What Should Search Committees Initially Ask For?


A reader draws my attention to the advertisement for an assistant professorship in philosophy at Duke University as an example of the problem of schools asking for excessive information for the first round of applications.

Robert Mangold, “3 Square / Loop Study”

Applicants must send in:

  • a cover letter
  • a full CV
  • a sample of written work (10,000 words max)
  • a one page dissertation summary
  • a research statement
  • a teaching statement
  • teaching evaluations (where available)
  • a diversity statement, indicating how your skills and experience could contribute to campus equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts
  • at least 3 letters of recommendation

The reader writes: “This is definitely the most extreme example of a trend in philosophy job ads to keep on asking for more and more material. The thing is, you know they won’t look at most of it. It looks to me like they’re requesting on the order of 50 pages of material per candidate. So if they get 200 candidates, that means they’re asking for 10,000 pages of junk. That’s silly, and isn’t a good use of anyone’s time.”

At least they don’t ask for a transcript. Or for applicants to create a special website just to apply to their job.

It is not clear to me that there is much of a trend in asking for more material. Over the past 15 years the normal list of materials to send in has looked roughly similar to the one above. (The exception is the diversity statement, requests for which have gained in popularity only over the last few years, it seems.)

Still, one does wonder whether all of these materials are needed at the outset, from every applicant.

Readers may recall the minimalist option to just ask initial candidates for abstracts of their writing samples. That wasn’t too popular an idea, but perhaps there is some happy medium that could become the new standard. How does the following sound?

  • Cover letter (including whatever remarks about one’s research, teaching, and suitability for the particular position one thought worth mentioning. Maximum length: 2 pages)
  • Full CV
  • Abstract of writing sample

Do we need more at the initial stage?

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One Marketeer
One Marketeer
1 year ago

As someone currently on the job market, that Duke posting is anything but the worst offender.

The simple reason why is that all of those items are standard. You’re going to write or collect each of them anyway for some school. Tacking them onto your Duke application is not a problem.

The real pains are the schools that require materials that cannot be reused in other applications. Teaching letters in which you specifically address how you would teach random class x, or research statements that highlight your relationship to current department strengths. Report

Michel
Michel
Reply to  One Marketeer
1 year ago

Yup. “Most extreme”? It’s absolutely bog standard.

(I’ll grant that it’s still too much for a first round. But once you’ve made those documents, you’re good to go for any job. There are plenty that ask for additional materials *on top of that*.)Report

Brian Weatherson
1 year ago

I don’t see who benefits from this proposal.

Presumably every candidate is going to have to be ready to send these materials at a moment’s notice, so it’s not like this cuts down on the amount of work a candidate has to do to prepare to go on the job market.

And once they are in place, I would guess it is easier to just have a file that you send to every job, rather than figuring out which particular things this particular job wants you to highlight. If they only want to read a small portion of it at round 1, then that’s on them.

What’s possibly annoying in the Duke ad are the restrictions – this is under 10000 words, that is under 1 page etc – because those could create extra work for one and only one application.

If that’s the problem, then the solution here seems to make things worse, since your alternative proposal also puts an arbitrary cap on one of the files, and different departments will inevitably have different caps.

But otherwise every candidate should have all the things Duke asks for ready to go, and it isn’t that much harder to email a 200 page document than a 10 page document. So I don’t see the harm in getting everyone to just send them along, and not require the office staff to send out requests for, and then collect, 50-80 more files.Report

Brian Weatherson
Reply to  Justin Weinberg
1 year ago

I think the concern “Another On Marketer” raised is more serious than this. It’s true that if people are being eliminated on the basis of CVs, then they should know that. But better still would be to not actually be eliminated on that basis. In practice, eliminating people by CV means that there is a huge bonus to people who either (a) go to a fancy grad school, or (b) have interests/styles that mesh with the philosophical tastes of a handful of powerful journal editors. (I’m actually one of those powerful editors, and I don’t think I should have that kind of power.)

This is all part of a bad trend of, in effect, outsourcing the first round of search committee work to the collective desks of journal editors and referees. This isn’t what journals are designed to do, and the result is that journals are getting overwhelmed with graduate student submissions. This is bad for everyone; journals are not designed to be scouting services, and they can’t cope with this quantity. Having search committees spend more time reading papers and trusting their own judgment would be better than relying on anonymous referees and too powerful editors. Obviously this is practically difficult given time constraints, but on Justin’s model it would be literally impossible.Report

Jake
Jake
1 year ago

One job ad this year asks for a CV and a cover letter, and says that candidates who advance to the interview stage will be asked for more materials. Perhaps throw in a writing sample or an abstract, but that approach seems best to me. I am an applicant, but I can’t imagine too many search committees or letter writers would object to a shorter dossier… Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  Jake
1 year ago

This is much harder logistically than it looks. Committees often advance in stages, from initial look to longlist to shortened longlist to final shortlist, and the process often gets tweaked on the fly. Adding resource collection requirements between these steps is going to slow things down considerably, especially if the candidate is given time to prepare (not merely submit) the material – and if they aren’t, what is gained?Report

recent grad
recent grad
Reply to  David Wallace
1 year ago

One job, I forget which, is doing this for anonymity’s sake. That seems like a worthwhile gain.Report

zach
zach
Reply to  David Wallace
1 year ago

One potential advantage of the system Jake described is that it provides some feedback to unsuccessful job-seekers. If I almost never advance beyond the CV stage, that’s useful to know. If I tend to fall short later, that’s also useful to know. The information gained will hardly be perfect, but I’d argue that it’s better than nothing, which is what the majority of philosophy job candidates receive.Report

Chris Surprenant
Chris Surprenant
Reply to  Jake
1 year ago

We did this when we ran our search last year. It was pretty easy for us to sort based on that material who would be a good fit and who wouldn’t be. And there was no sense in requiring folks to compile additional documents. We’d rather them spend the extra 30 or so minutes on the cover letter.Report

YAAGS
YAAGS
1 year ago

Your soul, formatted specifically according to the specifications on the department website and submitted in manageable chunks via interfolio.Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
1 year ago

Brian Weatherson said what I wanted to say (and said it while I was mid-draft).

In principle what I’d like to see is a consensus on format (e.g. length of research statement) since that’s often a cause of extra work.Report

Dale E Miller
1 year ago

This sounds good in the abstract. However, many universities, mine included, have moved to online systems for applications. Departments here have no option about whether to use the system or not, and it’s not geared toward faculty searches per se; it’s the same system that we use to hire groundskeepers, as far as I’m aware. And our system, at least, seems to require that all submitted materials be submitted in the initial application. We ran into trouble with a senior search where we wanted to wait for letters of recommendation until we had shortened the list. Maybe we could have some materials submitted later outside the system, but I doubt that this would be allowed; they want an archive of all materials in the system in case there is a legal challenge. Of course, departments should reflect on what materials they really need, but there may not be much choice about when to ask for it.Report

A Philosopher
A Philosopher
1 year ago

The main problem isn’t all of the documents people have to upload. It’s the roughly 5-10 webpages of info that candidates must type into each and every web portal (name, address, entire educational history, entire employment history, etc.). This can take anywhere from 20-30 minutes per application. If a candidate applies for 50 jobs, that is a ridiculous amount of lost time. If candidates merely had to upload materials, applications would merely take a few minutes apiece. Report

Michel
Michel
Reply to  A Philosopher
1 year ago

Absolutely. Also all the reference information that gets duplicated.

And let’s not forget that if you’re not in the US, the HR forms often won’t accept info you plug into required fields (e.g. they want a zip code and won’t accept a postal code, or demand a social security number or state for your address), which means you have to come up with something false to enter (and certify it’s all true!) when your form won’t submit.Report

Justin Vlasits
Justin Vlasits
Reply to  Michel
1 year ago

Or if you are applying to a German job, you absolutely have to type in your score on the Abitur!Report

Sergio Tenenbaum
Sergio Tenenbaum
1 year ago

I agree with Brian and David that this would just slow down the process and make it harder for everyone. I also agree with Brian that imposing word limits on WS is not a good idea (though probably it’s good advice to try to keep your WS under 10,000 words). I am less sure about not putting limits on the length of cover letters. My ideal is that every job ad says “please send us the same cover letter you’re sending everyone else”, but I guess there are collective action problem issues here. But as long as job applicants are supposed to be crafting artisanal cover letters to suit the unique needs of today’s discerning prospective employers, having a limit on the page numbers could at least put some restraint on the race to the bottom here. Report

Kenny Easwaran
Reply to  Sergio Tenenbaum
1 year ago

Most schools other than R1’s really do care about the cover letter, and want it to reflect an acknowledgement that the candidate knows who they are applying to.Report

Daniel Wodak
Daniel Wodak
1 year ago

This comment doesn’t concern the proposal — I agree with Brian and David above. It only concerns the word count limit on the WS. What happens if the paper is published and over that word limit?

I was recently giving advice to a grad student who has a paper in Fancy Journal, which I thought they should use as their WS–submitting the WS with Fancy Journal’s formatting is likely to give it a stamp of approval. But the article is a fair bit longer than 10K, as are many articles in Fancy Journals. Am I right to assume that word limits are unlikely to be strictly applied in these cases? Report

Sergio Tenenbaum
Sergio Tenenbaum
Reply to  Daniel Wodak
1 year ago

If a job ad explicitly mention a word limit I would hesitate to just flout it (but this might be my neurotic nature). It might be better to send Fancy Paper as a secondary WS (assuming the ad does not explicitly forbid doing this), and include something that is strictly within word limit (with the caveat that every time you send in two WSs and one of them is significantly shorter, the probability that only the shorter will be read is quite high).Report

Another On Marketer
Another On Marketer
1 year ago

I want to agree completely with the previous on-marketer.

These are all standard materials at standard lengths. Everyone on the market does (or should) have them on hand, and can send them with a few clicks.

Our time is drained by (1) requests for nonstandard materials, or especially (2) requests for standard materials, at nonstandard lengths. These can be at least as time-consuming to build as a custom website.

Honestly, I’m reassured by ads that request all of the standard materials. It makes me feel that the search committee is prepared to take an in-depth look at my file. I’m much more frightened by Justin’s minimalist option. I would like to be evaluated on the basis of a larger amount of evidence. Report

I read writing samples
I read writing samples
1 year ago

I know that a lot of us actually read (at least parts of) writing samples in the “first round”.
Also, I think we should push back–strongly–against the your-cv-matters-more-than-anything way of thinking that seems to be present in the proposal. It’s inconsistent with the fact that publishing has a huge element of luck to it. (This seems especially important to me at the hiring an assistant professor or postdoc stage, where we don’t even have the benefit of time as a potential corrective to this luck.)

Report

Jon Light
Jon Light
1 year ago

Keep in mind that “we” often don’t even get to make these decisions at all: they’re mandated by HR, for all sorts of reasons. I wonder if there’s any “HR blogs” out there we could link to…Report

Shelley Tremain
Shelley Tremain
1 year ago

I would like to make a recommendation to the search committees of hiring departments; if you aren’t doing this already, you should start doing it: have one of your members actually go through your application process online with your job posting in mind. Many of your online applications request different (more than or less than or other than) material than your job postings actually indicate that you want; or you have not properly explained exactly what you want; or have not adequately explained how what you want is to be provided, etc. For example, you indicate in your job posting that candidates must supply a cover letter; but when the candidate goes into your application, they discover that what you really want is three sentences addressing a specific question in a window of your online application.Report

Grad Student
Grad Student
1 year ago

I’m a bit surprised by the people who suggest that it’s not an additional burden because candidates just have these things ‘ready to go’ and can submit them to all applications. I’ve had a lot of pressure to tailor things like teaching, research, and diversity statements to specific schools (even tweaking the syllabi I send). So for me, it is at least somewhat of an additional burden to send in all of these things (but not an immense one, given that I usually revise portions of each statement, and don’t start entirely from scratch each time), and I would prefer to only need to send in the CV and Cover Letter at first. Report

Julia
Julia
Reply to  Grad Student
1 year ago

You’re saying that you’ve had “a lot of pressure” to tailor things like teaching, research and diversity statements to specific schools. Who is pressuring you to do this? For most schools, this strikes me as quite excessive, and as the placement director at my program, I would not advise our students to do this except for very particular cases. Those cases would likely be those in which schools ask for specially tailored materials, but as was already stated above, this is generally thought to be too burdensome and should be avoided by search committees. Report

Grad Student
Grad Student
Reply to  Julia
1 year ago

From people who seem to have more recent market experience with the kind of schools I’m applying to (not R1 universities). My faculty (at an R1 university) haven’t recommended this in every case, I should note. But from external job mentors who have been on the market more recently, and who have more experience with liberal arts schools, community colleges, etc., it has been recommended. Report

driftincowboy
driftincowboy
1 year ago

In my experience it’s not always true that folks on the market have all these things ready to go. It might be true if you are planning on applying to 50 jobs, but not everyone is doing that. So the unnecessary request for a research statement, teaching statement, diversity statement, etc., will likely be an additional (and unnecessary) burden for at least some people. (Assuming those materials aren’t used to make first-round cuts; maybe they are).Report

David Wallace
David Wallace
Reply to  driftincowboy
1 year ago

Research statements definitely get used in first round cuts. (The others might be too, but I pay quite a lot of attention to the RS – in the very time-pressured initial cut it’s quite information-rich).Report

Mark van Roojen
Mark van Roojen
1 year ago

Ask several philosophers what they want to see in order to winnow the applicants in the “first round” and you will likely get somewhat different answers from at least some of them. Proposals which limit hiring committees to asking for some subset of the roughly standard list of things in effect impose one of these perspectives on everyone, whether they agree or not. That seems like a bad idea to me because it asks people to judge candidates based on materials they find inadequate or unreliable.Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
Reply to  Mark van Roojen
1 year ago

I agree with Mark completely. My experience of being on a committee is that, aside from the CV, the documents that individual members of a particular search committee think that are important is likely to vary widely. I never read cover letters, for example, but many in my department do. I tend to focus much more on looking to see if candidates give an honest, as opposed to cherry-picked, record of their teaching evaluations (with comments – we ask for these) while other faculty in my department don’t care too much about this. I also don’t personally read research statements or teaching statements (in my view they’re too much “tell” without enough “show”) but here too, as David Wallace mentioned in his post, others find them to be important documents.

That’s how you end up with the current scheme for applications! It isn’t that every single member of every search committee is reading every page of your application but it’s almost certain that every page of your application is read by, and thought important by, at least one member of each search committee. Report

MrMister
MrMister
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

I disagree. I doubt anyone really thinks that the addition or subtraction of one element from the first round of a search process will toggle the process from adequate to inadequate or reliable to unreliable in a relevant on-off sense; at most it seems plausible to suppose that it could increase or decrease either in a graded way to an arguable magnitude.

But what actually promotes accuracy and reliability are, as you both note, contested. Neither of you (Mark and Caligula) argue that everyone is right in their own way, or for their own institution. Presumably, then, many of the professors who believe themselves to have uncommon insight into what documents matter are instead just misguided. So the question is not even “how much burden is it fair to put on applicants in order to marginally enhance adequacy and reliability of hiring;” instead it becomes “how much burden is it fair to put on applicants in order to simultaneously satisfy every hiring professor’s sense of their correctness in their contestable view of what marginally enhances the adequacy and reliability of hiring.”

There are more than enough people who would be good enough for the jobs that currently exist. Furthermore, I doubt that very many process modulations actually make that large a difference. So I am not very worried about objective underlying accuracy and reliability, given that they seem both to be pretty high already and also pretty hard to further optimize. But I am even less worried than that about satisfying hiring professors’ amour propre concerning their special insights into hiring. That just isn’t very morally important in comparison to reducing the burdens to applicants, who suffer a much larger share of the burdens of the search process and who are also generally much worse off.Report

Grad student in R1 program
Grad student in R1 program
Reply to  Mark van Roojen
1 year ago

I’m sure that there is wide disagreement within search committees about which documents (and which elements of which documents) are most informative for first-round cuts. But this seems to me to be a pretty bad (or, at least, insufficient) justification for requiring large numbers of documents from applicants, given how time-consuming it is for applicants to produce these, especially given how many applications typical applicants make in one year on the job market in these competitive times. Well-managed and efficient committees only work with a certain degree of compromise on the part of its members. Limiting initial-round submissions to a low number of agreed-upon documents, even if not every member of the committee believes this comprises the ideal set of initial-round documents, does not seem an unreasonable strategy.Report

European On The Market
European On The Market
1 year ago

Despite the American protestations in these comments, the rest of the world also somehow manages to assess prospective faculty with less upfront material. In the in Europe, the UK, Australia etc they usually only ask for a letter, a CV and the contact info of some referees.

Another case in favour of this approach would be as follows. Once I made it onto a longlist or shortlist, I am much more inclined to prepare materials tailored to this particular department. So asking for teaching/research/diversity statements and/or writing samples later might actually result in higher quality information for the hiring committee.Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
Reply to  European On The Market
1 year ago

I’m at a fairly well-known liberal arts college. Although tenure here requires 6-7 peer-reviewed pieces, we are also expected to really put a lot of thought and energy into our teaching (teaching, at least on paper, counts equally with research for tenure where I’m at). A CV wouldn’t tell me how you do at teaching (either how you practice it or how your students experience it) and our philosophy major is one of the few humanities programs in my university that is growing because of our emphasis on teaching quality. A CV and a letter are not enough for places like mine and I wouldn’t have it any other way, frankly. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to interview candidates who, while good researchers, are obviously not suited for a place like mine so these materials ultimately save us all some time and stress. Report

Grad student in R1 program
Grad student in R1 program
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

That makes sense. But I take it that what’s being proposed is to ask for fewer materials *initially* before making some cuts and asking for more materials from remaining candidates. This wouldn’t require you to interview anybody merely on the basis of a CV and letter; I’d assume that requests for additional materials would happen before the interview stage. Also, one proposal we’ve seen here is to simply reduce the number of materials requested from candidates in the first round, and which materials these are could potentially be tailored by the department depending on what that search committee wants to use for first round cuts.Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
Reply to  Grad student in R1 program
1 year ago

Hi Grad Students in R1

My take: the problem that I mentioned in another post is that committees are always idiosyncratic things. Unless a department is small enough that everyone is on every search committee, there won’t be a standard set of documents that each and every committee member think are important for first round evaluations. Some prioritize the cover letter and teaching statement, others may prioritize the writing sample or research statement, still others may look at the CV and call it a day. Given the reality of the search process, especially the difficulty in scheduling multiple meetings to create a long list, a medium list, and an interview list, I seriously doubt the practicality of the proposal here to ask for more and more documents as the committee winnows things down. Report

driftincowboy
driftincowboy
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

I’ve never understood the demand for a teaching statement. Does teaching-statement quality really track teaching quality? I wonder if Tom Brady could produce a quality quarterbacking statement.Report

European On The Market
European On The Market
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

From my CV you‘ll see what kind of courses I have taught in the past, which should suffice for you to determine whether *in principle* I‘d satisfy the teaching needs of your department. If not, send me a rejection; if yes, ask for my teaching statement and other additional materials. FWIW, I‘d be happy to include teaching evaluation results on my CV.

(I simply don‘t buy that this cannot be done for reasons of scheduling and organisation — as said, the rest of the world can do it. So if this is truly a problem, then maybe your hiring practices are overwrought. Overwrought practices lead to overwrought dossier contents?)

Aside from this, I‘d be genuinely curious what (from your perspective as someone on the other side of the hiring process) the value of the teaching statement is. It seems to be the most „fluffy“ part of the standard (American) dossier, and the least individual one. A research statement I have to write specifically for my research programme, but a teaching statement I could essentially copy and paste from someone else‘s dossier and you’d be none the wiser (until you’d actually interview me). I know for a fact that many departments coach their graduates on how to write a teaching statement and supply them with plenty of material to liberally, say, be inspired by.

Even leaving copy-pasting aside, I‘m not sure I see why there’d be any correlation between the ability to write a good teaching statement and the ability to teach well.

(Much the same, I‘d wager, can be said about the diversity statement. But, crucially, not about the research statement!)Report

--bill
--bill
Reply to  European On The Market
1 year ago

I work at a school that is focused much more on teaching than on research. A good teaching statement includes experiences from the applicant’s own experience of teaching. When we get to the phone interview stage, we often ask applicants to expand on the experiences from their own teaching.

We look for (at least) two things in the teaching statement: a general tone about their engagement with teaching that includes both experience and reflection about teaching, and specific incidents that were meaningful to them as teachers. Having read lots of teaching statements, these things are generally hard to fake; if we were misled by a teaching statement, that becomes very clear in the phone interview.

Keep in mind that this is for a teaching-heavy school; teaching ability is essential to being hired.Report

Grad Student
Grad Student
1 year ago

As I check PhilJobs this morning, consider this painfully relevant example from a posting by Loyola.

“Instructions to Applicants Candidates should submit a current Curriculum Vitae, a teaching/research statement, and a letter of interest to http://www.careers.luc.edu. They also should provide the names and email addresses of three individuals prepared to speak to their professional qualifications for this position. Referees will not be contacted immediately but might be at subsequent points in the review process. Candidates should forward a writing sample in Philosophy and any additional materials related to teaching excellence and research potential, including a teaching and research portfolio, to [physical mailing address]”

You need to submit three documents (including one totally non-standard one; what is a combo teaching/research statement?) to an online site, then also physically send a writing sample and a teaching and research portfolio (which is different from just a writing sample, but perhaps ought to be different than the combo research/teaching statement already submitted?? who knows??) to a physical mailing address. Report

Pendaran
Pendaran
Reply to  Grad Student
1 year ago

Maybe this all makes sense in their dimension? Report

applicant
applicant
Reply to  Grad Student
1 year ago

I applied for a job with them once, the instructions were much the same. I believe I just emailed a pdf of a complete dossier to the person listed, and interpreted teaching/research statement as a teaching statement and a research statement. I did not do anything for this app that was particularly special. I don’t recall anyone complaining, and I was interviewed.
Maybe someone ‘in the know’ could chime in here. Is the idea that one sends a physical copy to the address specified? Report

Fredrik Haraldsen
Fredrik Haraldsen
1 year ago

I am surprised that no one has yet pointed out an obvious problem with Justin’s proposal. An “abstract of a writing sample” is really not particularly helpful: I mean, what the search committee wants is some evidence of the candidate’s philosophical skill, not a candidate’s statement of what she claims to be able to do. Tweaking an abstract to sound interesting is a wholly different task than writing a good paper that actually does, in a convincing manner, what the abstract claims that the paper does, and the ability to write an interesting abstract really isn’t much evidence of a candidate’s ability to actually do the promised philosophical work.Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

Here’s another consideration against this proposal that I haven’t seen anyone mention yet. There are really two arms races going on in the job market. There’s certainly the candidate arms-race, made all the worse by the oversupply of qualified people and the undersupply of jobs. We’ve spoken to that arms race quite a bit and what it has done to journal editors, the grad experience, etc. Another arms race, however, is going on between hiring departments.

One of our recent searches I’ve been on failed completely and in two others our first-choice hire turned us down (though all of our hires have been humblingly excellent, truly, at teaching and research). It’s possible that it’s because my university is undesirable and we’re simply going about this process all wrong (though I doubt the desirability part: we’re located in a desirable, but expensive, part of a desirable, but expensive, state). Usually, for one reason or another, our #1 candidate ends up taking a job somewhere else. Which, frankly, is fine. I’ve turned down offers before and understand that each decision is personal and almost always respectable.

I’m willing to bet that my department is not alone in having had such experiences however and what that’s done on our end is that we are trying to get in as quickly as the APA allows us in terms of putting an ad out, inviting people to campus visits, and making an offer. Scheduling meetings to winnow the field into ever smaller groups from which we ask more and more documents from is, from our point of view, yet another way of shooting ourselves in the foot. Better to give us all the documents at once, to have everyone on a committee look at the documents they believe are most evidentiary (contrary to MrMister’s response above, I actually don’t think there are objective criteria for the best candidate and have learned that in just about every search I’ve been a part of). Our goal is to move to the interview stage as quickly as possible given our own teaching and other committee business so that we can move to flyouts early enough to snag our top choices.

tldr: anything that slows down our search process, like adding in multiple stages of procuring job docs, works against our interests. Since I doubt we’re the only department to think this way, I think that this phenomenom also probably explains why the market looks the way that it does.

It’s not impossible that the APA could do more here to IMPOSE a stricter schedule on departments, to curtail this sort of arms race, but until it does, the arms race will continue. Report

Nick
Nick
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

It’s difficult to see how the APA could impose such a schedule (even in US departments) given institutional constraints departments may have to work within. Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
Reply to  Nick
1 year ago

Hi Nick,

The APA has a set of job guidelines already and all jobs posted on Philjobs must indicate whether they conform to the APA’s statement on the Job Market Calendar and must provide some kind of justification if they do not so conform. The APA could clearly do more than this. They could, for example, work with Philjobs to only allow jobs that meet their best practices to be posted on Philjobs (thus providing a sanction against defecting), or they could disallow members of departments involved in non-conforming searches to participate in APA conferences or committees.

The point is that the APA could do more than it does. While I can definitely see reasons not to do so (membership in the APA might plummet, for example), this doesn’t mean that they lack the power. Report

babygirl
babygirl
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

Caligula’s goat: I think you’ve missed the point here. It’s not that the APA lacks the power to enforce a timeline, but the departments lack the power to comply with that timeline, due to university administrative constraints/involvement. Report

Caligula's Goat
Caligula's Goat
Reply to  babygirl
1 year ago

Hi babygirl,

What you’re suggesting is possible but, I think, unlikely. At least at my institution we’re bound by our academic calendar when conducting searches so, for example, we can’t put out a job ad before Sept. 1 and can’t conduct flyouts any earlier than mid-January (and in practice, we normally can’t move that quickly anyway). The current APA job market calendar has much looser restrictions than our own calendar which, if it did something along the lines I posted earlier, could definitely curtail departments from trying to speed through the process to lock-up their candidates before other universities. Report

babygirl
babygirl
Reply to  Caligula's Goat
1 year ago

Yes, I was thinking in terms of administrative delay rather than administrative enforced-speediness. I think you are right, as long as the restrictions took a “no earlier than …” approach rather than a “no later than …” approach. But, at the same time, some elements of the “calendar” are not in the hands of the department–e.g., decisions about how long a candidate has to respond may be made by administrators. Report

Tom
Tom
1 year ago

Schrodinger’s teaching statement: (a) it doesn’t provide information to universities and just provides a needless burden to students who feel pressured to tailor it and (b) at the same time students feel pressured to tailor it because universities might find a tailored teaching statement useful when looking at application. Report