Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sunday afternoon fun

Taking a breather this weekend, I was catching up on last week's NY times and saw an article about a new flea market in Brooklyn. So far so good. Perhaps like a few of ya'll are like me and grew up around flea markets. I still have a wicked chair fit for a king that I got for 20 bucks.

That said, I was disturbed when I read: "So, 13 years ago, he tossed over a career in academia (teaching philosophy) and traded in the subtle mysteries of Wittgenstein for the joys of tracking down vases from manufacturers like Roth ceramics, renowned for its blob-like lava-glaze."

Hopefully that guy found his true calling in life... but I hope that the job market doesn't push me all the way to hunting down ceramics at dirt malls.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't let this guy's story get you down too much. I know the Times story says he went from "teaching philosophy" to the flea market thing, but I think his field technically wasn't philosophy. Here he says his field is English. I don't know if that helps any, but at least he doesn't seem to have been a real philosopher.

Anonymous said...

Well, here's some more from another article in the New York Times:

"Dr. Pigliucci was himself a peripatetic soul. Born in Liberia and raised in Italy, he lived in Connecticut and Tennessee before moving to Port Jefferson, on Long Island. Along the way, he collected three doctorates, in genetics, evolutionary biology and philosophy — and an equal number of marriages."

So if philosophy doesn't work out, there's always genetics and evolutionary biology. But apparently multiple doctorates aren't so good for the domestic life.

remus lupin, phd said...

It's not often that being 'blob-like' is something that something is renowned for.

Anonymous said...

At the moment, hunting through antique shops for cool stuff sounds a lot better to me than being an academic.

Maybe this is what they call burnout?

Anonymous said...

I'm willing to bet he earns more than an assoicate professor in philosphy.

Anonymous said...

Why, oh why, do administrators and administrative assistants think that typing the name of the sender of a letter (either a printed form letter or an email) with a different, cursive style font constitutes a signature?! This is tacky and stupid. And why do such people insist (less commonly) of trying to insert graphics into an email rejection to approximate an official letter or attaching a scanned letter. Just state the rejection in the body of the email. That's all I need to know. No fancy stuff. Just the information. Update me. I don't need a fake signature or any such.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:57:

You mean that we don't all sign our names in Monotype Corsiva?

I'm referring to the PFO just sent from UNC, which also contains such wonderful prose as:

"We have, as you have probably surmised, filled the position, so we are not longer considering you for the position. I hope that you have found a good position."

Say "position" one more time muthafucka!

Anonymous said...

So, was this a good job year as they go? Was there considerably more individual tenure-track jobs compared with other years. What does this mean for next year?

Anonymous said...

Hypothesis: many of the 'top' jobs went unfilled this year because many of them were offered to the same candidates. That means more jobs next year.


crabby abby said...

I don't think Anon 1:17's hypothesis is correct, because well-off departments typically run open-rank/open-area searches *every* year. Consequently, filling a position in the 2007-08 cycle will determine neither whether such departments advertise a position in the 2008-09 cycle nor how many positions they advertise.

That said, I do hope that the fact that the same cadre of candidates snatched up nearly all of the best on-campus invitations -- in the end, leaving many of the top departments empty-handed -- will be a lesson to these departments: in the future, your search is more likely to result in a hire if you look past the hype and investigate a broader range of candidates.

Anonymous said...

What it means for next year is that schools which couldn’t get the top people they wanted are willing to wait and look other top candidates not only from the US but from other countries as well.

It’s no secret that in order to get top talent university administrations are sinking more money into legal fees to sponsor overseas job applicants.

Can’t get a PhD from Yale or Michigan? Well how about Oxford or Edinburgh or Heidelberg or Dublin.

Provost’s love it when they can brag to alumni about the great overseas faculty that they are able to recruit to give the curriculum a more international flavor.

Anonymous said...

i know pigliucci, and he was always a scientist. he just wanted to earn a phd in philosophy while earning tenure in biology!! how he managed to take a full course load and write a successful dissertation on ancient philosophy / philosophy of science while running a biology lab, i'll never know. he's wicked smart, though.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else reading the Leiter thread about people applying for admission to grad programs? It's insane. I feel like the Leiter report has contributed to the over-professionalization of the discipline at all levels. And I mean that in the most negative way possible.

Noobie said...

People seem to have stopped reading/responding to the post where I originally posted this question...but I am really hoping for some feedback on this so I figure I will ask it again here...

I just got my first tenure track job, and I am very excited (obviously), but the jobis by no means a dream job (5-4 teaching load, though the location is great). I found out that we have yearly review up until tenure, which I thought was a bit odd (and this is a serious review process, I have heard of several people who were not reappointed to their tenure track positions in the second, third, and even the fifth, year), but judging from the comments this is done at some places. Anyways, my question was about whether or not a person like me should be on the job market every year? It seems to me that if there is a real possibility that a person may not be reappointed then that person should have a back up plan (and there is no way to judge if one will be repponted. At least two of the cases mentioned above were ones where the department and chair loved the person, but the president over-ruled them and let them go). So it seems to me that I have ample justification for going on the market each year (I feel guilty for doing this for the obvious reasons, like I spent so much time convincing said department that I WANTED to be there)...will this sort of thing be held against me? My chair says 'don't worry about, you'll be reappointed', but I am sure that is what all the chairs say (even though they do not have final say) what is the proper/ethical thing to do here?

mr. zero said...

Hi Noobie,

I admit that I'm naive about this sort of thing, but it might be that the thing to do is to talk to your new chairperson about the reviews. It's hard for me to tell from reading your question how serious the reviews are, or what the probability you won't be retained is. So a chat with the chair, or with a tenured member of the faculty (who isn't an administrator but will have been around the block a few times), or with a few senior grad students (if there are such things in your department) might be in order.

It might also be good to put your cards on the table from the outset, too, and let them know that you're going to be on the market every year, as a safety net. Whatever else happens, you probably don't want them hearing through the grapevine that you've been applying out--especially if you're not really looking to move.

That said, I definitely feel for you. Being evaluated that often, even if it's not consequential, totally raises your stress level.

Anonymous said...

anon. 1:17--

I was also wondering whether it was normal that so many of the top jobs went unfilled, which I think was b/c a small number of people got a lot of offers/visits. As far as I know, the following relatively good schools didn't hire even though they made at least one offer (sometimes more): Duke, Notre Dame, Columbia, and Princeton. I bet there are many others. But maybe this happens every year and this is just the first year I was paying attention.

Anonymous said...


As to what "the ethical thing to do" is, your guess is probably as good as anybody's. Whether going on the market will be held against you is another matter: I obviously don't know the people you'll be working with, but a reasonable person probably wouldn't hold it against you, especially if you took pains to make it clear that you were doing so mainly as a back-up plan in case the administration decided to act capriciously. Now, as to whether you should go on the market every year till you're tenured, that's a bit of a judgment call. But you should know that, when it comes to retaining tenure-track people, it's pretty rare for administrators to go over the heads of the department. That said, I suppose it's in principle possible for almost anyone, even if they are tenured, to be discontinued if the appropriate administrators could cook up the appropriate "reasons". So it depends on the likelihood of such things happening, which, as I've said, is generally fairly low. (Although you may choose to be skeptical if you wish, the fact that your soon-to-be chair tells you not to worry about it constitutes some extra reason for thinking that if the department approves of you then you will be retained.) Wherever you are, the tenure-track period always involves some amount of hoop-jumping, and you'll have a better picture of things once you start working there and talking with colleagues. At some places, the hoop-jumping is pretty easy; in fact, even at some places that "review" every year until tenure, the process can be almost entirely pro forma. It just depends. At other places, the process is quite tedious and demanding, both psychologically and "professionally". If I had to guess, I would say that at most places, as long as you're willing to do everything they appear to want you to do, you have plenty good reason for thinking you'll be retained.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, anon 8:40pm.

Anonymous said...

dear noobie,
you should go on the market every year until you get the hell out of that god-forsaken short-order shift-worker shit-hole of a job.

would be my opinion, but of course i could be wrong about that.

Anonymous said...


You may have already tried this but what about exploring your question on the Chronicle of Higher Ed forums?

There might be people there in the know...Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon. 8:29,

Very heartfelt problem. I think that you could go on the market in good conscience each year, should you wish--lots and lots of people keep their feelers out even when they're happy, so there's no shame in seeing if something better comes along. However, I'd be inclined to *not* test the waters next year or maybe even the year after that, for a few reasons: 1. You just got your first tt job--that's awesome. And it calls for a quasi break from all this job nonsense. I'd spend my time teaching (apparently lots, in your case), getting the swing of a new city and colleagues, and not worrying about the Eastern APA for once...unless you just want to show up for fun. 2. While I wouldn't be necessarily concerned about ill will you might garner from your colleagues, I would keep in mind that these colleagues could recommend you well for other jobs, should the occasion arise. Such a situation might be likely if the department seems to back its hires (which you indicate it does) but can't retain its new faculty, which means that you could probably leave on good to great terms if you hang in there a while.

However: The teaching load at your new job is quite heavy and might seem daunting at first. If you don't really love to teach, or if you can't see yourself committing that kind of time to teaching, prepping, grading, etc., then you might want to apply for jobs overtly or tell people at your grad institution that if they hear of anything in your field, to let you know. Everything considered, however, I'd be inclined to stick out the new job for a few years, and then reassess if need be down the road. And congratulations!

(One final thought: It may be that you're so used to thinking like a grad student that you have a hard time imagining that someone might, in fact, want to hire you. For real. To teach and to be a good colleague. If I were back in grad school and landing my first tt job, I would probably have my doubts, too...and would worry...because that's what grad students are good at, right?)

Anonymous said...

noobie --

you might find more responses to your question if you post it in the chronicle of higher education forums.

i read those forums, and have noticed that questions like yours get posted and answered there all the time.

Anonymous said...

Some top departments have hired this year without Leiterblog notes. And some others still have offers out.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the status of the Chapel Hill junior search?

crabby abby said...

Dear PGOAT, et al.,

Can I have your email address? I have something that might be of interest to readers ...

Wikikeeper said...

As far as I am aware, the following programs have not yet announced hires on the Wiki or on Leiter. Corrections/updates are welcome!

(* denotes non-TT or unknown rank)

American University of Cairo
Appalachian State University
Assumption College
Azusa Pacific
Balliol College, Oxford
Bellarmine University
Belmont University
Benedictine College
Bethune-Cookman University
Bilkent University
Biola University
Boise State University
Boston College
Brock University
Cal State, East Bay
Cal State, Fullerton
Cal State, Los Angeles
Calvin College
Castleton State College
Central Connecticut University
Central Washington University
Chinese University of Hong Kong
College of St. Benedict & St. John
College of St. Catharine
College of St. Rose
Columbia University (Phil of Rel)
Concordia College
Denver Seminary
* Dickinson Collehe
East Tennessee State University
Eastern Washington University
Eindhoven University of Technology
Elmhurst College
Fayetteville State University
Felician College
Frostburg State University
Georgia College & State University
Gwynedd-Mercy College
Haverford College
Henderson State University
Highpoint University
Hunter College, CUNY
Ithaca College
James Madison College
James Madison University (Continental)
Johns Hopkins University
Juniata College
Keele University (UK)
King's University College at The University of Western Ontario
Kutztown University
Lafayette College
LaGrange College
Loyola College Maryland
Manhattan College
Marist College
McGill University
McNeese State University
Metro College of Denver
Metropolitan State University
Mills College
Missouri State University
Moravian College
Morehouse College
Mount Ida College
Mount St. Mary's University
National University of Ireland, Galway
New Mexico State University
North Carolina A&T University
* Northern Michigan University
Oakland University
Oglethorpe University
Ohio Dominican University
Ohio State University - Lima
Oklahoma City University
Oklahoma State University
* Onondaga Community College
Oriel College, Oxford
Oxford College of Emory University
Penn State, New Kensington
Penn State, University Park
Pomona College
Regis University
Rogers State University
Rutgers University
Saint John Fisher College
Saint Joseph College
Saint Mary's College (Notre Dame)
Schreiner University
Seattle University
Southern Connecticut State
Stanford (Ethics)
Stephen F. Austin State University
Swarthmore College
Sweet Briar College
Troy University
Tufts University
Tulane University
UC - Davis
UC - San Diego
UC - Santa Barbara
University College Cork
University College Dublin
University of Alberta
University of Arizona
University of Cambridge (HPS)
University of Dayton
University of East Anglia (UK)
University of Glasgow (UK)
University of Hartford
University of Lancaster (UK)
University of Louisville
University of Maine @ Farmington
University of Mary (North Dakota)
University of MA, Boston
University of Michigan, Flint
University of New Brunswick
University of New Mexico (Ethics)
University of Notre Dame (PLS)
University of Ottawa
University of Oxford, Christ Church
University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics
University of Pennsylvania PPE
University of Redlands
University of South Carolina-Aiken
University of Southern Indiana
University of Stirling (UK)
University of Texas, Austin (History)
University of Texas, El Paso
University of Warwick (UK)
University of Wisconsin, Fond du Lac
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
(Women's Studies)
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
University of Wisconsin, Waukesha
University of the Witswatersrand
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Tech
* Wabash College
West Texas A&M University
Western Kentucky University
Wheaton College (MA)
Whitworth University
* Wilkes University
Worcester State College
Yeshiva University

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Crabby Abby-- We can be reached at

Anonymous said...

Dear noobie:

I understand that you might feel ethically bound to not jump ship quickly if you made a point of saying how much you would love the job during the interview process... if you turn around and go right back on the market, it might look, or you might feel, like you were being deceitful. But if there is anything about the job that they did not tell you in advance and that it would not be reasonable for you to have known, then I think you're off the hook, ethically. After all, you didn't promise them unconditionally that you would stay. And they are making it clear that they are not going to keep you through tenure review unconditionally, either. Whether it is wise to go on the market every year is a different question: I agree with some others that taking time off from the market is probably good, both for your psyche and so you have more time for other things. Also, it may or may not be good if your department learns that you are looking elsewhere. But I think there's nothing wrong with going on the market any time your own job may be on the chopping block (unless they told you the precise degree of risk in advance AND you agreed you would stay under those circumstances, and even then there might be exceptions if they were being exploitive). I also agree that your chair's assurances carry some weight, so perhaps you can let yourself relax a little... chances are good you will keep your job. But assurances are not guarantees, and without a guarantee, I think there's no reason you should feel ethically bad about looking elsewhere. Though again, I would probably take some time, at least one year, off from the hell of the job market. You deserve a bit of a break from it! Just two cents from another philosopher headed into his first TT job.

Anonymous said...

Well, the NYU placements are up: