Thursday, September 1, 2016

Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers...

Yes, this is the thread where everyone comes to complain. So blow off some steam, but try to keep it civil...

1,037 comments:

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Anonymous said...

In reply to 2:27, the amount of deadwood in the field seems to indicate that SCs' instincts about such matters are not as good as they believe they are...

Anonymous said...

Beyond all of these "merit" based criteria, there is, of course, the ambiguous issue of "fit." Sometimes it comes down to a personality issue for the SC (for better or worse --- no endorsement of the system on my part). Once the sifting of applicants gets down to the short list, these somewhat uncontrollable factors are at times as decisive as another solid article on the c.v.

Anonymous said...

2:27 here to 2:46 - you're right, so let me clarify a bit further. The faculty member in question expressed this opinion as a kind of lament about quantity over quality, but also in a spirit of capitulation...capitulation to the fact that the norms of the field and of the university are out of the control of the faculty of any given department, whose aim is to survive in a relatively harsh climate. So it isn't a case where the SCs aren't good, but what they are good at is not necessarily a good thing, and some of them perhaps even know that, but cannot do anything about it. We can't settle on what makes a contribution significant and original (hence why some people think Ramus is great and GRBS shit, or CP brilliant and Arethusa unserious...btw these are randomly chosen and do not reflect my views). But we can decide that productivity is good because that requires no judgment, just the ability to count beans; and so we look for productivity in a fairly restricted and narrow sense. I guess that means Classics as a field is shaped by the norms and demands of late stage capitalism no less than a field like finance (and not just Classics but academia as a whole: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/04/the-dangerous-academic-is-an-extinct-species)

Anonymous said...

And then there are SC chairs who know or believe that HR is looking at the % of "minority" (whatever that means in a given context--HR refused to elaborate in this instance) interviewees vs. the percentage of "minority" (as self-identified) applicants and so intentionally stack the short list based on what Google searches and stereotypes about names can tell them about the identities of applicants. So if your name seems "white," then you may be at a distinct disadvantage for that reason and that reason alone.

Does that sound unlikely? I saw it in a search this year. I even complained to the dean with concrete evidence (screen shots, etc.). Does that sound like something HR would freak about? Turns out, as long as there's no permanent record that could get the university sued, HR is cool with absolutely anything the SC does. Hmm....

Who knows what makes a decision? Who knows, indeed.

Anonymous said...

PhD dissertations maybe don't expire, but they definitely get old. there's new bibliography every year that sometimes can cause a whole lot of revisions, that is if you want to publish it as a book.

Anonymous said...

Yet many of us have seen examples of TT hires made on "promise" who do not get tenure because while they wrote a good diss., they did not know what to do afterwards. Sometimes they are crippled by perfectionism, and refuse to put their stuff out. Maybe the drink too much or simply burn out. One reason to look at people who have been out for several years is a) there are a lot of them and b) they have a longer track record. More years of proving they can publish, show up to class on time, conform to professional norms, and interact properly with students. These are all unknowns with even the most promising ABDs.

Anonymous said...

These are all good points, but I don’t think the very top programs care. If someone is a total mess, they deny them promotion. If someone can do the job but doesn’t make the cut, they deny them tenure. Rinse and repeat...find a new promising, shiny ABD.

Anonymous said...

I agree the very top programs probably are willing to take the bet. They might win big, and, if they don't, it's okay.

What doesn't make sense is that many lower-down programs (and even some places just looking for VAPs?) often prefer unproven candidates to proven ones.

Anonymous said...

It seems that fewer names are being put to filled positions this year than last year. Are people more cagey this year about posting their success on the job market, or do we think fewer people are using the wiki?

Anonymous said...

I do think in this environment people are keeping things closer to their vest. The lucky candidates all of a sudden finds an enormous gulf has grown between themselves, about to start on an indulgent life on the TT, complete with health insurance, retirement accounts, research funding and fiscal stability, and most of their friends, who stare into the abyss of adjuncting, and may soon rely on public assistance to make ends meet. They know that some friends from grad school will never make the transition to full colleagues, but at after years on the precariat track will simply be the hired help.

As someone in Adjunct hell, I will confess that I had to stop following several more fortunate friends on facebook as they kept posting about the signing their TT contracts, starting their courses, being invited to conferences by virtue of their position, and buying a house. This was a bitter reminder of everything I lacked as an adjunct, despite the fact that we all had the same pedigree and qualifications.

This was perhaps petty of me, but the stakes between the winners (TT) and losers (adjuncts) is now quite high in our field. And it is something that can strain friendships that become separated by this gulf.

Anonymous said...

What 12:34 said. What's particularly difficult is watching the joys of teaching, of planning lessons and the delights in what students write, of taking students on study abroad trips, and even, dare I say, the complaints about the hell of grading.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those who got a position that is still nameless on the wiki. I have told friends, and haven't sworn them to secrecy, so I assume most people in my more immediate circle know, but I've put nothing on Facebook. I lived long enough in adjunct hell that I know any kind of public "announcement" is painful to the many, many equally qualified people who have no similar announcement to make. Anyone who is curious enough will figure it out eventually when I turn up on the faculty bio page.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, 3.56! Enjoy it all, and don't worry about hiding your light. I hope you found a fit in a friendly and supportive department, and have many productive years ahead of you. Well done!

Anonymous said...

12:34 here. First, congrats 3:56. It is good to hear of a job going to an adjunct rather than an ABD. Hope that the rest of us might be harrowed out of adjunct hell.

Personally, I like it when people update the wiki. I would like to make it in this field, and part of making it is knowing the professional topography (or prosopography?) of the field, and the wiki is a good way to do that. Secondly, the things that pain me are less knowing that x or y got a job, than seeing indulgent selfies in their new office, or the photos from the fully funded conference on Malta. And it is well known that facebook and other social media is an unhappiness generating machine, as you see only others' happiness but never their disappointments. But the wiki is not a social networking site, but rather a clearance house of professional information, so it is not indulgent to update the search status, or allow someone else to update the wiki for you.

Anonymous said...

It's disturbing to see that unsuccessful candidates would begrudge their peers their success, or at least their posting of any sign of it on social media. If your 'friends' can't bear to see your new office, or hear of your conference trips, then they were never friends at all. That kind of relationship is simply toxic, or the embittered party is just rather immature. So, as a failed candidate myself, to hell with those sour grapes, and let's raise a glass of the good stuff to the ones who make it. Cheers, folks! Onwards!

Anonymous said...

Sour grapes is an uncharitable way of putting it. People have been trying to do this thing for the last decade or more of their lives and now see it all falling apart. They have to pick up the pieces but there's no magical new way to arrange them that gives them a livelihood and a future. It's starting life all over again at the onset of middle age. It being painful to hear about others' success is the most natural thing in the world, and does not in any way imply resentment. Good for the people who got jobs. They deserve them. I just wish the other people who deserve them could get them, too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, 12:55 AM. You said it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Any news about the job in Sydney?

Anonymous said...

FWIW

The wiki doesn't exactly tell us how many jobs went to ABDs, but I did count how many people had some kind of employment as represented by a second affiliation. As it stands now:

Tenure-track
not previously employed 4
previously employed 30

Non-TT
not previously employed 5
previously employed 14

Anonymous said...

That is a useful statistic in the ongoing debate about should ABDs be hired. It does seem to suggest that on the TT and non-TT most employers seem to prefer people with experience. Perhaps the "shiny ABD" is a myth, although one can point to several high profile ABD hires (USC, Williams). It may be that most ABDs this year are getting hired as lecturers by their own departments with non-announced jobs, since certainly more than 9 ABDs must have gotten something.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

WHAT ARE U IMPLYING SIR

Anonymous said...

Sheesh. Do you children really need to be reminded that we do not discuss individual scholars, especially not junior ones?

Sincerely yours,
Not-Servius (but wishing I had Servius' powers of deletion)

Anonymous said...

Servius here, reminding everyone that departments and their hiring practices are fair game, individual scholars are not. It can seem like a fine distinction, but please be mindful of it.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that one of the scholars above was an ABD who had held several post-docs. Arguably anyone who has held post-docs fits better into the ‘had a job’ category than the ‘ABD’ category (since we tend to think of these as mutually exclusive), If we are counting, and is at best in a grey area. That case should NOT give hope to those of us (myself included) who are ABDs on home institution stipends or adjuncting.

I hope that is sufficiently respectful of people’s privacy while making a point that should be made.

Anonymous said...

Another instance (perhaps more common) of ‘non-ABD ABD’ would be someone with a Ph.D. from, say, France or Italy who did a second Ph.D. (in the same or a closely related) subject in the US. If a university hired them as a TT professor, we would have to acknowledge that they were in a kind of grey area. ABD but has a (European) Ph.D. or ABD but has held several post-docs is not what we usually mean by ABD, and manages (in each cases) to check several relevant boxes that 99% of ABDs cannot.

No criticism here, just clarification that ABD, for most of us, implies ‘does not yet hold a Ph.D. in field, from any institution’ and ‘has not held a post-doc or TT job.’

Anonymous said...

Any updates on the USC full-time/part-time lecturer positions?

Anonymous said...

How many people would lose your health care if the ACA were repealed? This seems an important issue for the adjunct class.

Anonymous said...

I bet a lot of the adjunct class already don't have healthcare.

Anonymous said...

"And, and I can just say, we're gonna have more jobs. As SCS President, I am focused on jobs. And-and I always say- and quite frankly, we're going to have great healthcare, great healthcare for adjuncts. The forgotten people of this profession will be forgotten no longer. We're going to- and I mean we're always saying, just because- and we're going to- quite frankly, we're going to have an amazing new healthcare system for Adjuncts, and- and I always say this- the R1's are going to pay for it."

Anonymous said...

Time to learn how to apply for unemployment...

Anonymous said...

Who got the Yale history job? The Wiki is silent.

Anonymous said...

Yale was discussed a while back...rumor has it went to the current VAP.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that they are able to find and hire the best candidate a year before they even run a full TT search!

Anonymous said...

Anybody know what happened with the pair of texas tech jobs?

Anonymous said...

The Yale job did indeed go to the current VAP

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