Monday, February 23, 2009

Doom: JFP

I'll refrain from commenting at length about the most recent Jobs for Philosophers. My only hope is that every unemployed philosopher in the country applies to the Yale job in the Department of Coins and Medals.

It would be especially fitting if applicants cited among their credentials an extensive collection of heavy metal albums: e.g., Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and, of course, Accept (What's more metal than Udo Dirkschneider? Nothing.).

And it should be noted that I've received confirmation that the Central will be meeting in Chicago in February for the next several years. No word about whether the APA will adjust the JFP publication schedule accordingly. Luckily, this debacle was not much of an issue, since there are no jobs anyway...

7 comments:

Krinos said...

People have applied for philosophy jobs on the basis of lesser qualifications. For example, a fella from my graduate institution applied for the Yale Kant job a few years back, and he'd only read the first Critique and the Groundwork. Figured that if he got an on-campus, he'd get around to reading the other stuff. And those were the good old days of only a bad hiring season.

729 said...

Speaking of the lack of jobs...I was wondering if other folks are confronting a similar situation at their institutions. We have a hiring freeze and, at the same time, the administration has taken an axe to the adjunct budgets. (The push is towards increasing class sizes to make up the difference.) At least where I am, there are no academic jobs of any kind available at all. Have things gotten this bad elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

I am in a small department. Two of my colleagues have been in their jobs for 25 and 35 years respectively. Neither have published anything in at least a decade (and have hardly published anything in their entire careers). Neither takes teaching seriously. One misses one third of classes and never hands back assignments, the other never has his students crack a textbook and rambles through class after class.

I've been angry at them for destroying the major for the eight years I've been in the department but looking at the current JFP it makes me even more furious. There are wonderful, dedicated, energetic, philosophers desperate for jobs and destined to work was waiters and bookstore clerks. Young (and old) philosophers who would give anything to have a teaching position and who would be spectacular teachers/researchers and colleagues. But instead, my colleagues accept pay check after paycheck doing nothing to earn their money. What my colleagues are going is profoundly immoral and there is nothing I can do about it. Just thought I'd share.

Platowe said...

Anon 9:09:

Yours is a truly despicable case if true, and an abuse of the intent of tenure. My university system (Wisconsin) instituted post-tenure review some years ago, and despite my initial misgivings, it has had a good impact on my campus. Two non-contributing colleagues in other disciplines resigned from the mere prospect of being reviewed, and others have more fully embraced professionalism over the fate of even being constructively criticized. (Our post-tenure review cannot result in dismissal except in repeated instances of demonstrated incompetence--which your post seems to relate.) I have always tried to be the best philosopher I can be, in class and in print, and although I am no great shakes by the up-turned nose of citation and the ah-yes nod of recognition--I cash my monthly check with a solid sense of dignity. Yes--there are many good younger philosophers shut out by the irrational protections of tenure--but tenure need not be a barrier to vigilence of the improvement of the profession, if tenure is itself subject to positive criticism.

The Brooks Blog said...

Always great to find fellow Udo/Accept fans in cyberspace...

Anonymous said...

In our California State University department (a huge system with 23 campuses), about 1/3 of our part-time lecturers were laid off this term and enrollments system-wide cut. A few CSU campuses did hire this year in philosophy, but we have been warned that things could be much worse next year and I don't think we expect to be able to hire tenure-track next year nor to be able to rehire any lecturers.

We are in the third year of a four-year state-wide faculty contract, which included some catch-up cost-of-living raises for everyone and seniority steps for junior faculty for this and next year, but those have all been cancelled. The union asked for binding arbitration, but the CSU refused and instead asked for a fact-finder who will make non-binding recommendations on when, if ever, we get those raises. Our main expectation is that pay will be frozen indefinitely, but that's better than pay cuts. The Governor's plan to furlough state workers does not apply to the CSU (nor to the UC), as he has no personnel authority over higher education.

The CSU does have post-tenure review. Although faculty cannot be fired, deans can and sometimes do impose harsh measures for terrible teachers (e.g., mandatory training sessions at the faculty development center). In one case in my department, the faculty member choose to retire instead.

More importantly, don't assume that lousy teaching is limited to senior tenured faculty. Many senior faculty are outstanding and were themselves frozen out of academia during the academic hiring depression of the 1970s. They have not spent their entire adult lives in cushy teaching jobs and now their retirement funds are in dreadful shape.

And don't assume that a rush of retirements will guarantee that philosophy departments will get to hire to fill those positions.

Mary said...

I honestly was worried I'd go the rest of my life without hearing the name "Udo Dirkschneider" again. Thank you so much!