Comments on: Creating a diverse pool of finalists for faculty jobs http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 17:08:06 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Janice http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1123805 Mon, 22 Oct 2012 20:39:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1123805 We’re doing some hiring at present working with a consultant (mandated from above as this is part of a parcel of ten hires with one related criteria). I’m seriously wondering how the whole process will be affected with a consultant in play. We will have a meeting with the consultant on Friday so I should know soon but does anyone have some experience?

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By: Perpetua http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1123420 Mon, 22 Oct 2012 13:10:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1123420 I love it when academics act like finding a diverse pool of candidates is some impossible task they cannot possibly perform. My (mental) response to folks in my department was always, Um, don’t be racist. That’s step #1. Then, don’t be sexist. Problem solved! Recruitment and retention are not rocket science. I find people deeply unwilling to confront their own bias, especially the more subtle forms; they expect bias to look like white supremacy-style race baiting, when it’s the more subtle ones, like confirmation bias, that are the culprits in job situations. “Potential” as well as “pedigree” are two ways of sustaining bias.

@Historiann, I agree with what you say about publishing – I think Dr. Crazy is an excellent example of someone who keeps pushing forward in publishing in spite of a high teaching/service load as well as pushback from colleagues who appear occasionally jealous or resentful of her publishing. OTOH, I do think environment matters. If you teach at a place with a teaching/service load and colleagues who are not publishing, and you are intellectually lonely and isolated, it can slow down productivity. Which is not necessarily the end of the world, but it explains one reason why people at top jobs are often able to continue their ascent in the job hierarchy (not that this is an end-all-be-all. Not everyone’s dream is work at Princeton).

“Potential” ha! I’ve seen people clean up in the job markets and fellowship competitions and first book prizes only to seemingly never do anything again (one hit wonders of the academic world).

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By: Comradde PhysioProffe http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1122449 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 12:24:38 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1122449 “Potential” is such a bull$hit criteria in a search, anyway, one that can mean “he went to the right school and has the right adviser.”

I have seen this up close in my field. When I went on the entry-level jobbe market {mumble} years ago, I was competing with a bunch of people who received their graduate and/or post-doctoral training in famous labs. Some of those were genuinely productive and had a good number number of high-impact first-author publications, and some were less so. While they all got great jobbes, many of the latter fizzled out and never established their own independent research programs.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1122173 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 03:59:08 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1122173 Bravo on the strictures on committees asking rhetorical questions of the “empty chair” variety: “will ze come here”–that could only meaningfully be asked of an actual applicant in situ. There are a wide variety of solilloquies that fall into this category, and as screening tools, they are fairly demented. On publications and load factors; it really is sometimes kind of remarkable. You sit there thinking “if I only had an X/X teaching load, plus some steady funding, I’d surely publish X/Y+D(d)2t#syc number of major articles.” Then you scan the lonely night sky of the uni-verse, and say “by the way, what ever happened to…” Agree. Potential is (often) a b.s. term of art.

I’m writing letters right now, albeit for somebody’s admission to graduate school, not the job-o-sphere.

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By: koshembos http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1122120 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 02:31:21 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1122120 May have misinterpreted “advanced assistants.” Here it may mean assistant profs with several years of experience. We do hire such people but their record must be excellent. It’s a heavier burden that fresh out of school candidates. “Excellent” record turns out to be a widely open term. Some count papers, some look excellent journals and the picky schools ask for research impact. The latter is a tall order only top schools demand.

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By: Susan http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1122072 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 01:19:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1122072 We don’t use explicit rubrics (we’re a very interdisciplinary program, so we’d create a new set of rubrics for each search) but like H’ann and her colleagues, we have a spreadsheet that asks about ways in which people meet the requirements. And I’ve learned how much fields differ. For instance, a person who is finishing in a lit field almost always has a publication, but a new Ph.d. in history much less often: usually historians don’t get into the archives until they are working on their dissertation, so the publishable stuff comes out of the diss, not course work. Lit faculty write long letters of rec — I think they average 3-4 pages, and some ran to 6.

I tend to read letters last: I focus on the cover letter and statement of research and teaching, and then the CV. I’m really interested in how someone can talk about their work in a way that engages me. Letters can throw out danger signals, but on the positive end are pretty useless.

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By: koshembos http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1122063 Sun, 21 Oct 2012 01:06:38 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1122063 One cannot argue with academic success. Disciplines, however, do differ widely. Graduating assistant professors have naturally a limited published record. If beyond rudimentary, it is more a function of the prominence of the adviser or major star. We do rely on recommendation letters in my discipline. Deciphering a letter is an art form with a substantial tradition. The potential hire must visit, give a talk, attend lunches and dinners and speak with several faculty members. Impressions from the visit, e.g. fast thinking, friendliness, interests of all sorts, personality, figure in the final decision. We have no minorities but women are extremely important and successful in our department.

I doubt whether any department can serve as an example for others; as the math guys say, we are all special cases.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1121952 Sat, 20 Oct 2012 23:51:15 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1121952 Word. And, here’s a dirty secret that I’d never say to a dean or an administrator: people who are going to publish publish. People who won’t publish, won’t, irrespective of teaching load, working conditions, etc. Now, of course, teaching and service loads and institutional support for research set parameters around one’s scholarly productivity, so it’s not like they’re irrelevant. But they are not entirely determinative of a colleague’s productivity as a scholar.

“Potential” is such a bull$hit criteria in a search, anyway, one that can mean “he went to the right school and has the right adviser.”

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By: Nicoleandmaggie http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1121948 Sat, 20 Oct 2012 23:37:31 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1121948 One of us is an economist, but we’re both social scientists. :) (But yes, this comment was from the economist.) One thing about the economics job market is that generally assistant professors are hired before they have PhDs in hand or any publications. We’ve been focusing our recent searches on people who have been able to demonstrate productivity rather than us having to rely on what their advisers say about potential.

One of my friends at a different school (0/1 teaching load for assistants, smart grad students etc.) says the gentlemen are always bemoaning the guys that they didn’t tenure. They had so much potential. But if they didn’t accomplish anything under the most fertile circumstances, how much potential did they really have?

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By: Comradde PhysioProffe http://www.historiann.com/2012/10/20/creating-a-diverse-pool-of-finalists-for-faculty-jobs/comment-page-1/#comment-1121937 Sat, 20 Oct 2012 23:20:09 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=19764#comment-1121937 Yeah, that was a really good comment by NicoleAndMaggie: a very interesting perspective on faculty searching.

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