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Marcus I'm not sure if someone who is/was a postdoc should fill this out. The normal path for persons at elite schools is to have a prestigious postdoc out of grad school before moving on to their cushy, permanent, position. They don't seem like the crowd that should be filling this out. I don't feel like I'm the right person to fill it out either. I am not from an elite place, just a decent place. Anyway I had a research postdoc before a TT job and I'm not sure if I am the best person to fill out this kind of survey.

Just my thoughts but I'm open to being convinced otherwise. There might be some "postdocs" now that are really renewable VAPs and that might make more sense.

I think it's great that this survey is being done! Is there a place where participants can write in specific comments? That seems like it might result in some useful information.

Marcus Arvan

Hey Amanda: thanks for the feedback. Yeah, it was difficult to decide exactly who should take the survey, but I figured it would be better to be more inclusive. I can always dive into the data and determine whether postdocs answer the items substantially differently. If they do, I will be sure to highlight that if and when I present the survey results. I thought about having a place for people to comment in the survey, but decided it might be best to leave that for the comment thread in the post where I present the results!

a philosopher

"There might be some "postdocs" now that are really renewable VAPs and that might make more sense."

I think there are quite a few of these now.

Also, while there are a few high-prestige postdocs that top-5 students go to before taking their all-but-guaranteed cushy job at Princeton, there are a lot of genuine research postdocs that don't carry that prestige and are filled with more run-of-the-mill people who are sweating out the job market. That, I sort of assume, was your (Amanda's) position.

Having done both a VAP and one of these low-prestige postdocs myself, I think the issues faced by people in these situations are similar.


I see, thanks Marcus.


I mean, yeah, my postdoc was not the NYU Bersoff, that's for sure. But I was paid well and had no teaching responsibilities, and I felt welcome and respected. And yes, me and others in my position were dealing with the job market which was stressful and time consuming.

I guess really why I see my position as different isn't so much how I was treated while I was there, but more of the length of time. I think it is a different thing when someone is making a long-term job out of a short-term position. Because in that situation, (1) They are in a position orignally meant to be temporary but it isn't, so clearly the needs of temp versus permanent people are different, and (2) It is one thing being treated like outsiders when you kind of are an outsider, i.e. just someone there a year or 2 and not invested in the community, versus some lecturers and VAPs who have been there years, bought a home, put down roots in the community, etc.

I think the needs of both short and long term non-TT are important, but that they likely have different needs and that treating someone a certain way for a short time is not the same as doing it for a long time.

Still, I think the results will be meaningful as it is and I look forward to learning from them.

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