Monday, October 22, 2007

Domo Arigato

I've talked before about how I can't figure out where my time goes dealing with all the tiny, little pieces of the application package. Let me tell you a story about trying to get my teaching portfolio together.

One of the things that goes into your teaching portfolio is crap from your students' course evaluation forms. As in, some percentage of students rated you "above average," some percentage rated you "average", and some percentage rated you "asshole." Now, I need to get these things from my department secretary, and she needs to get them from the freshman composition program I was teaching in last year. Fine, except for no particular reason, the freshman comp people wouldn't send them over. So, that's a problem.

I was talking through this with my department secretary the other day, trying to figure out what I could do to get the forms sent over, and we got to talking about the people in the freshman comp program. She's convinced they're bad news. In fact, she's convinced they're like a house in a movie she just saw. Not a regular house, mind you, but a robot house. A robot house that seems like a really great idea, what with the way it turns off the lights when you leave the room and sets the oven for your roast beef or whatever. Apparently, the robot house can even talk. But it's not really a good idea, is it? Robots never are. Because it falls in the love with the woman who lives in the house, locks her husband outside its robot doors, and tries to impregnate her. That's what the robot house does.

You following? Me neither. I was trying to figure it out as I stood there in the office listening to the secretary tell me about the very real dangers of a robot house. Which is to say, the very real dangers of the freshmen comp program people, because after all, they're like the robot house.

The point is, I stood there listening to this for about a half hour, because I needed to track down my course eval forms. No dice. A half hour of robot houses and I'm still nowhere on that front.


Himself said...

This was an episode of The Simpsons. The house was voiced by Piers Brosnan.

This story started by making me jealous that my department doesn't have a secretary, and ended by making me glad about this fact.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That secretary should get an award for Master of the Irrelevant Simile.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but sometimes I get worried that you're losing your mind. It's going to be ok. Just read some Churchland and hope that we will be able to figure this woman out someday.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

himself -- Thanks. I googled around for a few minutes trying to figure it out, but I got nowhere. The secretary kept calling it a "movie".

Anon. 11:00 -- I know I'm not losing my mind with secretary as long as I never quite understand her use of logical connectives in ordinary language. I.e., everything else can be more or less coherent--it's just her use words like "and so" and "since". If her use of those words ever starts making sense to me, I'll know I'm in trouble.

Anonymous said...

The movie your secretary was probably talking about is called Smart House. ( Though in the movie, the house is a woman, not a man. I wouldn't be surprised if the Simpsons was parodying this movie, which is, after all, pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

Nah, she's clearly talking about the movie Demon Seed, where a robot house falls in love with Julie Christie.

Sisyphus said...

Well, too bad you'll never get *that* half hour of your life back.

I still can't figure out what the hell to *do* with my stacks and stacks of student evals --- we get both the bubble answers, turned into incomprehensible bell curves, and narrative comments --- I've taught whatever I can pick up for the last 6 years and so I have a cubic shitload of these things and no clue what to do with them. All I know is that I'd throw my back out if I tried to mail 'em all out.

Wes said...

I'm sure you've noticed, but, on Monday, the APA put out a whole list of additional jobs. I don't know how to link to a non-members' version, but there are a good number of them that people should check out.

Anonymous said...

I think what people want to see is some version of the "incomprehensible" bell curves. An average score out of 5 on the question "How good is this teacher?" for instance. You can also pick the best written comments and try to pass them off as "representative." At least I think that's what people do.

Anonymous said...

Wes, I only see three posted this Monday (22nd), under JFP 175, Additions and Web-Only Ads. Am I missing something? Thanks

Wes said...

Anonymous 11:04am,

I see numbers 348-500 under the same listing.

Here's the first few:

500. FRANCISCAN UNIVERSITY OF STEUBENVILLE, Steubenville, OH. Philosophy. Full Time, Tenure-track Position. Franciscan University of Steubenville invites applicants to apply for a position as Assistant/Associate Professor of Philosophy. Course load will consist of 24 credit hours per year (eight courses) undergraduate (or possibly 6 courses/year with graduate teaching). There will be some thesis supervision. Area of Specialization: Open, but preference will be given to candidates with specializations in Aquinas or Augustine. Area of Competence: Open, but a competency in Thomism is required, and some familiarity with analytic philosophy is a plus. The successful candidate must be able to teach a wide array of undergraduate courses. Ph.D. must be in hand by fall of 2008. Experience is preferred, and evidence of research goals is necessary. Summer sessions and evening teaching are possibilities. Classes will begin in late August 2008. Knowledge of and commitment to the Catholic intellectual tradition is preferred. Support for Catholic Christian values and the University’s mission statement is required. Send letter of application that includes a statement of teaching philosophy and a statement demonstrating willingness to support Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Mission, CV, all transcripts and three letters of reference to Philosophy Search, Academic Affairs Office, Franciscan University of Steubenville, 1235 University Blvd., Steubenville, OH 43952-1763. EOE see Deadline for applications: December 1, 2007. (175W), posted: 10/24/07.

499. UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, Tucson, AZ. The University of Arizona Department of Philosophy anticipates appointing one tenure-eligible or tenured faculty member starting in 2008-2009. Rank: Advanced Assistant or Associate. AOS: open. The Department has particular interests in epistemology and metaphysics broadly construed. Appointment contingent upon funding. Standard faculty duties. The Department welcomes nominations of, and applications from, candidates with highly successful research programs and strong commitments to excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching. The Department is seeking individuals who are able to work with diverse students and colleagues and who have experience with a variety of teach methods and curricular perspectives. Candidates should have completed the Ph.D. or its equivalent. Applications should include a letter of application along with a current CV, evidence of teaching experience, a statement of research objectives, a sample of scholarly writing and three or more confidential letters of recommendation. Application materials and nominations should be addressed to the Department Head, J. Christopher Maloney, at the Department of Philosophy, the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0027. Email is welcomed at This announcement appears in various venues. Review of materials to begin on November 15, 2007, and to continue until the positions are filled. The University of Arizona is an EEO/AA/M/W/D/V employer with a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of diversity among its faculty and staff. (175W), posted: 10/22/07.

498. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, IL. Ethics Open Rank: The Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago seeks to fill one open rank position in Ethics. Teaching load is four courses/year, graduate and undergraduate in philosophy. An application should include a cover letter, a CV, three letters of reference, and at least one sample of recent writing. (These are not returnable.) Complete applications should be received by November 7, 2007, and should be sent to: Ethics Search Committee, Department of Philosophy, 1115 East 58th Street, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637-1511. The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. (175), posted: 10/22/07.

497. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, IL. Ancient Philosophy Junior Tenure-Track: Dept of Philosophy, University of Chicago, seeks candidates to fill a junior tenure-track position in Ancient Greek or Roman Philosophy. The department will consider all sub-fields, but preference will be given to an excellent candidate in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, or philosophy of science. Applicants should send CV, writing sample, and three letters of recommendation to Chair, Ancient Philosophy Search, Committee, Department of Philosophy, 1115 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 by November 7, 2007. The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. (175), posted: 10/22/07.

496. CARLETON COLLEGE, Northfield, MN. The Carleton College Department of Philosophy seeks applicants for a tenure-track position beginning September 1, 2008. AOS: philosophy of mind, philosophy of language or philosophy of psychology; preferred AOC: logic, philosophy of science, or feminist epistemology. Carleton has a calendar of three ten-week terms, a teaching load of 5 courses per year, and no summer teaching. Ph.D. completed by time of appointment and significant teaching experience required. Rank open. Application deadline is December 7. Preliminary interviews will be held at the Eastern Division meetings of the APA. Please send letter of application, CV, a statement of teaching philosophy and research plans, and three letters of reference to: Professor Roy Elveton, Chair, Department of Philosophy, Carleton College, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Carleton College is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. We are committed to developing our faculty to better reflect the diversity of our student body and American society. Women and members of minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply. (175W), posted: 10/18/07.

*494., *495. NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, New York, NY. FACULTY POSITIONS. Center for Bioethics, ARTS AND SCIENCE, New York University. A new Center for Bioethics at NYU promotes a broad conception of Bioethics encompassing both medical and environmental ethics through conferences, workshops, public lectures, and a Master's degree in Bioethics: Life, Health, and Environment. Based in the Faculty of Arts and Science, the Center draws on faculty affiliates and programs throughout the University in Environmental Studies, Medicine, Law, Education, and Public Service. The Center will begin a Master's Program in Bioethics: Life, Health, and Environment in September 2007. The positions are to begin September 1, 2008, pending administrative and budgetary approval. Applications are invited for a faculty position, open rank. Applicants may be from any academic discipline, but will be expected to have studied, taught, and written on relevant moral or general philosophical matters. The beginning date is negotiable for more senior applicants. Applications are invited for an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow position. The initial appointment will be for one year, renewable annually for a maximum of three years. Applicants should have written in, and preferably taught in, areas of medical, environmental, and/or animal ethics and have completed the Ph.D. no more than three years before the application date. Applicant will be expected to give a graduate course in the new MA in Bioethics Program in Spring 2009. See description of the Program at the website below. More information may be read on line at Questions may be sent to For both positions, submit a CV, letters of recommendation (or, for more senior applicants applying for the open rank position, a list of recommenders), and two relevant essays to Professor William Ruddick, Director of the Center for Bioethics, 5 Washington Place, Room 305, New York University, New York, New York, 10003. Attention: Open rank or Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow Position. NYU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. (SW07), posted: 10/18/07.

493. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-FLINT, Flint, MI. Department of Philosophy: Tenure track assistant professor, beginning Fall 2008. Teaching load 3/3; undergraduate teaching at the introductory and advanced level primarily, however occasional opportunities for teaching at the graduate level. AOS: Philosophy of Science and History of Science with additional competence sought in early and/or late modern philosophy and/or logic. ABDs welcome, but PhD. at time of appointment preferred; candidate must show evidence of strong undergraduate teaching. Send letter of interest, CV, at least three letters of reference, evidence of teaching effectiveness, writing sample, and graduate transcripts to: Jami Anderson, Chair, Philosophy Department, University of Michigan-Flint, 544 French Hall, Flint, MI 48502. Because the department will be conducting interviews at the Eastern APA; applications received by December 1st will be given first consideration. Applications will be reviewed until the position. (175W), posted: 10/18/07.

492. PENN STATE UNIVERSITY, University Park, PA. The Department of Philosophy invites applications for a one-year post-doctoral fellowship in African disapora and/or African American philosophy, beginning Fall 2008 and coordinated with Penn State’s Africana Research Center. Our department is grounded in the history of philosophy pursued in an international context, with specialties in Continental and American philosophy. During their residency, fellows have no teaching or administrative responsibilities. They will be matched with a mentor, invited to attend professional development luncheons and other philosophy and ARC events, and expected to be active in Penn State’s community of Africana researchers. Successful applicants will either complete their dissertation before beginning the fellowship or have completed their dissertation within the previous three academic years. Salary competitive. Junior applicants may combine their fellowship applications with those for the department’s tenure track job in critical philosophy of race. Applicants should submit a dossier that includes a letter of application explaining their research plans for the post-doc year, a CV, a graduate transcript, and a writing sample. They should also arrange to have sent three confidential letters of recommendation. To ensure full consideration, complete applications must be received by November 26 at: Search Committee C, Department of Philosophy, 240 Sparks Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802-5201. Tel: 814-865-6397; fax: 814-865-0119. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workforce. (175W), posted: 10/18/07.

491. STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY, Nacogdoches, TX. The Department of English and Philosophy invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Philosophy specializing in Ethics with an area of concentration in Modern Philosophy beginning Fall 2008. All faculty teach a variety of courses including introductory courses. Summer teaching is usually available; tenure-track faculty are elgible for sabbatical leave for research and writing after three years. Chartered in 1917, SFA is a regional comprehensive university located in East Texas with approximately 12,000 students enrolled in six academic colleges. Submit letter of application, CV, three letters of recommendation, writing sample of 20-25 pages, and all transcripts to: Dr. Jerry Williams, Interim Chair, Department of English and Philosophy, P.O. Box 13007 SFA Station, Nacogdoches, TX 75962-3007. (175W), posted: 10/18/07.

490. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA AIKEN, Aiken, SC. Philosophy. The Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy at the University of South Carolina Aiken invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professorship beginning August 2008. Position is for a Philosophy generalist teaching surveys, history of philosophy, ethics, and logic. Other areas will be considered. Philosophy is a one-person discipline at USCA without a degree program. Candidate must demonstrate excellence in teaching, potential for productive scholarship, and have completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy by the time of the appointment. Responsibilities include teaching a 4/4 teaching load, (normally two sections of surveys and two upper-division courses in the candidate’s specialization); student advisement; research and productive scholarship; and service to the university and to the broader community. Apply online at: and send copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, three or more letters of reference, and any other supporting documentation to: Dr. Valdis O. Lumans, Philosophy Search, Dept. of History, Political Science and Philosophy, University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, SC, 29801. Review of applications begins December 1, 2007, with campus interviews scheduled in January/February 2008. Women and minorities are strongly encouraged to apply. USCA is an AA/EOE. (175W), posted: 10/17/07.

489. QUEST UNIVERSITY CANADA, Squamish, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada. Philosopher. Quest University Canada, a new, private, not-for-profit liberal arts and sciences university near Vancouver, British Columbia, is looking for a full-time philosopher committed to teaching in an intimate, international and interdisciplinary undergraduate setting. Research field and rank open; all faculty bear the title “tutor”. Instruction continues year-round on the block plan, a one-course-at-a-time model. One block takes 3.5 weeks; typical load is six blocks per year. Successful candidates will demonstrate flexibility and excellence in undergraduate teaching and in the development of introductory courses for non-majors in the history of Western philosophy. Duties include the development and teaching of the upper-level undergraduate curriculum in philosophy, and interdisciplinary work. Other duties include advising, recruitment, and university service. Preferred start date: June 1, 2008. Ph.D. must be in hand by start of contract. Salary commensurate with experience. Opening subject to availability of funding. Application deadline: January 15, 2008, or until position is filled. Please visit the administration/human resources page at for information about our spectacular new campus, faculty profile, innovative curriculum, and application process. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Quest University Canada respects and encourages diversity. Applications and nominations may be directed, in confidence, to: Human Resources, Quest University Canada, 3200 University Boulevard, Squamish, BC, V8B 0N8. Or email to: (175W), posted: 10/17/07.

Anonymous said...

Ah, most of those were posted two weeks ago (see the date at the end of the ad). The APA holds ads that come in after their publication deadline, and lists them when they come out with the October, or February, or whatever listing. Thanks for pointing them out to people, however. We all need whatever help we can get.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has a lot of experience teaching freshman comp, I agree with the secretary that freshman comp people are BAD news.