Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The ideal job ad.

The APA is listening, folks! The APA feels our pain. The APA wants to help. It wants to serve us better.

Kevin Timpe just left a comment regarding Anon 8:19's contention that "[i]f the APA--an organization to which we pay a not insignificant amount of money in dues--had their act together, then all of the ads would be standardized, and all of the job dossiers, including confidential letters of recommendation, would be uploaded by candidates and letter writers to some secure server where search coms could access them."

Here's Timpe's response:
I'm on the APA Committee on Academic Career Opportunities and Placement. I strongly doubt Anon's request will happen anytime soon, for various reasons that you all can likely guess. But what I'd like to hear is exactly how the JFP (in roughly something like its current form--print and online copies) could be more user-friendly and helpful for folks on the market. This is something the committee was discussing earlier today. I've heard the desideratum of a standardized format, with fields for easy mail-merge. What else would PJMB readers like? Consider this the opportunity to design your ideal job ad, in terms of form/structure (rather than specific content).
Talk to the nice man, people. Enough of this wailing into the void. Give him some concrete suggestions about what the APA can do to make our lives easier. (Or, you know, at least slightly less riddled with despair.)

--PGOAT

40 comments:

Oysters Rockefeller, The Employed Philosophy said...

Every job ad should include the teaching courseload.

I know this is highly unlikely, I would really like salary ranges included in every ad too. I've wasted the time and efforts of committees by applying for and interviewing for jobs that don't pay enough to pay my bills.

Anonymous said...

1. Eliminate the paper copy. This will save money and eliminate all of the graphical and organizational constraints imposed by the format.

2. All job ads should be placed online on a well-organized web site that allows you to sort them by various parameters. Each ad/job would get various tags--e.g., "tenure-track", "open rank", "AOS=Ancient", "AOC=ethics" etc.

This would allow you to simply click on a link or button and see all the ads with a given AOS, or all the ads seeking a tenured person, or all the ads with a 2/2 teaching load, etc. And then within each parameter, you would be able to filter/sort based on other parameters.

3. Think about it--the APA *already* does this with respect to one parameter: viz, geographical location. You can already click a button and see all the jobs in the "North Atlantic" region. The problem is, for the vast majority of first-time job seekers, this is the single least most important parameter, since we all know that, except in unusual circumstances, it is unwise to place geographical limits on a search.

4. Schools could still be permitted to submit open-ended descriptions of the job or the qualifications they seek. But *certain* kinds of information (e.g., AOS, AOC, deadline, TT or temp, teaching load) would be standardized, so that you never have to read all the way to the end of the ad to find a piece of information you need. Indeed, with this new system, you would not even need to read *any* part of an ad that you're not interested in because your search would filter it out.

5. Each ad would contain an active URL to the department's website and the website of the school at large, so job seekers could learn about the school.

Anonymous said...

At the very least, the JFP should be issued as a searchable database.

Anonymous said...

First of all, it's very nice to hear that the APA is paying attention. Here are my suggestions. When I read a job ad I take the following information and put in a spreadsheet because, really, for 95% of schools, it is all I need to know when I put my application together:

1) School name
2) AOS
3) AOC
4) Materials required
5) Address

Everything but (1) currently appears anywhere in the ads in the JFP. This makes extracting the relevant information far more time consuming than it should be. Of course, departments should be able to add whatever description of the position they like. But, as far as I'm concerned, it should come AFTER the five items above have been specified at the top of the ad.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the JFP organized by AOS rather than region. It seems to be the far more relevant search criterion for job seekers. In the online version, it would be nicer if it were a database instead of a list, so one can pick things like "all Ancient jobs that are Tenure-Track" or "All postdocs in the West Coast."

Anonymous said...

Well, without forcing hiring depts to fit their ads into a form, I'm not sure to what extent the APA could really regulate ad formats, without a great deal of extra energy spent policing on their part. That being said, at the very least asking depts to give an initial summary of rank, AOS/AOC, and teaching load before getting into whatever details they'd like to add.

fellow grad student said...

I think two things would be helpful that wouldn't require a particularly big change:

1. It would be great if the entries could be put into a searchable database (you could have the departments fill in the different categories online) so that you could search by things like AoS (which might to be slightly standardized) or type of position (i.e. tenure track; non-tenure track and post-doc). That way I could click on Ancient philosophy and see all my jobs.

2. There should be a way to have to the additional online job posting e-mailed to subscribers (ideally we could subscribe to only get the new job postings that meet certain criteria in the database i.e. ancient AND tenure track).

I also wanted to add that it does seem like the APA tries to standardize the apps. You find the same info at the same places in the ad and that's been helpful when I go back over them.

And just 'cause I can ask for anything:

3. It's be great if on the APA website I could go through and 'save' particular job ads to my profile. I'm spending a lot of time searching through the JFP again to see what particular jobs require and if I could create a personal list online o the jobs I'm planning on applying to that seems like it would save time.

THANKS APA FOR LISTENING!

Anonymous said...

How about making the online JFP a searchable database? Easy enough if the ads are in standardised form ... then searches can sort by various criteria and include/exclude certain jobs (by TT, teaching load, location, etc etc)

If I'm not being clear, imagine iTunes.

Of course you'd still have the option to print out a list of the whole thing, just like the pdf now.

This technology is very old, a monkey with a copy of MS Access could do it (really, a few hundred jobs just needs a toy database ... a centralised system for applications like the one mentioned would be a much more serious undertaking).

Anonymous said...

It's as if Consumer Reports were asking consumers how it could help make advertisements more user-friendly. I suppose it could help consumers a bit, but I expect that the benefit would accrue, as usual, mostly to the advertisers.

I applaud the committee's desire to help job-seekers (I assume that's what's behind Timpe's comment). But it seems like the biggest way they could help is if they focused their efforts on increasing the number of job opportunities or at least the number of GOOD job opportunities for philosophers. If they aren't working a lot MORE on that problem than they are on making JFP more "user-friendly", then one wonders what the word "opportunities" in the title of their committee is supposed to mean. In fact, it seems to me that the APA in general does very little to help philosophers who don't already have good jobs.

My intention is not simply to express cynicism. But Timpe's offer to help can be taken seriously only if one considers the matter very narrowly and short-sightedly.

Anonymous said...

Even if it is not possible at this point to set up a centralized system for electronic applications, at least we should be able to manage a searchable database of jobs.

And the print JFP could be eliminated entirely, actually -- it is basically redundant at this point.

Anonymous said...

I think the _JFP_ should include the following:

(i) Break down by states, not regions.
(ii) Separate out tenure and tenure track jobs front of JFP from all other kinds of jobs later in the JFP.
(iii) Have the listings go something like this:

(Job 1)
University Name
Contact Person's name
University Address

Rank: Asst, Assoc, Full, or Open
AOS: List them
AOC: List them

Then whatever else the University requires for their job listings. This can be from EOAA stuff to directions to the school to electronic submission info.

The _JFP_ isn't so big that this would be too great a burden especially if the programming for submitting job listings was done electronically.

I would also like to see an index by state instead of just by university name, and similarly to what they do in the Proceedings with sessions, have what kind of job is being advertised (that is tenure/tenure track or other -- a simple subscript T would do nicely) in the index.

This will make tracking job numbers and the like much easier. Right now the _JFP_ is just a pain to read.

Anonymous said...

Format as follows:

1) Name of Institution
2) Location
3) TT or not (VAP, Postdoc, etc)
4) Rank
5) AOS/AOC
6) Description of institution, their needs, etc (the blah blah)
7) Teaching Load
8) Materials requested
9) Deadline for materials to be received
10) Indication of whether it is by postal mail only or if online/email application is available
11) Address to send materials

Preferably with these categories bolded/easily identifiable.

It would also be extraordinarily helpful to have an entirely separate section devoted to postdocs, rather than having them mixed in with "real" jobs.

Anonymous said...

Avoid repeating print ads under random numbers in the so-called "web-only" section! Correlating the ads, and then checking every word of both versions of the ad to make sure that it really *is* the same job and nothing has changed in the requirements, is a time-waster for job seekers.

Anonymous said...

If a searchable database becomes a possibility it might be nice to see a feature which could sort jobs of one's interest by deadline for materials. With so many jobs it will be nice to have a function that helps organize the deadline for apps.

Anonymous said...

First, please do NOT eliminate the hard-copy version of JFP. I need something to read when I'm taking my morning, post-coffee grunt.

Second, the ideas about standardizing ads -- which is an important step to managing content and making it searchable -- is good. But understandably, the APA may be reluctant to impose such dramatic requirements onto its advertisers, i.e., a key revenue stream.

So how about offering two ad rates: a lower one for standardized ads, and a higher one for ads in any format, as an employer desires. Allowing for personalized ads is important, because they may tell the jobseeker something about the employer in between the lines and help make the ad stand out.

But in either case, perhaps it's not a big imposition to ask employers to include tags associated with their ads. This is a benefit to them as well, since their ads would then be included in database searches. (And give the option to make an ad non-searchable, not that anyone would opt out, but that it highlights that the APA has a new ad-searching feature.)

Anonymous said...

One small change that would help would simply be to insists that the Area of Specialization be listed as "AOS: ..." rather than "Area of Specialization ..." or "Specializing in ...". It's a small change, but it makes it a lot easier to zero in on what you need to know before deciding to read the rest.

Mr. Original said...

Oh, has anyone mentioned a searchable database yet?!!!

Yes. Damn.

I second that!

Standardized ads probably wouldn't work, but if you could get the persons posting the ads to enter information into a few fields, that would be very helpful.

Here are a few things I would love to search by:

-Rank
-AOS/AOC (preferably combined)
-TT, VAP, or PostDoc
-Teaching Load
-Region
-State
-School Name
-Salary Range

All of this info in the first few lines would be helpful in the print version, then the departments can say whatever they want.

And, since it's Christmas, a link to the department website from the ad would be great.

***

More seriously, though, any thoughts about taking on some of the tougher problems for us. It's really expensive mailing all of this stuff out. Why is it unreasonable to ask for a secure server to which we can upload all of our materials and from which the interested schools can download them? Maybe we can leave recommendation letters off the site to keep away the nosy folks, but I don't understand why I need to send paper copies of all of this stuff to schools.

Why is a simple change like this unreasonable to ask? Raise the subscription another $5 for students if you need the money. We'll recoup the costs when we don't have to send crap to the four corners.

Anonymous said...

In response to some remarks about the print version of JFP being unnecessary: I am not certain about this, but it does seem to me that having a print advertisement does play a role for universities in compliance with employment law. (Hiring departments, as part of the documentation of the hire, have to demonstrate that the position was widely advertised.) This is especially true at public institutions. It might well be that employment law is lagging behind the times. Before eliminating the print version, the APA would need to do due diligence on this issue.
Incidentally, it is also especially important if a department wants to hire a foreign national. If a Canadian university, for instance, wants to hire an American, it has to demonstrate that there was no equally or better qualified Canadian applicant. To show this, one has to show that the position was well-advertised within Canada, as well as elsewhere. I would assume the same is true if a US institution wants to hire a non-US citizen.

ttassprof said...

How about a main categorical set of distinctions between: "Tenure-track," "Senior," "Visiting," "Fellowships," and "Adjunct"--in that order, so everyone will know to ignore Marist altogether.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7:28--I too think it would be a big help just to make sure that there isn't overlap of the print/web version and the web-only list. This is a huge time sink.

I love the suggestion of fellow grad student to give us the option of "saving" particular ads to our own account. This would save me the trouble of having to make a special spreadsheet for the ads I am interested in.

horndog MA said...

The critical thinking courses I've seen are roughly half and half "How to win an argument" (logic for people afraid of taking logic) and "how to detect bullshit in the media".

the logic part covers:

validity & soundness
logical fallacies (eg modus morons)
spotting other kinds of bad reasoning (ad hominem, appeal to authority, etc)

the rest involves understanding different kinds of data:

understanding polls and basic statistics (eg why a 3% lead in a poll with a 5% margin of error isn't a lead at all, and might be just the opposite; why graphs in the business section are misleading because they don't start at zero, etc etc)

basic probability (eg gambler's fallacy)



I would agree that these are good and useful things to learn in an undergraduate degree. But I don't know anyone in philosophy publishing in this area, so calling it an AOS is a bit silly.

Anonymous said...

A thought about why ads aren't standardized: One bit of info that you should consider here is that one reason so many ads have so much vagueness is that hiring departments need to post an ad before a deadline but often don't settle on what they really want until later. Vague ads reflect a certain indecision about what kind of job it is. On the up side, this might mean that the hiring committee is interested in seeing a wide range of applications and want to hire the best philosopher possible who can satisfy a minimal set of requirments. On the down side, vague ads draw applications that will get tossed after a minimal skimming because the applicant didn't know that when the ad said "AOS Open" what they meant was "Open but we really want someone who can teach Cog Sci, Business Ethics, and Philosophy in Literature." The cost to departments of this sort of reverse shotgun ad is minimal, but it burdens applicants.

Many univeristies are "automating" the application process and this is actually forcing hiring departments to commit to specific terms and specific requirements to satisfy obscure (yet important) legal and HR dept. rules.

If the APA issued a standard glossary for job ads so that e.g. "applied ethics" or "american philosophy" or "history of philosophy" had well defined meanings (or at least extensions) that (by itself) would probably go a long way toward rationalizing the JFP.

-Hiring Committee Vet

Anonymous said...

Somewhat related to this issue: Has anyone ever landed a job through the APA's Jobseeker Database?? As primitive as that technology is, if the APA is going to make ads searchable, then it seems to be a short hop to become a true broker of jobs; it could become the next Monster.com for philosophers by (1) making its ads searchable like a typical employment site and (2) acting as a secure, central repository for dossiers, as previously suggested. The Jobseeker Database is basically the start of becoming that repository.

Of course, hiring institutions will need to be convinced that it's in their interest to use this new APA job site. Reasons to use might include having standardized profiles of candidates, since (having been on a few search committees and having hired outside of the academy) employers want an easily-decipherable and complete application from candidates just as much as philosophy jobseekers want standardized and complete job ads. (But the reasons why jobseekers wouldn't want to simply be just another entry on a report are very similar to why employers would want to resist standardized ads.)

And in the future, the APA could facilitate virtual interviewing (video cams + Skype) so that jobseekers wouldn't have to throw away their Xmas/New Year break by going to some cold and crappy city for job interviews at the APA Eastern. Never mind the financial savings to already-impoverished graduate students, if you're concerned about reducing our carbon footprint via eliminating print copies of the JFP, how about eliminating hundreds of flights to a conference that is largely only about job interviewing (despite the many sessions, which appear secondary at best)? However, virtual interviewing may would probably eat into the APA's revenue too much, if the Eastern conference indeed is mostly about job interviewing (as it seems).

Anyway, it's a nice thought that the APA would do more to help jobseekers get jobs, but the reality is that there would still be only a handful of jobs (relative to number of hiring organizations as well as to most other academic fields), and they can all be adequately filled by the ad hoc application processes in place now; so there needs to be at least two orders of magnitude in improvement or benefits in order for the above-described pipe-dream to work. But given some of the technical, inertial, institutional, and financial challenges I mentioned, that seems unlikely.

Anonymous said...

A thousand times 'yes' to the searchable Boolean database suggestion. There is no reason why it should be particularly expensive or onerous if advertising depts. were required to fill in a simple form to indicate AOS, rank, etc. using standard terminology. And I second 4:47’s complaint that the print version of the JFP classifies ads by the single least important parameter, viz., very broad geographic location.

Anonymous said...

arranging deck chairs on the Titanic...

Anonymous said...

One way that it could be made easier for those on the job market is to make it impossible for departments to ask for something special in their ads, like statements about their particular department, etc. But I know this is impossible, and probably unfair to departments looking to hire. Too bad, however. I hate it when departments ask me to address their particular department. It almost deters me from applying!

Anonymous said...

I hate it when departments ask me to address their particular department. It almost deters me from applying!

Are you retarded? No employer wants a candidate who spams 100 (or even more than 20) colleges with generic applications. They want to feel special, to feel courted, to believe that you want THEM as your #1 pick. So naturally, you'd be expected to do your due diligence and personalize the application for your #1 pick.

Employers want to know that you know what you're getting into. So you should be researching every job you apply for. Of course, you may opt for the shotgun approach of sending out 50-100+ applications in hopes of getting 1-2 nibbles (to mix hunting and fishing metaphors); but the approach a more confident candidate would take is to selectively target departments that are a best match and invest extra effort in those efforts and communications. (Perhaps this is why home departments limit the number of applications they'll send out for you.)

As for listing jobs geographically, why is this a bad idea? After all, both candidates and employers may have a preference for local talent/work, since: the moving costs are minimal; the candidate is already familiar (and presumably likes) the area; local candidates are more likely to accept an offer than someone who needs to transplant a family across country; and so on. Personally, I wouldn't apply for a job farther than 500 miles from here I am now.

All this does put your eggs in fewer baskets, but then you can attend to each egg much better, which increases your chances of a successful hatching. Obviously, the shotgun approach works too...for sea turtles and other defenseless creatures; but philosophers ought to be more resourceful than that...

So if asking for you to personalize your cover letter to address a particular hiring department deters you in any way from applying, then do everyone a favor and don't apply. The dept. doesn't want someone like you. If you really wanted to work there, you would jump on the opportunity to talk about how well you might fit into the department to make your case.

Anonymous said...

Timpe doubts ("for various reasons that you all can guess") that the APA will have standardized ads and a server to house dossiers that SC's could download. I have plenty of guesses, but they all seem like terrible excuses for not doing what so many others (e.g., law and other professional schools, job-seeker databases, etc.) seem to be able to fairly easily accomplish. So why exactly won't the APA do these sorts of things that would make this process more user-friendly for all those involved--applicants, SC's, the environment, etc.?

Anonymous said...

I think this nonsense about cover letters needs to stop. Frankly, I am tired of hiring committees putting the onus on me to tell them what a great fit I am for their department over and above the shit I put in my dossier. I really can't see how anything in a cover letter can reasonably enhance someone's chances. If my dossier is so mysterious and vexing that you need a cover letter to convince you to interview me, then perhaps the problem lies with you, not my sparse cover letter. Of course, if at the interview stage, I can't convince you of the fit, then by all means don't fly me out, but for fuck's sake, don't torpedo my application just because I don't mention particulars of your department in a cover letter. If you assume that applying isn't enough evidence that I want the job, then why assume that a tailored cover letter is anything more than me taking the time to blow smoke up your ass?!

Anonymous said...

Just because it might be helpful for those applying now: I got a TT job without pedigree, and I used the shotgun approach. If I hadn't, I would never have gotten the one offer I ended up with. Everyone I know who has a TT job and is not out of a top-20 dept. used the shotgun approach. If it's a choice between (a) tailoring every cover letter and sending out 40 apps and (b) using two or three cover letters (one for all big universities, one for all small liberal arts colleges, etc.) and sending out 80 apps, I would very strongly recommend option (b). I don't pretend to know whether this is a good idea for people who do have pedigree; perhaps they rightly think that they can be more selective. But I'm pretty sure I'm justified in believing that the rest of us are best served by increasing our slim chances in the most obvious way - a big shitload of applications. Obviously this means ignoring geography if at all possible. (If you're not a big shot and yet you decide you're not going to apply to any schools in the midwest or the south, for example, then you dramatically decrease your chances of getting any job at all.) And yes, it is extremely irritating for depts to explicitly ask you to address specific aspects of their program in a cover letter. What 7:29 said!

Anonymous said...

I would very much like to know whether 8:18 on 10/23 (the person who suggests that sending out even 20 generic apps is retarded):

(1) has a TT job
(2) is from a top dept.

Please tell me/us. Given your post, the answer to (1) better be yes. If it is, then would you mind indicating very roughly how long you've been in that job (so that we might determine whether you got your job in the good ol' days when one could get hired while refusing to move more than 500 miles away)?

Anonymous said...

To anon 8:18 am:

This is anon 7am. You say "Are you retarded? No employer wants a candidate who spams 100 (or even more than 20) colleges with generic applications."

Really? What do employers think we are doing? Applying only for their job? You must think employers are retarded.

And for those employers who do ask for special addresses, you are either oblivious to a job candidate's plight, or you don't care, or you think you're hotshit. Get over yourselves. It reminds me of those profs who get offended if you haven't read *their* latest book.

To all employers: we want your job! We want any job! You have the upper hand, ok? Have a little grace and don't make us jump through more hoops? Recognize that most of us are in the desperate position of not being able to pick and choose and that we are indeed blanketing the market with applications. Of course we are. What would you expect in this job market? To pretend otherwise is really a little weird, quite frankly.

done playin' said...

I second Anon 7:39 exasperation.

psychology postdoc said...

Checking in with the view from the other APA, that is, the American Psychological Association. We do have an online, searchable database of jobs, where you can sign up for an account and save links to the jobs that you're interested in. It's not perfect, of course, but I offer it here as a model for creating something similar for your APA.

http://jobs.psyccareers.com/search/

I should also note that this service is free. I bring this up simply to note that however much it cost to get this sort of thing set up, it can't have been much, or they'd be charging us for it.

Here's hoping that something like this get implemented for y'all soon. Good luck, philosophers!

Anonymous said...

If the APA's committee is really on interested in providing american ph.d.s w/more job opportunities I think they should solicit more ads from school not in the US.

My guess is that plenty of us would happily apply for jobs in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, England, Scotlant, Ireland, and Wales. In fact, moving to many of those places is preferably to moving to many places in the US. I wish those jobs would appear in the JFP so that I wouldn't have to check jobs.ac.uk all the time.

Anonymous said...

Three relatively easy things that would help:

1) Web-only JFP ads should be downloadable as a PDF. Makes it easier to print.
2) "AOS" and "AOC" should appear in the body of every ad.
3) Ads should be organized alphabetically within each region.

A searchable database would be nice as a long-term goal, but these changes would have a significant difference in the short-term.

Anonymous said...

I've been following this blog since its inception, and I'm constantly astounded by the "us versus them" mentality among graduate students/job seekers, as revealed in many of the posts in this particular thread and others. Are other academic fields this divided? Seriously, does any one know?

The funny thing is, having been on both sides of a job search (and now TT at a top-20 program), that mentality doesn't exist among working philosophers, or at least I've never seen evidence of it. Rather, I know (as reported to me by colleagues who also read the blog every now and again) that many of the comments on this blog have lowered our opinion of jobseekers and cause us to be more wary of them, i.e., hiring someone with that poor attitude.

Also, even if you are one of the (hopefully small number of) folks with the "us versus them" mentality, what happens if/when you get a TT job? Are you then going to be one of "them"? Or are you planning to change the hiring process somehow to make it easier for jobseekers? If any of you have done the latter, please let us hear about it. But junior TT folks know very early on not to rock the boat, and they have their own problems to worry about, none of which is about trying to make jobseekers' lives more difficult.

Maybe it's just my grad school experience, but that "us versus them" mentality seems to be most immature. Has anyone here who is employed actually had that attitude and been successful in a job search? Or maybe it's only the lesser philosophers who feel this way, in which case their frustration is justified to the extent that they're not as employable?

Anyway, if you expect our profession to improve -- and I would agree that there are many areas in need of improvement -- then we need to come together as a cohesive community: grad students, faculty, hiring department, independent scholars, everyone. First step, as with any sound foreign relations, is to get rid of this counterproductive, divisive mentality.

Anonymous said...

So the problem is our attitude, is it?

Phewf, well that's good. Here I thought the problem was that there were not enough jobs. Thank goodness all of it is just due to my state of mind!

I don't know about any us and them mentality apart from the fact that there are two distinct groups involved in the job market: the jobseekers and the jobgivers. And I take it all this blog is about is lamenting some the hardships of being a jobseeker, which sometimes includes complaining about what the jobgivers expect. It seems pretty silly for jobgivers to be wary on the basis of our lack of enjoyment in trying to find a job. I mean unless you are coming out of a top 10 place, which the previous poster clearly is, it is pretty hard not be negative given the job market. I would think conscientious employers would understand this.

As to whether people who have this "bad attitude" get jobs, or are just the "bad philosophers", I dunno, I had 6 interviews, and a fly out for a TT job last year as an ABD. You tell me.

Kevin Timpe said...

Thanks for all the helpful comments. First, a few introductory comments before I move on to the specifics of the suggestions.

In case some of you don’t know, those of us on the committee are neither employed nor paid by the APA. Rather, our role on this committee is analogous to the kinds of service you will likely be expected to do at your universities/colleges, except we are serving the discipline. And, as with university service, I presume to neither speak for the APA nor for my fellow committee members, but I will pass along your suggestions to the committee and, with their input, the APA.

There are a few general categories that the suggestions seem to fit into (though I’m not necessarily endorsing all of these suggestions). Let me begin with those things that would be not only helpful, but fairly easy to implement (all of these are things thatit seems to me, could be accomplished by next year’s October JFP):

-including information on the teaching load in ads

-including ‘AOS’ and ‘AOC’ in each ad

-standardization of certain basic information and location in the ads

-url to the school’s website (but how hard is it to use Google?)

-emailing of new web-ads to subscribers, rather than just a notification email that more ads have been posted

-an index of jobs by state (indicating the type of job: TT/VAP/post-doc/etc…)

-making the web-only ads available as a pdf

-having a separate section for post-docs

-avoiding multiple postings of the same ad

A searchable database with tags would be a little more difficult, but also very helpful and could likely accomplish all of the above simultaneously. A centralized (electronic) application processing by the APA would be even more difficult to institute.

Here are some things that, while it might be nice to have for applicants, but I doubt that the APA can insist on (or, while perhaps it could insist on them, the drawbacks of doing so would probably outweigh the benefits):

-including salary ranges in ads

-avoiding paper applications. Even if the APA could and did institute a centralized, secure server for electronic applications, schools could still ask for paper applications. If they weren’t allowed to advertise in the JFP if they required a paper application, my guess is that many schools (especially teaching schools) would likely advertise only elsewhere (as some already do).

-only non-vague ads

-eliminating ads that call for ‘something special’

-eliminating cover letters

-virtual interviewing. Some might think that the APA wouldn’t do this because it would cut into its revenue stream, but (as with the next suggestion) I don’t see how the APA could itself bring about this change.

At least one person suggested that the APA should increase the number of jobs. How exactly is the APA supposed to accomplish this? One might think this could be done by relying less on adjuncts, but I strongly doubt the APA can exert any real influence on this issue. (If the AAUP hasn’t been able to decrease the percentage of courses taught by adjuncts in the years they’ve been trying to address this, why think that the APA would be able to?)

I also think that it would be good for us to consider how other fields do their searches (and thanks to psychology postdoc from the other APA for the initial information on psychology). That is definitely something for the committee to look into.

Anyone interested in continuing this conversation is welcome to email me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks goes out to Kevin Timpe for indulging us!