Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sunday Comics

So, it's been three weeks since the last comic and my promise to return us to our regularly scheduled programming. Yeah, yeah, I'm a liar and we're going to lose our readership cause we don't post enough. Sue me.

(Click on the picture to enlarge it.)



Anonymous said...

Like many of you, I'm thinking about how to do things so that this year's job search isn't the disaster that the previous year's search was. Among other things, I'm contacting editors for journals looking at my work. Thought some of you might appreciate this. It's the emails I've received from the editor from an unnamed philosophy journal that seems bent on never getting a verdict back to me. (It's not J Phil or Mind, they won't write back when I ask where my papers are.)

On 10.18.2007, I wrote to ask about a manuscript sent 4 months earlier and received this response:
Dear X,
Sorry for the delay.
One referee report is in, the other has been promised for november. So you should hear from us in a few weeks.

On 1.6.2008, I wrote again and received this response:
Dear X,
I am sorry for the extra-ordinary long delay.
We sent the reviewer in question a reminder and hope to receive the review pretty soon.

Unfortunately, if the reviewers don't cooperate, there isn't much we
can do. I hope to be able to send you a decision on your paper so that it
might help you.
best wishes

In response to an email sent 3.14.2008:

I have now told the reviewer, either to review pretty soon or to decline. I hope that will
yield some progress. Sorry (again) for the slow handling.

In response to an email sent 5.15.2008:
Dear X

I am sorry that we still haven't got a second report. However, when I yesterday asked the second reviewer it was replied that the review is 3/4 complete and will be send to Erkenntnis in the next two weeks.

I am very sorry for the extraordinary long time of processing.

best wishes

In response to an email sent 7.16.2008:

Dear X,
you are completely justified to ask what's happening with your paper.
If the referee hadn't told me,that the report is 3/4 finished I would
have asked somebody else. So now I have reminded the referee again. If
I don't receive anything in 2 or three weeks time I will skip the

Sorry again for the delay.

So, think I'll hear back in time for this year's job market? Here's the funny bit. The piece attacks (among others) a paper of my advisor's, which means that it's not unlikely that he's the ref.

Best of luck with the job hunt.

juniorperson said...

Erkenntnis, by any chance?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I made the mistake of critiquing a prof's position once. And I did it in a term paper, that's how oblivious to politics and lost in the world of ideas I was.

Also, you seem to have outed your "unnamed journal."

Anonymous said...

So much for leaving the journal unnamed.

close reader said...

I bet you $5 I can guess the identity of the "unnamed" philosophy journal ...

Anonymous said...

Oh well, forget the unnamed part.

Anonymous said...

From a purely selfish perspective, I think I'd be more inclined to greenlight a paper criticizing me than one in my (narrow) area that ignores me completely. The benefit of being cited and talked about is usually much greater than the risk of ridicule.

philo said...

oh, bummer...

Prof. J. said...

That's appalling.
Reading through the first few I was just mad at the referee, but the editor bears some blame for letting things go on that long.

Relax, other commenters. Like many of us, anony 3:57 uses funny variables to lighten the prose. What you thought was a name was in fact a variant of "Journal X".

Anonymous said...

Why is it that philosophy departments in the California State University (CSU) system are hiring so many scholars with incredible pedigree and few, if any, publications? They are supposed to be mixed research/teaching institutions. However, pedigree is no indicator of teaching ability (indeed, many scholars with fantastic pedigree have little teaching experience because their home institution stresses research). And pedigree is no indicator of research potential (indeed, many scholars with fantastic pedigree fall flat on their face and publish nothing for the first few years after earning their Ph.D.). Is this a Leiterific phenomenon? The Philosophy Dept. at CSU Los Angeles, even though it only has a terminal M.A. program and appears nowhere in the rankings, is mentioned in the Report.

Anonymous said...

anon 3:57, do remember to update the phil journal wiki when you finally know how long it has taken them to get back to you with an answer. it's truly outrageous, but not entirely unheard of; oh, how awful is the state of things.

Anonymous said...

Your advisor can't be the referee unless he/she has no idea the paper is yours and the Editor has no idea of your relationship. It is an obvious conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:43,

And pedigree is no indicator of research potential

Really? That would surprise me.
If I pick ten 4th-year students at random from Rutgers, NYU, and Princeton, and you pick ten from the 25th - 30th ranked programs, if we check on them in 15 years I bet mine have more and better publications.

Maybe you meant that pedigree isn't the best indicator of research potential?

mr. zero said...

Did anybody catch the recent Leiter thread about what has happened to the assistant professors from twelve years ago. I didn't realize how much difficulty even tip-top departments have retaining their junior faculty. But it's too bad that Leiter's complete disregard for any but what he regards as the "best" departments so thoroughly infects the report. I would have been interested to know what happened to people who got jobs at low- and unranked departments, departments offering terminal MAs, or departments in LACs, rather than just people who graduated from and took jobs at departments in the top 15.

Anonymous said...

look at this blog (referred to on leiter's blog the other day) - a super-grumpy philosophy guy, pretty satisfying to read (and i'm breaking my head trying to figure out who it is):

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.16. I don't think an adviser should necessarily refuse to referee their student's paper, even if they know it is theirs. It doesn't seem that different from refereeing your friend's: and if we never agreed to referee papers by our friends, we'd turn a lot of refereeing requests down (it's hardly surprising that we end up being friends with many of the people who work on similar topics, and hence the people whose papers we're likely to be sent to referee), and the refereeing system would be even more bogged down than it is.

If I know who a paper is by, I disclose my relationship with the author to the editor and ask whether they still want me to review it. They usually do. People are refereeing for the good of the profession - we're not in the habit of throwing bones to our friends or our students; so what's the problem?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:29,

Fabulous pedigree is an indicator of a sense of entitlement...nothing else. Do your empirical investigation, I'll do mine...let's compare our results. Your operative assumption is thoroughly elitist in character, namely, that those who have better pedigree are better and thus more productive scholars. I think that you have to go see Oliver Stone's new movie, W., and then say with a straight face: "Everyone who get s a degree from Yale is a superior scholar."

Anonymous said...

The way Yale undergrad admissions works differs quite a bit from the way NYU grad admissions works. Apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

2:46 AM,

If you can't see the difference between "Pedigree is an indicator of research potential" and "Everyone who gets a degree from Yale is a fabulous scholar", then there isn't much point in continuing.

I'd be happy to try this out. We can look at the class of, say, 1993, from Princeton, and the class of 1993 from UC San Diego (where graduate students obviously got an excellent education but the 'pedigree' is regarded as less prestigious), and we'll see which ones on average have done more and more significant research.

Is that a test of your claim?

Anonymous said...

The way Yale undergrad admissions works differs quite a bit from the way NYU grad admissions works. Apples and oranges.

Uh huh. Now tell me it's not easier to get into grad school at NYU with an undergrad from Yale....

Anonymous said...

More back and forth about pedigree.


What, if anything, are folks doing to ramp up for the coming market? Or we could bicker about prioritization. Sending out pubs is probably a waste of time at this point, but should we be focusing most on the diss, writing sample, getting a whiter smile?

vapid said...

I'm focusing on my writing sample and preparing for the classes I'll be teaching in the fall with an eye to the job market; I'm keeping a little teaching journal which I hope to plunder for neat things to say about teaching in interviews. Oh yes, and I plan on dropping 15 pounds by December, whitening my teeth, and investing in a nose hair trimmer.

Eye on CSU said...

As someone looking at the Calif. State Univ. (CSU) system for the upcoming hiring round, does anyone have insights related to anon@8:43's post?

Are CSU campuses decent places to work? Respectable? Which ones to avoid? Does a schmuck like me with no publications (but a good one forthcoming) stand a chance? Etc.

Anonymous said...

finally, constructive conversation. a teaching journal, what a brilliant idea! thank you, vapid.
do you guys really think working on sending things for publication is a waste of time at this point? i wouldn't think so: first, you get to list these as under review which is better than nothing. second, if they need more of you writing to look at, you have something that's already in presentable shape; hird, even if something's acceptd only after the applications were sent out, you get to send them an update, which may make them look at your CV once more.

Anonymous said...

how is "under review" better than nothing? most people i know simply ignore things that fall under that heading. look, i could send out 100 papers out tomorrow and list 100 papers as "under review", does that make me a more worthy candidate?

Anonymous said...

Some CSUs are definitely better than others, though I believe none has a PhD program. SF State and San Jose State have MA programs (are there others?).

Some are safer than others. Avoid campuses around LA (except for CSU Northridge, maybe also Long Beach), or around Oakland (East Bay). Some geographies are much better than others (e.g., CSU Fresno is in...well, Fresno). Some campuses are too new to be taken seriously or have no philosophy department (e.g., Channel Islands, Monterey).

Thus other than SF State, SJ State and perhaps CSU Northridge and Long Beach, I wouldn't think that any command enough respect (or funding, given California's budget woes) to attract and win R1 job candidates. But that's just an outsider's perspective.

Anonymous said...

re: 9:43

Except for the under review part. We've been over this and the conclusion was that it makes you look desperate.

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything to offer about the Cal state system, but anon 8:49's post does bring up a different question someone here might be able to answer: do SC's look at actual publications any more favorably than forthcoming publications?

vapid said...

I thought the consensus about the under review section had been that you should not indicate where the paper is under review at, not that merely including the section makes you look desperate. I would have thought the under review section would make you look like you are actively writing and submitting articles, which is a good thing in most search committees' eyes. (Of course it would be a mistake to include anything but one's best work in such a section, since an SC could always ask to see one of the papers.)

Anonymous said...

I thought that the majority view was that including an under review section is at best pointless, since everyone knows that anyone can submit anything to any journal, and possibly worse than pointless, since it seems as though you're trying to pass a non-accomplishment off as an accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.49 is pretty seriously misinformed. For philosophy, Cal State LA is quite good, with a decent MA program strong faculty and good leadership under Mark Balauger's chairmanship. I interviewed there a few years back and would have happily worked there. I didn't get the job. But David Pitt, who did, is really top notch.

Prof. J. said...

I think 'under review' is mildly useful information to include. As vapid notes, it is a way of telling search committees that you've got stuff in the works. Of course, it's just your telling them that, but it's useful information.

do SC's look at actual publications any more favorably than forthcoming publications?

I don't.
For a tenure review I might (because administrators want to know about 'impact'), but I can't imagine why it would make any difference in a hiring decision.

Anonymous said...

CSU faculty get amazing benefits. But other than that it's hard to generalize about working conditions across campuses. It does seem like a few of the CSUs compete well with R1 schools. San Francisco State just hired a couple of people away from Temple and Princeton. San Diego State has a lot of money. Location has got to be a big asset for some of them (e.g., SF State).

Anonymous said...

The CSU system is like any other large state university system: there's the good, the bad, and the ugly. Other than sharing the same budgetary circumstances, they should each be evaluated separately; generalization about the whole system would be difficult.

For instance, the University of California (UC) system has its superstar campuses: Berkeley, UCLA, and arguably UC San Diego. And it also has respectable campuses, but not quite as good as the aforementioned: UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Davis. And then there's UC Riverside and the new UC Merced. (UC San Francisco only has medical and law schools.)

Some UCs and CSUs can attract R1 scholars; others can't. Which CSU campus were you (original poster 8:43) referring to in particular?

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:11,

no. An article forthcoming in a journal is good as gold. You can even include the paper as a writing sample, and put "accepted for publication in the Journal of Philosophy Job Markets" on the title page.

books are a bit different. people have a tendency to think of books as vaporware until they can hold them in their hand.

Michael Cholbi said...

I teach at a CSU (Pomona). They vary quite a lot. San Diego, Long Beach, and Cal State LA have MA programs also. State law prohibits CSU's having Ph.D. programs.

My sense is that the CSU system is a system in transition; Anon 10:49's comment about R1 students not coming to CSU's may have been true a quarter-century ago. Indeed, if you poke around, you see senior faculty at some places who only have MA's. But nowadays, everyone taken seriously for a TT job at a CSU is from an R1. In my own department, the last three TT hires have been from Leiter 20-40 programs (Riverside, CUNY, UVA). A quick look around suggests that recent CSU junior hires tend to come from Leiter-ranked programs (among them Chicago, MIT, Pittsburgh, Michigan, Berkeley, Stanford).

Do you need publications? Probably. Research expectations have been increasing. Do they need to be in the Phil Review? Probably not. I'd suspect that hiring committees at CSU campuses want evidence of likely research productivity, but it need not be the sort of productivity required to win tenure at an R1. Indeed, given the teaching expectations (3-4 courses per term, some on the semester system, others on quarters), such a level of productivity is probably unrealistic.

Are they good jobs? Probably better than many jobs at public universities in other states. If you're looking for R1-type support for your research, then no, they're not good jobs. Pay is an issue: The pay isn't great, but it's especially meager if you live in either the LA or San Francisco areas. There's a strong union, and though the budget situation is worrisome, it's not led to anything catastrophic (yet!). You may have to get accustomed to teaching pretty big numbers (100+ students per term).

Hope that helps.

Prof. F said...

One risk that attends an "under review" section is the risk that you will be asked, in an interview, whether you've heard back about article X. If it has been rejected, you will then have to deal with the associated stress of either lying or telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Michael Cholbi. I'd agree with much of your post but would like to add another perspective, as a TT professor at a CSU campus:

The California state budget is very worrisome. We've already been forced to cancel entirely some of our classes (including critical thinking!) and postpone much-needed searches. Some faculty here have been asked to pick up an extra course here and there, which is squeezing blood from a rock given moderate-but-significant pressure to conduct research. What's more, some of our wonderful lecturers are in danger of losing their positions.

Yes, the benefits at CSU are quite good, but the overall environment is tense.

Anonymous said...

To Cholbi: What does "strong union" mean if not an ability to secure high wages? Does the CSU union do anything to stem the use of non-TT lecturers?

Or maybe you mean to say that, without the union, salaries would be much lower than they are now? (That may be the case with any educational organization: the number of interested and qualified applicants far outstrips vacancies?)

Michael Cholbi said...

Anon 1:12: Perhaps I should qualify my earlier remarks: The budget situation is worrisome, though I think that some long-term perspective is important. CSU has had other budget crises in the past, some of which (early to mid-1990's for example) appear to have been worse than this one. (I should say I'm reporting the sentiments of my colleagues, since I wasn't around for those earlier crises.) My sense is that the crises are rarely as bad as predicted, but nor are the "good times" as good as they seem either. My opinion is that the long-term budgetary issues (decreasing state support, incredible enrollment pressures, resistance to pricing a CSU education in line with its apparent market value) are more serious concerns than the state's short-term budgetary ups and downs. And in saying that nothing 'catastrophic' has occurred, I was reporting a local fact. Nothing catastrophic has happened to the philosophy department at Cal Poly Pomona, but it sounds like things have been rougher where you are. That highlights the fact that speaking of 'the CSU' is a bit misleading, since the individual campuses have a fair bit of control over how they spend their money and respond to the budgetary situation. And you're certainly right that the overall situation creates anxiety that can only serve to diminish job satisfaction.

Anon 6:03: The CSU union does a good job promoting solidarity among its huge membership and is very effective in protecting faculty members' professional rights (academic freedom, tenure and promotion, etc.). The most recent CSU contract does have some commitments from the system to increase the number of TT faculty, though I would say that such a measure should have been implemented a generation ago. Wages are a complicated issue: In a kind of global sense, CSU faculty salaries aren't bad, but again, this doesn't take into account cost of living in the two main California urban areas. I'm fairly confident that absent the CSU's union, the wages would be lower, but there are so many other downward pressures on wages that even strong unions cannot counteract. On the other hand, wages and benefits for CSU lecturers are, in my estimation, very good. The CSU faculty union is far from perfect, but I think they do a lot of good nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

CSU's benefits package is quite good. The health insurance program remains more or less unchanged from the glory days when all had full coverage for themselves and their families. A recent issue of California Educator shows that CSU faculty get substantially more in benefits than UC faculty (about 20-30%).

They also have this too-good-to-be-true retirement program where you are paid a pension roughly equal to your highest-earning year, and spend the last few pre-retirement years teaching just one semester a year for twice your annual salary (you have to have worked for the CSU system for quite awhile to have it this good, though).

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank PJMB for sponsoring Fucking Snore Fest 2008. Just when I thought this blog had become tired and played, WHAM! it becomes cripplingly boring as well. Hats off!

Anonymous said...

Wanking about the job search is exhausting. These PhD students need some time off.

Anonymous said...

Well, we're still a bit too early for job market angst, but what about good old fashioned gossip? I was totally surprised to learn that Cass Sunstein's new wife is the Hillary-is-a-monster lady. Celeb academia is a small world, I guess?

Sorry, not so exciting. But perhaps others can fuel the fire more effectively?

Or maybe some of the younger folk can bitch about the sturm und drang of the earlier years of grad school? Let us stress by proxy?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:18.

I would have to disagree with your evaluation of the quality of the M.A. program at CSULA. I was in it for two terms and found that the profs were not supportive of M.A. thesis projects which were not exactly within their current areas of research. The department tends to hire good researchers, but poor teachers. This was several years ago and things might have changed since then, but the departmental culture was absolutely noxious. There was lots of faculty in-fighting. The department chair had way too much power. I decided to take flight for a terminal M.A. program at another CSU campus and it was the best choice I ever made.

Anonymous said...

how about sharing prognistications or early details regarding what jobs searches will be conducted this fall, and where? (that is, anyone who knows their department will be conducting a search, spill the beans; it's a long wait till october!)

Anonymous said...

Some universities have already posted their positions on Myspace Jobs.

I find the easiest way to weed out the irrelevant search results is to enter an AOS and then "professor." Search "ethics professor" or "epistemology professor" and you'll find several listings.

Anonymous said...

At my R-1 UC institution, dissertation committees discourage anyone from applying for TTs in the Cal State system. All but a few campuses are poorly rated, some particularly so (on the verge of losing accreditation , in fact).

Humboldt may be well regarded for its environmental programs, SF for its liberal arts, and SJ fairly well regarded across the board; but otherwise the system has great difficulty attracting anyone from an R-1. This holds for TT faculty at all levels: skim through the faculty rosters to see that those with an R-1 degree are few and far between.