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01/27/2021

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anon

In conversations with a significant other who is not in academia, how do you help them understand that deciding to leave the academic job market is not 'giving up?'

More specifically, how might one communicate to their partner that their relatively stable non TT position is actually quite good, all things considered?

To an outsider, it seems as though someone who put in 7 years for a PhD only to decide they no longer want to pursue TT positions is somehow akin 'giving up on one's dream' and that remaining in a non-TT position is somehow just 'settling.'
I struggle to help them understand that these kinds of phrases and this general framework are simply not as applicable here.

And I ask this sincerely, so responses like 'there's no jobs' or 'its soul-crushing' are not especially helpful.

So please, serious responses only.

Tom

I've always struggled with logic. I've worked my way through a few logic texts now, and every time I forget most of it shortly after and then wonder, 'what was the point of that?'. I don't enjoy logic and I'm not mathematically inclined. But some areas of my field (metaphysics) are heavy on the logic and it would be nice to be able to keep up. Does anyone know of any resources (books, software programs, etc.) that can help, or just advice in general?

Thanks!

Restting the bar

I managed, against the odds, to achieve the holy grail of a TT position at an R1 institution. Because I was a postdoc for a bunch of years and a lot of my previous work will count towards tenure, I am not particularly worried about publishing enough to get tenure.
I find myself in the curious position of trying to reset my goals. I enjoy research, so I don’t have a problem to motivate myself intrinsically. However, I wonder what my extrinsic motivations can/should be. I am happy to stay where I am, I don’t particularly care about fame in the profession, and salary is what it is. I guess I am wondering what goals people in the tenure track or those already tenured set for themselves.

Supermarché

If two months or some long period of time has elapsed since a job posting's deadline, is it appropriate for a job applicant to reach out to the search chair or department to see if the search has been canceled?

I already cut so much :(

Very specific q, but: does anyone know how strict the apa is about their 3k word limit for submissions? Lol

Was once a grad student

I have a question about anonymity protocol in submitting a certain kind of paper. Right now I'm writing a response to a paper, where the paper I'm responding to is itself a response to an earlier paper of mine. I'm a little unclear on what anonymizing the [new] paper would mean here, given that I'll be defending my earlier paper in depth, extensively citing it, possibly explaining what I had in mind in certain passages, etc. It's difficult for me to think of a way not to make it obvious to reviewers that I'm the author of the earlier paper. I suppose I could frame the new paper in the third person, saying things like "Here's what [my name] could say in response to criticism X..." I worry, though, that that would simply make the paper sound more stilted while still leaving it obvious, given the very nature of the paper, that I'm the author of the earlier paper. Has anyone else come across a similar situation and/or have any tips on handling it?

Teacher

How far ahead do people prepare for classes (that they teach)?

I have been told by quite a few people that I should prepare for the classes one or two weeks ahead of the schedule. While I can definitely see the benefits of doing this, it did not work well for me. For a class I prepared two weeks beforehand, for example, I always need to spend some time reviewing what I had prepared and to add new things (explanations, examples, discussion questions, etc.) before the class. I find it way easier for me just to prepare for a class on the day/night before. In this way, I can keep everything clear and "fresh" in mind.

I guess this is more about relatively new classes than those I've taught several times. I am curious to see people's thoughts and tips. Thank you!

Sid

I'm a grad student at KU's (University of Kansas) philosophy department. I'm not sure how widespread this news is, but I'd appreciate you guys sharing the following with your readers, if it meets the standards for content.

"The KU administration is moving forward with the optional KBOR (Kansas Board of Regents) Policy to suspend tenure protections here that would not only eject us from the AAU, it would threaten accreditation of all our programs and, in the process, significantly diminish the value of a KU degree. In the news, this issue is covered as professors upset at the prospect of losing our cushy jobs. It's not. There are already numerous ways to fire them and our salaries are part of the public record. We're speaking out in defense of KU's educational mission and its status as a leader amongst US universities. We're speaking out in defense of our students, who deserve to have the quality of their work reflected in the value of their diploma.
Also, it'd be helpful if people would sign the petition. https://sites.google.com/view/kufacultydemands/solidarity-statement.

Thank you very much.

anon

I am consistently getting 1 or 2 interviews a year but I cannot seem to get over the hump, so to speak, to the on-campus phase.

I am going on 3 years removed from PhD. I have a non-TT position that is fairly stable but somewhat unsatisfying.

Does anyone else have this experience and if so, what would you recommend?

author

What to do if a manuscript's status is still listed as 'admin processing' one month after submission? I have already written an email asking for an update about a week back, but have not heard back.

patience grasshopper

Author
One month is not long. It takes time to get referees.

Anon

I do not have an academic background in philosophy but nevertheless have ended up spending significant time working on a philosophy book for which has required vast amounts of research and reading. (I have worked with academics in the process to challenge my ideas & check I am not totally mad)

When published, I wonder if the academic audience will treat it as 'no-good' or not give it the time of day because it does not come from someone working in an institution. I am curious, is this likely or will it simply come to the quality of ideas?

GradApplicant

As someone who applied to PhD programs this cycle, I'd like to post some questions about PhD applications, as the results are coming out soon (some are already out). Some of these are personal, some are from friends who also applied.In particular, I wonder what one should do as admissions/waitlists come out.

Here are some things that I think everyone should do:
1. If already decided to join program A, or decided not to join program B, while having an offer from B, inform program B asap. This should make the life of everybody easier.
2. Inform one's letter writers about the offers.
3. Explore the program from which one has received an offer.

But there are things I'm not sure about:

1. If one is *waitlisted* at multiple programs, A, B, and C, should she inform the programs about this? Would this increase or decrease the chance of admission?

2. If one is accepted at program A and waitlisted at B, while she prefers B---
Should she inform B about the offer from A? Would this increase or decrease the chance of admission at B?
Should she inform A about the waitlist from B?
I guess this can depend on the programs: a top-10 elite program might be unimpressed or even put off by the fact that you're considering an offer from a much lower-ranked program? I'm not sure whether this makes sense.

3. A more general question: how would programs react when hearing that a student they admitted/waitlisted has been admitted/waitlisted by other programs?

3. Should one who's been admitted mention the fact that her significant other is waitlisted at the same program?

4. If one only has one offer, is there any room for her to negotiate about the funding, etc.?

I suppose many of the answers would vary from departments to departments, but I'd be very grateful if some general answers can be given. Thanks!!

Tricky second album

I'm in the very lucky position that I have a permanent job in the UK on a teaching and research contract. Before this, I had a series of post-docs in Europe and the UK. I finished my PhD in 2012 and I recently published a monograph which rounded off the big research project that my PhD started.

I suppose what I'd like help with is: what next? I'm really struggling to develop and frame a 'second' mid-career research project. Because of the UK system, there is pressure to come up with projects that can result in research grants and books. I generate lots of ideas for projects, but none seem to stick. So how have other people found their second major project and brought it to fruition?

OP plying for jobs

For those who have read letters of reference for job market candidates (both research and teaching): What are some common weaknesses of reference letters? By 'weakness' here I am particularly interested in negative aspects of letters that the applicant might have worked to minimize the likelihood of. For instance, if a common weakness is that the letter doesn't reflect the applicant's research statement, or the letters disagree with each other, this is perhaps something that the applicant could minimize the likelihood of through early and regular communication.

Of course, those who write letters ultimately are responsible for them, and applicants can only do so much to nudge their committee in the 'right' direction. That said, I'd love to hear, from the perspective of the letter readers, what are some tips that might be helpful for applicants when asking their committee for letters.

Thanks!

PP

Hello,

I have a strange question. I have been waitlisted at a graduate program. That program has made it explicit that they expect I tell them when I am accepted to other programs, and that they have no intention of telling me where I am on the waitlist, how it is organized, etc, to have even a roughly feasible notion of my chances. This does not stem from the inherent difficulty of seeing the future, they simply do not want to make the information potentially dictating my future available to me.

I see this as a simply outrageous way of taking advantage of the asymmetry of our positions. I am expected to keep a running list of information for them (which, presumably, they will use for inner departmental functions) while denying the bare minimum to me. This is after I paid them money already. I fear that if I do not send them updated information that they will place me lower on the list out of retaliation. Is there an appropriate way to handle this?

Sleepless in Seattle

Do journal editors hold an author's past history of rejections at a journal against them?

The worry that motivates this question is that one might think that when editors decide to reject, offer an opportunity to revise and resubmit or accept a piece, they may look to the author's history of rejections at the journal or the features of rejected papers.

I realize that in most cases editors are likely too busy to do this, but I can imagine, even if falsely, that this happens.

not @edu

This is a fairly minor question, but I typically have used my personal email for academic business. If I'm sending an email internally (to my chair or the dean, and so on) I will use my university email address, but the university has made it annoying enough (so secure that it's a pain in the ass to check it and email from it) that otherwise I will simply use my personal email, to email with journals, professional organizations, casual notes to colleagues, and so on. I have my personal email on my CV. I also like doing that because I have changed institutions enough that it's irritating to re-do all my journal logins and so on.

Is this normal? Does it rub people the wrong way? I will sometimes get an email back from someone, an individual or an editor, and they will send it to my university email, even though I have only emailed from my personal address. It feels like a rebuke. After all, they had to look it up! But maybe I am reading too much into it. It makes me wonder if I am violating some norm here, by emailing about academic matters from a gmail account.

conference q

How many conferences is too many to present one paper at? I'm pumped about this idea and I genuinely want to talk about it with as many people as I can, but I have the suspicion that doing, I don't know, more than 3 or 4 conferences with the same paper seems weird. That's just something I usually don't see on CVs. Should I hold off on submitting this thing if I've already picked 4 conferences, including the APA, until one or more of those 4 rejects me? (I'm a grad student if that changes any answers.)

awkward assistant professor

I am an assistant professor at an R1 university, preparing to come up for tenure. We are required to come up with a list of 12 references, all of which, (1) are experts in our own field of research, (2)are full professors (not just tenured), (3) work at R1 universities.

I thought I was doing pretty good with a solid list of 8 references, as that was always more than enough for anything I needed. (And 7 will actually fit the R1/full professor requirement.) 12 seems a lot to me, given that they have to be full professors at R1 universities. (I haven't looked into exactly how R1 is defined, but I will be curious how international universities are considered.)

I was told that only 4 would be asked to write "full-letters," and that the rest would be asked to write "notes." Who writes what is up to the tenure committee. They said that up to 4 professors, and one "full-letter" writer, could flake out without causing too much trouble. I am not sure if declining rather than flaking out would be different.

I do feel lucky that I work in a pretty broad field. I can't imagine working in one of the more narrow speciality areas and having to come up with that list. Anyway, I have a few questions:

1.) Is my university's requirement typical for R1 universities?

2.) If it is typical, (or even if not) is it normal to ask someone you don't know very well to be a tenure reference? I have more than enough publications for my university's typical tenure case, and I am pretty sure my "reserved" group of 8 will write great letters. However, I just don't know what will happen if I approach people in my field I don't know personally. My work isn't the type to involve a lot of back and forth with the literature, so even those who work in my area might or might not know have much familiarity with my work. Anyway, I guess I am just curious if it is typical to write tenure letters for persons you don't know personally?

I am horrible socially, and it took a lot of effort to cultivate the relationships that I did. It is a bit demoralizing to worry that I haven't done enough, especially because my research area tends to be pretty cliquey, and I always feel out of place at conferences. Conferences (or the talk giving parts) are like standing standing around awkwardly during high school lunch hour all over again.

Lastly, I imagine this question will only get speculative answers, but does anyone think universities might be tougher with tenure because of budget constraints? It seems if they are looking to save money, they might be happy to get rid of a tenure line at a time when they have a good excuse for not replacing it.

Annie

I am currently co-editing a special issue of a (well-known) journal. I can't figure out where if anywhere it should "go" on my CV. Any advice really appreciated.

Assistant prof. still applying

I am an assistant professor applying for grants, fellowships, and other jobs in the search for both temporary and long-term solutions to my academic two-body problem. I have a more general and more specific version of a question about reference letters for someone who is several years out of their PhD.

General question: is there any point at which one should naturally be steering away from letters from your dissertation advisor and others at your graduate institution? I've heard that for national grants (e.g. NEH grants) it is best to find letter writers that are not connected to your PhD (the reasoning being, I suppose, that it shows that you have your own professional connections and that your work has been well received beyond the PhD). Does this also hold for academic jobs? Should an assistant professor a few years post-PhD solely use letters from those not connected to their PhD institution? What are the different optics here between having letters from your PhD supervisor or someone else, and when exactly should one start transitioning their letters?

Specific question: I'm in the privileged position of having a very well-known and PhD supervisor in my field, which complicates the question in my case. Is it best to stick with my letter from my well-known dissertation advisor (who still probably knows my work best and is most up to date with recent accomplishments) or is it better to go with a (still well-known, but not as well-known) person not connected to my PhD institution?

Thanks for your two cents!

vaccinate me

Not so much a question as a request for a discussion thread. I'd like to know what teacher's experiences in higher ed have been like with vaccinations. For example: how many people working in philosophy in higher ed have gotten vaccinated? First dose? Both doses? Did you get vaccinated in virtue of your occupation (rather than age or some other criterion)? If so, what state are you in and what documentation did you provide, etc.

If possible, discouraging people from discussing whether people deserved vaccines, etc., would be welcome. Perhaps there could be another thread for that if people would find that kind of discussion useful.

Jaime W

I was luckily just offered a postdoc which I would be very happy to have, but I also have some outstanding (in the mundane sense of the word) applications to TT jobs which I would definitely take instead if offered them. What should I do here? Withdraw from those jobs and take the postdoc? Ask the post-doc people to wait who-knows-how-long? Take the postdoc and then on the off chance that I get an interview for one of the TT jobs take the interview and ultimately decline the postdoc if I were offered a job? Thanks everyone.

Waitlisted

I am a current PhD applicant waitlisted at several top 20 programs with some offers from lower-ranked programs. I also have gotten a funded offer from a top terminal MA program with excellent PhD placement. Does anyone have any advice about how to decide at which point I am better off doing the MA first and then re-applying in two years? Are there any important questions to ask myself and the lower-ranked programs that might help me make a clear list of "better than MA" schools and "worse than an MA" schools?

NeedTherapyForThis

Not time-sensitive, but I'd benefit a lot from discussions of graduate students dealing with interpersonally discouraging experiences (e.g. a faculty underestimated them, treated them differently compared to others, being mistaken as someone else, etc). My colleague and I (both women) struggle with feeling discouraged from experiences like those, and I'd be curious if minority philosophers feel this way more often. Do people have coping strategies?

Damian

I have recently been invited to write a short article for a book symposium.

I already have a well-developed manuscript on the book's topic that I was about to send to peer review.

I wonder whether it is fine if I use an abridged version of the manuscript's argument for the symposium? I plan to use that argument plus another argument (that I do not mention in the manuscript) to challenge the book's thesis.

What worries me is that the manuscript has not yet been published. Moreover, it might happen that the manuscript only gets published after the symposium volume is out. If so, might using this argument now (in the symposium piece) turn into an obstacle to the manuscript's future publication?

Javier

Hello everyone,

I’m a MA student in a European country, studying in a university without any sort of top international recognition regarding the programs available. I did a BA in Philosophy here as well, and I have a fairly good record, some things better than others, but not an excellent one. And I have some research experience, though I’m finding it difficult to write a publishable paper. Also, a couple of scholarships.

By the end of the year, I should apply to a few doctoral programs, both in my country and outside. And I’ve been wondering about what it would mean going to the US. Reading the acceptance rates and scrolling through the profiles of PhD students in some universities makes me think it might be impossible to be accepted in a program that makes the move to another country advantageous. I would have an opportunity here, and I have a wonderful advisor, but there are limitations.

My primary motivation to go is the possibility of teaching in my area of interest, which won't happen where I am. But better pay and the possibility to work with new faces in that area are obviously in my mind as well. Also, the structure of PhD programs in the US is attractive to me, as I feel I haven't as much education as I'd like regarding either my area of interest or my development as a researcher.

There are two distinct, but related, concerns here:
1 – Is moving to a US to be part of a program that has less recognition an advantage if you are in a European program without much recognition as well, but where you might have the possibility of doing research in the long run?
2 – Are PhD students in the US always in the need to move after they end their degree?
3 – As someone with mental health issues, being in a place where there’s at least the possibility of stability is important for my ability to work. Is this a problem for international students in the US, given the lack of insurance that affects so many people there?

I know a ‘top’ program is something a bit vague. I’m considering programs like the ones usually ranked has such.

I apologize if similar questions have been asked before. As I do not have the financial ability to apply to many programs, I feel the need to be sure about at least some things before applying to any program at all. I understand I'm the only one able to answer some questions, but your personal experiences and your insights on this might help me look at some aspects that are currently on the dark for me.

Thank you and keep safe.

1st year TT

I am in a TT contract in a NA university (but I did not study nor leave in NA before). The head of my department recently let me know that two students had complained with him about me. The reason is trivial: I wrote in a tweet "I am reading a student's paper and I would like to share some reflections…". The reflections were very general and had to do with the profession in general (use of philosophical jargon, i.e., something we ALL do). The students thought I was publicly criticizing one of them.
Between the lines, I understood that they are among my advanced students, with whom I was confident to have built a good relationship and whom I had offered hours and hours of "counselling" in this horrible year. I am heartbroken that they did not feel confident enough to reach out to me first before calling or emailing the head of the department. I do not know how to get back to normal, I oscillate between anger and despair (yes, the year has been hard for me too!).

Assistant Professor

@vaccinate me: My understanding is that state vaccination allocation plans vary widely and continue to evolve internal to each state. The article linked below has some good information but it is worth noting that as the numbers of available vaccine doses continues to change, and states respond to public reactions to vaccine prioritization, many states continue to redefine their allocation phases. For example, I live in a state that was noted to include higher ed educators in phase 1B, but this is no longer the case (higher ed workers are currently not included in any Phase 1 allocations or in Phase 2 now where I live). https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/01/13/first-faculty-and-staff-outside-health-care-fields-become-eligible-covid-vaccines

PublicationNorms

I have a question about submitting a paper ("Paper 1") to a journal that borrows from thinking/writing in another paper ("Paper 2"). Paper 2 is under review/in manuscript form.

The situation I'm in is this: Paper 1 attempts to a solve a problem that was raised in Paper 2. But to motivate why we should care about the problem, I had to sketch the view I develop in Paper 2. I borrow heavily from my work in Paper 2 to do this, and thus there's a lot of overlap between the papers for a few pages of Paper 1. I of course tried to present the material slightly differently and with different examples, but I'm rehashing the same arguments/considerations.

I would like to submit Paper 1 to a journal as well. But I'm not sure what the norms are regarding borrowing from work in progress in cases like this. (I do mention in a footnote that I'm borrowing from other work I have.) Should I just submit and not worry about it, or should I wait or try to edit Paper 1 down a ton to *really* minimize overlap. (Again, there's only so much I can do that!)

Any thoughts very appreciated! Maybe I'm just being paranoid about the norms.

howtoproceed?

What's an ideal publication record for someone who's not aiming to end up at an R1 institution?

Here's why I ask: I just defended, and I lucked out to get a one year postdoc that's research oriented. I've also been lucky, in that I've had success publishing (3 publications in journals that are top ranked in my field... however my PhD isn't from a notable department). I've got more papers I could send out to journals. However, my worry is that if I publish too much, too soon, I might make myself look unattractive for jobs that are teaching orientated (even though I've taught a fair amount too). Might I inadvertently give the impression to search committees at teaching schools that I'm only interested in research? Honestly, I'd be perfectly happy in a dept. without big research expectations - not to mention, because my PhD isn't from top tier department, it's really unlikely I'd ever be able to land anything close to an R1 job anyhow.

What's the best approach to take?

I'm sure there's a reason

Can someone explain to me why, for the past two years at least, Nous and PPR have not accepted submissions for about 8 months out of 12? I'm a bit new to things, and this seems like, well, a rare practice. Also, if I'm honest, I guess I find it a bit frustrating as a junior person. I totally understand that reviewers are people and all of that; but I honestly just don't see why those two journals, out of all of them, have implemented this seemingly eccentric policy.

thanksforanyanswer

Is a shy and timid person suitable for a philosophical profession? I am a phd student and not outgoing, and in fact quite unconfident. I usually doubt whether I am right when I defend my view. But I see so many philosophers confident and decesive. In fact, I barely meet anyone like me in this profession. I am wondering whether a timid person could do philosophy.

cup runneth over

Here's a question that I've only had the opportunity to ponder in the abstract.

Some places only count pubs towards tenure if they came out while you're officially at that college/university, i.e. stuff you published in previous jobs elsewhere doesn't count towards tenure.

Have people ever tried delaying publications when transitioning to a new job (especially NTT to TT). Either by explicitly asking a journal that has accepted a paper to wait or more informally by dragging one's feet to submit an R&R draft? Do people have other strategies?

To reiterate, hold the rotten veggies, I don't have a TT offer and a forthcoming paper. Just curious if this is a thing.

PackItIn

Here's a question that I could use an answer to. When is it time to give up on the tenure-track jobhunt? I understand that in one way this depends on personal circumstances. That's not what I'm asking. I'm wondering at what point, after years of rejection, can you be reasonably confident that a tenure-track job is not going to happen.

I have a CV that's good enough for tenure at most R1s. At this point, will more books or articles or teaching experience help? I'm beginning to doubt it. I have gotten a lot of helpful feedback over the years, and the things I know would really help, like different demographics, I do not have control over.

sahpa

After washing out on the job market twice now, I'm contemplating a strategy for being a bit more proactive and selective in what I apply for, going forward.

I'm thinking about reaching out to professors (for European postdocs, where the norm is to be attached to a specific professor) in advance and just telling them a little about myself, and then asking them whether they think I might fit for the position they're looking to fill. This would be primarily to ascertain whether I should even bother applying. This could benefit both parties: me, because I could hopefully figure out quite cheaply whether to invest substantial time into the application itself; and them, because it would help them preemptively manage the pile of applications they'll receive. In this respect, it's a win-win.

However, I'm worried that, if this is just not really done, it might come off the wrong way. On the other hand, if a lot of these postdocs get filled through networks anyway (and I have some evidence, here and there, that that might be rather common), is this really problematic?

Can readers who have relevant experience in the European postdoc market weigh in?

Another Introvert

I've been inspired by the discussion about ways to flourish in the profession as an introvert.

While many people have mentioned the importance of networking, I am wondering if people can share some concrete examples of the benefits from networking, especially for graduate students and junior faculty members.

I can see that networking could help a person find external members for their committee and have letters for the job market (grad student) or for promotion (junior faculty). I have a hard time seeing other benefits besides abstract things like knowing your name and knowing your work. For example, do people get invited to apply for some jobs or get invited to submit to a journal because of networking? Any other concrete examples?

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