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Big State

I have served on a SC at a teaching focused state school without a graduate program. The OP would only benefit from publishing in top journals by my colleagues’ lights. I should add that our university is in a very desirable part of the US so my colleagues have not even mentioned flight risk as a consideration. At our institution, as long as a candidate makes clear they are interested in teaching and that they are prepared to teach, an excellent publication record will not count against them.

All this said, I think Marcus’ view of how publication records relate to success at teaching focused schools is largely correct.

Seasoned Veteran

I do not share Marcus's suspicion that three highly-ranked publications makes you non-competitive for non-elite SLACs. I know people who were hired at such places with such publication records. Maybe six or seven such publications would start to raise worries about fit, but not three, given the glut of amazing candidates on the market. Of course, you need teaching experience and skills to get hired at such places, so three highly ranked pubs won't *get* you hired. They just won't prevent you from being hired.

I was hired by an R2/R3 recently. I got a sense of who my fellow finalists were after I was hired. We all had 5+ good publications. Three pubs isn't going to price you out of those kinds of jobs.

One thing you might not have considered: I spent a few years bouncing around at VAP's and such before getting hired on the tenure-track. I mined the heck out of my dissertation in my VAP time for publications and had great success getting articles published. Now I'm on the tenure-track, and I'm having to work up new stuff in order to satisfy tenure requirements. If I had held a couple of papers back, I might have an easier time putting together a tenure file. On the other hand, if I had held a couple of papers back, I might not have gotten hired. So, this is another consideration to include in your calculus.


If a teaching-focused school’s primary aim is teaching more so than research, then you can balance out those ‘prestigious’ publications with 1) a good teaching portfolio/evidence of teaching effectiveness, 2) some teaching awards to put on your C.V. and 3) a convincing teaching statement. Don’t take this one for granted since this is your chance to explain yourself to them. I’ve read some teaching statements that were so vague and cliche. As a result, I was left unconvinced by them.

My other advice is to look at the C.V.s and personal websites of these philosophy professors at these teaching-focused schools you want to be hired at. If you feel like your teaching portfolio and C.V. are not as strong as theirs, then that can be an indicator that you need more work or experience in that realm. See these professors at these schools as a model for how you should be. But of course, also be true to yourself. You don’t want to and should not rid yourself of all your individuality.

So long as you meet their necessary expectations, I think ‘prestigious’ publications are considered the ‘cherry on top.’ It’s nice to have, but not necessary.

SC member at CDSU

A PhD from a non-notable department, a few publications in top journals in your field, and a decent amount of teaching experience would make you a great fit at my institution, Cardinal Direction State U (CDSU).

The main sticking point - for us - would not be the publications. Most of us have also published in the top journals in our field, but due to various factors - ranging from family situations to the horrid job market - we're still here. The bigger problem might be teaching experience; but, if you've done a fair amount of it, and can demonstrate that you can teach the things we need taught, you've got a good shot.

Seasoned Veteran has a good point about the paper submission gamble; some institutions (like mine) only 'count' publications for tenure if they were accepted while under contract with that institution. This can make things difficult if you are trying to publish on a new research project while adjusting to teaching 4/4 and doing a bunch of service.

Shay Logan

One note: I think we need to strongly discount our pre-covid intuitions about these matters. Search committees are even more disastrously flooded this year (and likely for years to come) than they were before. The amount to which 3+ pubs (e.g.) stands out will be different when that puts you in the top 2% than when it barely helps you crack the top 20%. As a result, my guess is the extent to which it makes committees think you'll be problematic in some way (flight risk, not focused on teaching, whatever) is likely going to be entirely different.

This, sadly, is probably true across the board right now: the only advice anyone *can* give you is about what things were like pre-covid, and all such advice should be taken with a large grain of salt.


FWIW, I had three publications, all respectable but none elite, when I was hired (in 2015) into a tenure-track job at a top-twenty SLAC. I did not get the impression that more (or more elite) publications would have been a problem there at all. However, I also received an offer from a non-elite SLAC during that market run, and I later learned that the search chair at that department called my PhD supervisor to make sure that I wouldn't be too focused on research at the expense of teaching. According to my supervisor, it was my three publications that raised a red flag at the non-elite SLAC.

My experience may have been unusual, and, in any event, I'm sure COVID has hugely affected all dimensions of hiring. Nevertheless, I figure my experience can serve as at least one useful data point.


An anecdatum: I didn't have much teaching experience when I was hired to my 4-4 non-degree program with zero research expectations (I'd taught twice and TAed a ton). I did, however, have five publications, two of which were in a top specialist journal and one of which was in a T10 generalist journal (I would also have had one forthcoming in a top specialist journal, if memory serves).

They hired me anyway, in part because I'd put a lot of effort into my teaching materials. But also because I showed that I was committed to staying on a while if I could. The publications did not count against me at all (from what I've heard since, they may actually have helped a little).

I'm on a search committee this semester, and while we haven't all compared notes yet, I don't think publications of any sort are being or would be held against anyone. We're looking for someone with a wide range of teaching interests who will ideally stick around a few years. The publication count doesn't seem to matter much to anyone.

I wouldn't generalize from my anecdote. But there are definitely teaching-focused places out there that don't really mind much one way or the other.

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