Monday, September 1, 2008

Teh Random Scuttlebuttz

Questions, answers, and random thoughts about the job-seeking experience.

1,772 comments:

1 – 200 of 1772   Newer›   Newest»
nobody said...

Bueller? Bueller?

Jeannie said...

Look, it's real nice that you hope my brother is feeling better, but I'm in danger, okay? I am very cute, very alone and very protective of my body. I don't want it violated or killed, all right? I need help! Speaka de English? DICKHEAD!

Anonymous said...

I think it's going to be a rocky season. There seem to be far fewer jobs advertised than last year.

Anonymous said...

Unless you're a Roman historian or even archaeologist - seems like a banner year for them so far.

Anonymous said...

You can literally hear all the decanal sphincters tightening up as search approvals drop like the Dow Jones. Why oh why did I have to graduate the year of W's closing act?!

Cato's Potato said...

Is it true that there are far fewer ads out now as compared to the beginning of October last year? I didn't pay attention last year so I have no way of comparing.

Anonymous said...

Someone who saved the monthly APA placement service emails from last year could do a comparison. Compared to past years, the strictly Hellenist or Latinist positions seem a bit thin. The generalist and archaeologist positions seem about right, maybe a little thin for the former and a bit better for the latter.

As someone pointed out, the big winner so far this year appears to be the Roman historian/archaeologist contingent. As the former member of a Roman arch search, I can say from experience that it's very difficult finding a good candidate. Most departments want someone with outside funding and a field project, preferably with a dig school component. We had 36 applicants and only a handful met this criteria. Perhaps there's a funding problem for Roman arch?

Anonymous said...

Something tells me the Florida States of the world (though maybe not this particular FSU search!) are not going to be doing too much hiring for the next couple of years. State budgets are getting crushed, endowments are shrinking, and we are seriously screwed. Heckuva job, Dubya!

curmudgeon said...

Yet student enrollment will continue to increase for the next several years. The big losers will be the top state schools not in Austin (recession, what recession? We get plenty of oil money here and we have more tax shelters than an international race car driver! hahaha. I'm guessing UVa, U of M, Berkeley, UCLA, UNC, etc. are in trouble. The lower tier schools never get money anyway and the privates got fat during the turn of the millennium. And FSU? I wouldn't hang my hopes there as I don't see the financial situation being any better than last year when the rugged was pulled out from the finalists right after the APA. Last I heard, people were not any more inclined to take a vacation to Disney World right now and the housing market down there is among the worst in the nation. Good luck funding that position.

Anonymous said...

So much angst and it's barely October.

Anonymous said...

I have no reason to say this other than a gut reaction, but I doubt FSU would go to the search-well again if it wasn't with something of a guarantee that they would get the position this time. Searches cost money, you know, and if their administration didn't think they could fund it, I doubt they would have let the act of searching go through again.

Anonymous said...

State schools may be in for some slow years, but there are many complex factors that could come into play. UNC hired five in the last two years, so it is not surprising that they will not be hiring this year. But the undergraduate student body at UNC-Chapel Hill will grow steadily over the next few years, and there are going to have to be more faculty to teach them.

Zorba said...

I think some people have to lay off the ouzo...

Anonymous said...

Hey curmudgeon, this is a family site. We all did a lot of crazy things at the turn of the millennium, but please, nobody wants to hear about anybody's privates getting fat.

Anonymous said...

Great, we're now competing against 14 year old prodigies with Ph.D.s?

Pupienus said...

FYI (listed today on the Chronicle of Higher Ed; blurb is from SUNY New Paltz' website):

SUNY New Paltz Vacancy
External Posting (Faculty)

Applications are invited for consideration for appointment to the following position:

Department: Art History

Budget Title: Assistant Professor

Local Title: Assistant Professor of Ancient Art

Posting Date: October 6, 2008

Salary Level: TBD

Duties: The Art History Department at the State University of New York at New Paltz invites applications for a tenure-track position in ancient Greek and Roman art, with the potential to develop courses in other areas, such as Egyptian or ancient Near Eastern art, as well as teach the first half of the lower division survey, to begin Fall 2009. Responsibilities include active engagement in scholarship and university service.

Qualifications: Candidates must possess a Ph.D. or have completed dissertation by time of appointment; demonstrate scholarly ability, with publications preferred, and have teaching experience beyond T.A. level.

Contact Information: Note search #F08-22 on all materials submitted in connection with this search. To apply, send a letter of application describing teaching and research, accompanied by a CV, a writing sample, sample syllabi, graduate transcripts, and three (3) letters of reference to:

Chair
Art History Search # F08-22
Art History Department
SUNY New Paltz, SAB 108
1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, NY 12561

Deadline: January 15, 2009

SUNY New Paltz is an AA/EOE/ADA employer

Anonymous said...

For those of you who haven't seen this yet:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/opinion/12dowd.html?scp=2&sq=dowd&st=cse

Anonymous said...

For the Rutgers job, you pretty much have to be Ivy or a Euro to get it. Being attractive helps, too.

Anonymous said...

"For the Rutgers job, you pretty much have to be Ivy or a Euro to get it. Being attractive helps, too."

Bitter much?

Comments like these make me think this site isn't as useful as it could be.

Chill out, people. More help, less snark.

Anonymous said...

This is my first year on the market. I am a Hellenist, and I have only found 9 tenure-track jobs that I appear to be at all qualified for and even some of those are a stretch (e.g. I don't specialize in drama). There are a few VAPs as well and obviously I will apply for a dozen or so other tenure-track jobs (Greek history, close enough; Latin poetry, why not), but am I right in thinking that this is an unusually tough year?

Anonymous said...

No...9 so far isn't that bad. And there will be another big listing next month, plus all the VAPs in later months. I guess there are fewer jobs, but it isn't The Great Drought just yet.

Anonymous said...

"Being attractive helps, too."

Yeah, looks have always been the ticket to success in Classics.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what the snide (and bitter?) remark about Rutgers is about. It looks like just a VAP - and even if it were TT (which it is not), one would think that the better state schools (Texas, Berkeley, Michigan etc.) would have a chance too, no?

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is bliss.

Anonymous said...

For the Rutgers comment above, I present as Exhibit A, the list of Faculty, where they're from and pix: classics.rutgers.edu . Look and then come talk to me.

Anonymous said...

"I present as Exhibit A, the list of Faculty, where they're from and pix"

Well, they don't look bitter, envious, and mean, so maybe that's the secret of their success?

That comment that started this off, and the responses that make clear what department and individuals are being discussed, should probably be deleted by the moderator, ideally before the people concerned get to read about how they're only employed because they're hot.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster that the whole Rutgers thing should be taken off the blog--we're better than this. I'm also at Rutgers "affiliated" with that Dept., and I'll say that, yes, there is a bias toward Ivies (esp. Harvard)--but so what? If those are the connections they want to build, then so be it, as long as the hires work out and are good people. The new people hired recently, by the way, seem to be of a high caliber, from what I know, both scholarlywise and personally. So let's just lay off and let them hire who they want as long as it's by the books. If there's another beef here, let's hear it from the person who's clearly bitter, ugly and not-Ivy or Euro.

Anonymous said...

great. now that that is behind us i'd like to get some real advice and something useful.

i'm out for the first time on the market, and there don't seem to be a lot of jobs for my speciality. if the meetings roll around, should i go if i have no interviews? i've heard that some people get ones there, but is this common? i'd hate to compound insult with injury by spending on the $ on hotel, etc.

Servius said...

Regarding the Rutgers Ridiculousness

We talked about this yesterday and had considered deleting the comments, but wanted to see what the community response would be. It is clear that you all have (rightly) condemned them. Our general opinion is that community-policing will do a better job of enforcing norms, at least in cases like this, than a rapid deletion. It is much preferable for the group to establish clear standards and precedents from the outset than to rely upon actual censorship. Negative exempla, after all, can be quite useful.

Granted, this was generalized idiocy. If the commenter had dropped particular names then that comment would now be gone. Period. As it is, we'd rather that the Rutgers folks, if they bother to come here, see actual evidence of support than to hear rumors of censored stupidity.

To wit: "Well, they [Rutgers] don't look bitter, envious, and mean, so maybe that's the secret of their success?"

Exactly right.

And finally, to quote Anonymous 10:55: "We're better than this."

Yes, and let's keep it that way, shall we?

With best wishes to all,
"Servius, Servia et Donatus"

Anonymous said...

It is always a good idea to go, of course - even if you don't get an interview, it is always good to meet people who may remember you when the time comes to fill a visiting position in a hurry, or when there is another round of interviews next year. On the other hand, it can be a depressing experience to be there and have nothing specific to do - so it is a balance.
In my considerable (sigh) experience looking for jobs, it happened only once that I got an interview that I was not expecting at the APA, and that was because the hiring committee chair forgot to send me the email letting me know they were going to see me there. But it has happened a couple of times that I was notified of an upcoming interview a week or even a few days in advance.

Anonymous said...

To go or not to go.

I agree with the previous comment. Your chances of picking up a last-second interview at the conference itself are slim. If you've never been before then definitely go. If you have no interviews then attend some panels, meet some people, and get a feel of the event. That way in the future, when you do have interviews, you will feel comfortable with the process. It is an outlay of cash, which is frustrating, but if you can afford it then it is worth the investment. No matter what you should book a room (you can cancel at the last second anyway) so that you aren't closed out of staying in the conference hotel.

Anonymous said...

I've got to go with the last 2 comments: it's probably a good idea to go. See and be seen. Go to a few talks and to the various gatherings thrown by different schools. Mill around with that name-tag sticking out and look like you know what you're doing, like you belong there. Don't get your hopes up, but be there if something does come through. I was on the market 3 years before landing a TT, and I had 2 interviews posted at the meetings over that time. I've known other people who've gotten them, too. That's just anecdotal evidence, but hopefully it encourages you.

To save money, plan to stay with a few people in a room. Make sure they're supportive types (not the downer ones who make the meetings feel like a funeral), and--boom!--you've got a support group right there for you to encourage and comiserate as needed.

To be prepared if you have an interview, I would plan to have some sort of internet access (you can pay for it there, but I would bring a laptop if you can) so you can look at schools' websites and prep as you would for a regular interview.

Best of luck, and see you there.

Anonymous said...

Comment of the Season, so far:

"Hey curmudgeon, this is a family site. We all did a lot of crazy things at the turn of the millennium, but please, nobody wants to hear about anybody's privates getting fat."

Nominations, however, are still being accepted.

Nemo said...

This is my first time out and I feel like there aren't many jobs in my field. I know it is early, but I'm getting very nervous about my chances of being able to even apply to many positions, let alone get interviews.

How widely do people generally apply? For example, if you've written a Latin historiography thesis would you apply for straight up Roman history jobs? If so, do you ask your referees to write separate letters for jobs outside of your main area? Is there even a point to trying to stretch much beyond your area of expertise?

Anonymous said...

I give all my letter writers a list of the jobs to which I'm applying. This includes a brief job description (e.g., historian, Greek material culture specialist, Roman satire, etc.). This serves two purposes:

1) If I am embarrassed to have my letter writers know that I am applying to a position that is THAT far out of my expertise, then I shouldn't be applying for that job.
2) My letter writers can tailor their letters appropriately. If they are writing one letter for all the jobs, then they won't put anything in that letter that excludes me from any job to which I'm applying. If they are really amazing and write individual letters to some schools, then they tailor the letter to that school.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Nemo said...

How widely do people generally apply? For example, if you've written a Latin historiography thesis would you apply for straight up Roman history jobs? If so, do you ask your referees to write separate letters for jobs outside of your main area? Is there even a point to trying to stretch much beyond your area of expertise?


I'd say, like most job things, the answers depend on your particulars. To me, expertise in Latin historiography makes one a good applicant for Roman history. Keep in mind that what you're asked to teach and what you "do" are rarely exactly in sync and that few jobs are tailored to our specific qualifications.

Speaking from my experience, I wouldn't waste time applying for jobs that are clearly looking for neither what you teach nor what you do. For me that means Greek arch/civ/etc. is fine, but, in most cases, a clear preference for Roman is out. Instead, beef up your chances by applying for generalist positions.

I have used the same rec. letters for all jobs. I think this is the norm, though others may have different experiences.

Most of all, don't despair! Allow yourself some time to think through the possibilities. Lots of schools need generalists--and that means you.

Geiseric said...

RE: Nemo's question

Don't forget that the language of the add gives little indication of how the committee will actually discuss the applications. They may ultimately decide that, yes, it's a Roman history job, but that they'd like to have the specialist of Latin historiography who could teach history and maybe civ courses; or the specialist of Roman religion who could forge a link with theReligious Studies department; etc. Look at the faculty profiles to assess what they already have and what you can offer them.

Anonymous said...

I myself believe in applying widely. Don't be afraid of search committees sneering at your audacity - the job market is competitive and most people would be very understanding. Even if anyone laughs at your temerity, YOU will never know that and no one, except utter fools, will be talking about your application to those who have no business of knowing.
I would tailor my cover letter (and maybe cv) to the specific job, but wouldn't ask my recommenders to do the same - I feel that is too much of a burden for them, unless you are really confident that they are ready to go that far. You should instead have a good, candid conversation with them about what places you are thinking of applying to and remind them of your strengths and achievements (if they are not familiar with them already).

Anonymous said...

Well, most of us will have to borrow a pair from Hilary Clinton as the pickins are slim this year, even for mainstream classicists. The comp lit and history positions are looking more enticing by the hour.

Anonymous said...

At this rate I think even some of the adds currently up there won't get funding approval in the end. Just like last year, when the folks at FSU got screwed by the state budget crunch after they'd interviewed at the APA, more than a few of these jobs are going the way of the dodo.

My advice: apply widely (history, comp lit, classics, writing programs, mellon fellowships, landcape day-laborer) but invest in a pop-corn popper and a good squirrel-rifle as soon as you can.

Nemo said...

Thanks for the responses everybody. Especially to Anon 12:01 who made me feel sooooo good. In that vein, here are some tips for dealing with the fun economy:

http://www.alternet.org/story/102992/5_pieces_of_advice_for_the_new_paupers/?page=entire

Anonymous said...

To address the questions about whether this is a good year:

I got a t-t job in Greek Lit in 2001/02. That year, I applied for 49 jobs (all either Greek Lit or generalists), of which 26 were t-t. Almost all of the t-t jobs were posted by the mid-October listing.

I'm sorry to say that, yeah, this year looks awful.

Anonymous said...

You applied to 49 jobs??!! As a Greek Lit person???!!!

That's not the sort of perspective I wanted to hear.

Anonymous said...

It depends on perspective. It's a good year for Latin, and not so good for Greek. Last year it was the other way round; though agreed, last year was a little better for Latin than this year is for Greek.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there is a link to a list of Ancient Philosophy jobs in philosophy departments (other than through the American Philosophical Association's JFP, which one has to be a member to access)?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 12:35,

Leave a comment over at the Philosophy Job Market Blog begging for a copy of the latest JFP and a bunch of people will mail you a PDF copy.

This is what I did last year and I had a copy in less than an hour.

Anonymous said...

Last year I applied to 80+ jobs, and only landed a one-year position. That's with being done, publications, and coming off a one-year job at an Ivy.

If you're ABD from anywhere but Princeton or Stanford, too bad.

Anonymous said...

The economy being what it is now, both public and private schools are suffering a lot - and it is no wonder that job searches are fewer this year (though I hear there are bright spots even at this time, e.g. Texas). That said though, no one should be discouraged from applying wherever he/she thinks there is any chance of getting in - there are so many fortuitous variables out there, and I can easily imagine a non-Princeton, non-Stanford ABD getting a good TT job somewhere even this time round (of course that person has to very smart and be a very good fit with the dept., but that goes with any successful candidate)

No Man said...

Sounds good, but...I'm still stocking up on dog food and a pellet gun as Plan B.

Anonymous said...

Re: Princeton/Stanford ABDs. Just to put this to bed right now: I was one of the people who compiled a list last year of institutions from which new employees got their PhDs (mostly to silence the person who kept raving mesianically about Stanford's overwhelming superiority). Anyway, as the results showed, sure, Princeton and Stanford did well, as is only to be expected, but many other schools did well too, both large State, Ivy and other private unis. So I doubt there's much reason to think that ABDs from Princeton and Stanford are the only ABDs who might get a job. The only people who have an interest in perpetuating this nonsense are ABDs from Princeton and Stanford, and since I doubt they have such Machiavellian intentions I can only assume that these ideas are spread as a result of rampant paranoia and unjustified inferiority complexes on the part of *a tiny handful* of graduates from other universities. In short, I don't think a Berkeley or Michigan ABD is any more anxious than a Stanford ABD, nor should they be.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed. No Princeton or Stanford alumni or affiliates in my court.

-- The Prince

Anonymous said...

Hell, I already have a degree from one of the two places mentioned, am a VAP, and I'm nervous. No, scared.

Kal-Kan, here I come.

Homer said...

Need to explain to a search committee why you think teaching Classics is important?

Here you go:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/10/27/hostage.escape/index.html

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please (pretty please!) post the job ads for Muskingum College and South Carolina State ancient history positions? I cannot find any record of the existence of these searches, except on the wiki list...

Anonymous said...

Muskingum:
http://www.h-net.org/jobs/display_job.php?jobID=37423

Haven't found the search at SCSU, but someone probably confused SCSU and USC...
http://www.h-net.org/jobs/display_job.php?jobID=36924

Mad_Max said...

How do you get your referees to write 80+ letters for you? Or if you use a credentials service, how do you afford the fee they charge you? The final tab must easily top $500, not counting any postage or supplies you paid for yourself. I guess you need Daddy Warbucks helping out. Great, this only lends more credence to the opinions on here that classics is for rich, verbose white people who have an irrational need to feel smarter than other people who are obviously kicking our asses at everything else.

Anonymous said...

Does your PhD university not have a career center that keeps reference letters on file? Mine did and would send out letters for free (as long as it wasn't rush delivery) for something like five years after graduation. In any case, even if they charge a fee, it's usually pretty nominal.

Mad_Max said...

Yup, and it's $8/institution for regular delivery and quite a bit more for FedEx, UPS, etc. Don't even ask about sending letters to Canada. It doesn't matter how long you've been out. It's a top ten program and university, just not Stanford or Princeton with their overflowing coffers.

Anonymous said...

Mad Max,

I faced this last year and I just had to load up the credit card on Interfolio. No way around it. Many institutions provide this service for free, many don't. Bad luck that yours does not. FWIW, many other than Sford and Pton do (private and public), so it is no use singling them out.

I feel your pain, especially since I am still paying off my credit card bill, but it was worth it. Bite the bullet, invest in a 50lb bag of rice and lots of dry pinto beans, and good luck!

Anonymous said...

OMG YOU GUYS. Like, seriously, this Stanford and Princeton stuff has to stop. Britney out.

On a more dignified note, the economy is bad. Let's help each other get jobs by sharing helpful information, answering questions, giving constructive advice, etc.

I wish I could think of an alternative to the $8 letters. That is very expensive, although on the positive side, it is GREAT that you have 80+ jobs for which you can apply.

Mad_Max said...

80+ apps? That was some candidate from a previous year.

Thanks for the words of encouragement from everyone.

Nemo said...

OMG YOU GUYS. Like, seriously, this Stanford and Princeton stuff has to stop. Britney out.

Amen Sister!

Nemo said...

On a different note--

Anybody else applying to that 125K/year high school in NYC? I am intrigued, and have always considered private school teaching anyway (not sure the research life is for me).

Anybody with non-higher-education teaching experience out there?

Anonymous said...

Well, does Stanford and Princeton charge for credentials? Nuff said.

Bust_A_Move said...

Any of you young MCs throwing your hat into the ring for the Berkeley position? This is to replace Stephen Miller, right? Why doesn't a school of Berkeley's stature just cherry-pick some established archaeologist? It looks like BU, Harvard, and Brown are going this very route. I'm a Roman archaeologist in a VAP, no dig of my own. Do I even bother?

Poindexter said...

Yo yo yo Busta!

You're on a mission and you're wishin'
someone could cure you're lonely condition
You're lookin for love in all the wrong places!

From frustration first inclination
Is to become a Latinist and leave the situation
But every dark tunnel has a lighter hope
So don't hang yourself with philological rope

Got no money and you got no car
Then you got no Dig and there you are
Some schools are sophistic... materialistic
Looking for a hire makes them opportunistic

So on the VAP you're strollin'... real high-rollin'
Everything you have is your's and not stolen
Berkeley runs up with somethin to prove

So don't just stand there, bust a move!

If you want it, babe apply for it!
If you need it, babe apply for it!

Just bust a move!

Peace Out!

Anonymous said...

I think Berkeley is looking to create a short list with new VERY promising talent and older, more proven talent. If they find a more established, fairly prominent archaeologist who fits their culture and wants to move to Berkeley, I imagine they'll hire that person. But I think they don't want a failed search, and if they see A Bright Young Thing with lots of promise, and they can't get Mr. Big Shot Indiana Jones, then they'll go for A Bright Young Thing. Or maybe they want to grab The Next Superstar before anyone else does, so they'll go young. Who knows? I doubt they have a master plan. The Berkeley folks are nice, and they will take all applications seriously (and no, I have no direct connections with Berkeley).

So, if you have some interesting ideas, a great book in the works (even if you're just starting), some respectable scholars willing to say you're Pretty Damn Good, and the obvious initiative and experience to start a dig of your own at the proper time, OR a major project of some sort (digging isn't everything these days), then I say go for it.

At the very least, you might get to meet the nice folks at Berkeley, make some friends, and share your ideas. I found that part of the job search really quite nice, even though I certainly didn't get offered most of the jobs for which I interviewed.

So good luck!

Anonymous said...

poindexter,

You're going to get the best job ever. That was awesome.

Anonymous said...

Poindexter made my night. Bust it.

Mad Max: knowing nothing of your situation, I wonder if it's possible for you to suggest to your department to start a "letter service" for grads? (Feel free to laugh bitterly at this suggestion and skip this paragraph.) Mine had one, and it made a huge difference in terms of cost and convenience. I had each reference submit a standard letter (the dept. wouldn't go for anything more complicated), which went in the part of the student files we can't see anyway. Every month or so, I email someone in the dept with a list of the letters I need.

Re: Berkeley. I have no clue what they want, but, having some personal ties with that school, I second Anon. 9:11's comment that they'll take every strong application seriously--despite some of the opinions to the contrary posted here last year.

Anonymous said...

new VERY promising talent

I suppose "very promising" means you have to be lucky enough for your diss research, which you started years ago, to be in vogue just at the right moment. So what's the flavor of the year for archaeologists? We've seen the archaeology of memory, human agency, and gay-sex-rawks come and go. Who's lucky enough to be in fad this year?

Anonymous said...

I think anon. 9:11 put it nicely. As someone pointed out earlier, Berkeley is going to have some serious competition for a senior hire. Harvard obviously has prestige in spades, Brown has much of that prestige plus the well-funded Jokouwsky Institute, and BU is a dedicated archaeology department that some will find alluring, especially when bumped up in prestige with a Wiseman chair.

Regardless, it will take the right combination of factors to lure a superstar entrenched at their current position. Presumably, they would have moved years ago if their situation wasn't ideal.

The other option for these schools is to hire a mid-career archaeologist, but you don't have the allure of "upside" that some of the "young MCs" will have. Plus you have to pay them closer to a full prof and they might have plateaued. Worse yet, they might be about to pack it in - nothing worse than a deadwood archaeologist who doesn't do any active research. I can think of many programs off the top of my head that have one of these terminal associate profs.

Anon 9:11 said...

Anon 9:11 here. By "VERY promising" I meant looking like a coherent program of research (without regard to snazzy focus) that will go somewhere and really add to the discipline through its depth and insight. The folks at Berkeley are unlikely to simply grasp blindly at The Flavor of the Day. They do, however, need to complement existing departmental strengths, which will explain why they tend to interview people doing particular types of research, if that's what ends up happening.

Anonymous said...

first victim (well, first Classics position victim) of the economic crisis award goes to..... Penn State! Their search just got called off, and I'm sure there's more to come...

Anonymous said...

I am given to understand that this year the flavor of the year for archaeologists is "mango-passion fruit," replacing last year's disappointing "cranberry splash."

Prepare accordingly.

Dick Cheney's Lost Soul said...

Word on the street (where we all soon be living) has it that this year's flavor for Hellenists is "Boiled Shoelace with Dandelion", replacing last year's hit, "Champagne and Madeira Orange".

Prepare accordingly.

Archaeologist du Jour said...

I have hints of cedar, blackberry, and lemongrass, low tannins, and a long, mellow finish. I linger on the palate and go well with lamb.

(translation)

I have hints of colonization, ethnicity, and cultural contact, low writers' block, and a long, productive career ahead of me. My ideas will linger in your mind and complement your departments existing strengths.

From the Robert Parker school of Classics.

Anonymous said...

Sad, sad stuff.

But I'm already a finalist. Will let you know...

Anonymous said...

So how many apps have people sent out? I've barely managed to squeeze out 11 with several of them reaches. I figure 5-6 interviews would be pretty damn good for my situation. Then maybe 1-3 flybacks if I'm lucky? Next year figures to be a LONG year.

Anonymous said...

On a more dignified note, the economy is bad. Let's help each other get jobs by sharing helpful information, answering questions, giving constructive advice, etc.

You see, I just don't get this thinking. We're competing with each other -- why would we help each other?!? Of course, I'd love it if everyone who posts on or lurks at this blog would get a job, but that's not going to happen. And any one of us could be the person that that's not going to happen to. So isn't there a risk that in giving someone else that crucial tip for letter-writing, interviewing, or whatever we might cut our own throat? Likewise, wouldn't you be miffed to lose out on a job that might have been yours had someone not given the ultimate winner a piece of advice they wouldn't have received otherwise?

Now, if those who already have jobs and aren't on the market want to give advice, that makes perfect sense. But for a job-seeker to share information makes no sense, unless it applies only to a job he/she isn't trying for.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the above-quoted statement.

People do not get jobs because they followed random advice on FV about using Interfolio and what the Berkeley SC is looking for. They get jobs because they have good ideas and scholarly promise, are finishing or have finished their dissertations, have good people writing them letters, and present themselves well in print and in person.

My exhortation -- let's help each other -- was meant to direct the conversation back to a civil, pleasant space.

So yes, it was a bit rhetorical. It isn't as if I am going to start passing along tips about how the other posters can improve their job talks (although I certainly will do that for members of my cohort, even if we are competing for the same jobs). But I have no problem forwarding someone a job ad they can't find anywhere online.

Good luck with the job search, anon 4:40 am. You seem a little stressed out (I hope it wasn't 4:40 am your time!), and I think all of us are.

Anonymous said...

On that note, I remember meeting a fellow job candidate last year at an APA party, and a well-meaning but perhaps misguided SC member introduced us and mentioned that we both were interviewing the next day for the same job. I smiled and tried to make small talk, but the other guy just made a face and turned his back on me and started talking to another SC member. That was just unnecessary. I won't ever forget his name or his behavior.

Anonymous said...

FYI (from CAA website):

Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, Foundations Department. Tenure-track, Assistant Professor, beginning late August, 2009. Specialist in Ancient or Medieval art and architecture to teach two sections of the three quarter long “Survey of Western Art and Architecture”, as well as a course elective each quarter (excluding summer quarter) in area of specialization, to undergraduate studio majors. Candidate must be comfortable with undergraduate and graduate education in a studio environment. The Foundations Department provides core curriculum for all visual art disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels in addition to programs in first year studio and art history. We are seeking individuals who are committed to contributing to RIT’s core values, honor code and statement of diversity. RIT offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with experience.

Send letter of application, CV, statement of teaching philosophy, list of courses taught, three recommendation letters that address teaching abilities, and a sample of recent scholarship to:

Professor Joyce Hertzson, Chairperson, Art History Search

Foundations Department, College of Imaging Arts & Sciences

Rochester Institute of Technology

73 Lomb Memorial Drive

Rochester, NY 14623-5603

You must formally apply in iRecruitment to complete the application process at: https://mycareer.rit.edu In the “Keyword or IRC # Search” field enter: IRC24973, highlight “Faculty, Tenure Track” then press “GO”. You will be directed to this specific position posting. Please complete the brief form, attach your CV and submit.

Application Deadline: December 1, 2008 for an interview at the CAA conference.

The Rochester Institute of Technology is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All individuals with the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to the university’s continuing commitment to cultural diversity, pluralism, and individual differences are encouraged to apply.

RIT attracts students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. The Rochester area has a diverse population, which includes African Americans (38% of the city and 14% of Monroe County) and Latin Americans (13% of the city and 5% of the county). In addition, more than 7% of the population is foreign born. Rochester is ranked 7th among the “10 Best Cities to Raise a Family” by Child Magazine, 2003, and 8th among 200 metro areas in childcare for “Best Cities for Women 2002” by Ladies Home Journal.” In 2007 Rochester’s ranked the 6th “Best Places to Live in America” by Places Rated Almanac out of 379 metropolitan areas.

NOTES:
Additional Salary Information: RIT offers a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with experience.

Requirements
Ph.D. required, with college level teaching experience in the history of art and a record of publications.

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that FSU has imposed a university-wide hiring freeze. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

The FSU hiring freeze:

http://www.wctv.tv/news/headlines/33617379.html

Anonymous said...

"I have no reason to say this other than a gut reaction, but I doubt FSU would go to the search-well again if it wasn't with something of a guarantee that they would get the position this time. Searches cost money, you know, and if their administration didn't think they could fund it, I doubt they would have let the act of searching go through again."

Anon. October 6, 2:31 am

Looks like your gut needs a calibration.

Carnac_the_Magnificent said...

Any bets on who's next? The trend seems to be large state schools with modest endowments in states with especially bad economies. Hmm, Michgan meets two of the criteria quite well but has a sizeable endowment. Texas also meets two but the state is booming thanks to Homer Bush. Maybe Ohio State or Temple?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any idea whether the early APA listings will come out today? It's 5pm in Philly so I'm guessing that they've packed up for the weekend.

If the November listings tail off significantly like they do almost every year, we're in for a world of hurt...

Anonymous said...

Eh. Happy Halloween!

Anonymous said...

Feck.......

All tricks.

No treats.



Palin/Hannity 2012!!

Anonymous said...

Cornell University has instituted a hiring ban as well, although I'm not sure if this extends to the postdoc they've advertised.

They lost their Latin position, though, which was advertised last year. But it's not like there need to be more high-profile Latin jobs out there this year anyways.

Anonymous said...

It sucks to be a Hellenist this year - go down the freakin' list. Penn State just took a quarter of the Hellenist positions with them.

Anonymous said...

In FOR?

We're IN a world of hurt, my friends.

Anonymous said...

So is the Florida State a DEFINITE no-go? I sent in my application a while back, and haven't heard anything from them either way. But I see that it was updated as "search canceled" on the wiki. Did anyone get a definite response from the search committee itself?

Anonymous said...

I think it's worth checking with FSU. One presumes they would like to get the word out and at least keep candidates from the expense of sending out materials if they could. The classics folks there aren't responsible for the cancelation, but that courtesy would be appreciated I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Well, we all know how slow "the word" can be in reality. Even if the administration had already worked out the specific ramifiations (doubtful), the department would have to beat some bushes to find out, tell everyone involved, and then get the word out to candidates. Unlike the administration, the classics faculty members have a full-time job doing something else. Beating bushes tend to take a back seat to teaching, advising, meetings, research, etc.

Anonymous said...

Until you get official word on any of these canceled positions you should apply. Better to waste a few bucks to stay in the game than assume the worst and miss an opportunity. It's tough enough to get a job without also needlessly limiting your options.

Anonymous said...

You also have some time. The FSU app isn't due until the end of the month.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the above-quoted statement.

People do not get jobs because they followed random advice on FV about using Interfolio and what the Berkeley SC is looking for. They get jobs because they have good ideas and scholarly promise, are finishing or have finished their dissertations, have good people writing them letters, and present themselves well in print and in person.

My exhortation -- let's help each other -- was meant to direct the conversation back to a civil, pleasant space.

So yes, it was a bit rhetorical. It isn't as if I am going to start passing along tips about how the other posters can improve their job talks (although I certainly will do that for members of my cohort, even if we are competing for the same jobs). But I have no problem forwarding someone a job ad they can't find anywhere online.

Good luck with the job search, anon 4:40 am. You seem a little stressed out (I hope it wasn't 4:40 am your time!), and I think all of us are.


Anonymous of Halloween, at 9:03 a.m.:

I disagree strongly that people get jobs solely on merit, and not also because of little things -- or, more accurately, because they knew enough to prevent certain little things from destroying their chances. Just talk to people who have been on search committees and you'll find out about seemingly fine candidates being rejected for a whole range of reasons, and realize that your idealism doesn't fully conform to how things are. (I don't mean that in a harsh way. But there is simply overwhelming evidence that it's more than good scholarship and good letters that lands people jobs.)

You're absolutely right about the need for this site to be civil and constructive. And I should add that my comment wasn't aimed specifically at you -- rather, I remember last year when I was on the market seeing likely competitors being surprisingly helpful to each other, so I was addressing the general phenomenon. On a personal note, I'd say that this year I'm somewhere perfectly good to be, but how do I know that I didn't miss out on something better because someone on this blog gave out an anonymous tip not to shake hands after sneezing (or some such thing), and some social misfit who goes around doing nothing but shaking people's hands after sneezing for the first time in his life wisely opted not to do so when he sneezed just after entering the interview room, and as a result wasn't eliminated from consideration right then and there?

And no, that post was not written at a time when stress over the market was keeping me awake. After all, the November jobs list will no doubt be a veritable cornucopia of job postings!

Anonymous said...

"But there is simply overwhelming evidence that it's more than good scholarship and good letters that lands people jobs."

Agreed. Personality (not necessarily good personality, so maybe we should say persona) and being well-networked goes into the mix too. Networks are the primary way people get jobs. Not first degree ties either, but second degree ties.

I still don't think, however, that people get jobs because somebody on FV told them to stop sneezing and shaking hands. People who do those sorts of things exhibit multiple oddities, and if it isn't one thing, it's another. They probably also had grease stains on their application materials, and if you met them in person, they'd talk at an abnormally loud volume. Or not at all (mumbles, stares at floor). But usually, even if it seems like one small thing derails the application, actually there are multiple moments for derailment waiting in the wings.

I guess in the end, I'm still really glad that you observed people helping each other out last job season.

BTW, not up in the middle of the night because of job stress...rather b/c of howling dogs. But glad you are in a good place and not up in the middle of the night with job stress either.

Bobby Putnam said...

On the Kindness of Strangers, and of Others

During my own job hunts I have been very pleasantly surprised by the level of cooperation and encouragement exhibited by almost every student at my uni.

There was a large group of us on the market last year, and there is a significant number on the market this year. But even when many are applying to the very same jobs, we share information, tips, gossip, and whatever else comes to hand.

What we have realized, and the point I guess I am making, is that we are not competing with each other. It just looks that way from the narrow end. There are too many quirks to the process, and far too many applicants for each position, to worry about particular strangers, or particular friends. Each one of us can take only one job, even if some few of us get multiple offers.

There is so much randomness (at least from the perspective of the applicant) in the system that I would prefer to be helpful, and in doing so to help build a culture of helpfulness, than retreat into a shell of paranoia and contribute to an ethos of ruthlessness. That is why I believe in the potential of the wiki, and am now contributing for the first time here. Let's make our "weak" ties stronger.

And yes, strong coffee in the morning does make me idealistic.

Anonymous said...

PSU Hellenist search cancelled, confirmed by chair of the search committee via email

They hope to try again in 2009-10

Hopefully my cat food will hold out that long.

Anonymous said...

Add sawdust. Helps it go further and you get roughage.

Will_WORK_4_FANCY_FEAST said...

"Hopefully my cat food will hold out that long."

Sheesh, where do you VAP? Princeton? Stanford? Out here in fly-over land I only have Kibbles 'n Bits keeping me going.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone hear from the Placement Service yet? (I've just been added to the list--I hope.)

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I know Renie et al are overworked every year (and I'm sure underpaid), but it's becoming more obvious every year that the APA Placement Service is barely holding on. Perhaps the APA/AIA should just outsource this service if there is an agency that does this across disciplines? If not such animal exists, perhaps the APA/AIA should devote more resources. We're not just talking about a quantitative improvement, but a qualitative one. In this information age, I have a feeling that there are technological resources out there that could tremendously streamline the entire operation; we just need to find and implement them. At the minimum, it would help us buck the trend of looking so bass ackwards. Just because our subject matter is ancient shouldn't mean that we are...

Anonymous said...

Ask and ye shall receive. My favorite, so far, from Texas Tech:

"Courses to be taught include: survey courses on the material culture of Greece, Rome and Egypt, a course on ancient technology, a seminar on the Trojan War and, on the graduate level, an overview of the theories and methodologies of archaeology."

Specific!

As to Anon. 5:17's point: yes.

Anonymous said...

The early edition was sure a disappointment.

It's bad, kids, real bad.

Anonymous said...

Also - No other job I've applied to this year has asked for a teaching philosophy, and I'll be damned if I'm going to write the requisite drivel just so I can have the chance of spending the rest of my career in Lubbock. I know it's a bad year, but I still have my dignity.

Anonymous said...

I know it's a bad year, but I still have my dignity.

You must be new to this.

Anonymous said...

The media was calling MI a one-state recession for the longest time. Now that the vast majority of the country has joined them in the economic toilet, I think the new delineator should be calling TX the one-state boom. Texas Tech has TWO @#%@#$% jobs while FSU and Penn State just cancelled their searches?!?! Coincidence? I think not. When you enter your booths, ladies and gentlemen, remember that clueless face from Oval Office when you cast your vote.

Anonymous said...

So what's up with U-Manitoba and Carleton not even bothering to advertise through the APA? I mean, I get how they're in Canada, and thus probably won't hire non-Canadians, but still...

And yes, VERY bad sign that the early Nov. jobs include only 4 positions, and one of them is a job cancellation ad (Penn State), rather than a new job ad. Hmm, maybe teaching middle school wouldn't be that bad after all.

Anonymous said...

Lubbock actually is a pretty decent place. Good food and good music, depending on your taste, and if you hate the cold, well, West Texas does get chilly, but it isn't Minnesota. Compared to many, many other places, I'd be happy to end up in Lubbock. So please, don't send in that application...I'll take the job and feel not only grateful but blessed.

Tom and Bingo's Hickory Pit BBQ here I come (the BEST brisket ever)!

Rich_Texan said...

Yeah, decent if you're white, male, and love the 2nd amendment. Wait, I guess it isn't so bad after all. The only think I need to do pack some heat and I'm a perfect fit. Sign me up.

Anonymous said...

"Ask and ye shall receive. My favorite, so far, from Texas Tech:

'Courses to be taught include: survey courses on the material culture of Greece, Rome and Egypt, a course on ancient technology, a seminar on the Trojan War and, on the graduate level, an overview of the theories and methodologies of archaeology.'

Specific!"

Well, I actually went to school with someone who fits this description to a T. Unfortunately for Texas Tech, my hunch is that he'll have a dozen schools hot on his trail when it all said and done. Me? Nada and I ironically went more "mainstream" because I thought that's where the jobs would be. HA! Now where's that knife.

Anonymous said...

The media was calling MI a one-state recession for the longest time. Now that the vast majority of the country has joined them in the economic toilet, I think the new delineator should be calling TX the one-state boom. Texas Tech has TWO @#%@#$% jobs while FSU and Penn State just cancelled their searches?!?! Coincidence? I think not. When you enter your booths, ladies and gentlemen, remember that clueless face from Oval Office when you cast your vote.

Posts like this remind me once again that those of us having a Ph.D. (or being close to one) aren't necessarily any smarter than the rest of society, despite our pretensions.

No_Shame said...

Yeehaw! Yippy-kee-yai-yay, little doggies!

Anonymous said...

When you enter your booths, ladies and gentlemen, remember that clueless face from Oval Office when you cast your vote.

Ooooooohhh, I could just kiss it! Clever little devil! Thank you, kind sir, Thank you!



**Palin/Hannity 2012!**

I voted said...

Hey Anon. 8:31: What's up with Carleton being in Canada? Unless there are two schools of the same name, Carleton is in Minnesota. Maybe you could share the job info with us anyway?

It's fine by me if people don't apply to Texas Tech for whatever reasons. My mantra: any job is a dream job relative to unemployment in this market. I like bbq, actually, and I love to work. (Really.)

I voted said...

Oh, nevermind. I should have Googled Carleton University first. Still curious about the positions, though.

Anonymous said...

It also gives me great pleasure to reflect that this election may be a turning point for two very prominent American classicists, who have vigorously defended the Elephant party and have flourished under its rule. May the majority of saner and more conscientious classicists get their deserts this time round.

Anonymous said...

In addition to paying our mortgages and putting gas in our tanks, will President Obama get us all jobs this year?

Anonymous said...

Unless you get that Texas Tech, UT, or Trinity job, he's more likely to help us get jobs than Shrub.

Anonymous said...

4:08am seconded. Loudly.

Tired to seeing our profession publicly hijacked by loons.

Anonymous said...

"Hijacked by loons"?!? The two you have in mind have done more over the past twenty years to get members of the public interested in our field. What we need is more such "loons" to help make our field more relevant (or perceived as more relevant, if you will).

And anyway, being quite familiar with the political views of at least one of them, I'd say those are mainstream Republican views, not extreme right-wing Republican views, and their tone is far more civil than, say, Anne Coulter. So "loon" probably isn't even the applicable word. And since words is what we do -- well, other than the archaeologists -- I'd suggest using them more precisely.

Anonymous said...

"a turning point for two very prominent American classicists"

Why are you on the market, Judy?

Anonymous said...

I knew that last comment was coming.

Seriously you guys (Cartman voice), let's keep it professional.

Anonymous said...

Three minutes - pretty good! You must have little else to do. All your applications in?

Anonymous said...

"What we need is more such "loons" to help make our field more relevant (or perceived as more relevant, if you will)."

Quite so. I've often remarked that Classics can only be saved by people who leave Classics and complain about how irredeemably crappy Classicists are.

Anonymous said...

Classicists? You mean linguists, theorists, communists...

Having said that, I actually think we could take a leaf out of said nutter's book. Students who do Classics do well. Fact. Unless they choose to become professional Classicists. In which case there's no helping them really.

Anonymous said...

I was once interviewed by one of the guys named in "Who Killed Homer?", and since I found him to be a something of a touchy-feely clueless sort I remember thinking that he probably *had* killed Homer (metaphorically speaking).

Anonymous said...

Homur iz about big tuff menz. Noboddee killz Homur.

Anonymous said...

If you are active in the field it is difficult not to meet someone whom VDH trashes in his book. While some of them may be iffy etc. I find the majority of them to be good, smart scholars - at least they know better than to recycle Rep trash in their blogs or to keep on praising Frutex when everyone would rather forget him.

Anonymous said...

Uh, I have no idea what any of you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Troll.

Anonymous said...

Changing the topic...

Last year, one of the great obsessions of this blog post-conference was the Penn historian/MC search which seemed to go through several candidates and then fail. I just realized that it hasn't been offered again. Anyone know what the story is?

Anonymous said...

You betray your philological leanings. It wasn't a MC position at all despite it falling in the "other" category. They were actually looking for a Roman Historian and from what I understand, they are doing so quietly now.

Anonymous said...

The Penn job specifically mentioned working with materials like inscriptions or papyrus, as well as strengthening connections to fields like archaeology or religion. I'm sure that's what 7:21 meant by /mc.

Anon. 7:21 said...

Well, good to know that a position exists, and that even if it's a senior hire, that might at least create one more junior-level position in the spring. (Though the way senior hires can go, that position might not appear for a year.)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and every clarch position gets advertised as "must teach Greek and Latin at all levels."

The Penn position is for a Roman historian...period.

Anonymous said...

fwiw...

Brown, Cornell, Middlebury, St. Joe's, and Temple all have announced hiring freezes, although nothing official on how faculty searches will be affected (if at all).

fun times.

Anonymous said...

ouch http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/08/education/08college.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Anonymous said...

I assume the APA will organise a panel to discuss the impact of the financial crisis on Classics, esp. the job market. I'm worried about capital fundraising and all but I'm just a tad more concerned about my fellow Classicist who's living on poached cardboard and unduly positive pessimism. I don't know there's much the APA can do, and such discussions can sometimes be hopeless, but it strikes me as appropriate that the professional organisation at least say something, right?

Anonymous said...

HAHA! This is the best post EVER.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, calming a global financial crisis and jolting the U.S. economy out of recession are likely beyond even the vast might of an APA panel. At this point, the most promising path would probably be for the APA to focus on inventing a time machine, so that it can send emissaries back to 2000 to discourage people from going to grad school in Classics. The real danger there, I guess, is that our emissaries would be dismissed as lunatics and crackpots. That's what tends to happen to well-meaning visitors from the future, in my experience anyway.

Anonymous said...

No one's suggesting the APA bail anyone out, but as a *professional* organisation it would seem appropriate to give due attention to matters affecting the profession. Surely? Why do academics recoil at the idea of professionalism? It's precisely this kind of thinking that results in the placement service and indeed all job searches operating in their peculiar Luddite way. The idea that we all sit around listening to talks about pots and poetry without a single public word on the issue most affecting most of the attendees seems negligent to me. How can we get so worked up about the AP issue but not even think *some* comment by the APA on the short term future of graduate students is appropriate?

WWHD said...

It's not an issue of what's appropriate; it's a matter of what the APA actually is. Yes, the APA is an old organization by US standards. Yes, it's the way we connect classicists with jobs (though this is starting to slip as other venues obviously do a superior job). But don't look at it like the US Congress or even a faculty senate. It's more like the UN or imperial duma (which appropriately comes from the verb "to consider"). There is very little top-down authority here. It's up to some individual big-wigs in the field to act upon "considerations" made by the APA. In my experience, what happens in the trenches rarely makes it to these people unfiltered. Why? These "big-wigs" are at elite schools whose concerns do not reflect those of the vast majority of the classics field. And no, I disagree with much of the diagnosis written in WKH?, but I do agree with much of the symptoms plaguing the field.

Anonymous said...

All I envisaged was a few appropriate people (e.g., Saller, Nugent, Shailor, et al.--you get the idea) giving a short rundown of likely contingency plans for grad admissions and hiring. I.e., a nominally informed discussion of plausible short- and medium-term scenarios and their impact on the discipline. Does no one think that this would be a good idea? Do jobseekers really matter that little? Don't they make up a good chunk of the attendees, indeed the field? Come on, it's got to be better than yet another talk on 1) the particle 'ge', 2) drunk archaeologists in Hollywood, 3) the benefits of a classical liberal education (I bet there are a few people not really seeing the benefit of one of those right now).

Anonymous said...

How about some "straight talk" on yeah-I-know-it-looks-sexy-being-a-Stanford/Princeton-prof-who-teaches-one-course-per-year-and-gets-paid-to-get-drunk-at-the-APA-and-hit-on-students-30-years-our-senior-but-there-we-constitute-1%-of-the-jobs-out-there-even-if-you're-lucky-to-snag-one-ha-ha-ha----ha-ha-ha.

Anonymous said...

It's a nice idea, but do you really think that even big shot deans like Richard Saller have 'contingency plans for grad admissions and hiring' in Classics/Classical studies? Come on - it's reality check time for all of us job-seekers. BTW, no amount of talk or APA panels will be corrective or even predictive. Do you expect some blather from the APA to provide some sort of salve? Face it - these are tough times. When outfits like Berkshire Hathaway post a 77% profit fall in the 3Q, academe cannot expect to be immune.

Anonymous said...

I understand the desire for some sort of secure and helpful knowledge. Unfortunately, not only has the dust not settled yet, but the earthquake is still going on. In January, a panel would be able to tell you that things look pretty bad and to give you anecdotal information about colleges and universities cutting back. But you already know things look pretty bad, and the APA listings already give you anecdotal information about colleges and universities cutting back. Nobody has useful secret information that they could impart at a panel. I don't see any reason to convene a panel for the purpose of fretting and handwringing. Surely that's what the bar is for, anyway.

Anonymous said...

It's not about immunity or a salve. It's about a realistic assessment from people who may know more than graduate students or junior faculty. They don't need to know what's going on with the financial markets, they just need an idea of the kind of planning going on at the upper levels of universities (which they really ought to have). Are we likely to see accelerated moves to disband smaller departments like Classics and construct larger humanities/languages departments (as is happening in certain institutions)? What are the figures for new grad students going on the market and how will that affect market size if the number of jobs available is low for 1 year / 2 years etc.? If hiring is going to be lower than usual will that affect the desirability of certain kinds of candidate? And if this isn't something that the APA currently concerns itself with, well, perhaps it should. One poster said it was the APA's job to consider things. It could start by considering this. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

"In January, a panel would be able to tell you that things look pretty bad and to give you anecdotal information about colleges and universities cutting back."

My gut feeling tells me that APA panels typically are bad and that this one would be no different. My idealistic side thinks that someone could play with some figures to do with admissions, jobseekers, jobs, etc. and give us some more interesting, albeit depressing, information. Also, I can't shake the feeling that it would be odd for the APA to say nothing at all while the attendees discuss nothing else at the bar. And it's discussions at the bar that tend to be the most hysterical and least quantitative, no?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Anon. November 9, 2008 6:07 PM, but your take is extremely naive. There is no magic bullet. There are no reliable stats - for instance the APA reports are all based-on candidates' willingness to self-report. There are not any grand master plans. Higher education is not so organized. Harder times are yet to come, so save some of your optimism about constructive advice for when it is darker even than it is now.

Anonymous said...

"Are we likely to see accelerated moves to disband smaller departments like Classics and construct larger humanities/languages departments (as is happening in certain institutions)? What are the figures for new grad students going on the market and how will that affect market size if the number of jobs available is low for 1 year / 2 years etc.? If hiring is going to be lower than usual will that affect the desirability of certain kinds of candidate? And if this isn't something that the APA currently concerns itself with, well, perhaps it should."

The APA does not collect this information in real time. Some of it, it collects and analyzes retrospectively, years down the road. The APA is not an industry group. It is a placement service with a small staff and volunteer officers. If you want an APA that does these things, you're going to have to give it a lot more money.

"they just need an idea of the kind of planning going on at the upper levels of universities (which they really ought to have)."

Universities are planning to spend less money. This means instruction, hiring, raising tuition and fees, construction, salaries, benefits. All of the things that they usually spend money on. How much less, depends on their individual situation, which no university knows securely yet. Dust not settled, earthquake still going on. Hence specific information is not yet available.

Little Orphan Annie said...

Look. The economy is bad, but will get better at some point. Probably it would be a good idea for faculty not to encourage undergraduates to go into Classics PhD programs; likewise, for Classics PhD programs to limit enrollment to only a couple of new students a year, at least until we see how the next 4-6 years affects higher education and the humanities (yes, I know this can put departments in some degree of jeopardy within their own universities, but it is the right thing to do). Given that there are so many factors at play, we JUST CAN'T PREDICT what will happen, the responsible thing to do for the time being is to limit the new PhD student intake. As for those people currently in a PhD program, it is up to you to determine whether it is worth it to you to finish or not. It's a risky economy anyway; might as well finish, in my estimation, then go get another job if you don't land one in Classics.

If universities and professional organizations have any responsibility to current humanities PhD students right now, it is to help them figure out what alternatives they have outside of the traditional university posts and to give them support, in terms of references, the same as they would academic job seekers.

There is nothing else the APA can do, short of releasing some sort of statement advocating the things mentioned above: 1) limiting PhD enrollments, for the near future, and 2) graciously writing recommendation letters for advisees seeking non-academic jobs, and 3) pressuring universities to really work on helping current humanities PhD students get good non-academic jobs.

An APA panel where we all sit around guessing at what might happen is going to be a royal mess. Furthermore, an open session to voice our concerns is going to do nothing but result in the kind of name-calling that anon 5:40 embraced.

Trust me, I'm as freaked out as the rest of you about what's going to happen to me over the next few years. All I can do is keep my nose to the grindstone, try my best to get a job, and if I don't, then go find some other gainful employment. That is how living in this type of society works. Nothing is owed to me; my PhD program made it very clear when I started that THE ODDS WERE I WOULDN'T GET A TENURE-TRACK JOB at the end of my time there. And I am in a perfectly respectable PhD program. They were honest, and I thank them for it; I loved Classics enough that it was worth the gamble. And will I regret it if I don't get a job? Nope. It was worth it. And I got some great skills along the way that I can use elsewhere. In fact, I'm hedging my bets and applying for some non-academic jobs too, and some of them are interesting jobs that pay well and have a nice work environment.

Seriously, get back to your dissertations and keep your chins up! At this point, that's the best thing you can do...that, and expanding your career horizons.

Good luck to all!

Anonymous said...

Here's what I'm ticked about. I'm finishing up at a top ten classics program. It's a large program - I entered with eight other people. There are cognate programs affiliated with us - ancient history, archaeology, philosophy, religious studies. Can you guess how many people entered these programs at the same time as us? One to three. Many of these students can apply for generalists positions AND additional departments - history, religious studies, philosophy, art history, etc. What WERE these admittance committees thinking when they offered spots for over ten people? I've found similar ratios at other large programs. Can you guess who's getting positions MUCH easier than us? All of them!

Anonymous said...

I think it's apt that you described these other programs as cognate disciplines and not sub-disciplines. You pretty much described in passing what's happening at the ground level.

I think this goes back to issues previously brought up here. Perhaps deans are getting wise to the fact that we typically have less than 10 people in our classes? It's partly the unavoidable nature of a language program with prereqs but it's also the result of a traditional two-tiered system where historians and archys often bore the brunt of the teaching load. Is it THAT surprising that deans are finding more versatile candidates more attractive? Heck, they can teach Greek and Latin, how many universities can afford to have six subtle differences in essentially the same flavor? To offset this, we brought aboard more students but the pyramid scheme is finally cracking, along with the two-tiered system where classics was boss.

Anonymous said...

Yup, too many Ciceros and Caesars, not enough Spartacuses and Vergils.

Anonymous said...

"Yup, too many Ciceros and Caesars, not enough Spartacuses and Vergils."

Well, I am Spartacus.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Thucydides. Sometimes I wish I were a Caesar. Can't even imagine attaining Spartacus.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm Spartacus!

Anonymous said...

If it pays, I'll be Spartacus. As of now, I'm just jobless.

Anonymous said...

The "higher ups" may also not think this is too big of a deal because they remember the carnage of the 80's. Older faculty members have been saying that the market of the last few years has been unbelievably good, and the recent correction may seem more like a return to normalcy to them.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't that then coincide with a reduction in the number of graduate students admitted? Or at least a more public ackowledgement of the statistics. I get the feeling that most people here were either terribly well informed (I was not) or have terribly pessimistic expectations of the kind of information they are entitled to / can receive.

Anonymous said...

Reducing the number of grad students would mean reducing the number of intro language sections (taught cheap). I'm not from a straight Classics background, but my MC department was in the same situation--the department's health required TA's. Although it feels like a pyramid scheme, without that cheap labor force many departments would shrink or suffer in other ways. Like it or not, we were lucky to be admitted to these programs, luckier still if we land TT jobs.

Anonymous said...

I'm not buying that we need to admit so many grad students in order to teach intro languages. This can easily be done by one or two faculty. If necessary, a lecturer with a Ph.D. can be brought on.

Like someone mentioned, a major factor in accepting all these grad students over the past twenty years was so that senior scholars could justify teaching esoteric classes with 5-10 students. There wouldn't even have been this many spending an entire semester learning about "Pigherding in Homer" were it not for this high matriculation rate.

So these departments with over five faculty members started accepting dozens of grad students while adjuncts, historians, and archaeologists took up the slack in numbers. You graduate a bunch off these students who learn this system and those who land at bigger schools repeat the entire process. Yes, not all land at big schools, but enough do that we're eventually flooding the market with grads from elite schools who just want to teach pigherding.

Anonymous said...

The only recession-related issue over which APA members have any impact concerns whether search committees should consider favoring candidates who already are out of grad school over grads who have the option of remaining in grad school for another year. To use an overwrought and mixed metaphor, in this economic tsunami those still in grad school have life preservers to give them shelter, while anyone who already has a Ph.D. is in danger of being swept overboard.

With the number of tenure-track and visiting jobs dropping significantly, there is a great danger of losing people with bright futures, and that hurts the field tremendously. Every year, of course, there are some who fail to find jobs and leave academia, but it will almost certainly be a much greater number of the next two years or so, and the only thing that can be done about this is for search committees to take this into account. Whether they will is an open question, and whether they should is a better topic for an APA panel than the idea proposed above.

As might be guessed from my bringing this up, I'm biased on this issue -- but that doesn't mean that it's not a significant problem that some very good people will be lost unless an effort is made to retain them. And that would be more easily done if pressure from below (i.e., departments sending their grads out onto the market) were relieved somewhat.

Just getting us all warmed up for the class warfare that's going to be beginning on Jan. 20. Just call me Joe the Classicist...

Anonymous said...

The scheme you're proposing requires search committees to talk with departments to find out whether ABDs are going to be allowed to remain at their grad institutions with funding for another year or not. This gets tricky. An ABD who is graduating in May-September needs something to do for the next academic year too. Not all universities, including some of the 'elite' ones, automatically find something for their recent PhDs to do. In fact, several of them make a point of NOT giving them anything after graduation, and also they cut off their funding after a certain number of years, so not only are they not getting paid, they are paying tuition to boot.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 4:40,

Can you put me in contact with your dealer? Whatever you're smoking must be top quality, the Gold Standard of Ganj.

If you think you deserve preferential treatment just because your degree is older and starting to smell a little funky, you need a reality check. By your logic, committees also shouldn't consider candidates who already have permanent jobs. If you think that will happen, I've got this bridge...

Committees should hire the strongest candidate who best meets their needs and fits their culture. That person may just be finishing graduate school. That person may be several years out. The age of the degree is irrelevant. I have yet to hear anyone say, "Aha, a 2006 PhD, that was an especially fine vintage."

The market has never been able to accommodate all the PhDs produced, and very good people have been leaving the field for years. The market is bad by recent standards, and yes, it will probably get worse before it gets better. It's time for all of us to batten down the hatches.

Anonymous said...

2006 was a very, very fine vintage.

Anonymous said...

The economy and education aren't purely professional matters, narrowly conceived - they also affect the shape and composition of the discipline. Why shouldn't we hear experienced academics talk about such things? Some of them might know a thing or two about how previous woes (economic or otherwise) affected Classics. This strikes me as being intellectually relevant to the purview of the APA. Or should our only contemporary concerns be antiquities trading and national vs. museum ownership? History of scholarship doesn't just have to be about Sandys and Pfeiffer you know.

I was a 2007 Coors Light and I like to think I've aged nicely in the (cold certified) bottle.

Anonymous said...

I am on a non-classical SC and I can tell you that on the first round this year, ABD's along with 80's Ph.D.'s were the first ones to go. We are very risk-averse right now - we need someone who can jump into the team and start working right away, and maybe take on some extra work in case we lose someone and that position is not replaced. Of course every SC is different and ABD's should not be discouraged - but I suspect that candidates with proven track records (Ph.D. completed, a book, few years of successful visiting positions, teaching award etc.) are going to be favored this year.

Anonymous said...

Hi - despite the rumors, please note that Cornell's job (Townsend postdoc) is very much a definite go. It's not affected by the hiring freeze. Please help spread the word.

Fruity 07 said...

2006 was a very, very fine vintage.

Too oaky, although some of it is in the pairing. I suggest a bright, crisp and fruity 2007 with a rich goat cheese served up by Dreamy University.

I am the one who said upthread we need the pyramid scheme to survive, but I should have thought about it first--as always, it depends. Yes, pet projects are fed and nurtured (= go well with many vintages?) by large numbers of grads, but it was equally true in my large department that large numbers of graduate TAs allowed higher undergrad enrollment, more course offerings, and all around more state and federal funding. I'm not defending it--because heaven knows that all the folks who start the program are not all getting TT jobs, all fantasies to the contrary--but I am saying that grad students were essential to the health of my Very Public U.

Let us all remember: had these schools not admitted so many students, perhaps they would not have taken one of us.

Anonymous said...

Would that they had rejected me...I might be earning a real income, with good benefits and maybe even some savings, closer to family and friends, with nights and weekends off...

Anonymous said...

Let the chips fall where they may. Yes, there are instances when Professor Joe Bigshot calls Professor Joe Bigshot Jr. and snags a job for ABD Joe Bigshot III through a wink and a smile, but it's much rarer now. The vast majority of jobs will be filled by those with degrees in hand; it's been trending this way for years except at some large schools that can afford to go after a ABD who's the next great thing. Get used to VAP-ing, postdoc-ing, and teaching etymology 101 at your Ph.D. institution (if you're lucky to get offered something). It's the wave of the future for the reasons the previous poster mentioned.

Anonymous said...

"...there are instances when Professor Joe Bigshot calls Professor Joe Bigshot Jr. and snags a job for ABD Joe Bigshot III through a wink and a smile, but it's much rarer now."

I would dispute even the qualification 'rarer'. Having been on quite a few search committees in the last 5 years, I can say that this doesn't happen at all, ever, certainly not at big (i.e. 'bigshot') places, where committees are larger and harder to please/sneak someone by. I doubt too it happens at small colleges, where a bad appointment can really upset the balance of an already small place. So those of you seeking jobs shouldn't worry that this is happening at all, anywhere - it really is an open competition, even if it doesn't seem that way from your side of things.

Anonymous said...

seriously, how naive can you be? open competition? please. keep on dreaming.

Anonymous said...

Naive? Of course, you're free to not believe me if you like... but what *evidence* do you have that it's not an open competition?

Anonymous said...

i'm a different poster, but i agree that the competition is not really open or level in many cases - and no blog is anonymous enough to post that kind of information.

Anonymous said...

How exactly would you determine whether the job competition was open? Would there be an impartial judge saying, "Well, clearly Susie is smarter than Danny, so Susie should get the job, but Danny is going to get it because his adviser went to school with the search committee chair."? Search committees do not say, "Well, Susie is smarter than Danny, but we owe Danny's adviser a favor, so we'll hire Danny." No, the search committee chair went to school with Danny's adviser, so they think alike, write alike, talk alike, respect each others work, and so the chair then is going to think Danny is smarter, because Danny thinks like his adviser, who thinks like the search committee chair. And yes, the degree from the elite school helps too, as deans pressure departments to hire more fancy degrees. But does this mean it isn't an 'open' competition? No. Unless the search is totally rigged, everyone competes, and some people use fancy degrees and networks to their advantage. That is PART of the competition.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe now I see your point. Accepting among your premises the one that some candidates start out having graduated from programs or universities of varying quality or reputation, then sure, of course it's not an 'open' competition.

Anonymous said...

I remember one clear example last year at a large, flagship university where someone made a convincing argument that the search was in fact "rigged" or at the minimum unduly influenced by factors that trumped a simple desire to find the "best." It walked a fine line before naming names, but it was convincing nonethless (coming from someone unfamiliar with the search and the subdiscipline in general).

Anonymous said...

"I remember one clear example last year at a large, flagship university where someone made a convincing argument that the search was in fact "rigged" or at the minimum unduly influenced by factors that trumped a simple desire to find the "best." It walked a fine line before naming names, but it was convincing nonethless (coming from someone unfamiliar with the search and the subdiscipline in general)."

Sorry, but you call that evidence...?

Ghost of FV Past said...

Just one? I remember two clear examples last year. And if you're very clever at rhymes, you can probably even figure out the names of the schools.

Anonymous said...

I agree - rare, yes, nonexistent, no.

Anonymous said...

I don't really believe in rigged searches. But even if I did suspect something I'd still apply. So if there's no way to stop them from happening (if they happen at all), and people are still going to apply, I don't see that there's much to be done. Except blow off some steam on FV. I'd have some 2006 vintage while I'm at it but I'm making cutbacks. Anyone know if that Walmart wine's drinkable?

Anonymous said...

I could name you someone who ONLY got his/her job at a prestigious school with a smallish classics department because his/her dissertation advisor pressured at least one person on the faculty. This was 4+ years ago, and the department has regretted it since. And I have this directly from a senior member of the faculty, someone I trust completely.

So, while I can't quantify how often this happens, it most absolutely certainly does.

Anonymous said...

"I could name you someone who ONLY got his/her job at a prestigious school with a smallish classics department because his/her dissertation adviser pressured at least one person on the faculty."

That may be true, and if so, it's really regrettable. But as you say, it's only one person on the faculty who was subjected to pressure (of whatever sort, I can't really imagine, but I believe you if you say so). But what about everyone else on the search committee? Did they simply roll over and crown this candidate?

My larger point is that you in effect slander entire search committees, not just an individual, if you claim that they all go along with whatever outside pressure is brought to bear on one of their members. (I actually can't imagine what sort of effective pressure a former dissertation supervisor could wield over a past student, but I suppose it's theoretically possible. Has anyone experienced pressure after leaving?)

Anyway, I write this to try to reassure people who are giving each other what amounts to bad and fearful information. If you can find a one-faculty-member department where the faculty member simply names his or her new colleague without any outside oversight, then you win the argument that behind-closed-door, old-boy network coronations happen. Otherwise, you might want to assume a little more good faith among a committee...and not be afraid to apply for a job because you assume you've got no chance anyway. One thing everyone should know is that no school is going to call *you* and offer you a job. That doesn't happen at the stage most readers here are at. If you don't apply, you definitely won't get the job.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm sure there's anecdotal evidence, but it doesn't change my point that there's absolutely nothing that people would do differently. If someone on FV screams foul play before the application deadline it won't make a jot of difference to the number of applications. Nor can foul play ever be proven. Is it a 'rigged' search if one member of the cttee rides roughshod over everyone else in the faculty? I'm not sure - it's probably not a good search. And even if there are 'rigged' searches I bet some of them might even turn out pretty well in the end. People have all kinds of advantages over other people--being in-network is just one of them. One day it may benefit you. Are you suggesting that if a dept. wants to hire a particular someone it should do so without a search? Sure, that'd be efficient. But it's a labor law question and I doubt a dept. is in a position to flout that.

(This responds to the previous poster but one, if that wasn't clear).

Anonymous said...

"I could name you someone who ONLY got his/her job at a prestigious school with a smallish classics department because his/her dissertation advisor pressured at least one person on the faculty. This was 4+ years ago, and the department has regretted it since."

You just put your finger on the reason why this doesn't happen very often.

Anonymous said...

Search committees are only as good as the people who make them up, and I guess it is possible that the constellation of the stars could cause one to be made up of a single committed crank presiding over a bunch of lazy or indifferent members - but like others here I believe this happens rarely enough that job candidates need not worry about it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, grasshoppers. If Professor X is powerful, ruthless and clever there are plenty of ways to ensure that a preferred candidate is hired. Laziness and indifference are hardly necessary. Imagine a committee of five. One has a spouse recently hired by the department, for which Professor X is partly to thank. Another is recently tenured, his candidacy strongly supported by Professor X. A third is a year away from tenure review with a shaky dossier. A fourth aims to succeed Professor X as chair. See horse trading.

Anonymous said...

All of this presupposes that Professor X actually gives enough of a rat's ass to get Groupie Y hired. Likelihood: near to nil. Faculty are way too overworked and underpaid to bother with this stuff. Why blow political and social capital for somebody else when its hard enough to get things for yourself. Arranging for course relief, fundage from deans, etc.? Now were talking beans worth fighting about. Snaking in a favored candidate? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Why? "...because the stakes are so low."

Anonymous said...

Haha, you really underestimate the ego of your average Prof. Bigshot. These academics have pretty much accomplished everything they want in life - chaired position, maybe some dabbling in a deanship, regular course releases, paid time off to give cruise ship lectures, etc. Just the fact that they CAN exert such influence is reward enough. Top that with some pseudo-protege who kisses their @$$, and you have more than enough reason for Prof. Bigshot to open some doors.

Anonymous said...

Let me do a quick poll of those who have been posting recently. Do any of you who think that our hypothetical 'Mr. bigshot prof. x' has sufficient power over an entire department/search committee to handpick a new faculty member who otherwise is less qualified than other candidates (for that's what we're talking about)...do any of you who think this is possible currently have tenure track jobs and/or have served on search committees?

Anonymous said...

I don't have tenure and only a multi-year position right now but I can speak from personal experience that, while Mr. Bigshot may not be able to strong arm the committee into hiring any candidate he wants, he can make life such a living hell for the candidate they did hire that she would be willing to leave a TT job for something less secure. And never regret it.

Anonymous said...

While it's not as autonomous as it's made out by some of you, yes, I've "Prof. Bigshots" in action. S/he doesn't say, "This is my choice and the rest of you can shove off." It's much more sophisticated than that. You mention subtle things about a candidate. "You know, I saw candidate x spend 20 minutes reading a romance novel before we went out to dinner. This surely portends poor productivity in the future." It's MUCH easier and slyer than you think. And as explained earlier, the other candidates aren't stupid nor do they "lay down" often. But as we all know, it's usually a close call between candidates. It doesn't take much for Prof. Bigshot to: 1). get ABD Bigshot III shortlisted 2). tip the balance of favor to this ABD. At this point, we're arguing semantics. What I would call "rigging," seems to be considered "all's fair in love and job searches" by those who claim nothing of this sort happens.

Anonymous said...

I am in a tenure-track position.
I do not have tenure yet.
I have been on a search committee, albeit as the junior member.

My experience was that the senior faculty collectively determined whom would be hired, even senior faculty not on the committee, but they did want to know that I was on board with their selection. That is, they certainly let me know whom they wanted, but if I had expressed serious reservations, I think they would have allowed additional discussion.

Was it an open competition? I think so. I watched senior faculty go through the applications one week before making first cuts, and although they often noted when a friend of theirs had sent a reference letter, they didn't automatically put it in a pile to the side and throw out the others.

The discussions we had when we chose candidates for interviews centered on their ideas and their publishing promise, in addition to their teaching credentials. We weighted their descriptions of their own research MUCH HIGHER than who wrote their letters.

Yes, I do know that at the campus interview stage committee members contacted friends about candidates, but it was in the spirit of getting more information, not trading candidates like chattel, and usually it was to ask about candidates' weaknesses. Often the letter writer was perfectly honest about weaknesses...after all, these are friends with personal relationships, and you don't foist off a bad candidate on your friend. If anything, they probably went overboard detailing weaknesses, just like you'd be careful selling a used car to a close friend...want everything to be out in the open so as not to ruin the friendship.

Sorry for the similes...candidates are neither chattel nor used cars.

In any case, I would say that we ended up selecting the candidate with the most promise, as we saw it. And although some of his/her letter writers did know members of the search committee, the candidates recommended by really close friends of the committee members actually happened not to have better ideas than the candidate we selected and thus were not offered the job. Their letter writers were not offended, because they did not feel that anything was owed to them by their friends on the search committee.

In any case, I hope this gives all of you some hope. Yes, you are going to be more successful if you are well-networked, but that's pretty much how everything works in our society. It isn't as if Classics is an exception to this.

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