An Interactive Website Devoted to the Classics & Archaeology Job Market.
"Because there is no "hire" in "Higher Education"
"Everyone got upset. They had a meeting. Mom started crying. I don't draw like that anymore."
OK, I want to complain about "Experience Required." Even worse: "At least 5 years experience required."So what is the point of going to college?
I'm amazed at how quiet FV is this year. Did we all give up on the market at the same time?
I think it simply the calm before the storm. Once the September job ads hit, and everybody sees how ridiculous the situation is, the bitching will commence.
But it looks a great year for Latinists, amirite guys?
"The Placement Committee was mercifully free of serious complaints about misconduct by individuals or institutions." (Eric Gruen, APA Newsletter) Can this possibly be true? I suppose "serious" is a carefully chosen word, but there was at least one search cancelled due to misconduct. What do you say, famosi? What's the worst thing that happened to you last year?
Addendum: the University of Nebraska should be the first institution this year to be found guilty of serious misconduct, because they request a "curriculum vita"!
I'll curric your vita.
September 6, 2012 9:55 AM, What do you say, famosi? What's the worst thing that happened to you last year?They ignored the shit out of me, does that count?
Which search was canceled because of misconduct? Inquiring minds want to know!
I can't be the only one who knows about this, but I see it's not common knowledge, so fearing for my anonymity, I won't say any more.However, if look carefully through the last year's wiki, I think you'll find the answer.
"They see me trollin'...they hatin'..."
I like playing detective. The wiki indicates several failed searches. Given the information provided by each, and the air of scandal you're alluding to, I'm guessing you mean one of the big jobs at a school in the south?
The APA has recently published the figures for the number of jobs (and percentage tenure-track) vs. the number of candidates for the last nine years. See p. 13 of this document:http://apaclassics.org/images/uploads/documents/Careers_For_Classicists.pdfLast year there were 71 tenure-track jobs and 532 candidates, which means about 13% of candidates got tenure track jobs. Except not quite, since some searches still failed.Why am I slaving away as an adjunct with these odds?
Oh yes, and your odds of getting ANY JOB AT ALL - including a shitty one-year VAP - are about 29%.
And it looks like before the economy went bye-bye (2008 and before) the chances of getting a tenure-track job were on average close to what they are for getting ANY job now (i.e., 25-30%).
I am not sure about those numbers. I think it's very odd that the figure of 532 for job seekers in 2011-2012 is 25% higher than in '09-'10 and '10-'11: if this is a build-up of people who have sought unsuccessfully in previous years, that number should go up gradually in the years after the financial crisis and beginning of the recession, not all at once in a single year. Maybe that figure is OK, but I think there's a real chance it's a typo for 432—it would certainly fit the trend much better.
Back when the Placement Service gaffed and revealed its database, there were 532 candidate entries. Some entries were incomplete, so the data themselves might be faulty. But it's probably right to compare 532 with 427 etc.
I don't believe 100 more jobseekers materialized suddenly out of nowhere in 2011-2012. If you look at that number in the chart, it has been very stable going back to 2003-2004, with the average year-to-year change being about +/- 20, and since 2006 it has always been between 422 and 444.What changed between 2010 and 2011? The Placement Service created its new online system, which I imagine they used to arrive at the 532 figure. So the 2011-2012 data was gathered by a completely different system from what they had used in previous years. I think that the big jump probably has something to do with that: the database may have some duplicate entries or may be counting institutional subscriptions or something like that.
Fine. I'll tell you -- what can they do to me now? The failed search to which I referred previously was at the University of Dallas. If they care to get on here and explain what happened, or put my third-hand information in the appropriate context, I would welcome that. But obviously no complaint was lodged with the APA because a) who wants to risk their career over such a complaint and b) what can the APA do anyways? 532 is a pretty misleading number in my opinion, since no job, even the most general of generalist positions, seemed to draw many more than 200 applicants. And most positions drew somewhere around 100. But it's tough out there and getting tougher. No question about it.
I think Dallas just cancelled for financial reasons.
Yes, the VAP was cancelled for financial reasons, but the T-T search failed for other reasons (or so I heard through the grapevine). I would be glad to be corrected by anyone with more accurate information.
Searches fail for lots of reasons. Sometimes if the top candidate or even two or three candidates turn a place down, they decide to try again next time.
Indeed -- and in this case, I heard that the search was cancelled by the dean because of misconduct. What misconduct I don't know exactly, but I would welcome clarification from anyone with better information.
For those of us who don't make that 13% for several years running, can anyone offer suggestions for alternate careers one can pursue for which a humanities PhD will not be actively detrimental?
This is my third year on the market, and I am pretty sure now that a PhD in the humanities is detrimental to non-academic job searches only insofar as doing all that work and being unable to find a job in your chosen field breaks your spirit. I know because I have spent so many damn hours reading this stupid blog and obsessing about how I wasted my 20's. In reality, I've spent eight years of my life learning the ancient languages and reading poetry. Not many people in the history of the world have had the chance to do that. If you're not morose and aloof, I don't see any reason that you (and I if my applications don't pan out this year) shouldn't be able to find a job in business, marketing, or whatever else you would be good at. Of course, these routes may well demand that you take an entry level position for a few years. The real problem is that we academics (I include myself here) are so damn risk averse.
If we act the way we do because we're risk averse, we must be insane. Few things are riskier, in terms of long-term employment prospects, than staying on the Classics job market year after year.
Now, I understand well the temptation to think that it shouldn't be all that hard to find a job outside of the academy, outside of classics. People of mediocre ability don't generally get through classics Ph.D. programs.But, actually, it is hard for a classics Ph.D. to find a job outside of classics. Employers, often, tend not to be convinced that we will work out as employees (e.g., we will not find the work interesting, that we will leave as soon as an academic opportunity presents itself). Now, of course, it's possible to find employment elsewhere. I've done that. But don't think that this is just a matter of quick painless job search. The classics market, for all its faults, is straightforward and predictable. And, we have spent years preparing for it. Apply for other things, if you will, but don't give up on classics just because you think there might be something better out there somewhere.
Remember that the job market outside of academia is bad as well, since employment has only recovered painfully slowly from the recession and at the current pace will not have done so fully for another four years or so. For obvious reasons, this isn't conducive to academics finding non-academic careers. It isn't conducive to non-academics finding non-academic careers, either.
Well, yes. But if you're one of the more than two thirds of applicants who doesn't even get a VAP this year, temping may well be a better option than adjuncting.
This time last year there were roughly 35 jobs posted on the Wiki ("roughly" because some people do not regard the ICCS positions as jobs or believe that jobs in political science should be posted on the classics wiki just because they mention ancient political philosophy in the job ad). As of right now, there are 25 positions. Let's hope the statistical trend doesn't continue.
There you go, Wiki updated. There are close to 50 entries now.
Why wouldn't the ICCS jobs count?
I heard the same stuff about the Dallas search.
As of right now, there are 25 positions. Let's hope the statistical trend doesn't continue.September 14, 2012 2:58 PMAnonymous said...There you go, Wiki updated. There are close to 50 entries now.Sure, there are close to 50 if you care how many jobs have actually been advertised. But if you just want to pull a number you haven't checked off of a fitfully updated wiki and start muttering gloomily about "statistical trends" then 25 is a way better number. So it all depends on how you look at things.
those of us in the real world create massive amounts of web content - with speed - EVERY DAY. how can it take the APA hamsters multiple days to post 40 items?
When will they ever stop asking rhetorical questions about the APA placement service?
those of us in the real world create massive amounts of web content - with speed - EVERY DAY. how can it take the APA hamsters multiple days to post 40 items?Well, to be fair, the cutting goes very quickly, but the pasting can be a long and arduous process.
You people are aware, aren't you, that each ad is individually hand crafted according to traditional methods by indigenous artisans living high in the mountains of Chile, then transported overland to Philadelphia by alpaca?I think a few days is a more than reasonable time frame for all that to happen in, don't you?
Come on, you guys. It's a new year! Let's think of some new things to complain about.I'm going to complain about gibbons. Who's with me? What is their deal? Smug bastards.
Where is the University of Notre Dame (2-year VAP, Greek Culture) job advertised? Not here, not on APA, not on Notre Dame Website (as far as I can tell). Or is this a special super double secret job?
The ND job is listed on the APA site.
This is only indirectly related to the job market, but does anyone have any idea about the turn around time for article submissions to Latomus?
I have a question about writings samples, because I am in a bit of a predicament.I have published several articles, but they are either too short, too technical, or too involved to make a good writing sample (I assume that a writing sample should be accessible and persuasive to the average classicist).One chapter of my dissertation is almost short enough to work (34 pages), but the other chapters are at least 40 pages. And all of the chapters of my dissertation are pretty tightly argued and original enough (I flatter myself) that I am wary of sending only part of a chapter.My idea is to send my shortest chapter to schools that have not specified a page length for writing samples (usually 30 pages, sometimes only 20) and to send the introduction and conclusion of my dissertation to schools that want a shorter writing sample. Here's my question: is it idiotic to send an introduction and conclusion as a writing sample? Is there some better approach? (Besides, of course, having written something specifically as a writing sample...which always struck me as an awfully inefficient thing to do.) For what it's worth, my introduction and conclusion do a good job of encapsulating why my dissertation is important, but they naturally do not contain any of the extended argumentation that is typical of the individual chapters of my dissertation (again, this is my opinion, but that's all I have).I would appreciate any helpful insights as well as snarky comments so long as they are funny.
For what it's worth, the page numbers I referenced above were for double-spaced text.If I change the spacing to single, my shortest chapter (without bibliography) fits onto 21 pages (one page away from the limits requested by some schools...).I am concerned, if it's not obvious, not to give a busy committee any reason to toss my application out in the first round.
RE: Writing Sample Predicament.First, do not send a single spaced writing sample. In my experience, (I'm a junior prof who has served on only one search committee)this would come off as unprofessional and maybe even desperate.I understand your desire to send your intro and conclusion, but I would also advise against this. It can be easy for someone to make great claims in his or her intro/conclusion, but SCs are far more interested in the particulars of how you argue and support your points. Great claims aren't worth much if we can't see how you got there.Have you considered sending two of your shorter articles? This might show SCs range and the ability to argue with brevity (both good traits to show off). On my SC we had a number of applicants do this and we, at least, didn't fault them for it. Also, the person we ended up hiring submitted, IIRC, a writing sample that was only about 14 or 15 pages. If a SC requests no more than 20 pages, there is certainly no requirement that you send exactly 20. Should you have an article that is short but excellent, I would recommend sending that. An SC can always contact you for more samples and even your entire diss (this is what happened to me when I was on the market).
I guess it's okay for the writing sample to be single-spaced if it's an article?I can't think of any journals that print double-spaced things, and it seems weird to send anything other than the article as it was actually printed.
I would discourage people from sending articles as the writing sample unless they are part of the same research as the dissertation/first book MS. Many people like to use the writing sample not just to determine whether the applicant is able to produce prose but to assess whether the main piece of research is interesting and viable as a monograph.
And they think they can do that from 30 double-spaced pages? What the hell?
just goes to show how warped this bizarro process really is ...
And they think they can do that from 30 double-spaced pages? What the hell?Not perfectly, obviously. But I get a better sense of something from reading 30 pages of it than I do from reading no pages of it. And while ideally you'd be able to read the whole dissertation or book MS of everyone who applies, I think you can understand why that does not happen.I'm a little surprised that this is shocking. You can't have thought that the writing sample was just meant to establish that you are able to write?
I thought the writing sample was meant to establish that one can do research well, and what kind of research one tends to do. In fact, I still think that. I think you're full of shit.
I think you're full of shit.Don't worry, I'm totally OK with that.
Another way to approach this is to send in something of high quality completely unrelated to the diss. Let your readers talk that up. This is to prove that you aren't a one-trick-pony, who can read the Lacanian shit out of Juvenal, but has no other game. So, if I'm looking for a Latin poetry person, seeing research on a Hellenistic Greek text, or even a Classical Greek text, helps lay those fears to rest. Not to pick on our one-trick-philologist friends, but it is shocking how many people think a really narrow research program coming out of grad school is OK.
What do you think, guys? Are we all ready to swear our "voluntary" annual oath to the Church's Magisterium?
Couple of comments on writing samples by a guy who’s been on a number of search committees. I would not send just your intro and conclusion: although these sumamrize your work well, they do not show how well you can write and make an argument, and your letter and some of your recs and, if they interview you, the interview should summarize your argument. If your chapter is too long, consider omitting a few pages in the middle and inserting “[discussion of ____ omitted for brevity]” or “[I have omitted from this writing sample several pages in which I discuss the ___ question at greater length”]. I would NOT submit a writing sample on Greek if you are a Latinist, or vice versa; someone on a committee might think, “we need a Latinist, not a person who’s really a Hellenist.” Breadth is good, but only as a complement to competence in the area they need. Adding a brief paper on a distant topic to a central writing sample in your main area is fine (e.g. twenty-five page writing sample on your central area, Latin; five-page note on a Greek topic). Remember too that some places will ask for a writing sample from everyone, then for a longer sample from the short list. Plus: proofread for both typos (esp. in Greek) and stylistic problems as though your life depended on it.
And yes, if you are sending a published article, photocopy it clearly and blown up to fit two pages on 8 1/2 by 11 (or one page if it's JRS or AJA vel sim), and don't worry about it being double-spaced. But don't try to get around a page-limit by single-spacing or using 11-pt font. Search committees are made up of older people wearing glasses who have a hundred of these to go through.
Re: Writing samples.If I can argue well in a published article, why would you assume I can't argue well on other topics?Re: "Voluntary" oaths.If all the faculty take it, how is it voluntary?
If I can argue well in a published article, why would you assume I can't argue well on other topics?I would infer from a well-argued article that you were able to argue well in articles.
"I would infer from a well-argued article that you were able to argue well in articles."If you need to read my book before you can infer that I can argue well in a book, what good will 20 pages do you?Also, if you see the sun rise on a Monday, are you still unsure what will happen on Tuesday, roughly the same time, or do you have a pretty good idea?
If you send an article, I have an argument that is the length of a writing sample. If you send part of a book chapter, I am only getting part of an argument.I'd rather see an entire argument, made on a smaller scale, than some part of an argument meant for a larger one.
Since it seems that different search committee members have different expectations about the writing sample, why not specify in the ad if, for instance, you want the writing sample to be drawn from a book project, instead of penalizing candidates for not being able to read your mind?
I've never been on a search committee, but that said, I'll throw out the observation that it's sort of silly to make generalizations about dissertation chapters and arguments, since (like books) sometimes they have a single argument carried throughout, and other times each chapter is a self-contained study that is part of a larger theme but can be read and understood without the rest. (I shouldn't have to point this out, I'd point out.)
Of course. But thirty double-spaced pages (let alone twenty) is considerably less than the length of a typical chapter.
Nil admirari, folks. This process is mostly a shitshow, although you'll meet a few nice people along way. Just send in your best work and don't be shocked when you learn you've failed to follow some unspoken and arcane "best practice".
Pythagoras hit the nail on the head
Why do some people who post on this board seem surprised that individual committee members have individual preferences and prejudices?
Why do some people on this board seem surprised that job seekers become frustrated at poorly written job ads that demand acts of divination to untangle?
Careful, people. We're two bitter rhetorical questions away from a runaway chain reaction.
Yeah, I had a really nice, absurdly sarcastic one all typed out last night. Then I thought: "But wait! What about the future of life on earth?" I stopped just in time.
The Creighton Classics website is a sight to behold. Wow.
Yeah, visiting the Creighton website brings back memories of surfing the web using Netscape Navigator in 1998. Somebody needs to hire themselves a new web-master! Wow!
Yep, I instinctively expected a popup window like in the Geocities days.
I thought for sure there would be a marquee, or a guestbook to sign!When I was done browsing their site on the 'net, I went back to my AOL, which I had recently installed from one of those smaller, newfangled 3.5" floppies. Then I went to the old DOS prompt and loaded up a quick game of Golden Axe for the PC.
Personally, I was disappointed. No blink tags or animated gifs. Also no counters ("you are visitor # 00000497").
The wiki lists a job for Greek or Roman cultural studies at the University of Chicago. Is that the Northwestern job mislabeled? I haven't seen an ad for Chicago so far.
The wiki lists a job for Greek or Roman cultural studies at the University of Chicago. Is that the Northwestern job mislabeled? I haven't seen an ad for Chicago so far.You have to go to the wiki and then whisper the secret passphrase into your computer. Then it will appear. If it doesn't work the first time, just keep trying.
OTOH, Creighton does list all of the faculty's publications on one page. If every smallish dept did that it would greatly speed up work on the "who's there and what do they work on?" question.
I am sick of the jackasses in their offices who make up formatting requirements for fellowship applications. Does it really matter that footnotes be "single-spaced, with double spacing between entries"? There are other things that desperately need my time, but instead I'm bowing to the whim of another bureaucrat in power.
The Otago discussion belongs more properly here (and not on the Shining.) So I'll kick it off.Otago sucks.
Is there a place to upload letters of reference on the Creighton website?
Re: Creighton letters, I think the letters are supposed to be shipped separately. The description of the application process in the job ad that we got is a bit different from the description on the Creighton jobs website.
Ok, thanks for helping me stay sane. Website and all, I would at least like Creighton to receive my full application.
So...what does anyone think about the name change idea for the APA being floated around?
You mean, should we rename it the Ancient Studies Society?
Damn. Now when I tell people I'm going to attend my annual ASS meeting, I'll have to specify which one.
This place sucks. We haven't had a death match between the MC Trowels and the Who Killed Homerists in ages.
Like death and the Titanic, I don't believe unemployment discriminates against particular subdisciplines of classics, hierarchy and all.
Death and the Titanic both don't believe unemployment discriminates against particular subdisciplines of classics? It's hard to get them to agree on anything.
There are 16 self-declared job-seekers on the wiki, against 82 at the end of last year's wiki. Is it getting lonely in here or do people only check in once they have interviews or jobs to brag about?
I didn't add myself to that last year until I was also indicating my first interview. Likewise for this year.
You guys suck. Did all the fun people get jobs last year and leave? Am I not fun enough to get a job?
I guess the self-destructive ranting has finally become boring. Is there anything useful we can do on this forum instead?
Turn on the heat!
If I get nothing again this year, I'm moving out to the boonies and subsistence farming. Who's with me? Commune for unemployed Classicists? There are hundreds of us at least. Eclogues-style poetry recitation while herding goats? You know you want it. It would be like the APA, but with more milking.
I don't know about eclogues and communes, but I do know that when an institution decides to extend its application deadline after it has already received my application, I begin to suspect that I may not be very high on their list of candidates...why not just say "undesirable candidates need not apply" and then specify what "undesirable" means in that context? It would save me the trouble of researching the institution and its program, studying the advertisement, and otherwise fooling around with things that are (clearly) none of my business.
Speak for yourself. I've been to some pretty wild parties at the APA.
I think those places are extending their deadlines because of Sandy.
I say Anonymous 3:33 PM is too aware of what is going on in the real world to be a true Classicist.
I'm both endearing *and* non-Classically savvy! Also, I want to live on a goat farm.
I don't think you guys should be allowed to get anywhere near any goats.
Speak for yourself. I've been to some pretty wild parties at the APA.Yeah right. Michigan grads and michelob, now that's wild.
Indeed. I used to think keggers only happened in 80s movies, but then I went to Michigan as a prospie.
I assumed the deadline had been extended due to A) Sandy, B) a dearth of applications (qualified or not), or C) some combination of the two.
@Whelp:I agree, but here's my more detailed breakdown: 1-week extension is to be blamed on Sandy. Two weeks or more: failure to attract enough "good" candidates, hopefully to be blamed on Sandy (but do "good" candidates really submit their materials at the absolute last minute?).
I would rather think two-week extensions are due to some internal administrative mess.Case in point: the deadline for the fake UW Madison position has been extended from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15.
do "good" candidates really submit their materials at the absolute last minute?Of course. And lots of "bad" candidates submit their materials as soon as an ad appears.
Lots of "good" candidates are waiting to hear about things like a book deal that might make a significant difference in their application. So yes, they might wait until the last minute.
I strongly disagree. I think that being really conscientious about mailing things promptly is a very important indicator of a person's future academic success. I also think what you do with your office supplies is important. I like to see whether somebody has their paper clips correctly sorted by type, or whether they're all just sort of jumbled together, which makes me want to puke. I'd sooner die than hire a jumbler.
Hey guys? Dibs on the Hawaii job.
Keep in mind that it's not too long till the rising ocean will have swallowed its beaches and what remains of the islands becomes a barren, waterless hellscape.
I'll swallow what remains of your barren, waterless hellscape!
Well, there goes the rest of Hawaii. Sorry about that.It's just as well, though. It's seriously only a couple of years till the "Aloha State" is going to have to be renamed the "Butthole State," and then before too long it'll have to switch again, to the "Hellscape State." Lucky that those names aren't already taken by other states.Which is actually kind of weird, given the existence of Missouri.
So does anyone know whether Arizona will be interviewing at the APA? I'm interested in the history position, and it seems there's at least a chance they'd do so at the AHA.Odd thing to leave off. Shouldn't the Placement Service be ensuring such info is included? I don't want to make myself stand out by e-mailing the department to find this out, and shouldn't have to.
There's no harm in asking them if they will interview at the APA. That's the not most outstanding email they will receive, believe me. Or you can just wait for an interview notification and see what they say then.If they invite you to an interview and will only be at the AHA, ask them to Skype it instead. There is no sense bending time and space to be in New Orleans and Seattle at the same time. In any case, you don’t want to interview at the AHA’s meat market. It’s even more dehumanizing that the APA.
But you see, I've been told it's standard to write in your letter that you will be at the APA (or at whatever conference a school is interviewing), so this is information I would like to have had up front. I guess if I can't be certain where they'll interview then no one can be, so it's not a big deal.
It's not a big deal.Just come up with an alternate formula. The longer I'm still on the market sending out these letters, the less I care about such minute things. I have to imagine that most committee members couldn't give a rat's tail at this point either.
So.... After a world-wide search for the best candidates, Durham hired two people from its own faculty. Seems legit.
Makes sense to me. They couldn't attract a big name to boost their profile for the coming REF (that's what they advertised for). I assume the money promised by the university would not be coming their way anytime soon, so maybe they asked to convert it into three positions, possibly to prevent temporary members of staff from moving elsewhere and contribute to another university's REF profile (well, this REF or the next one), and hire someone else too. It's a warped but it fits nicely the situation British universities are in right now.
"It's warped", not "it's a warped". That makes me sounds like it's-a me, Mario.
If that "makes sense" to you, you are too far gone already. I didn't pay any attention to the ad. Did it say "We want a big name to raise our REF profile. If you aren't one, don't apply, because in that case, we'd rather hire our own temporary staff."?In certain countries, I imagine such an outcome would land somewhere between "unethical" and "illegal."
I didn't say it was ethical. But it's hardly mysterious that a department desperate to keep and attract people in view of a completely bonkers governmental review could act this way.
We are in complete agreement: it is neither ethical nor mysterious. I might even add, not surprising. Also, depressing, discouraging, saddening, self-defeating,...
"Also, depressing, discouraging, saddening, self-defeating..."What, we're talking about my life now?
Was surprised to see another uiuc job. Is it another sham search like their other ones? I've heard shitty things about that dept., on par with the misconduct at Dallas.
about those Durham jobs - two of them (the fellowship in Latin Lit & Reception and the History position) were actually advertised in last year's cycle, so not sure why they are on this year's wiki. Just sayin', before everyone gets upset. I know this bc I applied for one of those positions and got beat to the post.
Durham comment continued: a friend of mine interviewed for this year's Ancient History position at Durham last Friday (2 Nov.), so that was still live at least a week ago. I haven't heard from her, but committees in the UK usually make a decision pretty much the day after the interview, esp. if all the candidates came up on the same day.
Does anyone have the scoop on Case? Worth applying?Please advise.
@ 9.57pm: Er, those two positions aren't on this year's wiki, unless you and I looking at different wikis. They are listed on the 2011-2012 wiki. This year Durham had two permanent positions, which they gave to the two individuals who got the History position and the Latin Lit & Reception position during last year's application cycle. (And a third position, to someone who was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow there until last year. But I digress.)So it's not surprising you're confused. As other commenters before me have said, this is not exactly very ethical on Durham's part.
That's putting it litotically.
Dear University of So. Mississippi,Nine month positions do not include summers. That's why they're nine month positions. Thanks for nothing,Applicant who cannot bend time (or fold space, if'n you were awunderin')
don't be so flippant. it is not uncommon to find FT t-t jobs that pay out on a 9 or 10-month pay scale. my own job works that way.
If you want me to work 12 months, it's not a 9 month job.But I'm sorry if I sounded flippant.I was aiming for insulting.
If you wanted to not be a slave, you probably shouldn't have gotten a Classics PhD.
It wouldn't be so bad if I could be a nine month slave.
The job ad that we're all excited about implies that summers are optional - but highly beneficial - in the mind of the department. Whether or not the university will be able to make you work over the summer without paying you may be an open question, but I am one person who highly doubts that the standard university contract (9 months, as per the ad) is written in such a way as to make you work without pay for three months. Instead, try imagining that you'd get paid to pick up summer courses to further boost departmental enrollments. So you'd get paid a standard annual salary across nine months, then you'd get between 10 and 15% extra of your base salary for each summer overload course (in my own experience at a similar university this has been the case, even as a visitor) - I suppose that some might read this as a kind of slavery, but others might see it as a way to increase an already reasonable salary. That's just my own alternative way of reading the ad.
"The successful applicant [for our nine month position] is expected to show a commitment to undergraduate teaching (including summers)."Expected = optional?I'm surprised that some apologist hasn't tried the old "the actual wording is probably an HR decision" chestnut (yet).So, one more time, for the humorless.I find this ad to be so poorly written that a non sequitur has resulted. Furthermore, I suspect that they will demand a higher level of clarity in their applicants' writing than they demand in their own.
“If you want me to work 12 months, it's not a 9 month job.But I'm sorry if I sounded flippant.I was aiming for insulting.”That's just it, it is not a 12 month annual gig, it's 9. then why apply? or why fan your own ego by venting on this board about this job? Stick to what you see as some cushy appointment. We'll hope the OP is a sheltered grad student and thus can be forgiven a little for their arrogance. Contracts like this are common. The base annual salary is divided out over 9 or 10 months. In some cases overload teaching can be had or - gasp - the faculty seeks added support for summers. Surely that would not be a problem for the hotshots on here.
year after year, so many spoiled whiners on this site. oftentimes the appointment terms can be renegotiated upon appointment. if you would prefer your tiny salary to be carved up in 12 tiny pieces instead of 9, that can usually be addressed. and for the ignorant complainer who started this, benefits for FT employees are on a 12-month cycle. You show your own naivete in your posts. And as a previous poster noted, if you are "too good" (I doubt it) for Southern Miss, then go ply your trade someplace else.
I have a 9 month position. My salary is paid out over 9 months. My benefits last 12 months. I am not expected to teach in the summers.
I don't understand how people who consistently teach a full load in the summer are able to get enough research done. Those weeks without other distractions are good for at least one more article a year, maybe two. If a place expects you to teach in the summer, even if you are well compensated for it, they are are effectively saying that they want you to research less. And though the expectations may be lower for tenure at such a place, that won't help you if that department gets shut down with you in it and no one else wants to touch you because of your leprous research record.
I think that we're avoiding the bigger issue, which is why do we have months at all? Why not just have years and number our days 1-365? If we want to make good use of our energy and really solve the problem, we should rally around this cause.
The 9-month thing is really a silly distraction. Some states (like mine) just make it the law that professors teach officially for nine months. So, the contract says nine months, but you can choose to be paid over 12 and the pay (for 9 or 12, the same) is commensurate with the pay jobs that are advertised for 12 months. It is just a contractual designation probably motivated by officials outside of the institution or the department.
9 v. 12 is not a "silly distraction." While it's true that this can just be a way of arranging pay schedules, be warned that for 9-month VAP positions the university might cut off your insurance at the end of that time, instead of covering you during the remaining three months, forcing you to pay $400+ per month for COBRA coverage until your new insurance at the next job kicks in. I know that the University of Arizona was doing this not too long ago, for example. But this is certainly not true for all such positions -- some schools try to save money this way, others don't.So if you are offered a 9-month position you absolutely must inquire about this.
well, November 11, 2012 8:57 AM , you are lucky if the VAP carried health care in the first place - be glad you had 9 months of it paid.
Yes, be glad for your pap! Take what they give you and like it! Bend over! Open wide!By the way, in my experience COBRA is a sucker's bet. I have always done better buying my own insurance instead of accepting COBRA; the exceptions are the add-ons, like vision and dental. You can extend those without extending the rest.
Are there really VAPs--actual VAPs, not adjunct work, which is obviously quite different, since it's typically not full time--that don't provide health insurance?
yes there are. i have held three such positions.
i currently teach as an adjunct with a load equivalent to FT (2-2), and the university has protected itself (conveniently) against having to provide any benefits of any kind to those in my employee classification, offering only the option of full-price buy-in to the employee plan. i have also held a vap where there was no health insurance despite FT work.
yes, i was a VAP at a top ivy - no benefits, salary only.
"yes, i was a VAP at a top ivy - no benefits, salary only."If this is true, and I don't believe that it is, then you need to name names. Are you sure you weren't an adjunct, thinking you were a VAP? This seems a bit unbelievable. Sorry to call bullshit, but I'm calling bullshit.
call all the bullshit you want, friend. it's a fact.
to the self-appointed bullshit caller: I am pretty sure that Brown University does not provide any health benefits to its vap faculty.
So **where** is this a fact? Brown?? How would an institution define such employees? Are they not full-time? Because to me a VAP is almost by definition "full-time." If cash-strapped third-tier liberal arts colleges and directional public universities do this (provide health benefits to VAPs) then how would a place like Brown, or the as-yet named "top ivy" get away with it? It doesn't pass the smell test. Thus, bullshit!
It's me, the one who noted the risk of having insurance cut off after nine months. I made that point as a way of giving a helpful tip to those who might need it, and will not engage on whether I was lucky or not. However, since healthcare at Brown has come up, I thought I would share this bit of Cold War history:http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1985/2/13/activists-shake-brown-pthe-walk-up/The key passage is: "The attention political activists have received on the Brown campus has certainly picked up. A "suicide pill" referendum attracted international media attention to this hilltop university campus last fall as did this winter's citizen's arrest of CIA recruiters by Brown student activists. The campus-wide referendum, which passed by a 1044 to 687 vote, called for the university's health services to stock cyanide pills. The students would then have the option to commit suicide in case of a nuclear attack."Ahh, the good, old days...
check it out: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brown.edu%2Fabout%2Fadministration%2Fhuman-resources%2Fsites%2Fbrown.edu.about.administration.human-resources%2Ffiles%2FSummary%2520of%2520Benefits%2520-%2520Campus%2520Based%2520Faculty.pdf&ei=ZBKgUJ2GO6Tq0AGmtIHIAg&usg=AFQjCNFXWTpxZeOYn2Bhu18i83RU9Cyw2g&sig2=yoSlRRIw1fLQB8GtcOd_aA&cad=rja"Visiting and adjunct faculty may enroll in health and/or dental insurance plans but must arrange for payment of the full premium..."In other words, no employer contribution for visiting faculty. Satisfied?
Can anyone else confirm or deny that Brown VAPs don't get health benefits? This seems incredible.
Sorry, I posted 4:06 before I'd read 4:04.Jesus. That's fucked up.
Holy shit! I hereby withdraw my bullshit call on you and transfer it to Brown University. What a bunch of greedy fucks. How do those people sleep at night? That is unfuckingbelievable. I'm fucking flabbergasted. Fuckity fuck fuck.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMcOqH-2UQ
If anyone would like to know how to insert a link into a comment so that you're not dumping a paragraph-long url, here is an explanation of the very simple tags.
I don't think that anyone should be particularly surprised that Ivy League institutions have contempt for the help.
Is anyone else having trouble with the WashU online application system? It keeps trying to upload my C.V. pdf, but won't let me continue to the next page of the application...
This is all just so fucking sad. I look at the professors who taught me as an undergrad and convinced me to go into Classics professionally, and I see that a great many of them have left the field and seemingly disappeared into the void. I look at my grad school professors and remember that they almost literally don't give a shit whether I get a job or not, or for that matter whether I live or die. I wish I could go back in time, punch myself in the head, and tell that stupid fucker to stay the hell away from academia, not to mention dying humanities fields. "You can read Greek in your recreation time, you naive little fuck," I'd say. Then I'd kick past me in the balls repeatedly until he agreed to factor reality into major life decisions.
WashU online hr system = disaster
Hey it could be worse, you could have to commit to going to a conference where departments interview. And then have to pay for transport, hotel and registration, so that you can be one of 10-15 interviewed per position.Oh wait.
The professors who taught you as an undergrad, gave a shit about what you thought and made a difference in your life have disappeared into the void, huh? Well, it's probably because they gave a shit about you and students like you instead of writing another article that 7 people will read, and wrote a book that 17 people will read. Fools, their priorities were totally askew. They worked their asses off to teach and advise and mentor and then they were denied tenure or got so burned out they gave up.Look at your grad-school professors. They don't give a flying fuck about you or your future because they know where their meal-tickets are punched. Teaching, mentoring and advising? Naaaaa. Writing, revising and publishing? Yeah, that's the ticket!Wake up. Academia has become a scam and a system that rewards the wrong kinds of people. Get out while the getting is good.
Doctor Feelgood said:"Look at your grad-school professors. They don't give a flying fuck about you or your future because they know where their meal-tickets are punched. Teaching, mentoring and advising? Naaaaa. Writing, revising and publishing? Yeah, that's the ticket!"Anyone who thinks that the ability to teach, mentor and advise grad students is not taken into account when faculty are hired, promoted, given raises and hired with tenure at most graduate programs does not know many graduate programs. I am sorry that you have been exposed only to the jerks in the field.
anyone else annoyed that Interfolio charges more to send just letters of recommendation than to send your entire portfolio? Recent example: emailing 4 letters = $6 initial fee plus $1 for each extra item, for a total of $9; emailing entire portfolio, total $6.
@November 12, 2012 1:28 PMYes. But I'm learning to deal with it. I'd like my money back for each search that gets canceled, though.
Look at your grad-school professors. They don't give a flying fuck about you or your future because they know where their meal-tickets are punched. Teaching, mentoring and advising? Naaaaa. Writing, revising and publishing? Yeah, that's the ticket!I'm glad I didn't go to school wherever you did, or didn't get the committee you did, or whatever has happened there.It's also worth pointing out that it's often the publication record that attracts graduate students in the first place; this means that students may be disproportionately drawn to exactly those people who have become skilled in minimizing the time and energy they expend on students.
Doctor Feelgood: I think you are damn right. I am another one who got screwed by a grad program.
I'm about ready to give up on the WashU online application and just send the hard copies. Anyone able to get it to work? Mind sharing your secrets?
Since the Department of Classics at Arizona has recently posted two jobs it seems a warning is in order, since no one should apply for them without knowing what he/she might be getting into. Please note that I am not advising against applying for the jobs, since these are desperate times, but I do want to convey that any other offer you receive will be a better offer; that if you do receive on offer from Arizona you need to ask certain questions that normally would not be necessary to protect yourself; and that the two job postings cannot be taken at face value. I will hit upon some of the more important reasons for this advice/warning (this 'monitus'), but by no means all. If you have legitimate questions about what these jobs might be like, or the problems facing the department that might affect you, feel free to ask, and I (or perhaps one of the others with intimate knowledge of the place) will answer; however, please do not ask questions if it is only for the sake of titillation and a quest for juicy gossip. (For that, ply me with vodka gimlets at the APA...)Before getting to the postings themselves, I should briefly outline the problem in the department (which, I believe, has become well known to many in the field). Basically, the University of Arizona's Department of Classics (= UADC) is a shockingly dysfunctional place, perhaps the most dysfunctional of all classics departments. Since Famae Volent has policies against naming names and discussing specific individuals in our field I cannot go into too many details -- nor would I in so public a forum. But the broad outlines can certainly be shared, and in a way vague enough to protect identities. Essentially, for the past several years the atmosphere in UADC has grown increasingly toxic, primarily due to the behavior of two senior faculty, whom university officials have failed to muzzle or defang (despite some efforts). The first and (thus far) most disastrous result of this was that the archaeologists up and left for a different department, greatly reducing the need to interact with these two. An unintended consequence of this departure was that there were fewer faculty left in UADC to stand up to these two, who over the past few years have systematically gone about cementing their power over the department, and then used that power in a number of harmful ways, the most serious of which has been chronic mistreatment of junior faculty. When the dean could no longer ignore the problem, having let the problem fester for many months, she found herself with little choice but to bring in an outsider to become the chair, which happened in May 2011. That outsider, from the German department, was charged with fixing the department, but only made things worse -- in large part because he relies on the two aforementioned individuals when making his most important decisions (including writing up these two job posts), even though he is well aware of their history and the formal and well-documented complaints against them, and the (obviously inadequate) discipline they have received. The troika has now created so bad a situation that the complete closure of UADC is being openly discussed by administrators and others on campus.(Continuing in next post, since there is a size limit)
(Continued from other post)If you need more convincing that UADC could be a very bad place indeed to spend a year, even for a newly arrived and innocent VAP, I can certainly back up the assertion with concrete examples. (Examples such as: one of the people I refer to is so abusive towards colleagues and staff that, I am told, he/she even managed to reduce a female undergrad who works part-time at reception to tears during one tongue-lashing. Someone who will bully an undergrad will bully anyone, including you.) I can also certainly explain a related issue, which is the very real possibility that you would find it difficult to go on the job market again next year, as you will face problems finding enough people who can be relied on to write good letters about your teaching (and whose letters would mean something), and also because obtaining usable student evaluations to prove "excellence in teaching" may also be a challenge. But that will have to wait until another post, should one be needed.So, here is what you really need to know, in brief:* The two postings state that "This appointment may be renewed an indefinite number of times subject to satisfactory annual performance evaluation. Promotion to non-tenure eligible associate professorship is possible after a minimum of three years of service in rank." Putting aside the chance that the department might be closed down, you need to know that there is a pattern of such promises being made and then broken. No one hired by UADC should ever assume that doing a good job will ensure renewal, as this rests entirely on the whims of the troika, who in the past have screwed over junior faculty who had every reason to think they had earned renewal. One professor in recent years has put more effort into paper trails meant to deny junior faculty renewal than he/she has into producing scholarship; at least, the former is far more easily detected than the latter.* The ads promise that renewal will be subject to satisfactory annual performance evaluation, but UADC has no acceptable way of evaluating junior faculty. (To show you how bizarre the UADC world can be, the current temporary chair and the previous chair have both taken good evaluation scores (which are prepared by a key faculty committee, in fulfillment of a university mandate) for junior faculty and unilaterally lowered them -- essentially, making an "A" a "B," "C," or even a "D." Where the game is rigged, one cannot count on renewal. Nor can one count on an appeal: the dean has been aware of this problem and done nothing.)* As mentioned, the troika created these new jobs, without consulting their colleagues or waiting for the outcome of an external review this winter. While it is pretty clear that the department does need a Roman historian, there is less reason to think the committee will recommend a long-term Augustan literature person, when the one senior Hellenist is close to retirement. So for that reason alone the lit position might prove non-renewable.* Senior faculty hog the upper-level Latin courses, leaving junior faculty to do the grunt work. Do not assume that you will get to teach in the area of your specialty, despite the ads' specific language.* And finally, though the ads make no mention of this, UADC now requires VAP's to engage in service, real service. And you will be evaluated on your service (as well as your research!) when you come up for renewal. So not only will you have a 3-3 load that most likely includes at least one giant lecture course (up to 500 or so students, making these the equivalent in work to two courses), but you will be expected to do more service than tenured faculty and somehow publish. So even if the atmosphere in UADC were harmonious, these are truly lousy jobs in terms of workload (and the pay will not be sufficient to make up for this).
Turn in the WashU application on paper. I've had the same problem with the online system, and I sent an email to web support last week to deal with it. Radio silence.
I don't know, Wyatt. A job in a mental asylum run by inmates is still a job, isn't it? And if you can make it in the UA classics dept you can make it anywhere!
Curiously enough a quasi-conversation is happening on the Cheers and Jeers section of the Wiki. This definitely seems like a better place for search committee members and candidates to complain, specifically about candidates who apply to positions outside of their main research fields.There are a few points to make:1. If we all applied to every position advertised, search committees would have even more applications to read than they do now and the entire process would probably become even more difficult (i.e. they would have a harder time weeding out the grain from the chaff). For that reason, I think it's in general a good idea to apply only for jobs where I plausibly fit the criteria listed, and that is in fact what I do.2. Unclear ads undoubtedly spark shot-in-the-dark applications. If there is an add for an archaeologist, say, who preferably also wants to teach Latin prose composition and also knows how to juggle, I'll apply since I'm an archaeologist, and I assume that committees don't really have their shit together and/or may not be so happy when they realize that the only prose-comp teaching juggler who also happens to be an archaeologist has published mediocre research. So, because committees are often seem not to know what they want ahead of time, I send in the application anyways.3. Because of 1 and 2, I think it is a good standard practice for letters of application not to be tailored to individual positions. If a candidate says in the first sentence of her letter that she is a Hellenist (because that is in fact what she is), the search committee can decide for themselves whether to keep reading.Some common sense, understanding all around, and non-tailored cover letters could go a long way to solving some parts of this mess.
6:25 seems to me to be right. In general, if you might fit some meaningful part of the ad, submit; if your profile is not what the committee turns out to be thinking about and your application accurately addresses what you do, they can figure that out quickly. Committees are pretty adept at filtering.That said, there have been represented in these comments in years past committee members who expect you to make them feel very special. I think that this is deeply stupid and vain, but there is no denying that these people exist and that they expect to receive some validation of their beauty and uniqueness from applications. Given the forum, it's very hard to say how many of these lovely and delicate unicorns there are, and they may be inconsequentially few. They sure do whine, though.
And let's not forget the importance of signatures in colored ink on letters of recommendation.
@November 15, 2012 3:18 AMIntense sense of grievance generated by feelings of personal inadequacy? Hmm, I wonder what his political affiliation is . . . let's have a look around . . .Oh, wow! Didn't see that coming at all!
Theory: a job search is more about those doing the searching than those sought. Thus anyone who tells you to ignore the vanity of committees is, in my opinion, a fool.
Fool from 6:25 here. I would rather be a fool than a sycophant or blowhard.Getting a job is not worth contorting yourself into weird positions to please committee members who cannot see that their job is not worth an individual letter. I would rather work in a bank or in the local high school, and that's a choice I'm willing to live with. You can take your individually written letters and colored pens and suck it.
I doubt even a lowly bank or (gasp!) a high school would employ someone who shows utter disdain for their advertised needs, irrational as they may seem. If you really do work at a bank or a high school, I would be happy to be disabused of this notion. That said, you should never lie in a cover letter, and that includes writing "I would love to do x" when you're really basically indifferent to x. And asking recommenders to customize their letters is completely unreasonable. All things in moderation, my friends.
"That said, you should never lie in a cover letter, and that includes writing "I would love to do x" when you're really basically indifferent to x."If people followed this advice, no one would ever get any job.
I've often found myself wishing there were a more formal preliminary round. First round--send a CV with a list of courses taught and a list of references. Then, the search committee could solicit more material after it makes the first cuts, and this material could be as specific as they like. Then another round of cuts, and solicit letters from the references. In such a scenario, it would be more likely that everyone would have time to do address the particular job. Also, I imagine I would end up with the exact same number of interviews in this scenario as I do now, and I think everyone involved would endure less busywork.
I have seen this done by History departments. Oregon did it last year with their ancient history search and I assume UCLA is doing it now in their late antique search.
First round--send a CV with a list of courses taught and a list of references. Then, the search committee could solicit more material after it makes the first cuts, and this material could be as specific as they like.I find it very difficult to make cuts without a writing sample and letters. Obviously you can exclude people on the basis of field, but beyond that I really want a pretty full file to be available. A CV and a list of names who could submit a letter on your behalf don't tell me a lot.
"Obviously you can exclude people on the basis of field,"You have proven my point. Get this far first, then ask for the rest. Alternatively, if you write "We are seeking a generalist who can teach Latin and Greek at all levels in addition to culture courses in translation. Preference will be given to..." does not actually come across as a "narrow field." then don't get all bent out of shape when specialists you don't apply.By the way, when I apply for the job you advertise, I look at your CV, and it tells me a very great deal about you.
I will admit:Alternatively, if you write "We are seeking a generalist who can teach Latin and Greek at all levels in addition to culture courses in translation. Preference will be given to..." does not actually come across as a "narrow field." then don't get all bent out of shape when specialists you don't apply.is incomprehensible.How about:Alternatively, if you write "We are seeking a generalist who can teach Latin and Greek at all levels in addition to culture courses in translation. Preference will be given to...", then don't get all bent out of shape when specialists you don't want to consider apply.
You have proven my point. Get this far first, then ask for the rest.So you're suggesting a separate round of application review, including a meeting, just to weed out the half dozen mouthbreathers who apply for Latin positions when they work on Greek history, and a corresponding specific solicitation of materials from everyone who isn't a mouthbreather (which is the large majority), and then another round of receiving and distributing to already existing files additional material. And that's just stage one to weed out the severe dipshits; you were talking about a couple of different new stages of filtering.I thought the idea was to make this simpler, not a huge fucking pain in the ass.
So now it's half a dozen "mouthbreathers," as you so thoughtfully put it, who don't fit the description. On the wiki, it was half of all applicants.
So now it's half a dozen "mouthbreathers," as you so thoughtfully put it, who don't fit the description. On the wiki, it was half of all applicants.Yes, I agree, it's pretty troubling that an opinion I expressed here is inconsistent with another opinion you report somebody else expressing elsewhere. I've really stepped in it this time.
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