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11/03/2020

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Tom

If you haven't discussed this already, how to focus on abstract philosophical work that has no practical connection to the world whatsoever with so much happening politically and socially around the world?

Thanks!

SM

I am writing in response to the thread that got going earlier on diversity statements and their length. One respondent mentioned that all of their materials were just one page, and I'd like to hear from others if this is true of them as well, and also from perhaps hiring committee members that this is what they prefer. I'm especially interested in the proper length of a research statement.

In my own case, my diversity and teaching statements are one page. However, my research statement is longer. I've had friends who have been hired share their research statements with me, and they were very long, like, five pages singled-spaced long. Now I know someone can say, "Well, that whole thing isn't going to get read." But I guess my response is, so? It's all there if they want to read it. My statement is fairly long, but I also have a little roadmap that tells them what area of my research I discuss in each section. So if they want to jump around, they can do that. Is that bad? Would that annoy you if you were a hiring committee member?

One more thought here (I know this is already long-winded): Wouldn't it be the case that shorter research statements speak in broad brush strokes? And isn't that not great? I'm imagining a short statement that just spends three or four sentences describing each project, or just says things like, "My next project explores the rationality of anger; I argue X." The end. I guess my issue with this tricky document is figuring out how to say enough for the reader to see your ideas are not half-baked, but not so much that it starts to read like a scholarly article.

Help?

Alessio

I have a question similar to that of Tom. I am working in the philosophy of language, but sometimes I lose the excitement about my area since it has no direct impact on the world. I doubt that, differently from moral and political philosophy, my research will help someone to clarify better their thoughts or a way to live. I have started to feel in this way particularly since the beginning of the pandemic. Thanks!

Job-seeker

I have a question related to applying for jobs this year. It's my first time on the market. I've read a lot of articles and blog posts about the unspoken rules of academic searches and their timelines, one of them being: you often don't get informed about having been rejected until much, much later. I find myself wondering: How much time, on average, does it take the search committee to come up with a list of first-round interviewees after the job posting deadline? I'm asking about TT jobs especially. In other words, when can I reasonably assume that I'm no longer in the running? I've read here and there that it's about 2-6 weeks, but that guess wasn't specific to our field. (And could this timeline be altered during the pandemic?)

anon

Going on two weeks post first round interview; committee said they'd be in touch by early November.

I have heard nothing even after reaching out once to try and get an update.

Is this unusual or are the circumstances and idiosyncrasies of particular searches and committees just too different to say anything meaningful?

New Writer

How many weeks does it take professional philosophers to write a paper ready for submission? Is it better to write an outline before drafting? I think as I read. So I write random paragraphs after reading to see if something will materialize. Is that inefficient?

triple anon

Does anyone have strong feelings about listing "under review" manuscripts in a separate section of the CV? (That is, below the actual publications, of course.)

On the one hand, it seems smart to let everyone know that one has a pile of research that could be accepted for publication any day now. On the other hand, I'm not sure whether anyone will be impressed by the fact that one submits a lot for publication consideration, much of which might not ever be published anyway.

Thanks!

Enriquillo

Suppose that an R1 institution schedules a first-round Zoom interview with a job applicant. And suppose that between the moment the interview was scheduled and the interview itself, this applicant receives a request to contribute to a special issue of a specialty journal and an invitation to contribute to an edited volume on some topic relevant to their AOS.

Should this applicant inform the search committee of these developments? Or do these developments not rise to the level of newsworthy?

And in a case like this, what developments are newsworthy such that an applicant should inform search committee members?

tom

How do professional philosophers deal with readings in their field that they find challenging, even too challenging to understand? As a student, I regularly come up against readings that I have trouble understanding. Does this happen to professionals who are well-established in their area of specialization? Assuming the paper they're reading is not incoherent, how do they deal with it?

R

I have two questions about the role of personal websites in the job application process.

1. What are some reasons search committee members might visit an applicant's webpage?
I have a hidden, password-protected page on my website that contains all my application materials and a few additional ones. I put the address and password in my cover letters. Now that most of my applications are in, I see that people from regions I applied in are visiting my webpage, but they are not using this page. Instead, they are just browsing the website in general. Most frequently, they spend a minute or less on my homepage and research page. Sometimes it's less than 30 seconds and just my homepage. But I'm not sure what information they are looking for in these pages, since all of it is predictably contained in my dossier. The only thing I can think of is that the website gives a vibe of who the candidate is, or maybe they just want to see a photo?

2. In what stage of the process do search committees look at the candidates' websites?
For example, is it when they go through the batch to make the initial cut? It is when they decide on the long list? I'm sure there's a lot of variation, but I wonder if there are some commonalities. I'm curious because of a pattern I see on my website. Sometimes there is a burst of visitors from a certain place for a few days and then they stop vising my website. Could this be interpreted as some vague indication that there was a discussion of my dossier? If I don't hear from that department in the following weeks and they have stopped visiting my website, should I take it as some sort of signal that my dossier is no longer considered? On the one hand, intuitively, it does seem to me like a sign that they lost interest. On the other hand, this happened to me with several departments and I haven't seen reports that any of them invited people for interviews or any updates about their searches.

TT

Bit of an uncomfortable question. When I was last on the job market (quite recently) I had an experience at a campus visit that seems worth flagging to others in the profession. At dinner with the search committee and some other faculty members, someone on the faculty (a tenured man) said something that was quite transphobic. Other male faculty members at the dinner seemed to either laugh it off or, worse, find this transphobic comment genuinely funny. This was not the only "questionable" incident I experienced while on this campus visit. Is there a way to indicate, for colleagues who might visit this department for whatever reason, to be cautious when visiting this department? I'd prefer not to publicly reveal anything about myself or about the department, for obvious reasons.

Mary

Writing applications now, post doc, second year on the market. I think I finally have a handle on how to address what hiring committees are looking for with one big exception: evidence of ability to attract funding. I see this frequently in Europeans jobs (yea I’m including the UK in that). Not only am I confused what exactly they are looking for and why, but I simply don’t have anything that can be squished until it kind of looks like evidence for external funding when you squint. It’s just not something that ever came up for me (or anyone in my cohort), I didn’t even know it was a thing until I started seeing it on job ads to be honest. My ideal is a European job so I would really appreciate any advice how to address this.

Mary

Just to clear up that confusing first sentence: I’m currently a postdoc applying for TT jobs

postdoc

Hi there. I recently have had a number of requests for a pdf of my dissertation. I defended in 2018 and am currently a postdoc. At the moment, I've polished and published a few sections of the dissertation; however, I'm currently in the process of refining other elements into their own proper articles. Is there any reason, besides the somewhat dated content and style, that I shouldn't post a pdf version of my dissertation on my website? When I've searched for advice on this topic, I've found blog posts (usually from other humanities fields) that recommend *not* making the dissertation freely available (e.g. https://theprofessorisin.com/2011/08/24/the-perils-of-publishing-your-dissertation-online/). I would love some advice from folk in the tenure-track process on this matter.

Bram Vaassen

Do I need a personal website?

I'm a currently a postdoc and I keep my PhilPeople profile up to date. I.e. recent CV, PDF:s of penultimate drafts and my thesis, a picture in which I look like a normal person, and a short blurb about me and my philosophical interests.

Consequently, I wonder whether there is any advantage in having a personal website that I have to maintain separately. It might look a tad more professional to have one, but only a tad. And even that tad is arguably a case of LOOKING more professional rather than being more professional.

Looking forward to input.

(I'm mostly interested in jobs in Europe, but interested in hearing perspectives from US job experts as well.)

Anthony

Question: How does a graduate student find summer teaching opportunities? I would be happy to adjunct this summer at a community college.

Context: I'm currently earning a masters degree in humanities. For it, I'll take a couple philosophy-related courses. I'm actually halfway through a PhD in philosophy at a different institution; I'm officially on a leave of absence from my PhD program to complete this MA. I've completed graduate coursework at my PhD program. But my PhD program only grants masters degrees to those who exit the program early (which seems unjustified to me, but that's a different matter), so I won't have a MA degree until June. My only experience as a primary instructor was at a summer school, but I do have several semesters of TAing under my belt.

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