to school, of course.) The biggest pay gap is usually when someone is advanced to full professor, then they make significantly more than lecturers but not before that (at some R1s.) I don't know the details of the Georgia one, but if it is a job like that it makes sense that you would teach grad students. And I would argue it would be messed up to *not* allow that, since if would be claiming that the lecturer isn't good enough or qualified something. Usually in research schools grad teaching is considered a relative privilege that people fight over.

Not an Aussie I don't know anything about the Australia position. But I had avoided applying to many fewllowships that asked for custom letters. i was personally asked to apply to one this year. I only noticed at the last minute that they asked for custom letters. I wrote to the person and said sorry I worn't be applying because I can't ask for custom letters at the last minute. They told me that actually lots of people don't use custom letters, and that even though it is specifically requested I didn't really need to do it. So, whenever anyone asks for custom letters with at TT job I would at least attempt to above it happen, but just send a generic letter if it can't happen and you will probably be fine.

I am seriously annoyed I missed so many applications, though, because I didn't want o bother my letter writers when I could have used a generic letter. Asking for custom letters is BS.

On the Market

What advice do readers or moderators have about straight-to-campus interviews (i.e. no preliminary Skype round)? Preparing for this kind of interview seems unique in that you have no sense of the temperature (or temperament) of the search committee or department other than what can be gleaned from online research or second-hand research. Thanks for any thoughts.

Anon

On the Market: is it for a European job or a North America job?

On the Market

It is for a North American job.

Also on the market

I will let On the Market answer but I have similar questions about a North American job.

Anon

On the Market: in that case, I cannot help you - the flyouts that I had in North America were always after a skype interview. In Europe they usually go directly to campus visits, but they are not visits as in the US: you just show up at a specific time and place, you interview, and you go home.
May I ask if this is the Toronto job in phil and statistics? I was told that they will go straight to campus visits

Death to Skype

On the Market: I don't suspect much of this is any different than advice for a post-skype campus visit, given that you don't learn much about departmental temps from skype alone. For an R1 job, read at least one publication by everyone you expect to meet on faculty. Talk to them about it. Practically everyone loves to know their work is being read and taken seriously, whatever their temperament might be.

For a teaching job: prep the hell out of your demo. Do whatever it is you do in the classroom best. Use some technology, even if you don't usually use technology. If they give you a choice of what to present, cover something that is novel, will have wide appeal given what you can learn from the department and its strengths, and is easily adaptable to non-traditional pedagogical methods.

For ANY job: Be excellent to everyone you meet, whoever they are. Sound interested, inquisitive, but non-partisan when departmental politics arise. I seem to recall that Marcus posted a much more thorough list of guidelines for campus visits here.

Amanda

Going straight to on-campus is the best way to do things. Skype is just a horrible platform for evaluating anything meaningful. As Trevor posted, he (and many others) will do great in some skype interviews and horrible in the others even though he and everyone else is the same candidate, i.e. two different schools will have completely different assessments of the same candidate based on their daily performance. I hope more places move to on campus first.

Amanda

Also, I will add that I have an R1 job and I didn't read a single article by the faculty for my flyout. They wanted to talk about *my* research. I would have felt like a weird suck-up if I had started talking about their articles. I don't know, maybe I'm odd in that respect. But I will say it absolutely is not my experience that everyone likes having people talk about their work. I have read people's work in advance and then meet them at conferences and they look at me like I have two heads if I try to talk about their work.

On the Market

Thank you for these reflections Amanda and Death to Skype - very helpful!

And to Anon on 12/5: It is not the Toronto job. Best of luck to you on that one!

anon

Hi, does anyone know when the postdoc season starts? I've seen a few postings on philjobs, but I'm curious if they tend to be listed in the second round with VAPs.

anonaswell

anon: my sense from previous years is that the postdoc calendar varies a lot, both as far as when they are posted (which is spread from Oct all the way to April) and when they get back to you (for getting back, though, they seem to stick to set deadlines better than tt jobs, but sometimes there's deviation).

Also, on another point that has come up, my experience with on-campus interviews is the same as Amanda's (bot for R1s and teaching schools): I often read several papers from the faculty. But very seldom was I able to bring it up; and I don't recall getting into extended conversations about it. More often, the conversations were about my work, which is as should be. I would still recommend reading these works, though, because it is a way to get excited about the job, and you want to be genuine about your excitement at the on-campus interview.

Still on the market, though (so take it for what it's worth)!

TT

I think that reading faculty work is fine and can indeed be positive because it shows awareness and interest. But if one does, it's probably best to say something specific about it and perhaps also to link it to one's own research.

I also think it helps to know or learn who is on the committee and how decisions are made, if reasonably possible. A Skype interview reveals this, but a straight-to-campus visit often does not.

Most of all, prepare very well & be yourself!

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