Thursday, November 5, 2009

November JFP: DOOM

I've done a very quick survey, and by my quick count, the total number of ads in the Nov JFP for entry-level tt jobs in the US, minus the repeats of ads in the October and "web only' [sic] ads, comes to well under the predicted 20.... it's more like 10.

Would someone who has the time to do a more careful count post their results here? I won't be able to get to this until the weekend. Thanks!


Mike Almeida said...

No matter how dark it gets, keep blowing out the candles!

Anonymous said...

18 by my count:
1. Queens College (Open rank)
2. Hofstra
3. UMass
4. UMass
5. Rutgers
6. University of West Georgia
7. Barry University ("continuing," not t-t; a different ad from 183)
8. Georgia State
9. Miami Dade College
10. East Tennessee
12. Northern Michigan
13. Northern Michigan
14. Texas Panamerican (the Kant/Feminism ad)
15. Whitman College
16. Stanford (not straight phil)
17. Whitworth (not straight phil)
18. Hawaii-Manoa

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:28, it's actually worse than you describe. At least two of the ads you reference were published in October: Georgia State (#248) in the web-only and Whitman College (#112) in the West region.

Others, like UTPA, Hofstra, and ETSU were already announced in other venues by mid-October but for whatever reason didn't make the JFP. (Technically, they're new for the JFP, but they're old news for those of us who were hoping to learn about new job opportunities).

Aside from the open AOS jobs, for which at least 500 candidates will apply, I don't see a single new job in my AOS.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a count, but it is actually better than 9:28 describes. While a few on that list are repeats, there are other new listings in the web only ads.

Anon 9:28 said...

I stand corrected. I did try to weed out repeats, but might not have caught them all. (This wouldn't be so difficult if the trained monkeys who put the JFP together could read.) Further corrections are welcome.

1. Queens College (Open rank)
2. Hofstra
3. UMass
4. UMass
5. Rutgers
6. University of West Georgia
7. Barry University ("continuing," not t-t; a different ad from 183)
8. Miami Dade College
9. East Tennessee
11. Northern Michigan
12. Northern Michigan
13. Texas Panamerican (the Kant/Feminism ad)
14. Stanford (not straight phil)
15. Whitworth (not straight phil)
16. Hawaii-Manoa

I'm leaving in the ones published elsewhere, since I'm trying to meet the criteria set in the original post: new to JFP, junior level t-t, in the US.

The Brooks Blog said...

Has the market ever been this bad? I am genuinely shocked.

Anonymous said...

I am not entirely convinced that it's the market. There are a significant number of TT jobs that have not been advertised in the JFP (by significant, I mean at least 10 in my area). These have been advertised in other publications, by emailing placement directors at graduate schools, and so forth.

Last March, I found out the same thing when looking for VAP spots (I did not apply for any jobs in the fall). I applied for quite a few "unadvertised" VAP positions and received 3 offers (so it wasn't just as if these guys were searching for internal candidates). All of these positions were discovered through word of mouth.

While the APA is still the place to go for the majority of jobs, I worry that many places are deciding not to bother with advertising there because they figure that they can get enough high-quality candidates through word of mouth advertising.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Anonymous said...

If that's the case, do you mind sharing this info? I've never heard of such a thing, but I can't think of anyone I'd be connected to who would hear about such jobs.

729 said...

Hi Anon 10:02: That's rather serious stuff. TT searches *only* by word of mouth (select emails sent, calls to depts.) would seem to violate most institutions' EO policies. If the emails *also* include published ads, yet the ads are local or obscure (not in JFP, CHE), this *might* get through EO and HR. But, I'm really surprised that this could get past the provost and dean. That's sayin' something. TT searches don't happen in an institutional vacuum, so if it's the case that there are these unadvertised or under-advertised TT searches, that's a lot of people people involved, not just a department.

With respect to unadvertised VAPs in the spring, there may be situations in which this happens--"emergency hires" (or some such designation). This can happen, in my experience, when there is a very sudden loss in faculty. Usually, though, departments do everything possible to place an ad, even in the summer. All things considered, the search is conducted as "regularly" as possible and the hiring committee meets in the summer. At my institution, an emergency VAP hire is strictly a one-year contract, and the search is revisited and conducted regularly. It's hard to tell what was going on with the word-of-mouth VAPs you'd applied for--it could have been something like this was going on.

Anonymous said...

729: Anon 10:02 here.

The positions I was referring to were not emergency hires. With the exception of one or two, most of them were VAP searches. However, they were VAP searches where it is made known to the applicants they will be conducting a TT search for the same position the following year (more on this in a second).

Even if it was a straight TT search, there are ways to get around the deans, and, in reality, the deans don't really care as long as the lawyers okay it. For example, last year I found out about a job in the mid-Atlantic area (DC, Baltimore, Philly... I won't get more specific than this) by word of mouth. When I was doing my application, I needed to find a copy of the ad and couldn't find it in my email box... so I did a Google search (after searching the JFP, and the CHE, and finding nothing). I found the ad (or a minimalistic version of it) in the Washington Post (the school wasn't in Washington) and on the departmental website (not on the front page). While it was advertised on the departmental website, who goes cruising philosophy department websites to look for jobs? No one.

Even if the search is only for a VAP, sometimes those are the same as TT positions unless things go terribly wrong. How many VAP positions have you seen get advertised where they state that they will be doing a TT search the following year for that position. How many of these searches are sham searches (by sham searches I mean that they're just going to hire the person with the VAP spot)? Probably more than you think.

From very limited personal knowledge, I know of 3 JFP ads this year where I would bet my salary on who will be hired for that TT spot (and I saw this happen 4 times last year). This year, I know a person who is holding that kind of VAP spot but is leaving the school for personal reasons (and the dept. knows this). Amazingly, that school is not doing a TT search (even though last year they said they would)... but they are doing another VAP search for the same spot (and, again, I'd bet my salary that they will say they will be doing a TT search next year for the spot). It is not that the school is lying or that they "haven't gotten the funding," they just hire a VAP, test the person out, and then determine if they want to give him a TT spot. If not, they let this person go, rinse, and repeat. It makes the VAP search legit and the TT search a sham... but if the VAP search is unadvertised (either in actuality or for all intents and purposes), then you can see the problems.

I've received confirmation from senior colleagues that these sham searches do happen, and happen quite frequently. While it is illegal to conduct a "job search" when they already know who they will hire, who is going to file a lawsuit? More importantly, how could a disgruntled plaintiff prove anything? The department advertised the position publicly, flew in lots of candidates, etc., and decided to go with the person they had hired the previous year as a VAP.

My complaint is not that these sham searches happen (although this is bad too), but that most of the time the applicants do not know that there is an internal candidate. Applicants waste hours of time and resources applying to jobs that they have absolutely no chance of being hired for, and the search committees string them along because they need to make things look kosher.

I am not suggesting that a majority of the searches are of this nature, but I think you would be surprised at how many are. For those of you applying for spots... do yourself a favor and research the department and current faculty before you invest a great deal of time in any of these positions. For example, look at whether the job ad has some really bizarre AOCs with a normal AOS and then see whether or not they have a VAP who has that precise match. If so, there's probably no point in applying for that job.

Anonymous said...

Has the market been this bad before? Yes, in the 1970s. Colleges woke up and realized that they had over-hired in the 60s in anticipation of the first wave of baby-boomers, who entered college in 1964. The draft ended in 1972, reducing college enrollments. It's not unusual to look back and discover many departments which did no TT hiring at all for 10-15 years, until the mid-1980s, when some retirements started.

The generation receiving their PhDs in the 1970s - mainly baby-boomers - were referred to as the "lost generation of scholars" by Joe Duffey, chair of the NEH in the late 70s. Some toughed it out with part-time teaching until they could finally get a TT position, but many switched careers entirely, never having had a chance at a TT position.

As awful as things are now, it really has been worse!

Anonymous said...

Have in mind that some are “contingent upon funding.” Some others have insider candidates for sure. Things are really bad.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 10:02 - Without giving away all of your trade secrets, would you be willing to offer some tips to us newbies who probably won't get many interviews in December about searching for and applying for these "unadvertised" VAP positions in the Spring? E.g. Where did you search and how?

Anonymous said...

To newbies: Along with JFP, bookmark the Jobs page of the Chronicle of Higher Education. It's free to non-subscribers:

Community colleges (which rarely advertise in JFP) typically advertise in CHE.

Under Federal anti-discrimination laws, colleges must advertise. Almost everything will appear in JFP or CHE, and often both.

But do remember that it is (normally) legal for a campus to limit the range of its application pool to its own campus, including its own adjuncts and visitors. That is a clear sign they expect to fill their positions on campus. That can be a good thing, as it means that adjuncts and visitors are being taken seriously and not dismissed for "grass-is-greener" outside applicants.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there is no trade secret to share about how one finds out about these jobs. Our placement director sends us emails, we also had a board in our department where job ads get posted. Again, scan the job wiki and then compare it to the JFP. You will notice _many_ jobs on the wiki that were not in the JFP. Since I also scan the CHE and, I can tell you that they weren't on there either. I have no idea how people found out about them except through word of mouth and, of course, no one will post anything about those until the deadline is long past.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:40 PM is right. I just took a quick look at a few department websites. It looks like the advertised position is tailored to one of their own adjuncts.

Anonymous said...

I am in my 29th year in a position that was advertised in a Spring APA JFP that was a two-sided 8 X 11.5 sheet--unemployment and recession was comparable to now. (I still have it on my office wall.) As it turned out, the job was set to go to an internal candidate, and two outsiders were cast as window-dressing to satisfy legal requirements. I was one of those. I came in and blew the internal candidate away. Moral: if you get an interview--any interview for any reason--then prepare for it like it was the job you were meant for. Because if you want it, you can win it with a little luck. If you have less than that attitude, you probably won't get the job in any case. Control what you can--take pride in yourself and think that you are the best philosopher for a given position. It can't hurt.

Anonymous said...

Two observations:

My experience in several departments (as TT and VAP) leads me to suspect that it is not as common as people think for SCs to treat their adjuncts or VAPs as internal candidates with a lock on the TT job. The fact that the internal candidate matches the job description shows only that the department has wanted to hire in those areas before this year. Maybe they couldn't get a TT position approved for last year's market and had to hire a visitor as a stop gap. That doesn't at all show that the visitor has a lock on the job.

In my experience, visitors and adjuncts usually have the opposite of a lock on an advertised TT position in their current departments. They were typically hired with a late search or with no search at all. They typically haven't been considered against the applicant pool that a TT search generates. The usual attitude toward visitors, in my experience, is: "Good luck, but don't expect us to hire you!"

(This was true, btw, when I was a VAP. I got a much better TT job -- in fact, all my half-dozen flyouts were for better jobs -- than the job for which I was the 'internal candidate.' But my home department never took my candidacy seriously -- and not, I think, either because they thought they couldn't land me or because I flunked the 'internal candidate' test. I have lots of evidence that my internal obstacle was that the department couldn't help feeling that it would constitute a kind of failure if they had to settle for someone who was 'just a visitor.' Again, that attitude is widespread.)

CTS said...

Ok: so, I do not know how any school can fail to publicize a job opening without coming a cropper of basic employment rules. Of course, a strapped school might help a program to advertise primarily for internal candidates – but this is not the norm for faculty positions. I am going to do some research to figure out what is going on. (By the way, some places advertise in major papers - the NYT, WAPO, CT, etc. - if they are trying to do a local search.)

I do want to point out that if programs are tilting towards an internal candidate – someone who has been a VAP or an adjunct – this really is good for all of us. It means that a good person who only found a temporary situation has been recognized for her/his abilities, rather than being treated as a ‘Yeah, whatever’ candidate.

Finally: yes, it was this bad in the 70’s and again in the early ‘80s. I got my first contract position in ’82 and was told in the interview for the job I got that I should expect to be gone in a year. Three years later, I found my first TT position.

I KNOW you all are suffering, and I wish I could help. You must find some way[s] of dealing with this. If you are a good philosopher, a good teacher, and a likeable person…you will be saved.

Best wishes.

Pape Blong said...

Don't understand the restriction to the US. Understand restricting away UK/Europe. But don't understand restricting away Canada. Eastern (Western) population centers in US/Canada are closer by air to one another than either are to Western (Eastern) population centers in own country, even accommodating for time at immigration desk.

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