Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Blueprint Vol. 3

In figuring out what we should be doing now, publishing and going to conferences were the obvious things to do. Only slightly less obvious, it may be worth taking a minute to figure out if there are any fellowships left that worth applying for. I admit, this post comes a little late. It looks like the Ford Fellowship was due Nov 29th. A Mellon Fellowship was due Jan 14th. The Newcombe was due way back in last November. Well, set your bookmarks and google calendars to get ready for next year.

But wait! All hope is not lost. Some schools seem to have a few fellowship opportunities still available so it's worth taking a quick look to see if you're one of the lucky ones.

I'm thinking that getting one of these fellowships may be a feather in your cap. Before you apply though, make sure you don't cut off important sources of future funding.

--Second Suitor


Anonymous said...

What about the VAP market? There's been no action on the APA site for more than a week now.

On the other hand, there have been a few "offer declined" postings on the wiki -- any insiders out there know if these searches are being suspended?

Anonymous said...

The APA web site notes that they are not taking ads until 3/26 (since the organizers were in CA for the Pacific APA). I'm expecting a lot of ads to appear tomorrow--or soon thereafter.

Anonymous said...

I wish they would update the damn web ads already. After being really disappointed with the initial Feb. JFP, I have found a few things to apply to in the web ads. Still not enough though.

Anonymous said...

Who's "one of the lucky ones"? Dude's a douchebag ...

Anonymous said...

Woe unto the job candidate who relies soley on the JFP for news on job openings. Most of you probably know this, but its worth mentioning in case a few readers don't. While JFP is the most thorough in that most of the jobs appear there and probably all the best jobs appear there, it's usually the last to post even those openings and they don't post a lot of the smaller colleges and temporary lecturer positions. I haven't done a systematic examination of this, but usually by the time it's in JFP, it's already been on the Chronicle website or on Higheredjobs.com, so I pass over the repeats. As I said, there will be positions on JFP that don't appear in those places, but the ones that do appear in at least one of the two other spots appear in those other spots first.

Here's a questions, then, for all: would things be better is the APA was no longer the primary broker of the interface between departments and job seekers?

Anonymous said...

I count 11 jobs on Leiter's list that are going to people who already have tenure-track jobs. It turns out that in order to get a tenure-track job, it's really helpful to ALREADY HAVE ONE!!!

Anonymous said...

I realize that this is impossible, but it would be nice if all the TT to TT movement could be shaken out before the general job market cycle for VAPs, Adjuncts, and ABDs. Of course, that won't work because often those TTs are competing with the others. It would be nice, though. That way those losing a TT person can immediately open up that slot. Well, I can dream can't I?

Anonymous said...

I guess I can't see how not having the majority of jobs advertised in the JFP could possibly be a benefit for those looking for jobs, so could you explain why you might think it would be?

Anonymous said...

There's been some discussion here about what counts as a good job. I think some consensus formed around the answer "It depends." That's reasonable enough, since there doesn't seem to be any universal standard of goodness independent of perceived goodness, and since Jack's sense of what's good for him will undoubtedly differ from Jill's sense of what's good for her.

That said -- i.e., even granting the preceding point -- there does seem to be considerable consensus in the philosophical community at large concerning which jobs are the good ones and which are the less good ones. And it's interesting that this consensus doesn't seem to track the consensus in non-academic sectors. (So, it's no uncommon to hear that concerns about geographic locale and remuneration are trumped by facts about the type of program, department reputation, etc.)

I'd be interested to hear some discussion, then, about this consensus. Irrespective of whether any of us would've wanted the job at the University of X, if the University of X job is widely coveted, what reasons account for this? And what does that tell us about the perceived success of those currently listed on Leiter's "Tenure-Track Hiring" link?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:14 -- You're right about a number of TT jobs going to people who already have TT positions. It's important to note, though, that undoubtedly a number of these people are looking because they've been denied tenure or have no hope of getting it where they are, and not simply because they want to move.

Anonymous said...

1:23 -- Access to JFP requires an APA membership, which costs money. All other job sites I know of are free. JFP is sporadically maintained -- new ads are hoarded as publication date approaches, whereas all other job sites I know of post their ads as they arrive. Departments pay for JFP ads, whereas many other sites post (electronic) ads free of charge.

Anonymous said...

2:24 -- really? I don't have any first-hand knowledge on this, but a casual look through the list suggests that many of the junior TTs taking new TT jobs have only been out for a couple of years. Maybe that's long enough to know that you won't get tenure -- unfortunately, I wouldn't know about that sort of thing yet.

Hey, I've got a new game to take your minds off the cardinal/ordinal/interval debate (and it's decision theoretical, sort of) -- what's the best journal to try to publish in before the next job season? I.e., which one has optimal prestige (so J PHil is great), response time (so J Phil is not so great), and likelihood of acceptance (so J Phil is really not so great). I was thinking Nous -- though the likelihood of acceptance might not be high enough.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:24's claim regarding the TT-to-TT moves being due to tenure problems is most likely false. Many of those jobs look like "upward" moves, more or less, and I don't think there are any that look like clear "downward" moves. 2 of them are moves I know something about, and they are definitely not due to tenure difficulties. I would venture to guess that all of them wanted to move, and feel certain that at least a majority did.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:24

You claim that people are moving b/c they cannot get tenure would be true if these people had been out for a while. Some of these people have only had the job for two years and the like.

I would be willing to bet that most of these people are trying to leave an area or wanted more money than not getting tenure.

If you aren't going to get tenure at a marginal place, then another marginal place won't take you. You had you six years. And if you aren't going to get tenure at a great place, then maybe the standards are lower at a new place and you can get in.

My point is that I think lots of people are trying to move. I know I am (3/3 load and great pay) but the area sucks. And I have satisfied the tenure requirements.

People don't feel like they cannot move any longer. But of course we would have to ask these people to find out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:58 (regarding the 'optimal journal'):

I think Noûs is a good choice. Phil Studies is also good, for a pretty fast turn-around and not quite such high standards as Noûs. You might expect that prestige and chance of getting your paper in were inversely related, but the good thing about Phil Studies is that it has a lot of issues, so more papers to accept, so easier to get into than its prestige level would lead you to expect. (This is my experience, anyway.)

I also think it makes very good sense to sacrifice prestige for timing, if you're choosing a journal now. So I would definitely not submit the paper to Mind, which is apt to take so long that you won't get any action before you send out your next applications (and of course it's also a long shot). By that criterion I might try Canadian J. Phil.

Anonymous said...

anon 2:27 - OK, I'll grant you that you have to pay a bit for the JFP - but you have to pay that anyways to interview at the Eastern, so we'd have to get rid of the whole conference interview thing for us to actually save any money. And that ain't going to happen. As to the APA hoarding jobs, I can't see how candidates are hurt by that. Maybe they'd like to see the jobs earlier, but it's not as if they won't get the job because the APA held up the listing. As for depts paying for job ads, well again, I don't see how that hurts the candidates.

Anonymous said...

What's your backup plan, S2, PGS, et al.? Not just for next year, but what if you don't get a philosophy job after 2-4 years? Are you prepared to call it quits?

If you're prepared with a backup career, then maybe you'll be less anxious (and more practical for a real possibility)...

Anonymous said...

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research may be another option. It is one of the top 5 or so journals, and it processes applications very quickly. It might be a long shot, but they will not make you wait forever like other comparable journals.

Anonymous said...

"It's important to note, though, that undoubtedly a number of these people are looking because they've been denied tenure or have no hope of getting it where they are, and not simply because they want to move."

In my experience, this simply isn't true. Everyone I know who's moved from one TT job to another has done so because they wanted to move.

And now let's just sit back and wait for more rantings from the "Jon Cogburn" troll(s) about the moral failings of people who try to change TT jobs...

Anonymous said...

On optimal journals:

1) The Journal of Philosophical Research is climbing steadily in prestige under DePaul's editorship--he has some superb referees, and so the winnowing process has become very good indeed, as has the level of the referees' comments--and this has a fast turnaround time. It's not Nous, but it would be worth a shot.

2) I second prof. j's recommendation for Phil. Studies, for the same reasons.

3) Avoid the Journal of Value Inquiry, for three reasons. (a) As previous posters have said, the refereeing process (such as it is, for this isn't a peer-reviewed journal; see below) can take years, with no replies from the editor to inquiring emails. (b) The actual editing process is a nightmare, because the editor insists on bizarre and needless changes to every accepted paper, some of which will change meaning. And...

(c) The Journal of Value Inquiry is NOT a peer-reviewed journal, but one that's "referee assisted". In my (second-hand) experience this means that papers submitted there might or might not get refereed before acceptance or rejection by the editor. Since he seems not to publish anywhere but his own journal, and imposes his own views on papers that are accepted, this means in practice that a paper in Value Inquiry might have been accepted just because he agrees with it. Since it's not clear what status any paper in that journal has (was it published just because the editor liked it, or after proper refereeing?) none clearly count as real peer-reviewed papers--and SCs are starting to know this. So, if you have a paper that merits publication, why waste it there?

Anonymous said...

For TT and good VAP jobs, the _JFP_ is the only place to look. Let me quote the _JFP_ and then tell you a story and argue for my claim.

"It is the considered opinion of the Board of Officers that its publication, Jobs for Philosophers, is the most appropriate and effective vehicle to bring employment opportunities to the attention of American philosophers, and that notice of employment opportunities in Jobs for Philosophers satisfies any reasonable criterion of national advertisement."

The last two SCs I was on, we would get these crazy applications that said: I saw this job in Higher Ed Jobs or the Chronicle, and then the person would have a crazy file.

I agree the APA should update faster, but what happens when our Equal Opportunity office sends the ad to those other places we get crazy people applying for jobs: lawyers, people from overseas diploma mills, people in prison (seriously), and people who would love to be professors (seriously).

Now it is easy to reject these people quickly, but it is still a waste of time for everyone involved. Them, us, the secretary.

Now the APA site isn't free, but if you are a student, then the membership is quite reasonable for a year. And you should be a member! Wait until your first year out and you don't get the good student rates any longer for anything!

So, be a member of the APA, don't let your EE office list your job in places other than the _JFP_ and bug the APA to get the ads out faster.

I do know that there are some mixed department that might not know better about the _JFP_ and so the odd job will pop up on the Chronicle, but by and large stick with the _JFP_.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:28 writes:

"The last two SCs I was on, we would get these crazy applications that said: I saw this job in Higher Ed Jobs or the Chronicle, and then the person would have a crazy file."

You spend the whole post blasting those two places, but you've served in departments that advertised there. Perhaps you weren't endorsing that practice, though, just an unwilling SC member whose department or university insisted on it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:02 writes:

"If you're prepared with a backup career, then maybe you'll be less anxious (and more practical for a real possibility)..."

I've thought about this some and I keep running into the same problem: time. In order to give oneself a fair shot at actually getting a TT position, you have to spend all your time trying to publish, go to conferences, teach well, etc. That leaves no time for the education, skills, and knowledge required for the backup career. If you try to divide your time, then you do nothing well. That, at least, is where I find myself. Even the previously mentioned 'management consulting' route seems to involve some investment before heading that way.

Anonymous said...

Regarding journals, PPR is not accepting any papers for the year of 2008. So forget about that.

They say it is because it has a very long backlog. But, it seems like just a year or two ago they closed down submissions for awhile too. Maybe that was some other journal, but I can't imagine how the backlog got so big given that they have such high standards.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about the Journal of Value Inquiry, but my understanding is that the editor of Analysis often accepts papers that he thinks well of without sending them off to referees, and Analysis is a great journal. So this policy in itself doesn't decisively tell against a journal's quality.

Anonymous said...

JPR may be getting better (I wouldn't know, I never read it), but I don't think that fact, if it is a fact, has filtered through to typical SC members. I doubt a published article in JPR would do you much good. About on a par with Philosophia, I would say. They both probably publish good stuff from time to time, but does anybody ever read them?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:24--
I know others have already corrected this huge misconception (that most TT moves are because of tenure trouble), but I must go ahead and reiterate it.

Surely, we must all know by now that when a non-superstar philosopher gets his/her first TT offer, he/she usually takes it-- regardless if it's a crappy job or in a crappy place. After a couple years of teaching experience and a publication or two, that person is OF COURSE trying to get a better job and sometimes succeeds in doing so. Sometimes these lateral or upward moves occur from VAP to TT, but sometimes they happen from TT to TT. My husband has done this twice now-- and we are much better off now than we were at his first job out of grad school. (And by now, he has enough leverage to get a spousal hire for me.) And now we have no plans to move again.

I do know of one TT-TT move that was because of tenure trouble-- but the trouble was with the institution (super Christian) and not the candidate (questioning Christian). I'm sure others have encountered insane tenure committees, or departments, or institutions and have just needed to get out.

As for the JFP thing... I prefer higheredjobs.com for daily updates and for checking cross-disciplinary jobs (e.g. women's studies, humanities, etc.). However, on an application I always list the JFP issue & number... I've always assumed that this was the more legit way to go.

Anonymous said...

Re: submitting to journals

I just learned a cool trick, and I don't know how many of you already know it. Instead of first "submitting" your essay for possible publication, you should first "query" a journal editor. That means, send an email to a journal editor of a journal you would like to publish your essay. State the title of your essay, include the abstract, and attach a copy of your essay. Ask the editor if this is the kind of essay he or she as editor would be interested in.

The editor's email reply should be quite shorter than 3-9 months (you know, the typical slow-poke turn around rates). I was told to expect no longer than 2-3 weeks for a reply. If the reply is longer than that, move on to another journal because you probably don't want to submit that journal anyway if the editor is that slow.

If the editor's reply is 'no', well then you just saved yourself months of waiting for the same answer! If the reply is 'yes', then your odds of getting accepted are at least better than not-a-chance-in-hell.

That's my tip for the day.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:02 wrote:

If you're prepared with a backup career, then maybe you'll be less anxious (and more practical for a real possibility)...

Lol....yes because there are just SO FUCKING MANY backup careers in this country where your advanced degree(s) in philosophy will stand you in good stead. And there are even more backup careers for those with no interest, whatsoever, in either (a) joining the clergy, or (b) going even further into debt in order to take a second degree (in business or law or medicine).

Why if this philosophy thing pans out (says I to me), no worries, I can still be a fry cook, or a line cook, or janitor, or fill literally any other hourly-wage, unskilled, labor position.

Why let the rat race get me down? With my degree(s), I could always start a profitable dog-fighting ring. I might even attract some of that NFL and Rap money to my own front door!

Hey 9:02 why not try giving your vacuous, unhelpful, and frankly asinine advice to some other group of people, namely the people who actually ARE the sub-mental rubes you apparently think form the readership/and writership of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Good Journals and Quick Turnaround Time:

1. Analysis, and American Philosophical Quarterly, Southern Journal of Philosophy are all very fast (typically under two months), but the first two (esp. Analysis) have significant word count restrictions.
2. Nous and Phil. and Phenomenological Research are also fast, but don't expect any feedback.
3. On my only two experiences with Synthese, it has been pretty quick with decent feedback.
4. Phil Studies and Canadian Journal have good reputations for turnaround time, but it took both of them over 6 months to make an initial decision in my only experiences with them.

For more journal info, visit:

Anonymous said...

9:02 PM has a good question about back-up plans. And since I don't see any follow posts/responses from PGS, et al., I take it that they have NO such contingency plans. Not too smart...

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:15,

Maybe it's because we all thought the suggestion was trite and stupid. Let's ask all MDs and JDs whether they all have back up plans just as soon as they get out of law school and don't get a job. No, not all of the them get plum, high paying jobs at major firms. Anyway, just because we're busy working all day grading, teaching, and writing to get jobs and don't immediately reply to the dumb suggestion doesn't mean we haven't thought about it. Besides, it depends on what one means by "back up". Sure, I've thought about what I'd do if I didn't get a philosophy position. But that's a long way from having all the knowledge, skills, and ability necessary to immediately move into that should things fail on my current course.

Anonymous said...

There's backup plans along the lines of "what will I do next year if I don't get a teaching gig" and there's plans along the lines of "when will I give up and start over". Very different questions. Even if you think you'll tough it out 3-4 years before considering #2, many of you might want to think about #1 right about now, says the guy who's been there.

Anonymous said...

Any suggestions for short term back up plans. The obvious would be working in a coffee shop or bookstore (since I spend all my tim around coffee & books, it's the first thing that comes to mind). What's unfortunate is that in many states, one needs to teaching credential to be a substitute teacher. That would be an excellent short term plan for people with PhDs in the humanities. Take it from one who knows: you don't learn a damn thing in most education courses, so those who've gone through them aren't all that much more qualified than those who have not (like most of us). I realize I'm offending some people reading this, but I do have firsthand knowledge. And note how much I've qualified my assertion.

Anonymous said...

VAP -- PPR had a *huge* backlog a few years ago, a backlog along the lines of "2 or 3 years behind" (or maybe worse). And the shutdown a while back wasn't so much to clear the backlog (although there may have been some of that going on too), but to facilitate moving over to an electronic submissions system.

Nous was shut down at the same time (for the same reason), and so their backlog should have gotten some help. But they're still behind enough that papers accepted today won't even begin production until a year-plus. I think PPR started out worse off than Nous ever was, so I'm inclined to take PPR's backlog claims at face value.

Anonymous said...

To 3:48,

Absolutely, your questions #1 and #2 need to be considered, arguably in that order. But I wonder how many aspiring philosophers know when to cut bait and look into an alternative career? Or is hope really eternal in this case?

To 3:06,

A little defensive now, aren't we? Your analogy to JDs and MDs was telling. You don't see that lawyers and doctors will *always* in demand? (Doctors because there will always be sick people, but lawyers because they largely control the legislature and "system".) So my informed conclusion is: you're stupid.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know the word on the journal Philosophy of Science? I had submitted something a while back and got feedback within 3 months, but a recent submission seems to have disappeared into the ether. They are an excellent journal but it seems that the response times may be lagging.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:35,

A little strong in your evaluation.

I'll grant your point on the relative demand of MDs and JDs, so that somewhat mitigates my analogy. You're right that prudence would suggest that those pursuing PhDs in the humanities have more reason to form back up plans than those in other professions. I've thought of this quite often.

However, my general point is that most people do not form back up plans because most people plan to succeed. If you don't think that way, then it's hard to slug through. My point wasn't one that can be entirely dismissed by appeal to the higher demand for those professions. Certainly people have failed in their pursuit of jobs in any professions for reasons unrelated to the market.

Anyway, you didn't address the other points I made, which was in response to another post that jumped to a hasty conclusion. Forming a backup plan to the extent that it's actually workable in case you don't get a job takes quite a bit of time. So much so, I think that one could not succeed well at either task (pursuing a TT position and forming the back up plan). Just looking into an alternative career doesn't constitute a back up plan.

I may be stupid, but my previous suggestion, while perhaps poorly written, is not evidence of that.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 4.49 here:

"I don't know anything about the Journal of Value Inquiry, but my understanding is that the editor of Analysis often accepts papers that he thinks well of without sending them off to referees, and Analysis is a great journal. So this policy in itself doesn't decisively tell against a journal's quality."

It's true that this policy in itself doesn't undermine a journal's quality--but when it's in place a lot depends on the quality of the editor.

Michael Clark, of Analysis, is a first-rate philosopher, and so things accepted by him can be legitimately counted as being peer-reviewed.

Thomas Magnell, of the Journal of Value Inquiry, however, doesn't seem to have published anything apart from papers in his own journal, or in volumes edited by his friends put out by publishers like Rodophi. (OK, he had a paper in Erkenntis about 20 years ago, and also has a paper in something called *The Journal of Values-Based Management*--but this only underscores my point!) This, together with his incredibly poor editorial judgment (discussed at length here), means that de facto there's no certain *peer* review of papers in the JVI.