Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Boo Birds

Yes, this is the thread where everyone comes to bitch, moan, and let off some steam.

1,321 comments:

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Wiki Update said...

I started updating the wiki with links to each job ad. Ideal would be links to the ad on the institution's HR site, Chronicle of Higher Ed, Inside Higher Ed, or Higher Ed Jobs would also be acceptable. Same goes for equivalent non-US outlets.

Anonymous said...

The SCS should hire you to run the Placement Service website. You're obviously better at getting things done than the current staff.

Anonymous said...

I had help from other Wiki users. The key is to make a useful addition. After that, Classicists tend to be good people interested in augmenting useful systems.

Anonymous said...

9/4 1:46, what would you do differently?

Anonymous said...

This is not 9/4 1:46, though it is obvious to anyone who has visited the SCS placement site that the service this year is an utter disaster. Let's put aside the fact that the service was promised during the week of August 10 but only went 'live' at the end of August. The biggest problem is that there are currently only two positions listed. The other advertisements posted in the interim listing on the old website have not been integrated into the 2015/2016 site, and already one advertisement lists a deadline in less than two weeks. Are we to go back and forth between these two separate lists? Has nothing new come out since August 28?

As generous as it is for the SCS to offer the placement service to candidates for free, I for one would much rather pay my $20.00 to use a timely, well-run service.

Anonymous said...

Just an opinion - perhaps it is simply better to not rely on the SCS listings any longer. Use of this site, Chronicle Vitae, and other job sites renders the job listing part of the SCS irrelevant. I've even successfully arranged multiple interviews with institutions while not a member of SCS or registered for the 'service'. Placement service has been a mess, whether analog or digital, for years.

Anonymous said...

1:08, you mention "other job sites" -- are you thinking of other sites run by academic societies, or non-academic sites like Monster (really not academic) or Academic360?

Anonymous said...

Not the OP, but academic360 is decent, www.higheredjobs.com is ok. Chronicle Vitae seems better than before. The individual hr sites of institutions are searchable (if you know to look there, that is). The AIA posts archaeology jobs on their site, as does SAA, College Art has a website. APA/SCS seems chronically unable to manage with efficient and to keep up with the times. Why pay for a service that always disappoints?

Anonymous said...

Because we're the very definition of a captive audience?

Anonymous said...

Has anybody been able to actually access the Dickinson job ad? It doesn't seem to be on their website at all.

Anonymous said...

9/4 1:46 here. I agree with 9/6 11:34. The obvious problem is that whoever is running the SCS Placement Service is either not sufficiently competent to do a minimally acceptable job or has so many other demands placed on them by the SCS that they aren't able to do a minimally acceptable job. I won't even complain that much that the new system came on-line late; my complaint is that the new system isn't actually running. I'd have been content to stick with the interim system rather than to have the SCS pretend that the new system is up when it actually isn't.

As for 9/6 1:08's suggestion, it is inexcusable for classics not to have a reliable, dedicated jobs site. For one thing, not every department advertises with the chronicle or other job sites, and being able to rely on finding all the jobs in one place is important for individual job-seekers and for the open-ended community of people that maintains the wiki. Perhaps the SCS shouldn't be in charge of the site; philosophy has now moved to using philjobs.org, which is supported by the APA but not actually run by it. But then things like arranging interview schedules would become rather difficult, and whatever alternative arose would have to collaborate with the SCS anyway.

It seems like a simple solution would be for the SCS to hire someone who actually knows how to develop and maintain a jobs database to do the job; I am sure there would be no shortage of candidates for the position even if it paid very little. It is simply ridiculous that it is Labor Day and the SCS does not have this under control.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that there just haven't been any jobs advertised for the past 10 days, and what is posted is really all that is available?

Anonymous said...

What puzzles me is that I've been getting email notifications that new positions are being posted (corresponding to the late August listings), but when I go to look all that is there are Washington and Agnes Scott. I have some hope that issues will be resolved before deadlines start arriving in earnest in late October.

Oh, and to the list of alternate job sites above, I wanted to add hercjobs.org, which I've noticed often gets jobs earlier than the Chronicle and much earlier than the Placement Service, probably almost as soon as they go up on the in house sites of participating institutions.

Anonymous said...

Right now the problem seems to be that though these jobs are getting entered into the system (slowly, but almost surely), they aren't accessible via the system's search function. So if you click on the link you get in your email, it'll take you to the ad. But if you go to the main non-public listings, you'll only see Wash U and Agnes Scott.

So basically we're in beta-testing mode. I'm glad we're not paying for this.

Anonymous said...

If you click the link at the bottom of the listing that says '2015-2016' you will get to a page that has all the listings. Everything that's on the SCS site has been listed on the wiki already, anyway.

Anonymous said...

That link appears only when one clicks on a particular job ad. It then takes you to a single page with the positions listed. It isn't searchable, it isn't organizable. The fact that they're on the wiki misses the point. The ads themselves aren't on the wiki, and while the wiki nicely links to ads in cases where a link is available, in many cases the only place a position is listed is with the SCS. Furthermore, at this point we don't know whether everything that's been submitted to the SCS is on the wiki, because we don't know whether everything that's been submitted to the SCS has been listed. Given the dysfunctional state of the site, we might even have reason not to believe it.

I don't know about you, but I have a lot of demands on my time, and I'd like to rest assured that I can find everything on the SCS page, can search it, and can order the listings by various criteria. It's not too much to ask; it's what every other discipline I know of has.

Anonymous said...

What's more, that 2015-16 page does not have all the listings.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. I see no reason to renew my membership with the SCS if they can't provide this basic service to the profession.

Anonymous said...

September 8, 2015 at 1:23 PM here - not defending the system at all, just alerting people to a work around that they may not have been aware of. It doesn't have all the listings, and you can't sort, so it's kind of ridiculous, but just in case someone needs to find a specific listing, it might be a start.

But yes, everything about the SCS Placement Service this year is a farce. It's my first time using it, so I can't say if it's worse than previous years. I spent some time updating the links on the wiki, which I hope was useful in some way.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone written to the SCS to tell them that the placement service is malfunctioning? Do they know? One or two or all of us should write in with a complaint, especially since most of us are members. To echo what others have said, to be at this state in the second week of September is crazy.

Also, what is the likelihood that no other advertisements have come in since the last batch that have floated between the interim postings and the phantom emails that lead to no advertisement? As far as I can tell, nothing new has cropped up since the end of August. We should all be very worried if this is the sum of the job advertisements this year. Let's just hope this is more incompetence.




Anonymous said...

It's early yet to despair for the market as a whole (you know, more than the usual). I was pleasantly surprised by the number of jobs posted before the end of August. In the last few years, and last year in particular, the start was much slower, and the final pickings very slim. There are already nearly as many TT jobs in my subspecialty as were listed in the entirety of the fall, and if past experience holds, most of the fall's ads will be announced over the next six weeks or so, as budgets are finalized, search committees formed, and ads drafted.

Hopefully, the Placement Service will have gotten its shit together by then. What was that about writing to complain? I think I'll do that next...

Anonymous said...

I counted, and the relatively numerous August postings followed by the freak drought of September ones has left us with just about exactly the sane number of TT jobs open to junior people as we had last year at this point. As we know, that is not a good sign. Here's hoping that the SCS has just screwed it up.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been a member of the SCS in years because I don't see the value. They don't do outreach like CAMWS or CANE or other organizations, the Placement Service has been a mess for years, for the past several years the vast majority of panels at the annual meeting are sponsored or invite-only, and it's bloody expensive (why is it a salary-based membership when the AIA uses a flat rate? No one has ever told me). How can the AIA be comparatively so well-run compared to the SCS?

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because archaeologists typically wear many hats, interact more widely with non-cognate disciplines, and actually leave the ivory tower regularly.

Anonymous said...

Yep, if you don't get shit done as an archaeologist you're cooked. In classics, if you don't get shit done, there's always next week. The library isn't going anywhere and you only need lunch/gas money and your id card. I'm guessing that "wait 'til next week" moments are a regular occurrence at the placement service.

Anonymous said...

On September 18, 2014, the wiki listed 26 tenure-track jobs. Right now the wiki lists 22 tenure-track jobs. So 9/9 1:33AM is basically right, but my sense is that 9/8 11:31PM is also right that we had more in August this year than we did last year. So we can perhaps cling to a little bit of optimism that this year will be better than last year overall. Who knows, maybe over the next week we'll surpass last year's 26 mark and get up to 28 or 30!

Anonymous said...

So now the Placement Service lists three jobs (one more than yesterday!) even though I've received emails about four positions this morning alone. Why aren't all the jobs showing up? Am I supposed to use the list instead of the searchable, sortable database?

Anonymous said...

I see the archaeology tools have come out of the woodwork as usual. Go get your own wiki and blog for cripes sake, you dirty apes.

Anonymous said...

I also like how we're getting emails of "new positions" every time they make a mistake in the entry and have to edit it. So I've now received three notifications of a new position at Bard College. Unfortunately, they're not hiring three people, it's just that whoever is doing the data entry can't be bothered to get the details right and the system insists on informing us whenever anything has changed.

Meanwhile, I like how the specialty for the Chicago assistant professor position is listed as "Greek Prose" despite the very prominent emphasis on archaic poetry. Why bother having these fields at all?

Anonymous said...

Are other people not being allowed to log in to the placement site so as to see the new jobs, and also not being allowed to change their password?

Anonymous said...

I can log in just fine. Sounds like a weird problem. Perhaps browser related? Maybe try another browser, or try going into incognito / private mode or the equivalent and see if you get the same results.

Anonymous said...

There are 5 jobs posted on the "Recent Advertisements (Not Public)" page, but far more on the "2015-2015 Placement Year" page (which can only be reached by clicking the link at the bottom of an ad).

If I were Yale, Princeton, UChicago, or any of the other institutions that paid for an ad to be posted, I would be pretty unhappy with the SCS too.

Anonymous said...

Not 9/10, 1pm, but I too was unable to log in. Turns out I can't log in using Chrome, but IE worked fine just now. Thanks, whoever suggested it was a browser issue.

Anonymous said...

It looks like all of the interim jobs have been ported to the new placement service, and a few new ones have been added to boot.

Anonymous said...

What about Santa Barbara?

Anonymous said...

How is there not a single Latin lit job posted yet?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it looks like a good year for Greek Literature and Roman History/Archaeology, but not Latin Literature and Greek Archaeology.

Anonymous said...

What if you're at a school that doesn't have Austin's Oxford Red Books and your a Hellenist anyway. Seems like someone could help out and just drop the password for the classics wiki into the thread somewhere...

Anonymous said...

Nice try. Bad idea.

Anonymous said...

Greek prose isn't doing great either, but yeah, disastrous year for Latin thus far.

Anonymous said...

"your a Hellenist"?

Anonymous said...

What about my a Hellenist?

Anonymous said...

Really, another Greek lit position?! Maybe our Hellenist friend can apply for them.

Anonymous said...

Calm down: a named professorship is of exactly zero value to anybody who uses FV.

Anonymous said...

I think the password asker is no classicist. Don't respond to the request.

If you can't figure the wiki password out then you probably shouldn't be looking for jobs in classics. If you don't have Austin then email a friend to look it up for you.

Anonymous said...

If the wiki gets vandalized again, we will have a pretty good idea how it happened.

Anonymous said...

As if one really needed to look at Austin's commentary to figure it out. Try looking at the text he's commenting on, thinking about what he'd first comment on, and guess until you get it right. If you know any Latin and have ever spent time looking at a commentary, you can do this. If neither of those is true, you have no business logging in to the wiki.

Anonymous said...

Right. The first time I tried to use the wiki I was at home with no copy of Austin handy. I looked at the Latin in the OCT and got it in a couple of tries.

Anonymous said...

Man, this year sucks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes it does.

Anonymous said...

By the beard of Zeus, how can this year be worse that the past several?

Anonymous said...

^ Total number of jobs. Seems down compared to this time last year.

Anonymous said...

I just counted the numbers on the wiki from last year on Sept. 17 and today. Here's the stats:

Last year, Sept. 17: 27 T-T jobs, 11 visiting jobs, 7 senior jobs.

Today: 28 T-T jobs, 3 visiting jobs, 3 senior jobs.

I don't think any of us are too concerned about the senior jobs. But yes, there are fewer overall, despite the tiny increase in T-T positions. What these numbers don't reflect, though, is the dearth of jobs in certain areas. If I worked on material culture, I'd be less depressed than if I worked on Greek prose, for example. We can hope that the overall number of jobs will grow and that the spread of fields they're interested in will expand, but I'm not counting on it.

Anonymous said...

And taking last year as standard is setting the bar just about as low as it gets...

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is the increasing fondness of non-PhD, non-graduate program depts to want hyper focused positions/specialties, instead of casting a wide net and looking for the best teacher, best institutional fit, etc.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:00 PM, not everyone who works in material culture has it good, especially on the Greek side. And I suppose we're the type of "hyper focused" speciality being poo pooed by the previous post despite our sliver of the pie rarely advertises for something like "Hellenistic archaeologist." I'm not going to apologize for thinking that it's healthy for the discipline to hire a couple Greek archaeologists every year.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a classicist (although I do like Euripides and I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night). The password is easily found via the Internet (it's s******r, in case you don't believe me). Just thought I'd let you all know. Good luck on the job market!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous September 20, 2015 at 8:16 PM,

What a cool and dynamic person you must be to be trolling a classics job market website and attempting to taunt the users with your impressive googling skills (you must be in the IT sector, surely!). Bravo/a! We're all mortified and shaking in our untenured boots!

Anonymous said...

Really not trolling you guys or attempting to demonstrate any impressive googling skills (or skills of any sort). I only posted because the subject of the password came up. And I sincerely wish you all good luck on the job market -- no irony intended.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think it's possible to say "good luck on the job market" unironically to a Classics PhD.

Anonymous said...

Wishing someone luck on the Classics job market is like saying that you hope they get kneed viciously in the groin only three times instead of six.

Anonymous said...

If I could get back the years I put into Classics, I'd gladly have my nuts crushed to chunky nut butter and stored in an airtight jar for increased freshness.

Anonymous said...

Wishing someone luck on the Classics job market is like the old saw about the contest:
First prize: One week in Gary, Indiana.
Second prize: Two weeks in Gary, Indiana.

Anonymous said...

@9:18 10:38AM: I didn't say that anybody had it good. I said I'd be less depressed if I were doing material culture than if I worked on Greek prose; I'd say the same if I worked in Ancient History rather than Latin Poetry. There aren't going to be enough jobs in any area for anybody to say they've got it good, except maybe on some perverse standards of goodness (I suppose in a perverse sense it's a "good" year for Greek poetry because there are already three whole positions advertising explicitly for it; but all that tells us is how bad things have gotten). Believe it or not, there's no contest for who has it worst. Pointing out that the market so far this year is making things a little less hopeless for some people isn't a way of delegitimizing your self-pity; pity away.

Anonymous said...

of all the poor career choices to make, choosing Classics rates among the poorest and least advisable.

Anonymous said...

three and four times blessed were those who dropped out before getting the phd

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be harsh, but if these musings are coming from newly minted PhDs, I have little sympathy. It's one thing to have come out between 2005-2010. If you're hitting the market now, it means you started when things were either in the toilet are clearly heading there. Even if you were a couple years in before realizing how bad it is, there was still an early exit possibility. Yeah, it sucks for all of us, but you newbies had clear signs and viable outs.

Anonymous said...

Meh. Choosing Classics has always been horribly retarded from a career perspective. Mostly we do it because we all think we would be totally ok with being homeless vagabonds reading Homer in Greek under an overpass, teaching the pigeons to conjugate, when we are 20. Then suddenly we're 35 and we realize that life is real, there are no do-overs, and we just fucked ourselves up the ass so hard our eyes are bleeding.

Anonymous said...

September 23, 2015 at 11:50 PM wins best encapsulation of what it means to be a 30-something classicist without a steady academic gig. srsly.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to come here and read mostly comments that say "we picked the wrong career and everything is hopeless." Okay, fine, so maybe we didn't choose so well (depending on one's goals). But can't we stop saying it? I have hope that some (most?) of the people who use the blog and wiki will get some kind of academic gig this year, either tenure-track, or a one-year, or something. It won't be the dream, but it will be something. So as cathartic as it is to bitch about the job market, let's bitch like people whose lives suck now but still have hope that it will be better in about eight months or less. Anger, yes. Anxiety, yes. Hopelessness, no.

Like this: The job market sucks. I hate it. I hate how I spend so much time worrying about every little detail in my cover letter and CV when I have students to meet with and classes to prep and papers to grade and, heck, articles to write so that I'm a little more hireable. I hate that I have to treat my research like a pawn in a game instead of actually caring about my author and field. I hate that every relationship I form with colleagues in my field is tainted by the fact that I can't ignore that they are also potential pawns in the game of getting hired. I hate it.

Anonymous said...

...said the most naive graduate student ever.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Most of you are not getting jobs. Not even a VAP. Do the fucking math.

Anonymous said...

The math back when I was on the market meant something like 500 people registered with the then APA Placement Service and fewer than a hundred TOTAL jobs listed on the wiki (and that includes some stuff I hunted down from non-wiki sites too!). I was never a math genius, but even I knew my odds were grim or at least grimmish. Hoping that everyone on the market will get a job of any sort related to the field is a step or two from any kind of reality, however loosely defined or cloaked in hallucinogens. But I do wish you all well, in Classics or somewhere else. Probably somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Current Wiki demographics:

ABD (early): 01
ABD (will defend/file this year): 05
PhD in hand, adjunct: 00
PhD in hand, temporary contract (VAP, post-doc, 1-year): 11
In an alt-ac position: 01
Employed outside academia: 00
Unemployed: 00
In a "permanent" (i.e., renewable) but non-tenure-track position: 05
Assistant professor or equivalent (e.g. lecturer in UK/AUS/NZ): 02
Associate professor or equivalent: 00
Full professor: 01

NONE of the people who added to these counters are "unemployed." That means last year they all either got a VAP, continued with their VAP from the previous year, got a non-t-t permanent position, or weren't yet looking for a job. Now, this doesn't mean "everyone gets a job"--not by a long stretch--but it does mean that SOME of the depressed job seekers on this site are currently in academic jobs. Not great ones, but jobs nonetheless. That is a small amount of hope.

This isn't to say that this is the experience of most classicists across the board. But it does seem to be the experience of wiki-users and, probably, Famae Volent users.

Anonymous said...

My full-time adjunct pay - top-flight Ph.D. in hand, many publications, lots of good work in the field / service to discipline - is less than full-time Walmart pay. the 'most everyone will get something decent' mantra just ain't true.

Anonymous said...

Unemployed is a better position to be in than holding a VAP.

The unemployed eventually find the will to change careers. The long term outcome of this is generally better.

The worst position of all to be in is Assistant Professor who will be denied tenure in six years. Know how you know you aren't in that category? You fucking get tenure.

Until you do that, you can never be confident that your long term position is better than the person who is forced to change careers. Because you may be forced to do so as well, just most of a decade later.

Even then, good luck on the whole 'I hope my department doesn't get closed with me in it when I'm 50' thing.

Anonymous said...

Having the VAP is equivalent to using a gateway drug - you most likely will end up strung out. A VAP can lead to success - but more often to ruin...

Anonymous said...

To September 25, 2015 at 2:31 PM
Don't rely on the counters for any sort of real data.
I know at least 10 people who read the wiki without adding their status to the counters.
4:56 PM is right. In many ways, it's better to be unemployed and thus forced out of the field. You avoid being strung along for a year, or two, or eight, you avoid racking up debt moving from town to town chasing temporary jobs, and you get the emotional pain/feeling of failure over with so that you can move past it.
There's very little hope of getting a T-T job. But there is hope for a decent life even if you don't.

Anonymous said...

I'm with 9/24 5:12. Life is on the market hard enough without the weaponized nihilism into which famae regularly descends, particularly when anyone raises a voice against it.

To those above citing the terrible math of the job market and proclaiming that not getting an academic job is better than getting one because at least that way you're getting the disappointment out of the way sooner: have you followed your own advice and gotten out? If so, why do you post here?

The market being terrible is hardly news at this point. I knew it before I went out for the first time, and that was years ago, years in which I've never been within shouting distance of a TT job. But I still want one, so I'm going to try again.

Does it really make people feel better to repeat endlessly and ever more viciously the dark commonplaces of the market? Go get one of those better jobs, and have some compassion on those of us who aren't yet ready to take that step and shut up.

Anonymous said...

11:13am -- It's really easy to make someone shut up on the internet. Just don't read their posts. I suggest you focus on taking that action yourself if FV makes you feel bad, instead of trying to control everyone else.

Anonymous said...

A majority of FV posters ... judging from their posts at least ... are miserably entitled, whiny people who think they are the gods' gift to the field. It's no wonder they don't get jobs.

Anonymous said...

You've just described almost every Classics prof ever. What, FV posters fit in too well?

Anonymous said...

Inquiring minds want to know what career options those who decided to flee the sinking ship that is Classics ended up choosing or settling for? I imagine secondary teaching is a top choice, and I suppose law was as well until that field also went to hell.

Anonymous said...

I chose troll under my nearest local bridge.

Anonymous said...

Literally anything. Classics is not easy, despite its extremely low market value. If you got a PhD from a top program, you can do whatever else you want within reason (i.e. you probably can't be God-King of America or the next NFL Quarterback Man) -- it just might take you a few years to get there.

You do have to be willing to start over completely. Classics skills are pretty much never going to be directly relevant. Think of yourself as a particularly old new college grad and go from there.

Fallen Classicist said...

Anon. 1:39 is about right. I'd suggest first deciding whether any additional education is appropriate. If you want to be a dentist or a lawyer, dental school or law school, respectively, would be advisable. Spending time at a coding academy is also an option. So is library school. If more education does not make sense, move to a city where you want to live (if you are not already living in one) and look for a job.

It is exactly right to say that you will have to be willing to start over completely, and it very well may take a few years for a clear career path to develop. It can be worth it, though.

But--and I've mentioned this before--October is a month better spent focused on applications for classics jobs. You can look for a nonacademic job throughout the year.

Anonymous said...

What if the SCS Placement Service posted job ads for jobs outside academia open to or interested in hiring applicants with PhDs in the humanities? They would, of course, have to go out and solicit ads, but it would be interesting to see if there were any jobs at all for which the degree would be a plus from the get-go.

Anonymous said...

Having a PhD in general can be a presented as a selling point to employers in fields where intellect is desirable, even if the fact that it is in Classics specifically is not advantageous. At the risk of being anecdote guy, I think my PhD helped me land a good job as a software engineer. Now that's a high demand, low supply industry; I could have still landed a job in not much time with the same minimal skills even as a college dropout, but it probably would have paid a good 40k less to start out.

Anonymous said...

Is anybody keeping track of how this year compares with the last cycle? I feel like there are almost no jobs at all this year, especially for those of us who have a more "traditional" (Classical period, Latin or Greek literature) focus.

Anonymous said...

I think it's bad all around with the exception of a few areas (seems like a great year for Greek lit and especially epic). I'm hoping programs, especially those in the northeast still recovering from the winter, are just dragging a bit this year, but it looks bad when the recession is years behind us. A couple years ago there was a discussion whether classics would bounce back after the recession. I think the answer is beginning to look like no. Administrators happily used the recession as an excuse to cut the humanities and then hire in other fields when things bounced back.

Anonymous said...

This year is catastrophically bad.

Anonymous said...

Administrators happily used the recession as an excuse to cut the humanities and then hire in other fields when things bounced back.

I think this is right.

Anonymous said...

The rise of the administrative class in higher education is one of several factors contributing to the ruin of university education in the States. What exactly a provost does, for example, remains a mystery to me. Likewise the necessity for my institution to employ a wide array of them with colorful titles, usually at six-figures a pop. I've also found that most administrators are only interested in pimping STEM and have bought without question the notion that a university education should function as job training.

Anonymous said...

Do you feel the same way about, say, the admins hired to oversee women's issues, LGBT issues, multicultural issues etc? I'm not trolling, just curious if potential future faculty think all admins are wastes of money and resources. I suspect that without them, many of the things I wouldn't want to do - mainly administrative tasks related to campus life rather than scholarship and teaching - would fall on faculty.

Anonymous said...

You're both being silly: we all (I hope) know provosts don't sit there as figureheads collecting enormous incomes for nothing. And (I hope) nearly every last one of us supports LGBT issues etc. But one could legitimately argue that over-regulation has caused universities to increase support positions at the expense of teaching ones, and not everybody thinks this has been done in correct proportions or that the legalization and medicalization of universities reflects their actual missions. Many might also argue that the faculty could and should be doing some of the jobs that are now outsourced to administrators, as they do in some other countries.

Anonymous said...

There is now an internet. Universities are obsolete.

Teaching has always been bullshit; people who are capable of learning and willing to do so just need access to resources (once libraries, now any computer). The idea that you need another person to say words at you at any point in this process is just silly.

Anonymous said...

Obsolete? I'll have you know that I am generously paid several thousand dollars per academic year to teach Retail and General Studies majors while they post and share nudes with strangers on the interweb.

Anonymous said...

Right. That's the point. Teaching is expressly targeted at dipshits who don't care about it, because the dipshits who *do* care about it learn just fine by themselves.

I say the dipshits who don't care about it should just fuck right off. I am not a fucking coach here to give the inspiring Dead Poets speech and get little Timmy to care about declension. Little Timmy can care about whatever the fuck he wants as long as he fucks off and leaves me alone.

Anonymous said...

and who said we should save the Classicists? You'll all be clipping Timmy's hedge for bus fare with that attitude.

Anonymous said...

Clipping Timmy's hedge is better than teaching Timmy, because it doesn't actually require you to interact with him. And anyway teaching him would only get you half a bus fare.

Anonymous said...

well, if Timmy is still hiring gardeners, I better send him my resumé -- going to need that job. Anyone have his address? Does he use Interfolio?

Anonymous said...

There are lots of incredible opportunities for smart people in this world, just not in Classics. If you want my advice, do what I did when I was in my "so desperate I'm considering trying to make a living from Mechanical Turk" phase: find a career path where the labor market is high demand, low supply and the barrier to entry is low. In other words, the exact opposite of Classics. You'll be amazed at how little effort it takes to make good money when market forces are in your favor vs. stacked against you.

Anonymous said...

that depends a lot on where you and your family end up living, bear in mind. not so easy as you suggest in lots of places in America.

Anonymous said...

If you're going to apply for a job with Timmy, you'll first need to boil down your (probably) multi-page C.V. into a single-page Resume, remove every reference to "Classics" and replace it with "Ancient Greek and Roman Stuff," and refrain from using words with more than a couple syllables. If Timmy is like most other employers he will require you to complete an online application where in addition to attaching your resume you will be asked to actually type out the whole damned thing again in a section called "work history." Finally, your application will be parsed by software and thrown into the electronic trash heap before a human being ever lays eyes on it because you didn't borrow the right number or combination of words from the job description for the software's liking.

Anonymous said...

"that depends a lot on where you and your family end up living, bear in mind. not so easy as you suggest in lots of places in America."

A Classicist of all people knows that you move wherever the jobs are.

Anonymous said...

Once you have moved eleventy-seven times, you might just end up staying put b/c you are too broke to move around anymore.

Anonymous said...

the "lots of jobs for smart people" mantra has to be tempered by geography. if you are in a metropolis or a place where non-profit or NGO or government sector or industry sector work is possible, jumping off the classics ship and landing on fruitful land is certainly do-able. if you are not in such a place or region (and this covers a lot of these United States), the transferability of skills is tough, and the Ph.D. credentials something like a liability. this is even true for seeking university jobs on the office or administration side of the game as opposed to the classroom side. "You are over-qualified" = "You won't fit in".

Anonymous said...

You don't need transferability of skills, though. If you have a PhD in Classics, you are good at *learning* skills. The best way to secure employment is to put that intelligence to use learning skills with high market value. Yes, there will be little to no overlap with the professional skills of a Classicist. But you're not just a Classicist; you're a smart person who can learn whatever.

Anonymous said...

Latin job market is a disaster...

Anonymous said...

yes it's awfully depressing. people will say that the market ebbs and flows, and it does. but not a SINGLE T-T job in Latin lit? That's unparalleled, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

This after a rather poor year last year too. No one wants Latinists, it seems.

Anonymous said...

The entire discipline is a flaming wreck thanks to our clueless, covetous, bickering forebearers.

Anonymous said...

It's probably just a sign of how bad things are as a whole that now an off-year means no TT jobs for an entire field -- somewhere between one and five, not unusual in the post-recession years, is effectively zero actual job possibilities for most of us, anyway. But yes, I am pretty sure this is unprecedented.

Anonymous said...

Not true. Princeton is advertising for a T-T Latinist. Medieval Latin counts, right?

Anonymous said...

Given that virtually none of us are actually trained in medieval literature, no, it doesn't. We don't count medievalists as classicists by default; we shouldn't count ourselves as medievalists either. It's not impossible that the job will go to someone with a PhD from a classics department, but the vast majority of people who wrote dissertations in Latin literature are just not qualified for the job. So no, it doesn't count.

Anonymous said...

Catholic University just came out with a TT for Latin lit

Anonymous said...

Yeah, for Classical and MEDIEVAL Latin, with preference for "a research specialty in postclassical Latin down to c. 1500," so it still doesn't count.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that advertisements for jobs in Medieval Latin do not count. Why would Princeton or CUA hire a Classicist? There are a bevy of actual Medievalists who will be vying for these jobs.

Anonymous said...

To 1:48PM

Clueless and covetous: you've hit the nail on the head. Bitter baby boomers with illusions of immorality are making a bad situation worse. The field will die with them. Maybe that's what they want!

Anonymous said...

Clueless and covetous: you've hit the nail on the head. Bitter baby boomers with illusions of immorality are making a bad situation worse. The field will die with them. Maybe that's what they want!

Their motto: "Après nous le déluge".

Anonymous said...

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2015/10/20/phd-should-result-tenure-track-job-not-alt-ac-one-essay?utm_content=buffer61205&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=IHEbuffer

"Moving the Goalposts in Graduate Education"

October 20, 2015

By

Marc Bousquet

Anonymous said...

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/10/21/neh-seeks-spur-humanities-phd-training-beyond-traditional-career-paths

"Beyond Faculty Careers"

October 21, 2015

By

Colleen Flaherty

Anonymous said...

I've heard of at least three TT positions with deadlines approaching that have received less than 20 applications. Have people just given up?

Anonymous said...

Are the positions for specialists in Greek Lyric poetry who also have a background in Bronze Age Archaeology with extensive field experience along with expertise in Silver Latin (emphasis on Lucan's Silvae)? Ability to teach Greek and Roman history from the Classical period through the Dominate preferred.

Anonymous said...

I think the key phrase might be "deadlines approaching." I plan to apply for several jobs with Nov. 1 deadlines but haven't yet done so. That's still more than a week away, and I have grading to do. I imagine those numbers will increase significantly in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

In our searches past (and present), way more than 50% of the applications arrive within a few days of the deadline.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else just getting "page expired" when they try to apply to the nyu job?

Anonymous said...

mine says "career expired"

Anonymous said...

It's funny 'cause it's true!

Anonymous said...

Yeah yeah, all of our careers are expired. But even without hope, applying for jobs has become something of an annual tradition in my family.

Anonymous said...

How on Earth are there so many Greek jobs this year? Does anyone understand it? This Latinist does not.

Anonymous said...

Last year was an unusually dry year for Greek jobs. Not none like for Latin this year, but still pretty dry. Maybe this is the correction? Ooh, maybe that means that next year there will be approximately a million Latin jobs!

Anonymous said...

Any info or word about the Purdue or Knox jobs?

Anonymous said...

Nothing really to understand: it is just bad enough on a field level that random fluctuations mean seriously bad years like last year for Greek or even years where there is literally no chance of getting a job like this year for Latin. The "so many" Greek jobs of this year wouldn't in the past have looked that great -- it is only in contrast with the situation for Latinists.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:12 pm

If people posting on a Classics board think Lucan wrote the Silvae, maybe that explains why some have trouble finding jobs...just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come now. Statius, Lucan. Silver tomato, silver tomato.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:13 pm

If people posting on a Classics board don't know that Lucan also wrote Silvae, maybe they shouldn't look down upon those who do...just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, those alleged Lucanian SIlvae rest on such firm evidence for their existence...

Anonymous said...

And this conversation demonstrates why classics is dead.

Anonymous said...

I think we all know Classics is dead because you touch yourself at night.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else have a pretty significant amount of trouble uploading documents to the NYU online app? Why don't they just switch to interfolio?

Anonymous said...

I didn't have a problem with NYU, but I'm wrestling with the Wake Forest application. First, they warn you to be ready to do it relatively quickly so that you don't "time out." Then they ask questions that aren't really appropriate for a faculty position (e.g. what your current salary is, and what salary you are asking for). Then you have to write an on-the-spot diversity statement (with the warning about timing out ringing in your head the whole time...). *Then*, the application program appears to mangle your CV. You upload it as a PDF, all nice and neat, and the website then reports on your "CV Content" in the form of a sort of Word-like document that has totally scrambled everything by taking out any and all line breaks and reading the CV as if it should be read word by word, right to left like a news story. I can't tell if the SC will have access to the original PDF, or just this mess that the application site created. Things happen, but this is too many "things" for one application.

Wake Forest search committee said...

We're really sorry that the application system is causing such troubles! It's a standard-issue HR system that we didn't have a choice on.

We *do* receive the PDF version of the CV (and all other documents) as well as the horribly-mangled version, which shows up as horribly-mangled text. We will only be evaluating what we asked for in the ad -- cover letter, c.v., and letters of recommendation -- all of which we access in the same way they were uploaded by the applicant (PDF or Word files). We will not look at salary-related things, and the diversity statement does not come to us.

Also, if you don't want to deal with the application system, you are also welcome to email your application letter and CV directly to Prof. Mary Pendergraft at pender@wfu.edu.

Anonymous said...

If I may add, for Wake Forest's salary question the system will accept words (even though it says numbers only), so one can just say competitive/commensurate.

Anonymous said...

The online application for Nebraska-Lincoln appears to require that three (3) letters of recommendation be uploaded as a single PDF file to the HR website. Since my letters are all confidential (as I imagine they are for most people), I do not have copies of them. Usually, I just have my letters sent to an e-mail or snail mail address by Interfolio. Anyone know how to deal with this issue? I could write to the departmental contact person, but I figure that someone else here may have already done that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Wake Forest!! We all know how ridiculous hr systems can be.

Anonymous said...

I just wrote to the Nebraska-Lincoln folks and Dr. Duncan suggested that I upload a list of my referees and have them send there letters (I also do this via interfolio) to the department administrative assistant, Roberta Barreda.

Anonymous said...

8:42 AM @ 11:31 AM: Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone else tell if they have successfully applied to the Cincinnati job? I click "apply" and it just bounces me back up to the top of the page rather than giving me a confirmation. I've checked all the red boxes to make sure I'm not missing anything. No confirmation email, either, despite the fact that they are now enthusiastically spamming me with job advertisements for, apparently, any professorship currently being advertised, for example dermatology.....

Anonymous said...

SC member here hoping to get a sense of timelines . . . How close to deadline are most folks tending to file their applications? We're trying to gauge how many we might receive and at least guess how quickly we can expect to be able to notify people.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a few weeks in advance, but normally a few days. Enough to have a safe buffer.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes a few weeks, usually a few days, rarely at the last minute. If your application asks for several new or unique documents, it will take longer. I can submit one in a couple hours if you just want CV, cover letter, writing sample, diversity statement, first born, teaching portfolio, research statement, thirty pieces of silver, and three letters of recommendation.

Anonymous said...

I always send mine at the last minute (e.g., the day of "we will start reviewing on X." Just how it happens, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

All SC members should expect to receive the bulk of applications on the day of the deadline. Always.

Anonymous said...

Anon. at 11:30 AM: you forgot sample syllabi, statistical and narrative digest of your last five years of teaching evaluations, and warm homemade brownies.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else concerned about things like Hamilton's "statement about how they would engage and sustain Hamilton’s commitment to diversity and inclusion"?

Have the HR departments and search committees just learned how to get around the law against asking people about their race in job applications? Is this a way that racist crackers will be able to cut people of color? Or is it a way for schools with diversity quotas to chase people of color? Either way, it seems illegal and way problematic.

Anonymous said...

Would it really be so terrible for Classics departments to intentionally hire people of color? God knows they could use some. Anyway, most liberal arts colleges have a commitment like Hamilton's and want to hear how you have worked with and will support diverse populations of students. If you can't think beyond race to other forms of diversity, maybe it's not for you.

Anonymous said...

Not sure it's illegal, but it certainly qualifies as vapid verbiage.

Anonymous said...

Definitely not racist crackers: Hamilton is way out on the liberal fringe. If you have to ask, it is probably not worth your time to write the diversity statement because you aren't going to get the job.

Anonymous said...

doing my applications listening to

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2yDErdPBOU

the irony is delicious

Anonymous said...

Hamilton's recent hires seem to be diverse, including non-minorities, so I wouldn't assume a diversity statement means they are trying to weed out white classicists.

Anonymous said...

Hamilton's easily an inside hire anyway, so I wouldn't worry about diversity statements.

Anonymous said...

Somebody said 'inside hire'! Take a drink!

Anonymous said...

Worrying about an imagined hoard of Classics applicants who are people of color coming to steal your dream job is silly. Granted, there are certainly people of color in Classics but to pretend that they are numerous enough to take all the jobs when the field so heavily populated by the white male is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Come now; it would hardly require a hoard to take all the jobs. More like a small gathering. An intimate dinner party. A Wednesday afternoon book club's worth of devious, shifty, job-stealing minorities.

Anonymous said...

All the job seeking minorities in classics, both generously defined, could not fill more than 10% of the jobs offered in any given year. Hell, if you take all the minorities in classics period, you still couldn't fill all the jobs offered in a year.

Anonymous said...

Is ethnicity seriously the only kind of diversity we can imagine....?

Anonymous said...

No, but it's the most underrepresented group in classics by far. Last time I checked there was plenty of diversity when it came to gender, religion, socio-economic status, etc.

Why? Are you unfortunate white guy who suffered so much by having a firefighter dad and elementary school teacher mum? Or maybe you experienced the scourge of being Eastern European white? Ah, poor baby.

Anonymous said...

Pure curiosity - how many of you were the first in your families (not just mom and dad, but aunts, uncles, grandparents etc) to go to college? That seems to be most institutions' baseline measure for socioeconomic diversity. It doesn't always track the -economic part of that category, since some blue collar workers can do quite well financially, but most blue collar workers are not running their own million-dollar roofing business.

Anonymous said...

If anyone can consult the Hamilton College Classics Department website, investigate who is working there, and not conclude that that job is the platonic form of an inside hire, well...it's going to be a rough for you

Anonymous said...

If that is true, they are really not being good citizens to ask for not only an extra document but a Hamilton-specific tailored extra document. I'm not writing it.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, we don't know if it's an institutional requirement that all faculty applications include this statement--in which case, it's not their fault if all they want to do is a fake search and an inside hire, but the college makes *who knows how many* classicists waste a perfectly good afternoon writing a pointless document.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. But make no mistake. It's an inside hire.

Anonymous said...

Another drink!

Anonymous said...

Whoever this "inside hire" is could get a perfectly good offer from another institution and take it. Worst case scenario, you're the runner up in such a situation. Best (and more likely) case, no one posting on FV has any idea what jobs are "inside hires" or not. It's all just speculation. But yes, let's please all drink.

Anonymous said...

Believe me. I know.

Anonymous said...

Worst case scenario is not that you are runner up, it is that you spend four hours you desperately need for other things writing a document for a job ap. that you never had any legitimate shot at in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Before this goes any further, I want to tell the sanctimonious people that we ALL agree that more diversity (racial or otherwise) is a good thing. Diverse perpectives lead to a better educational experience for everyone. No one here disagrees with you.

That said, there is still something sinister about doing an end-run around the legal protections that prevent hiring committees from judging candidates by race. If you can't see the potential problems there, at least save your "poor baby" bullshit. We don't need more people telling us that we are second-class applicants.

Anonymous said...

The following message is in response to the so-called issue of ‘inside hires’. As background, I currently hold a T-T position and could be labeled as an inside hire myself. I was a VAP at the institution when the T-T position was advertised. The department followed due process and placed a job ad, created short-lists, and held on-campus interviews. At the end of all that I was offered the position and accepted. I did not receive any other T-T offers that year.

This is a scenario which seems to infuriate many Classics job candidates. It can be seen to eliminate fairness and cause numerous people to waste time on a pointless application. For those of us on the other side, i.e. the supposed inside candidates, the perspective is quite different.

I think that everyone applying for academic jobs shares a similar belief. If only someone would give us a chance, we would demonstrate that we would be excellent additions to any department. The problem is that there are so few chances out there. During my VAP year I was an active member of the department, participating on committees, advising students, pursuing research, and teaching my share of courses. I developed a good rapport with colleagues and students. When I found out the T-T position was being advertised, I felt that the VAP was my chance to demonstrate my potential to stay long-term.

What followed were some of the most stressful months I’ve encountered as an academic. I was careful not to push any of my fellow faculty about their thoughts on the position, but I was constantly worried about it. I parsed every glance, comment, gesture, etc. to see if a hidden opinion could be gleaned. Some days this was good and others I felt sure that they had already tossed out my application. When the on campus interviews happened, as a member of the department I was expected to attend job talks. Few candidates ever see other people interview for the same position and it is particularly deflating when they do an excellent job. I was offered the position as the top choice in the end, but I still remember how rough those months were.

I realize that most of you will have little to no sympathy for what I have written above. I have a full-time position while most people do not, regardless of how it happened. My main message is that those people labeled as ‘inside hires’ are not sitting back with their feet propped up on a desk smiling because of their great fortune. They are stressed. From my perspective, if I had not been offered the T-T position after all of that time in the department, it would have been a debilitating blow. It is one thing to be runner-up in the more traditional gamble of the job market, but for a department to think that someone can do it better when they have seen you work month after month would be very hard to deal with. That did not happen to me, but it has happened to others and can be a far more devastating blow from which to recover than not being short-listed.

Finally, for those of you who may wind up being inside hires of some kind, the one word you will almost never hear is congratulations. At the AIA/APA the year after I got the job, it wasn’t until the second day, and talking to a lot of colleagues, before someone finally offered that word. Prior to that, I had mainly been told how I got the job only because of my previous position in the department. Clearly I did not deserve it otherwise. I disagree, but everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. In the end there is just bitterness on both sides and that is really the summation of the Classics job market, as unfortunate as that is, regardless of what role you play in it.

Anonymous said...

12:34 - Thank you for your perspective. This is exactly what I have been saying in regards to "inside hires". It might look like, or one might assume, an inside hire, but the department is running a full and fair search. The VAP has an advantage, sure, but there are cases where the VAP did not get the job. And the candidate fully earned the VAP in the first place. It's a right place at the right time situation, and that's just life.

You deserve your job, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 12:34. Yes, we should all have empathy for each other and this is an easy process for almost nobody today. I think the main thing that is upsetting people is not as much the inside hire possibility as that it seems likely that this department is violating the principle of "don't make the situation less humane than it already is" with the extra and unique document that is being required.

Anonymous said...

12:34: Yes, thanks for your perspective. What seems to me objectionable in regards to Hamilton College's advertisement (and different, as you describe it, from your situation) is that it matches the CV of the internal candidate so precisely. Hiring internal candidates is not per se an unreasonable or unethical practice, but holding a fake search is. Those who will end up wasting time on interview prep for a job that never existed in the first place have a right to be bitter.

Anonymous said...

@3:08: fucking exactly. That's the issue here. I don't ever blame an inside candidate for booking the t-t gig. But I do blame departments and administrations for putting in fake searches. Just convert the person already!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious - if HR permits it, do people find conversion a more honorable option for a department than a search where a VAP has an advantage (but there is still the possibility of hiring someone else)?

As a side note, off the top of my head I can think of many recent PhDs who got their TT jobs through either conversion or a search where they were the inside candidate - some after YEARS of being renewed as temporary or after being explicitly told that their position would not convert - does there seem to be a trend of departments getting VAPs and then moving to make them permanent (one way or another), or is this always the way things have worked?

Anonymous said...

"That said, there is still something sinister about doing an end-run around the legal protections that prevent hiring committees from judging candidates by race. If you can't see the potential problems there, at least save your "poor baby" bullshit. We don't need more people telling us that we are second-class applicants."

This is hilarious if you're the same person asking people to consider other forms of diversity. Let me guess, you espouse a form of diversity that you just happen to fit? You're a slimy, entitled douche. Admit it and crawl back to your obtuse world.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I was a student in a department that interviewed one of its own VAPs for a job and did not offer it to that person. I was a finalist for a position and wasn't offered the job, sure all the while that it had been offered to the VAP who worked in the same field, but it turns out that person wasn't even one of the finalists (the job just went to some other jerk, yarg!). I say this not to opine about Hamilton in particular, but simply to observe that sometimes when it looks very clear that the department intends to hire their current visitor, that doesn't happen, and sometimes it's not even close to happening. I'd agree that it certainly looks like an inside hire, but even if the 'inside' candidate does get the job, it wouldn't follow that the department never had any intention of considering anyone else seriously for the position.

One way to look at this is that if it is an inside hire and the department does not have the option of converting the current position, then they've done a lot of us a favor by writing the job ad so as to exclude 98% of us. I certainly didn't apply for it, I can tell you that.

As for the diversity stuff, once again it may be worth considering the possibility that it's not the department's decision. And whoever decided, it doesn't follow that there's some pernicious ideology at work here. I have met with diversity officers during on-campus interviews, thinking that I'd surely come off badly given that I am about as white and male and straight as it is possible to be (I suppose one could be manlier, but hey). Not only did the discussion have nothing to do with whether I added to the diversity of the campus -- it was about my experience working with diverse populations of people, and not even primarily people from different racial or ethnic groups, but largely with foreign students and people who are not heterosexual -- but they eventually offered the job to someone who is as white, male, and heterosexual as I am.

In other words, all you straight white guys out there don't have much to worry about. If you don't get hired, it's not going to be because you're white, male, or straight.

Anonymous said...

@ November 18, 2015 at 12:34 PM

I could have written this. In fact, it so exactly matches me that if anyone who knows me has read it, they probably think I did write it, so I won't add much beyond my agreement. I sympathize completely. I had to go through two national searches at the same university. Many of the same people on the hiring committee. And they did not cut me any slack. It was brutal.

I've been on both sides: the insider who was passed over and the insider who was hired. Both experiences felt eerily similar.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8:02, they're not the same people, but thanks.

I also know many people in recent years who have not been placed through traditional means but through personal/informal ones such as conversion. I don't begrudge the person who is hired in the least: maybe they got a little lucky in being at the right place at the right time, but everyone who has a job got lucky. But these things can be handled more or less sensitively by departments. It looks like this time it was not handled kindly, but maybe Anon. 7:06 is right the ad was written with the intention of scaring off applicants, which would change things.

Anonymous said...

Fake searches are often mandated by the institution. My experience is limited but I'd guess that fake searches (where they are really fake) are probably not chosen by the departments but required by the administration or union/faculty association.

Anonymous said...

I KNOW the above (11:37 AM) is true at my institution. And you can't exactly say in the job ad "if your name isn't X, please don't apply" (or virtually say it)--the university would not accept that.

Anonymous said...

One wonders why those fortunate enough to have gained a TT position (whether through being an inside candidate or not) are still hanging around on Famae. suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis / e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem? Or do you just enjoy reminiscing about the times when you, too, were a bitter shell of humanity?

Anonymous said...

One wonders why [...]

That makes one of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh it's Thanksgiving, be a little generous: maybe they're thankful they have a job, and are offering those in the trenches some advice and support.

Anonymous said...

As someone with a T-T position, I can say that I never looked at Famae until after I received my job offer. I had heard about it from friends, but their descriptions of the often depressing nature of the comments made me hesitant to expose my already fragile psyche to that type of dialogue. The faculty in my department never mentioned its existence as far as I can remember (perhaps a ploy on their part) so this wasn't a conspiracy where I was advised to avoid it.

I look at the comments every so often to see what issues are current. FV provides a venue for gauging what issues are on people's mind in the discipline. My department may be doing a search in the next couple of years and I also want to get a sense of what people think works and what doesn't (and what types of battles we may need to fight with the HR department to avoid the frustrations seen above).

Anonymous said...

Tenured now at a place where I was never a VAP; turned down for a job at a place where I was a VAP; on-campus candidate for two places that ended up hiring the VAP so I felt like a "patsy" for a fake search; have sat on search committees that turned down the VAP.

My perspective from all of that: No-one outside a department can ever tell if a search is tailored for an "inside hire" or not. It is also almost invariably the case that it is the administration, not the department, that mandates a full search. At my SLAC, we are not allowed to "convert" a VAP to a tenure line. It is explicitly forbidden in our institution's code. If we want a new t-t line, we have to compete with every other dept. on campus to get it, whether we have a VAP in place or not. If we're one of the winning depts who gets a new t-t line, we are explicitly required to do a national search. We cannot just offer it to the VAP. And -- every search here, for every position, in every department, requires a "diversity statement." That, too, is a college-wide regulation. I'm surprised, actually, that anyone is surprised to see those. I'd thought they were standard now, at least at SLACs.

I'll also say that, from the perspective of someone who's sat on many search committees now (though seldom one for classics; I'm usually the outside member for another department), it's my strong impression that the VAP usually ends up at a DISadvantage. There's the unfortunate fact that after spending a semester with a person you know their foibles and weaknesses as well as their strengths; it's horribly unfair, but all too often SCs seem to be dazzled by the new person whom they DON'T know to the detriment of poor old So-and-So who's been slogging away as a VAP; they think "We can do better than Old So-and-So." I have never yet experienced a case where a VAP was a shoo-in, and all too many where what looked from the outside like an "inside search" actually never considered the current VAP at all. And I can tell you that there are few things more painful than being the VAP who does NOT get the t-t but still has to finish out the year there anyway. Been there, done that, and even though it's many years ago now the wound still aches in cold weather.

Bottom line -- if your CV looks plausible for the Hamilton job, apply.

Anonymous said...

Another person now tenured at a place where I was never a VAP, though I did my share on the VAP circuit, and have seen many of the things Anon 9:10 describes.

I agree completely with what Anon 9:10 says about the disadvantage of the insider. It is so much easier for a search committee to paint an outsider golden and all agree to hire that person than it is for them to agree on someone whom they already know as all too human. I think this is also why candidates from big name schools with no publications can do really well: the school name is seen as some sort of a guarantee, and it's much easier for everyone on the search committee to agree "this is my kind of person!" if there is no paper trail for the search committee to disagree with.

I don't know anything about the Hamilton job other than what I read here, but honestly the ad doesn't scream insider to me. It screams small department with very specific needs and holes to fill. What did the ad for the VAP who is there now say? In my department we currently have someone in a VAP position, which was a stop-gap until the dean would let us advertise for a TT position. So the things we asked for for the VAP are the same things that we'll be asking for when/if we get the TT. (And we too are required by the administration to carry out a full national search even if things go well with the VAP.) To an outsider it might look like we're trying to make an inside hire--and who knows, maybe we will hire the person currently here; I'll certainly be arguing that we should give him fair consideration--but really we're just trying to fill a very specific set of needs.

So I agree with Anon 9:10 on this too: if your CV looks plausible for the Hamilton job, apply.

And why do I read this discussion board? To keep myself honest about the state of our field, to keep myself from telling my students to give graduate school a try, to look for ideas about what I can do to make things better as someone who serves on search committees every now and again, and, to be honest, so that I never forget that I'm just plain goddamn lucky to have the job that I do and that I should therefore do everything I can to make the most of it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10 here, agreeing with everything in Anon 10:47's last paragraph. These are precisely the reasons I check Famaevolent every so often, too.

Anonymous said...

I am happy if some TT people are using FV in this way. That is far better than blindly sending people off to graduate school or training graduate students without thinking about the results. The field has enough of that.

Anonymous said...

SCC here. 9:10 and 10:47 have it right. In structuring our search this year I consulted FV (and the back years on the wiki) more than once to gain a sense of what would be helpful to candidates and what would drive people crazy. It's been a while since we last searched and things change, ranging from technology to the state of the rest of the field. As a massive understatement, it's never easy to be a job candidate, but the last decade has made things even harder. Anything SCs can do to be considerate, accommodating, and supportive is not only nice, but essential.

Anonymous said...

Could we come up with a rough, and polite, list of things we would ask of SCs? I get that people's HR departments require all kinds of stuff, but I'd say if possible

* Understand how Interfolio works: do not require each letter of rec. to be submitted separately. They can all be sent in as a single document by email to the search chair, which quarters the cost to the candidate, many of whom are financially strapped. It is expensive enough to be on the job market as is without extra costs for literally no reason.

*Similarly, get up to date on technology. For example, nobody has been physically sending data on CDs or jump drives in this century.

* Be open to Skype interviews rather than meeting ones.

* Ask for as few documents as possible, at least in the first round. Do not ask for elaborate tailoring.

* Don't leave people hanging. Let them know when they are no longer in the running. But in the final stages, do not personally call them to tell them they are out: that is not a kindness.

*If you have no choice but to use your human resources department website, take it for a test drive yourself. See if you can get HR to modify it accordingly.

* Allow four letters. Those of us in VAPs need to include an extra one to say we're good colleagues, but that letter often can't address other issues as thoroughly the others letters can, given that the person writing it has known us for literally a month.

*I don't personally care much about inside hires, but obviously, if you can convert rather than running a fake search, do it (I'm sure most do, anyway).

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