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08/05/2020

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postdoc

I'm not sure if there are enough jobs this year for the concept 'market' to apply. Maybe better would be "Job lottery discussion thread." I mean the supposed 'market' has always been more of a lottery than a market, but it's definitely not a market this year. Let's stop pretending that it is. LOL

Marcus Arvan

Sadly, your sentiment here is surely right. This is one of the reasons I wanted to post this thread early this year. As I noted in the OP, given just how awful the market/lottery is going to be, it seems to me that job-marketeers may have a great deal to commiserate about this year--ranging from the standard things (job ads, dossiers, etc.) to things like (1) whether to defend dissertations, (2) how to stay in grad programs longer rather than head on the market, (3) how to find and prepare for alt-ac jobs, (4) solidarity/mutual support, and so on.

Exactly how readers use this thread is up to all of you. I just figured there are probably quite a few people out there who could use a place to commiserate.

TT

I may be wrong, but I haven't seen a single U.S. TT job so far. By this point last year there were probably 15 or so.

anon

I think it makes sense to expect those jobs that will be posted to be posted later than usual. Even if a department is angling to make a hire, approval to search is probably slowed down this year.

anon2

I second the last comment here from anon. We are doing a search in my department this year, but the decision to approve was delayed two months later than usual and our ad, therefore, won't go live until mid-September. (Though, I do suspect there will also be fewer searches this year.)

Reluctant

http://dailynous.com/2020/08/31/virginia-tech-hires-six/

what do people think?

Tomm

I have a tenure track job. I'm early in my career, but have made something of a name for myself. I'll be applying for better tenure track jobs this year. Most such jobs that I've seen in the past still want letters. Who do I get the letters from?

mover

Tomm
Get letters from the biggest names you can, that is, the best placed people. They should know your work, and you should have corresponded with them in the past.

Reluctant

As I expected, the silence is deafening...

Not reluctant

Reluctant, what kind of discussion are you aiming at? There is a lot being said about the VT hires on Daily Nous, so what angle of it do you wish to discuss here? Also, why do you say the silence is deafening?

Chris

My response to reluctant’s question:
Congrats to Va Tech on a great set of hires, especially given the financial effects of the pandemic!

Also not reluctant

Reluctant, I think it is very good that six people were hired at one school in the current environment. I'm not sure what else there is to say.

When the pie is this small, don't go for seconds!

The expected dearth of TT jobs this year has gotten me thinking about something I normally see every other year: grad students from fancy programs who defer TT positions to take up prestigious postdocs like NYU's Bersoff, Rutgers' Mellon postdoc, etc. At the best of times, this practice seems a bit greedy. But in a market like this year's, where there will be so few TTs and recurring postdocs may be the best some could hope for, I think it would be unconscionable for anyone to take away postdocs from others when they already have one of the few TTs out there. When there are so few opportunities to go around, and most available opportunities are already concentrated among a small elite group, hoarding of this kind is just inexcusable. I would hope that this year, the people who have such opportunities decline them, and that departments offering TT positions refuse to allow candidates the option of deferring.

Reluctant (had enough)

How hard would it be to pursue applications by members of minorities a little harder? Don't most people agree that departments should do that? In this job market, six hires are made and not even one is a member of a minority. If that does not bother anyone, I am at a loss for words. I'm not saying the VT hires were made because of racist bias, but it is a social psychological fact that in our day and age this looks pretty bad. The deafening silence means that very few people are bothered by this. I would have thought that at least some people who frequent this blog would be disturbed by how this looks... Apparently not... So, people here are not bothered if American professional philosophy has been, and will keep being, under this suspicion of racist bias... Very sad... Rest assured, I will not say anything more to disturb your slumber in your imaginary world...

cherry pie

I totally agree with “When the pie is this small, don’t go for seconds!”

I know of very few postdocs that can only be held by people who do not have TT or long-term employment lined up for after, and I think departments that have open postdoc positions should start stipulating something similar.

I also think that folks have every right to move TT jobs if they wish, and some have good reasons for wanting to do so. But given that folks who already have TT jobs have a demonstrated advantage on the (very small) market for TT jobs, I wonder if this practice does not also count as “going for seconds”. If folks who are interested in doing this cannot hold off for a few years while keeping a permanent position, hiring departments should be explicitly discouraged from making such hires, at least for the next few cycles.

More than ever, new grads face the real threat of falling through the cracks due to tactics like these, and especially with so many postdocs being offered to folks who already have TT employment lined up... well, things seem really bleak for folks who are without TT employment and who are not in the selected few elite programs that actually place their students. I struggle to see how the limitedness of the market paired with these practices will not skew things even more in that direction.

ye it's a trend

The phenomenon pointed out by Reluctant is certainly not isolated. (And apologies Reluctant that I didn't speak up earlier. I assumed you wanted to talk about the number and so I didn't even look at the names closely.) It's definitely something me and my other non-white friends have noticed. While I don't doubt that the market is incredibly brutal for white men, it's also true that many jobs me & people I know have applied/interviewed for went to white men. There is certainly an increasing feeling of "I guess perseverance & being told & regarded as good philosophers is not going to carry us after all".

Chris

I basically agree with the comments that Thomas Sullivan and "Grad student 4" make in the thread on Daily Nous. It is one thing to think that philosophy has a problem with racism or bias in hiring, etc. and it is another thing to think that looking just at the hires Va Tech made reveals that.

Why not instead be appreciative that in the VA TECH case, there were some spousal hires (which are likely expanding the number of positions - at least at the Universities I've been affiliated with they've created jobs where none existed before), as well as at least one case where someone who had been adjuncting/temporary had their position converted to full time. That's a good thing, in this day and age whether is a big problem with exploitation of adjuncts.

What I'd like to see from "reluctant" and "ye its a trend" is evidence that the proportion of hiring of whites, etc. is significantly different from the proportion of applicants in the overall job market. Of course there could be bias even if these proportions are comparable, but that would be a start. Otherwise, one suspects, as Thomas Sullivan suggests, that much of the problem of racism and bias occurs before you get to the point where you're applying for TT jobs.

anyonymous with a problem

hi cherry pie: many of us applying for TT jobs from other TT jobs have two-body problems or other serious reasons for needing to move jobs or get an offer with which to negotiate. I would think it would be strange to say that we should stop applying for jobs in this harsh market; but maybe that's wrong? I feel like being forced to live across the country from my partner is a good enough reason to go on the market.

Tim

Reluctant writes, "six hires are made and not even one is a member of a minority." Six are hired and not even one is a member of a racial minority in the US. There are other types of groups that are also minorities in the US. There are other types of groups that are under represented in philosophy departments. We have reasons to care about such groups as well. I don't think Reluctant meant to suggest otherwise. I'm just trying to remind us.

Also not reluctant

In response to reluctant: no I don't particularly care about things "looking bad". If I had some reasons to suspect that VT wasn't pursuing minority candidates or were somehow biased in their searches, I would be angry. I don't have such reasons, and in fact I have known several VT philosophers and spoken with them about their department. As a result, I have positive reasons to believe the opposite. Finally, I have no conclusive evidence of their new faculty members' races. I didn't actually know that they presented as non-minorities until you mentioned it, since I didn't go hunting for headshots like you. Save your condescending remarks about "slumber" and "imaginary worlds" for someone else.

Marcus Arvan

Let’s remember this blog’s supportive mission please. Condescension and counter-condescension have no place here. I understand these are fraught issues and debate is fine—but please everyone do your part to keep the discussion within the blog’s supportive mission.

tom

@ cherry pie

"hiring departments should be explicitly discouraged from making such hires, at least for the next few cycles."

Hiring departments pursue, and ought to pursue, the (often explicitly stated) mission of hiring the best candidate they can recruit. Hence they must take into account candidates who already have TT positions elsewhere and whose demonstrated record of research, teaching and service is evidence that they are the best recruitable candidate on the market.

I Kant

I have to agree with what others have suggested above ... there cannot be a moral imperative that one should not apply for a job because one has one.
If there were, there might also be one that says some of those who do not have jobs should change careers, so as not to burden others. No one believes such an imperative exists.
I do think the habit of taking a post doc while also holding a TT job, waiting for you to finish your post doc, is morally suspect. We need Judith Thompson to help us see if this is a violinist like case ... or a older brother with chocolates case, etc.

Marcus Arvan

I would add to what I Kant said that I've known people in TT jobs who say that their work environment is hostile/toxic or otherwise unbearable (due to overwork, etc.), and that they want to move to another job because they are absolutely miserable where they are. It is hard for me to see why someone in a position like this should have to remain where they are--and my sense is that these kinds of cases are far more common that one might expect.

Michel

Because people in this profession don't get to choose where they live, and because salary compression is so pervasive, I don't mind people trying to move laterally at all.

But yes, I, too, think that the postdoc-and-TT-two-for-one thing is bad form.

anon

Folks, just wanted to ask if the job-market reporting thread for 2020-2021 season has been opened yet. Some universities (e.g., Hongkong, Princeton, and Yonsei) had early deadlines in late August and early September. Wanted to know if anyone heard from them yet. It's very tough out there. Really appreciate the support from this site.

Marcus Arvan

Anon: I will open it now!

anon

Marcus Arvan: Really appreciate it!

Post-Doc

I'm curious how many other folks are seriously considering giving up on the academic job dream, now that this year's market seems likely to be nearly (if not entirely) dry, and next year's is sure to be twice as competitive as years past.

I'm in this boat: currently 2 years post-PhD. In a postdoc for another year after this, but the prospects beyond this are grim. Dipped my toes in the non-academic job market, but struck out three times so far.

Not sure what the next move is. Wondering if there's at least some solidarity to be had.

grad out the door

@Post-Doc: Yeah, I'm in a similar boat. I'm finishing my PhD this year and so far there is only one job I'll be applying to (there are a couple of others I'm potentially qualified for but for a number of personal reasons will not be applying). And I have a sneaking suspicion the one job I'm applying to is designed for an inside hire. It's unlikely I'll spend another year on the academic market. I'm putting most of my efforts into networking with people in careers outside academia and working on my resume. This is probably it for me.

2020 vs. 2019 so far

Just for fun (sort of?), I compared the number of TT jobs in the US and Canada posted on PhilJobs from Aug 1-Sept 17 in 2020 vs. 2019.
The results:
2019: 48
2020: 11

grad out the door

Do you think we've already seen the bulk of this year's market options? any more to come trickling in or is this largely it?

Michel

I think we'll see more in November/December. But not a flood.

Academics in other disciplines are reporting that their hiring authorization and stuff is significantly delayed this year (when it's happening at all, that is), so I expect philosophy is in a similar camp.

Plus, the yearly Princeton and NYU jobs aren't out yet! So there's (probably) that to look forward to.

Postuck

Grad out the doot,
Someone at the top of the thread suggested that postings may be later than usual this year, given budget uncertainties and general delays related to covid adjustments. I think that's probably right. Even if it isn't, October is usually a pretty busy month for job ads, so I would expect substantially more postings in the next few months, even if we continue to see a highly reduced volume of posting overall.

open position at York

York Philosophy is hiring (open rank/open AOS). The opportunity is open to qualified individuals who self-identify as Black peoples of African Descent (for example Africans and African heritage people from the Caribbean, Americas, Europe).

https://philjobs.org/job/show/15850

This position comes out of a broader special hiring program at York that, following the provisions of the Ontario human rights code, is aimed at addressing the substantial underrepresentation of black scholars at York and in Canadian universities more broadly.

one of those guys

How does the York job not violate the APA's stated policy, according to which "Submitters of job ads agree to respect our nondiscrimination policy and relevant APA policies. This includes avoiding all forms of discrimination based on race...", when the job ad states that "This selection will be limited to individuals who self-identify as Black"?

I apologize if I appear to be 'one of those guys', but I imagine that this would clearly be taken as violating the APA's policy if instead of 'black' it said 'white'. I am not trolling, I am genuinely interested in a good explanation, as this appears to me to clearly be a case of discrimination based on race, even if for a good cause.

Mel

Does anyone has any sense of how universities are planning to conduct campus interviews this year? Will all of that move online?

Michael Giudice

Regarding York University’s philosophy position. As chair of the Department of Philosophy at York, I inquired ahead of posting the ad on PhilJobs and received this response from the APA executive:

“The APA non-discrimination statement explicitly allows for affirmative action initiatives, which can take different shapes depending on the circumstances in different countries and different kinds of institutions. In particular, while it may be illegal in the US to establish an affirmative action initiative that requires (rather than prefers) applicants to be of a particular race or ethnicity, that may not be the case in other countries. The APA permits job ads that include affirmative action initiatives that are designed to increase the hiring of members of historically disadvantaged groups and that are in accordance with the laws and regulations that apply to the relevant institution.”

Our department believes that the targeted hiring program marks an important progression in our affirmative action hiring practices, and fully supports the objective of improving the representation of Black faculty in our department and across academia.

that guy

Thanks Michael! In light of what you wrote, I read the entire APA statement and I see that I missed the part regarding affirmative action. I can't say that I am entirely comfortable with using race as a criterion in hiring, but I understand the motivation to do this. In any case, it is now clear to me York and the APA did not violate the APA's stated policy. Good luck with the search and hire!

WestCoastL

For the record, in the US it is illegal to "establish an affirmative action initiative" that requires OR prefers applicants to be a particular race (not just the former).

York's process would have been illegal in the US. So would a process in which race was not mentioned in the ad, but committee members preferred black (or white, etc.) applicants. That violates the Civil Rights Act, a federal law, so it applies everywhere in the US. (Fun fact: The only time that MLK, Jr. and Malcolm X ever met was to listen to debate on, and voice their support for, the Civil Rights Act.)

Many other US jurisdictions, like my state, have further protections. I have no idea about Canadian law.

Thomas

WestCoastL, Might MLK and Malcolm X supported the Civil Rights Act because at the time legislation that gave favourable treatment—not merely equal treatment—was so politically unrealistic? That is, that they supported it might not mean they would object to affirmative action practices.

ConstitutionAct1982

@WestCoastL

Regarding Canadian law: This type of affirmative action is written in to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under the heading "Equality Rights", Section 15 states that

"(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."

And, goes it on to say:

"(2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability."

So, Section (2) is the relevant bit here.

Also relevant is the Employment Equity Act (1995) whose purpose is "to achieve equality in the workplace so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability and, in the fulfilment of that goal, to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities by giving effect to the principle that employment equity means more than treating persons in the same way but also requires special measures and the accommodation of differences."

So, Canadian law recognises that 'equity' is not equivalent to 'equality'. Affirmative action of this sort is legal, they just call it 'employment equity' (and apparently, it is called this specifically because 'affirmative action' is a US term, and already had negative connotation when these articles were drafted).

Evan

that guy:

Then you'd be more uncomfortable to know that applicants with "white-sounding" names get more interviews than "ethnic-sounding" names.

Source from Harvard Business School: https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/minorities-who-whiten-job-resumes-get-more-interviews

Kombucha

Evan: I think nobody here disagrees with the idea that affirmative action would be good.

But I doubt that what you suggest is true for the philosophy job market (i.e. that applicants with minority sounding names get fewer interviews). I assume you don’t need to hang out with philosophy faculty too long before you hear “the dean wants us to hire a woman or a minority candidate”.

To the extent that affirmative action is illegal, such disregard for the law is somewhat perplexing, esp. considering that lawsuits from disgruntled white men might be only a matter of time.

Evan

Hi kombucha: I don’t have specific data on the hiring practices in philosophy, but it’s not impossible that the same can occur within philosophy to some extent considering that the majority of philosophers make up of (heterosexual) white men in the US. In fact, I highly recommend researchers do research on this for philosophy and let all cards fall down on the table.

Also, some people like that guy have expressed that affirmative action is wrong or at least uncomfortable for them, so the word ”nobody” would be a hyperbole. It’s pretty obvious amongst most libertarian and conservative philosophers that affirmative is somehow wrong. There are even philosophical papers against affirmative action.

It’s also interesting you’d say that ”such disregard for the law is somewhat perplexing” even though you mentioned previously that ”nobody here disagrees with the idea that affirmative action would be good.” On one hand, you acknowledge that it’s good or morally permissible to have affirmative action. On the other hand, you can’t seem to wrap your mind around people committing affirmative action even when it may be illegal to do so.

I raised this dilemma because I’m pretty sure you yourself would support Rosa Parks when she refused to sit in the back of the bus since it was illegal for black people at the time to sit in the front. Some actions that negate certain laws are not so perplexing if we admit that such laws are not ethical in the first place. In other words, there are some people who are more committed to morality or justice than legality. Not all laws exhibit the virtue of justice and not all of them are ethical. Given this fact, people disregarding certain laws is not so perplexing to me.

My Name is not My Name

I also wanted to respond to Kombucha's strange throwaway comment, even if it's not that important. Perhaps I just want to demonstrate that philosophers are not as politically monolithic as they might think.

I am a philosopher who looks at this blog from time to time. I would classify myself as politically left of American liberals. I am opposed to most affirmative action programs, including any affirmative action hiring initiative in philosophy departments in North America with which I am familiar--meaning, I am aware of the rationale, mechanism, and results of the program.

Michel

Please, let's not go there.

For the record, I have a European family name which is frequently mistaken for something non-European. It's a conversation-starter, and that's ok.

But you would be pretty shocked at the things other philosophers have said to me, on the assumption that I wasn't white. Often it's clearly just well-intentioned ignorance. But on many occasions, it clearly wasn't (e.g. imagine being called by a racial slur). What's more, I know *many* people who've had similar experiences.

Thomas

Not to change the subject but....

What sites do people use to find jobs besides philjobs? I feel like I am missing some advertisements. Please help!

Hope to help

Thomas,

Here are three that I recall frequenting when I was on the market:

HigherEdJobs: https://www.higheredjobs.com/faculty/search.cfm?JobCat=89

For jobs in the UK:https://www.jobs.ac.uk/

Another site: https://jobs.chronicle.com/jobs/philosophy/#browsing

If you are religious or part of a society, there might be jobs posted on the site. For instance, if you are a bioethicist, here is where you might look: http://www.bioethics.net/jobs/page/2/

Hope this helps!

oudeis

In addition to philjobs, I look at jobs.ac.uk, the PHILOS-L listserv, and Inside Higher Ed. (For PHILOS-L, the list of archived messages can be daunting, but most--though I stress not all!--job advertisements have 'JOB' in their title.)

Assistant Professor

@WestCoastL - could you clarify what law(s) and/or Supreme Court precedents you are citing when claiming the blanket illegality of affirmative action practices in the US? I am not familiar with any blanket federal illegality of all affirmative action practices, though many Supreme Court cases have weighed in on permissible and impermissible permutations of affirmative action practices.

Thomas

Thanks so much, Hope to help and oudeis. There were indeed a few I didn't know about. I really appreciate it. If anyone else happens to see one not yet mentioned I'd be grateful for any additional pointers.

Tom2

Assistant Professor--

The Civil Rights Act appears to be enshrined in law at 42 U.S.C. Sect. 2000e.

Note two things. First, the claim was that AA programs that "require OR prefer applicants to be a particular race" are illegal. And that's true. Nothing was said about the "blanket illegality of affirmative action practices in the US". For example, I think it's fine to advertise to women in order to get more applications from women. But you can't make a person's gender a point for or against her when hiring. That's a federal civil rights violation.

Second, there are some very narrow exceptions that almost never apply (and never when it comes to academic hiring). For example, if you're hiring an actor to play Martin Luther King, Jr. in a movie, you can discriminate on the basis of race (a "bona fide occupational qualification").

The website of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has useful information about the law.

Assistant Professor

Thanks @Tom2. I take it I misread @WestCoastL's point in their post, which was merely to suggest that the York hiring requirements would be illegal under US law (with which we are all, it appears, familiar).

The curious problem is, of course, how a strict reading of the law competes with other (ethical) values that academic departments, and especially philosophy departments, might think it is just to promote. That is to say, not merely not excluding someone due to facts about their gender, sex, racial, ethnic, ability, religious, age, etc. identities (those things that are recognized protected classes), but how the meaningfully pursue equity within the academy, and within philosophy.

I appreciate York's initiative because it makes its objectives and values transparent. When jobs in the US advertise for an AOS of "feminism" or "philosophy of race" they are likely trying to hire for particular (non-majority in philosophy) identities. But of course a problem with this practice is that not all people who work on feminism or philosophy of race identify as women or people of color, and people who do identify as women and people of color clearly work on many things other than feminism and philosophy of race, so it quickly gets messy in terms of what goal(s) these practices are trying to achieve.

Mercado

Do folks think that the average time from a position's application deadline to when a department extends an offer will be shorter or longer due to COVID?

One consideration is that departments may conduct final round interviews and "campus visits" sooner than in the past because they won't have to fly candidates out.

Another consideration is that search committee members may be more busy with teaching than in the past because of the transition to online teaching.

Of course this may differ at R1s, large teaching focused state universities and SLACs.

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