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« Why should you want to be in heaven?: The theology of Vaikuṇṭha | Main | A Professorship and three post-doc fellowships in Philosophy of Religion »

02/28/2020

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Moved

Speaking from experience, it is very challenging to make such a move. I think you need to publish a lot and senior influential people need to take notice of your work. How will you know? They may contact you and say something about a paper of yours or you may start to get unexpected invitations. Now you are in a position to move. But you still have to get the new job. This explains why you need to publish in prestigious venues. Most people do not read the obscure journals.

Guy

If you look at the citations in Google Scholar of those who have moved and their former colleagues you will see that the movers are cited 4 times more. So there is no mystery about who might be able to move and who can't.

TT at an R2

Can folks comment on moving for an administrative position, like a chair, dean, director of a center or program, diversity coordinator, etc.? I publish an average amount, but my passion is in teaching and service work. How possible is it to move via administrative positions after tenure?

Amanda

At the senior levels, it's mostly about becoming a name in your field. This is about more than publishing a lot. It is about publishing impactful work that gets read and cited and results in conference invites. Publishing a lot and in good places is almost always a requirement for making the move you describe. But it is not nearly enough. You need something that makes you stand out. And becoming a name in your field is the typical way to do this. However, there are some other ways. One is to work in a niche area that is in high demand. Another is to get lucky and work in a niche area that doesn't higher very often but you happen to see a job in that for some reason *is* hiring a(t a R1 or R2. ) The only other ways I know of are (1) do lots of stuff with public philosophy/stuff that gets media attention, (2)have special administration skills, (3) get lots of grants and apply in Europe where they appreciate grants, (4)get in as a spousal hire, (5) have a really good friend on the hiring committee, (6) have a unique combination of idiosyncratic qualities that the search committee happens to be looking for that particular year.

TT at R2. I can't speak on this broadly but I know that my school hired an adim TT senior faculty person with good to average publications because of this person's administration skills. Having chair or director experience can help you move to a research school if you otherwise wouldn't be a competitive candidate. I suspect this depends on the school, and that the opportunities are very limited, but it is still something some people might want to think about.

Moved some

In some countries like the UK it is not unusual to be moving multiple times, because there's the REF (Research Excellence Framework) which for this round still allows you to import all your research outputs into the new place that hires you (the next REF round will be different, and I find it interesting to observe from a distance how that will play out).
In the US it seems to me the job market is much less flexible, and people often stay at a place for life except for "research stars" who move around more frequently. If you want to move in a US context at the associate level or above, you need to (speaking from personal experience):
* be read and cited - you don't necessarily need to have an h-index of 30 or something like that, but if your work isn't cited or engaged with, you likely won't be able to move even if you have pubs with top journals and top book presses. If they do not have impact in the field, it will be harder to move.
* you have to have a good network. Senior hires have open calls and open recruitment, but committees depend a lot on a network of trust to identify movable people that would be a good fit. You can't help how well you will fit for a senior position, but what you can help is to be on the radar of enough people who might propose you as a potential fit.
* you must also (unless you're an absolute research star) be well-liked (don't underestimate the likability factor!).

Managed to Move Up

I managed to 'move up' midcareer. Five points:

1. It's not easy, particularly if you are looking to move from a teaching-oriented position to a research-oriented position. We tend to overlook how, the longer one is affiliated with a given institution, that affiliation shapes your CV. I don't just mean in the sense that its prestige, reputation, etc. will influence how other departments perceive you, but the actual line items on your CV are shaped by where you work. If your institution has you do a lot of teaching and service, then your CV has proportionately more devoted to that. This can present difficulties in that you won't "look like" someone who works at the places that might hire you.
2. Have a coherent research arc (or several!). Most places want to hire someone known for something in particular -- having lots of publications on disparate topics is less attractive.
3. TT at an R2 asks about moving into a chair's job, admin, etc. There are comparatively many senior jobs of this type, and you should think carefully about whether you actually want to move into one, keeping in mind that you might never move back into regular faculty ranks.
4. Good chance that in the interviewing process, your first contact(s) will not be the department personnel but with a recruiting firm ('headhunters.') Be prepared for that.
5. If you're in the US, look elsewhere - the number of attractive senior jobs in the U.S. is virtually zilch.

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