Sunday, April 30, 2006

IR Job Market Discussion

In order to separate out rumors from discussion of the job market or the rumor mill itself, please comment here if you wish to comment on (or, most likely, complain about) the job market itself. All of the relevant comments from the IR Job Rumors Fall 2006 have been moved here. Since this is a process that currently must be done by hand, please post comments about the job market itself here rather than on other postings.

192 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, to be Susan Hyde...

Anonymous said...

Ease up, my friend. Nobody can take two jobs.

BelferMole said...

While it's certainly true that nobody can take two jobs, schools rarely re-convene search committees multiple times in one year; consequently, if one person gets interviews many places (or, worse for the market, offers from many places), those jobs are usually gone, at least for that year.

There is no market-clearing mechanism in political science, which is what makes the so-called "job market" more like a guild network with vacancy chains. This is neither good for the schools nor most candidates, unless you're one of the lucky few (usually one or two each year).

Anonymous said...

The previous comment is a good illustration of one of the wonderful effects of this blog. Now, all interested players in the market know two things: (1) who has interviews, and (2) the fact that everyone has this information. I expect this year that the so-called "lucky few" are less likely to receive multiple offers than in the past, because departments are now more aware that making an offer to such a person carries a high risk of leaving the position unfilled for another year. Of course, some departments won't care, but even the best ones get tired of having the same search year after year. In our department (which will remain coyly unnamed), there have already been strong objections to inviting candidates with many other interviews -- information that we would not have had if the blog had not told us. So, kudos to whomever created this social leveling mechanism.

Anonymous said...

The previous comment is also the key adverse consequence of this blog. Just having multiple interviews by no means guarantees that the person will get a single (let alone multiple) offer. A department that chooses not to invite out a candidate with multiple interviews may very well have been the one to extend the candidate an offer and the candidate may very well have accepted that offer.

On Susan Hyde, schools on the east coast probably saved some money, at least on her airfare. So, for them it was a relatively lower cost way to invite a potential promising candidate. I do not think that should at all prevent other departments from inviting her out.

As the article in this month's PS journal point out, job offers and hiring are significantly about the fit between candidates and departments rather than the candidates' research/dissertation. To the extent that the costs could be minimized (a major condition), departments should try to invite out as many potential good-fit candidates as possible.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to take the top two candidates for the past five years and see if there are any points of comparison. Certainly, if I remember correctly, the work of Susan Hyde and Emily Hafner Burton, last year's market leader, seems similar in that both looked at the effect of Western policies (FTAs or election monitoring) on norms in the non Western world. Whether this suggests an interest by the academy in broad research projects that include security, norms, ipe, etc is something i do not know.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget another similarity between Susan Hyde and Emilie Hafner-Burton: they are both women. Correctly in my view, many departments are consciously trying to increase the number of women on their faculty.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that Kentucky only invited women, and Vanderbilt only invited women for one of their positions. This is perhaps an indication of both the high quality of work being done by emrging women scholars, and a general preference among departments to diversify. In my opinion, this is good for the discipline, even if unfair to the men who are not even being considered at some places.

Anonymous said...

Ah, they're women. We should have thought of that! It had nothing to do with the fact that Emilie had extensive methods expertise, at least four years of prestigious post-docs, and won not one but two APSA best dissertation awards. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

You're kidding yourself if you think gender does not matter in hiring in the academy today. I happen to think that's ok, but you are absolutely delusional to think differently.

an observer said...

There's a difference between saying gender matters and saying that it is determinative, i.e., that it can be used as a primary basis for assessing why X and not Y is getting many interviews. If you look at the list of candidates at many institutions for this year and last year-specifically for ones interviewing the two individuals being discussed-you'll find a mix of genders This suggests that gender cannot be used as any sort of master explanation.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Gender is not a "master explanation," but it is *a* factor. I've been on search committees. I have friends who have been on search committees. Universally in my experience, departments are trying to increase the number of women on their faculty. I don't think this all that controversial a point: most departments will explicitly say that they have a goal of increasing diversity of all types in their faculty.

Since there are typically more male than female applicants for IR jobs (especially security jobs), female applications get particular attention.

Emilie Hafner-Burton and Susan Hyde both have very impressive cv's. I did not mean to suggest that they *only* got interviewed because they are women, but I do suspect it was *a* consideration for many search committees.

Anonymous said...

As a male member of the species, I think gender balance in the field is quite important. It shouldn't be THE factor, but improving faculty diversity is a worthy goal. This is especially true for undergraduate education--it is nice for students to have faculty members that they can identify with.

This having been said, I don't think we should limit this discussion to gender balance. Race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc, should also be part of the 'diversity' mix. Is this also a goal that schools working towards?

BelferMole said...

Fit with the department may be a criterion, but if it's actually the most important factor (as one of the commenters above contends), then why would a single candidate in any year get so many interviews? Saving on airfare is penny wise and pound foolish when determining who your colleagues for the next seven years or longer are. Many candidates getting few interviews would be a sign of a functioning market. Schools use many heuristics to determine who to invite, many of them quite bad, including the pack or mob mentality of inviting the same people. Other heuristics include the school of the applicant, whether the applicant's advisors are well (or personally) known, whether that advisor attempted to contact the hiring committee directly, and so forth.

On the gender issue, remember that Giacomo Chiozza received many interviews and offers last year as well, so it's not as if women necessarily dominate in interviewing. Keep in mind also that universities will interview one or two women in an attempt to appear balanced, yet do not take their candidacies seriously.

Anonymous said...

In most cases, I do not think that the interviews of female candidates are simply "show interviews." Many universities give significant incentives to departments if they hire a woman or a minority. These incentives often take the form of an additional faculty line as a "bonus" for hiring a woman or a minority.

I'm not even sure, though, whether these incentives are necessary. I think most departments are pretty genuine in their desire to increase diversity.

Anonymous said...

I find this discussion to be a bit misleading. Departments may wish to improve their gender balance, but the bulk of job committees still return a slate of interviewees that is disproportionately -- and often *exclusively* -- male.

Anonymous said...

*Exclusively* male is obviously a problem. "Disproportionately" is a trickier question. Say a committee invites four candidates to interview--three men and one woman. Obviously, that's "disproportionate" if your reference is the general population. But is it disproportionate if 75% (or more, as is often the case for security jobs) of the applicants are male?

Branislav L. Slantchev said...

Susan Hyde is doing well because her dissertation is phenomenal (the best thing I have seen in some time). She has a natural experiment to test her theory, something that we, poli sci types, can usually only dream of (she was actually allowed to make the monitor assignments). Her success on the market is well-deserved.

Anonymous said...

As to the issue of "Fit" being the #1 criteria schools use, that was indeed the finding of a big survey of department chairs that was published in the October 2005 issue of PS.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure about the accuracy of the 2005 PS article on hiring. Department chairs who responded to the survey are not going to say, "my friend at University X called me" or "I joined in on the herd mentality and invited applicant Y." I think personal networks and rumor mills are a big part of the game, although people are reluctant to admit it in a survey.

Anonymous said...

Before sitting on a search committee, I also thought that "herd mentality" was a big part of things. Since then, however, I have been stunned how often all committee members independently pick the same 2 or 3 candidates at the top, before knowing what anyone else is doing. Susan Hyde is a good example. She has done something very unusual and smart (the natural monitoring experiment) that put her on top of the pile of everyone on the committee, despite not having as many high-placed publications as some others.

Anonymous said...

If you look at Emily Hafner-Burton, Giacomo Chiozza and Susan Hyde, they all are pretty quants. heavy on their methodology so while gender may have some role in the herding (not surprising since most departments are overwhelmingly male), top departments may be signaling they wants certain methods more than anything else. Some of the places sounded like they explicitly wanted someone who did quantitative work (if not formal modelers), possibly to teach methods. For those of us whose work is more qualitative, that market signal, more than the gender composition of the leading candidates, is perhaps more disconcerting.

Anonymous said...

I think that last point is critical. My experience,having served on several search committees at two Research 1 universities over the course of the last decade, is that there are certainly always people on committees who rate job candidates on their methods skills above all else.

Anonymous said...

The thing with quantitative work is that it is much easier to separate good work from bad work. I would not be surprised to see that there is a sharp drop-off after the top-three quantitative candidates in Nr of interviews and a much flatter distribution among the qualitative candidates.

Jon Pevehouse said...

some observations on the market for whatever their worth (probably not much):

1) it is nearly ALWAYS (p<.1?) the case that a small number of people do quite well. Some of this is based on market forces, word of mouth, etc. I would say this is the case in the last 10 years at least, maybe long, but that is my recollection. true, we can all come up with recent examples, but we could do the same years ago...

2) gender: you have to remember (as some have pointed out) there are multiple levels here. departments, deans, universities. pressure can come from any place at any time. regardless of whether you think the pressure is good/bad, helpful/unhelpful, there is pressure nonetheless. my own experience is that at the search level, there is often not a discussion of gender - whether it should be or not is an open question on which I'm sure we all have opinions [I say yes, but who cares...]

3) let me echo branislav's point. couldn't agree more - same with Emilie H-B, but I'm biased. same with giacamo - good stuff, great vita. what is more interesting to me about the commonality about all 3 of these is that they are all doing work that is bridging subfields in a methodologically rigorous way.

4) it is the case that some universities do not go back out in the market, but this is less true esp. for the big publics who know if they don't fill the slot, it goes away in the next budget.

finally) for those of you who are on the job seeking side of the market, you will soon discover just how stochastic of a process this is. all departments try to make their best judgements about talent, potential, etc. under the constraints of budget, a demanding dean, spousal issues (male and female), fit for department, etc. Reason to be depressed? absolutely not. you just never know what is going to get the interest of a particular department so you have to throw your name in the mix. besides, these days, people move, test the market waters, etc. I'm sure there is a good model out there somewhere... good luck everyone.

Anonymous said...

I think the log-jam is a result of the fact that the process is not purely stochastic. The fact that a dozen search committees operating in relative isolation are coming up with redundant short lists indicates that there are some objectively superior candidates on the market.

I also think it is a mistake to conclude that these committees will back off of the top candidates if they learn that they are already getting interviews elsewhere. That simply confirms the quality of their search process, and more often than not a committee will aim high and hope to get the best possible candidates in for interviews.

Our own perceptions of departmental talent and strength my be part of the problem here, as we are often reluctant to admit that we can't hire the best of the best. I'm not sure how this blog fixes the departmental ego problem. It may just reinforce the verification process.

Anonymous said...

But... the previous comment makes two arguments. One, that objectively superior candidates are out there and are highly sought-after. Two, that departments seek validation of their initial inclinations by looking at the decisions made by other departments.

The second process should produce a "herding" effect that will effectively mimic the first process.

FWIW, my two cents is that quite a few things about the job process, a scary number actually, are stochastic (God knows journal reviews are; journal editors' decisions can be; book editors' decisions can be too; composition of search committee, whether or not you happen to say something that alienates people in the dept. on a job talk; etc., etc.) But there's a systematic component as well -- high-mean people will in the long run tend to have high-mean output, on average.

Unfortunately, there's some autocorrelation, and by the time job and tenure decisions come along, the number of observations is still relatively small. So the stochastic part might not swamp the systematic part, but it's still pretty prominent.

Anonymous said...

On the women getting interviews thing. Don't worry, men have the last laugh. Have you checked out the faculty rosters at any major research university lately? The proportion of female tenured professors in poli sci is extremely low--in the last two places I have taught, under 20%.

I am a tenured associate at a good research university and feel like I am in a scene from Survivor-- all my female grad school or junior faculty colleagues have been voted off the island. The reasons for this outcome are complex, but 1) of course excellent female candidates will be sought after in such situations and 2) men are clearly not suffering if you take a longer view of career success.

Anonymous said...

This comment does not comport with my experience on at least a dozen searches:

While it's certainly true that nobody can take two jobs, schools rarely re-convene search committees multiple times in one year; consequently, if one person gets interviews many places (or, worse for the market, offers from many places), those jobs are usually gone, at least for that year.

It takes an awful lot of energy to wade through 200+ folders. Once you have a top 10 list, and often a top 5, you interview 3. Perhaps, perhaps below 3 are unacceptable. But often not. And then by the time you wait around for your number 1, numbers 2 and 3 are gone. So off you go to 4 and 5.

Don't worry. Hyde is clogging up the market right now, but once she takes an offer, the dam will clear.

Anonymous said...

I think you make a good point about men "getting the last laugh." I have no problem with women getting a lot of interview, but then what happens to them? Any attempt to diversify the gender of the field means more than interviewing good women candidates. It also means hiring and promoting them.

My experience is that female assistant professors have two "hidden" problems. First, if they decide to start a family they are punished by some portion of the faculty. Whether this is simply thinking of them as "not serious" or thinking their family leave time as time off to do research. Second, I believe that women that co-author are sometimes given less credit than they deserve.

I may be wrong and I hope I am, but I think we need to figure out why women, who are at least 50% of incoming graduate students, end up being such a small portion of associate and full professors.

Anonymous said...

Are women really "at least 50% of incoming graduate students?" Especially in IR (where it strikes me that the security side of the field is predominately male)?

Just asking as a point of information because that is not my impression.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious - do people think there have been star candidates whose work addresses difficult theoretical questions? Would it be fair to say the secret to job market consensus is: interesting but not particularly complex theory plus innovative empirical work?

Anonymous said...

Why is a good theory "complex?" Most of the time, good theories are those that explain important issues in a simple, clear manner.

Anonymous said...

certainly, I think that there is a political content to success on the job market - does a critical theorist who has done everything right (picked a top-20 graduate school, have teaching experience, good recommenders, fairly prestigious publications, etc) do as well as people who study things that are more mainstream? From personal experience, no.

Anonymous said...

From those with experience, does the market seem to be moving slow this year?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it really does. Committees seem to be meeting late, and it seems quite unusual to have schools waiting until January to schedule interviews.

Anonymous said...

the question is why the delay. can we infer anything from it. anybody know about general impressions from hiring committees. is this a tough year or not?

Anonymous said...

My impression is it's a weak pool.
People sitting on search commitees longer than me might think differently

Anonymous said...

The IR market is moving more slowly this last year than last, definitely. Why that's the case (weak pool, clogging...) isn't clear. But the message to people who haven't gotten interviews or offers yet should be: don't despair (yet, anyhow).

Anonymous said...

Here's to the asshole who thought it appropriate to post "it's a weak pool" on a discussion board visited most frequently by job candidates. Such unbelievable arrogance we have in this discipline.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I had the same reaction to the "weak pool" remark. As a job candidate on the market, it sure made me feel like s---. I certainly hope it's not true. Makes me want to switch careers.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but get used to this process making you feel like dirt (or worse).

My impression is that more departments have multiple searches this year. I think that would also slow the process down a lot. But that's just my impression (treat appropriately!).

Anonymous said...

I was on the job market in the last couple of years and my own impression is that the market this year is no slower than the last two. Then and now some searches move faster than others. Last year, for example, quite a few places interviewed candiadates in January.

It is also doubtful that the pace of the searches is determined by the strength of the pool, whether weak or strong. More likely, it is affected by departmental and other constraints and politics. I actually heard that the pool this year is quite strong; if that's a good thing for the individual candidate remains an open question...

Anonymous said...

You know, I am a candidate on the job market, and have been reading this board fairly frequently - and part of me wishes that I had never found out about it. I wasn't nervous about my job prospects previous to finding this board and talking about these issues with others - but reading this makes me really nervous.

I thought I was a good job candidate: very prestigious advisor, good grad school, excellent publications, lots of presentations, service experience, completed degree, good teaching . . . that's what they tell you in grad school that you have to do, right?

But on this board, I've learned I may have other problems: gender, networking, the political content of my scholarship, or that I may be a part of a weak pool . . . and I guess I want to know exactly what it is that makes me weak?

I know, "get used to things making you feel bad" - but I have a Ph.D. and a pretty darn cool CV; that's generally not something I should be "feeling bad" about. Is my job search going as well as I thought it would/think it should? No, or at least not yet . . . but is it going acceptably, sure.

Maybe I don't know the right people; maybe I don't study the right things. Those things are a fine reason that certain institutions aren't banging down my door. But to say that I did not put a strong application out there . . .

I don't even know what I am ranting about anymore. Except that I don't like feeling like I did when I read that comment.

Anonymous said...

I heard the weak pool comment elsewhere as well and it didn't make me feel good about my application. However, instead of complaining, and because i will be probably on the market again next year, it would be really helpful if anyone who has seen the applications (i.e. anyone on a search committee, including the person who posted the original comment) could say why this pool was weak/ perceived to be weak, and what would a strong candidate or a strong pool look like. The fact of the matter is that this would be worth knowing because the truth is more important than not hurting feelings.

Anonymous said...

Here's why I think the "weak pool" comment is totally off the mark. It is very hard to get a good sense of a candidate's quality based on the little information that job packets provide, particularly for ABD's and newly minted PhDs. I'm a grad student on the market, I've sat on faculty search committees, and I've seen people come through our (top-ten) department to give job talks. I don't have tons of experience, but here is my general impression: At the Asst Prof level, there are a lot of people out there who look great on paper, but who come out to give a job talk and crash and burn. There are several other really smart people out there who don't have an impressive CV or don't have the "glow" of a top-ten school that get passed up.

Bottom line: for those on the assistant prof market, there is a huge random element. Not everyone who gets an interview at a top research school is a great scholar, and there are a lot of great scholars who don't get many interviews right away. It's hard to judge the quality of the pool based on the information that is given. At the associate level and up, it becomes much more of a meritocracy because we can see what people have been producing.

Anonymous said...

The weak pool comment can sting. But we have to remember that the person who posted it is reacting to what they have seen. Maybe the great candidates did not apply to the department this person is in. Not to be smart, but it might say more about where this person is employed, than the market in general.

I am more interested in why a weak pool would slow things down. A possible answer is that everyone clusters on a few candidates, which has happened this year. But is it any worse than other years? A different way to look at is a weak pool would make the big schools move faster to ensure they get a top candidate, which would make things go faster. These are just two theories and subject to revision based on further data.

Anonymous said...

A quick comment from a search committee member on clustering and the "weak pool:" there is actually little clustering in comparison to past years. There is one candidate who gets interviews anywhere and then many who have maybe 3-4 interviews. This fits with my own interpretation: I saw many very good files but few that jump out (so we had a very long short list and little agreement on how to rank people). This may actually slow down the market, also because departments do not feel particularly rushed to make offers. That said, it is pretty normal for the market to continue until well into February.

Anonymous said...

helpful but give us a profile of what stands out or what causes the market leader this year to be separated from the files that are only 'very good'.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of "weak pool," let me just say that from my perspective this was not a weak pool at all. I read more than 70 files and was pretty impressed. In fact, all three members of our search committee agreed that this was the strongest pool we had seen in three years. We made a VERY long short list. We identified more than 10 people that we wanted to interview. If you are a job candidate, stay calm. Many departments are about to go back into the pool of applications now that they have failed to land the candidate of their choice.

On "what stands out." That depends on what the hiring department is looking for. Some focus on publications, others on methods skills, others on substantive gaps in thier departments. We actually read the dissertations and attempted to discover the most interesting and high quality work.

Anonymous said...

I also do not perceive a weak pool. We read nearly 200 folders. The only surprise, at least for us, was the heavy representation of a small number of schools (especially UCSD) in populating our medium list, and the relatively (compared to other years) smaller class of candidates emerging from Berkeley, Harvard, Michigan, Columbia, and other "large" programs. It does slow things up when one program has a particularly strong year, since there is often a desire not to interview multiple candidates from a single program at the first pass.

Also, there were a number of very strong female candidates, and ceteris paribus, many schools have a desire to diversify their faculty on these grounds and so these candidates may be receiving a higher proportion of interviews on the first pass.

Finally, there is simply the impact of real world events. 10 years ago, even 5 years ago, there were a few dominant topics in IR. Now with the collapse of the SU (you are that pool of candidates), the emergence of international weapons/arms/bio, the growth of the EU, the rise in ethnic conflict...all of this makes it harder to identify the "hot" topic and the "hot" candidate.

In the long run I think this is a good thing for the discipine and for the market, but it will slow things down.

Anonymous said...

No one should be worried about the "weak pool" comment. Look at this logically. The number of joba offered is high - the last 2-3 years have been a boon compared to earlier years. In thelean years many people went to post-docs, some for multiple years. Thus newly minted PhD's ABDs and two cohorts of post-docs were on the market for the same jobs. Heck, a few years back the entire Olin pool did not receive offers. But to a committee it must have looked like a "strong pool". Most had PhD in hand, publications, fellowships etc. Look at conditions now. ABD's are getting interviews and offers.

I think if the "weak pool" comment has any implications it is is not that any given individual is of a poorer quality than previosu years, but that the backlog of of people has lessened, so there are fewer folks with near perfect credentials. THIS IS GOOD NEWS! Think about it. The vast majority of you are there are very good. Would you rather be in a pool of other very good people, or in a pool where there are people who haven't gotten jobs for a year or two, have taken the time to publish more and look stellar on paper? A "weaker pool" means you are more competitive. It means very good people will get jobs even instead of having to hit the post-doc circuit. Most of you are pretty big fish, why do want to swim with the sharks?

Anonymous said...

On another note: what are the incentives for departments to not send out rejection letters, particularly after they have already signed a contract? "Closure" would be nice for candidates who are wondering where they stand, often in numerous lines, as this blog shows. I have encountered few other professions where potential employers don't feel it proper to alert aspiring employees that the search has ended and they are out. It seems so simple, non-threatening and courteous...

Anonymous said...

Many departments do not even bother calling or writing a rejection letter after you have been interviewed- so the lack of civility goes even deeper. In many ways it is motivated by wanting to keep options open in case something goes wrong and the department needs to go back to the pile of applications. It is by no means a justification for the current practice. Out of the job talks I and some of my friends had in previous years close to third of the departments did not bother calling us with either a yes or a no after the interview.

Anonymous said...

I can semi-understand why departments aren't good about sending the rejection form letters to every applicant, since there is some time and cost involved (though email could obviously mitigate that). But to fail to inform a candidate after coming in for an interview is poor form, since there are really only 3 possibilities at that point: 1) they offer you the position; 2) you're not 1st choice but are still in the running; 3) they've completely eliminated you after the interview. Obviously, it requires very little effort to inform a candidate where she stands if she didn't get the initial offer. But a lot of this simply depends on the personality of the department chair.

Anonymous said...

This is where this blog is helpful. If the information inevitably gets out anyway then the department has no real incentive not to reveal that they have made an offer. Maybe they will be forced to be more transparent.

Anonymous said...

Experience with rejections varies greatly.

I give FSU points that in last year's search, they promptly sent out an email to all rejected applicants which stated who they interviewed, who they hired, and what their talk titles had been.

On the low end, there was one dept where I interviewed that not only failed to ever call me to tell me they hired someone else, but would not return my email/phone msgs a month or more later asking whether they'd made a decision.

Anonymous said...

It is absurd to suggest that the bargaining position of most, if not all, candidates would be improved by all of this rumor mongering about who has been offered what job! The strategic revelation of information in bargaining should be obvious to most students of IR; in the age of timed offers, some uncertainty about decisions is often good for candidates. Accepted positions are different.

Anonymous said...

The "weak pool" might originate in market forces. The number of positions in international relations has been large in successive years so that some sorting has taken place. I interpret weak as either early (ABD uncertain to be finished and ready on appointment date) or around during a number of years with relatively many jobs. Dare I say, the offended may have committed an ecological fallacy?

Anonymous said...

Dare I suggest a simple syllogism? There are fewer strong candidates than in past years. I have not received an interview at school x. Ergo, I’m particularly bad. (Or – depending on how you model the stochastic job market process – I’m more likely to be bad than I would have thought, had I not known there is a weak pool.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think any of us are bad - at least, I don't think I'm bad, and I have no reason to believe the people I am competing with are. Good thing this is anonymous, because my job search would be going immeasurably worse if I got identified, but I don't think the candidates are necessarily the weak thing about the market.

I've seen job ads I fit perfectly, and haven't gotten an interview; but I've gotten a lot of interest from places whose jobs ads I do not meet at all except the "Ph.D required" part. There seem to be a number of ads out there from departments who aren't really committed to hiring someone and from departments who only know they would like to hire someone. Likewise, I've received conflicting feedback about a number of CV components: it is good to be finished with your Ph.D., but maybe taking a postdoc shows desparation (you do know that people who just finished grad school have to eat?); it is good to have your book done, but sometimes, if the publisher isn't Tier 1, we prefer a not-yet existent book; it is not where you are from but the quality of your work, but there's this entrenched network you can't get around . . .

Those complaints don't even begin to scratch the surface of the whole question of the way that the whole "state of the discipline" debate plays out in hiring decisions. A friend was interviewed by a school which apparently went to the trouble of interviewing the candidate only to spend most of the time questioning the candidate about whether or not the subfield the candidate was in had any worth. How much of the job market is what you study rather than how well you do it?

Then, a good 80% of departments are not polite enough to send progress letters, or rejection letters. When I receive an offer, is it too much to ask to know where else my hat is seriously in the ring? When I've spent hours writing an application and a personalized letter, is it too much to ask to have an undergrad assistant send a form letter?

To the people who say that there is a weak pool, I guess I say I've read that one too many times. I know a number of people on the market this year, and they are brilliant people who will excel at being political science professors. To those people hesistant to hire them and unable to see their strengths, they will have your jobs someday, whether you hire them now or not.

Anonymous said...

The lessons of the last couple of job markets for me are methodological. While I can only draw on anecdotal evidence, it appears that candidates that do pretty sophisticated mathematics (both statistics and game theory) do much better on the job market than those that do qualitative, historical work. This may have been true of the field for some time, but I think it may seem more acute this job season (since I'm on it). If I were primarily a qualitative methodologist and still working on the diss, I would think seriously about gussying it up with quantitative methods of one sort or another.

People who did well the last couple of years--Giacomo Chiozza, Emily Hafner-Burton, Susan Hyde, Thad Dunning in CP, Jana Von Stein--are all evidence of this, as is the general success of the UCSD crew (a smart bunch no doubt!) on the job market this season. Probably plenty of game theorists and stats folks who are still waiting by the phone, but I'd wager that places that have done traditional, non-quanty IR are feeling the pressure to hire some quants methodologists. Places like NYU that are already game theory heavy may hire more of the same anyway. The net result is a tough season for qualitative folks.

Anonymous said...

I was really nonplusssed by the offerings of qualitative research in the international security pool. For God's sake, stop studying the British empire! Why is there so little contemporary (as opposed to historical) case research in IR? Most of the good qualitative work on conflict situations comes from comparativists even though there are plenty of interesting IR questions that could be studied qualitatively about, say, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, transborder crime, terrorism, etcetera.

Anonymous said...

And if qualitative folks did do more contemporary cases, it would be dismissed by many as "unsophisticated policy work." That last post reveals all that is wrong with methods-based rather than merit-based hiring in academia.

Qualitative folks aren't still studying the British empire just for fun. They're studying the British empire because it might reveal implications for the very contemporary cases to which you allude.

Anonymous said...

Rubbish, the post is not at all about methods-based hiring but exactly about substance-based hiring: we want people who work on interesting questions. MANY people, including people who do historical work in comparative or APD, think it is simply foolish to think we can learn more about contemporary problems of international order by delving ever more deeply into the intrigues of British empire: this is not the way to do history (and it is really hard to sell to anyone who doesn't do IS). More relevant, though, is the question why so little qualitative work in IR (as opposed to comparative) deals with relevant contemporary questions. Why, for instance, has the civil war literature been dominated by quant types in IR even though it lends itself very well for structured case comparisons (we would have loved to hire someone who does that well).

Laura Sjoberg said...

Pretty sure that's not true - though it is not universal, there are a number of times that my work has been discounted for being qualitative, though it is contemporary (my case study is the wars in Iraq since the end of the Cold War), innovative (a feminist reformulation of just war principles), and methodologically rigorous. It may be what qualitative people study that gets discounted; but I'm not sure it is always because of the current relevance of their questions.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, last I checked the civil war literature is dominated by largely qualitative folks like Stathis Kalyvas, Alex Downes, Chaim Kaufmann, Barry Posen, Stuart Kaufman, and Roger Petersen. Maybe the poster complaining about the quant dominance of civil war would be interested in expanding his or her reading list past the pages of the JCR. . . .

And speaking of relevance, the only scholars willing to publicly put their money where their mouths are in IR are qualitative folks like Walt, Mearsheimer, Van Evera, Jervis, and Snyder. It's simply a fact that they're the only people with the courage to speak out on major issues of pressing policy relevance. The rest of the field has happily embraced irrelevance and obscurity.

Anonymous said...

hmm, last I checked the civil war literature is dominated by largely qualitative folks like Stathis Kalyvas, Alex Downes, Chaim Kaufmann, Barry Posen, Stuart Kaufman, and Roger Petersen.

Yes, and they are almost all comparativists, which is fine, but they don't produce many IR grad students. Look, I didn't mean to discount what is being studied across the board, that would be unfair (and perhaps my language created the wrong impression), but I do notice that the top programs tend to produce students who do qualitative work on very traditional topics and who have a hard time getting a job, even though they are very accomplished at what they are doing. You could say that Hyde, Dunning, Chiozza, Hafner-Burton use quantitative methods, you could also point to the novel questions that they are asking. I think the latter is at least as important.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps something that everyone is missing is the fact that hiring is done by departments and not individuals. So a hiring decision is a compromise rather than the choice of a black-box, rational, individual.

I think this is important in terms of the quant/qual debate, simply because a small group of individuals in a department with strong preferences can veto certain candidates. Thus, even if the majority of IR scholars have a broad view of the discipline, we still may have a hiring process that favors quants simply because we can log roll the votes. Of course, this discussion does not even being to touch on the politics of deans and provosts.

Anonymous said...

Barry Posen and Chaim Kaufmann and Stuart Kaufman and Alex Downes as comparativists? Fascinating. . . .

Anonymous said...

It's not just what you know, but what you can teach. Many departments would like to kill two birds with one stone and have someone who can teach substantive IR classes along with classes in formal/quant methods. In some depts, Americanist faculty members are the only ones teaching methods courses, and the CP/IR folks realize that they need someone to train their grad students in technical stuff.

Anonymous said...

As others have noted, the following is quite an amazing statement:

"More relevant, though, is the question why so little qualitative work in IR (as opposed to comparative) deals with relevant contemporary questions."

I would argue that the most contemporary, "policy relevant" major journal in international relations is _International Security_, and that journal is dominated by qualitative work (to many people's chagrin, I might add). Compare the work in IS with the latest study of some obscure trade issue published in IO. Or the latest "reregression" of the same tired data in the pages of JCR.

Anonymous said...

"For God's sake, stop studying the British empire! Why is there so little contemporary (as opposed to historical) case research in IR?"

Hmmm, maybe it's just me, but I kind of wish the current administration had picked up a book about the British experience in Iraq.

Erik Voeten said...

A couple of comments on the qual-quant issue:

1. For various reasons, there is even more clustering on quant candidates than on qual candidates. Focussing on the two top horses may skew the picture a little. It would be nice if this site, at the end of the day, could create a more comprehensive picture of who gets rewarded by the "market." (I am particularly interested in seeing how many positions do not get filled).

2. Teaching coverage matters, especially in departments like mine where we have a methods minor and require all undergrad majors to take a quant class. That said, there is increasing demand from grad students for a qual. methods course and my sense is that a person with credentials to teach such a class may well have a bit of an edge as well.

3. On issues: there is a broader problem that too few IR people are studying the hot topics that students love to take classes in and deans love to hire in. This is especially true for terrorism. Marc Lynch launched an interesting debate on this issue on his blog:
http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2005/11/understanding_a.html

Anonymous said...

"For God's sake, stop studying the British empire!...there are plenty of interesting IR questions that could be studied qualitatively about, say, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, transborder crime, terrorism, etcetera."

One could study conflict in Afghanistan and Sri Lanka (of all places) and not know anything about the historical legacies of the British Empire? My turn to be nonplussed...

Anonymous said...

[Moved from Job Rumors]
IR vs. CP?

Can anyone provide a sense of how many candidates are (forgive the ontologically suspect categorization) "real" IR types and how many are in the increasingly blurry grey zone between IR and CP?

While he is an outstanding young scholar, for example, I would categorize Thad Dunning as a comparativist. Susan Hyde I would put in the grey zone.

So are there any traditional IR types on the market this year and, if so, how are they faring? By this I mean straight IPE with no area speciality or bombs and rockets security types or meta-theorists.

Anonymous said...

[Moved from Job Rumors]
I'm sorry but is the extent of IR by that last post just IPE?

Anonymous said...

[Moved from Job Rumors]
Not that this isn't interesting, but doesn't the IR/CP discussion belong on the job discussion board rather than here on the rumor mill?

Anonymous said...

[Moved from Job Rumors]
Since when have IPE people achieved the status of "traditional IR types"? Pretty narrow view of tradition.

Anonymous said...

I said the categorization was ontologically suspect! If you read closer, you see that I asked about either traditional IPE types (macro variables, trade patterns, etc.) AND/OR traditional (bombs and rockets) IS types. Perhaps a narrow view of "tradition," but I don't think we need to be so precious as to pretend we don't know what I mean.

In lieu of "traditional," how about "old-fashioned"? You know, like the British Empire that we all are apparently studying....

If the quant/qual difference is really over "interesting" questions and not a bias towards number-crunching regardless of how anodyne the question, what questions are being asked?

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a qualitative person (gasp! treason!), I wonder if there's really a bias in favor of quantitative research. Instead, it seems to me that many of the strongest candidates over the past few years -- in both IR and CP -- have been those who mix quantitative and qualitative approaches. Or perhaps incorporate some formal.

If this is the case, doesn't that reflect a preference for triangulation rather than a narrow love for numbers? Of course, it's an open question whether this is a good thing for political science, whether triangulators do qualitative (or quant) well, etc.

Anonymous said...

The answer to the CP vs IR question earlier is that there are a few IR security types and their experience is mixed at best, tending towards negative. Pure IPE types are faring a little better.

Anonymous said...

My impression is also that the pure international conflict types are not doing as well on the market as people that can speak across subfields/fields, even though many already have a number of publications. I also doubt that this is a recent development (in the last 5 years), as some of my well-qualified conflict colleagues that came out in the last few years had a tough time on the market. The exception is that those who can do good formal work often fare very well.

Is there any surprise that the candidates that ask the big questions do the best? In an interview, candidates have to convince everyone in the department that they would be a great choice. Candidates that can speak to the literatures of more people in the room will be at an advantage.

Also, look at the number of General-IR spots there are in the job postings. There were few conflict-specific jobs, and even fewer IPE-specific jobs. This indicates that the departments have a broad need and will prefer someone that can teach many different types of courses and publish in multiple subfields.

Anonymous said...

I think the post above about the success of people using multiple methods is spot on. And it makes complete sense. Somebody using statistical and case study methodologies can satisfy multiple constituencies on a committee and within a department.

I would, however, caution anybody who now thinks multimethod work is the secret to success on the job market. Multiple methods work is difficult to pull off precisely because it requires mastery of multiple methodologies. In my time on search committees, I have seen some ambitious candidates who have tried to use multiple methods in their dissertations (often in a transparent attempt to be more "marketable"), only to employ none of those methods particularly well. Better to do one method very well than three methods not so well.

Anonymous said...

Curious, though, that so many IR jobs posted at APSA specified "international security" or "security studies" as an explicit, desired subfield.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say, as a quantoid, that the British Empire is absolutely fascinating, deserves to be studied in its own right, and has a tremendous amount to teach us about contemporary policy questions and enduring questions of international relations theory.

Anonymous said...

Change of pace: As we approach the cheery season and the beginning of the end of the job season, are there any 'industry-wide' numbers out there for how many of us, on average, will walk away from this process bruised and offerless, facing the same fight next year? Rough splits between 'PhD expected' candidates and 'degree in hand' ones?

Anonymous said...

N of 5 at a pretty good department: 2 in hand, 3 without. None IR folks. 2 in hand - 2 jobs. 3 without - 0 jobs.

For whatever that is worth.

Anonymous said...

I think they publish those figures (though a year or two behind) in PS. The numbers are always very gloomy. On average, a lot of us will end up in temporary positions or post-docs.

On a different note, my impression is that the market has been more receptive to (talented) ABDs this year than in the past few (when being finished seemed to be a requirement). But that's just my very limited impression. Maybe it's also just that I was ABD last year and finished now, so I'm trying to rationalize my own lack of success... :(

Anonymous said...

For another pace-change.

Anyone got any rough 'n' ready sense of the hiring variance between liberal arts postings and research postings?

I'm wondering how many of we, the defiant and (temporarily) defeated, focused exclusively on one or the other?

Anonymous said...

For more on placement rates, see http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:aYY1fBe9yGsJ:www.apsanet.org/imgtest/lopez.pdf+political+science+PhD+placement+rates&hl=en.
According to this, 87% of PhDs and 66% of ABDs found positions in 2001-2. But the study does not differentiate between those who got tenure-track, visiting or even post-doc positions.

Anonymous said...

Question: does anyone have a sense of what happens if one is on the market two years running without offers? If you're from a top program, many schools seem unwilling to even offer an interview. I also wonder if there's a signalling effect -- after people have seen your application a certain number of times.

Anonymous said...

I think that the bigger problem is just that each new year brings a new crop of job-seekers into the market. If you simply tread water in terms of your own credentials, then it makes sense that you would be passed over in every year by stronger candidates from each successive class.

But, I'm sure it's true that committees pass over files from candidates who have previously applied to that department (thus potentially missing any significant improvements to that candidate's file).

Anonymous said...

Updating your CV?

So I was wondering what people think dropping the places you have applied a note with a major update (or three) to your CV, like "I won a dissertation prize, and got two articles and a book accepted" - is there an etiquette for that?

Anonymous said...

Not even a question about what you should do. You should immediately contact all the places you applied and tell them about any major changes to your CV -- awards, degrees completed, or articles accepted. These things definitely help committees to decide now that they are going back to look at the files they last perused in October/November.

Anonymous said...

Not only is sending an updated CV appropriate (and a must if you've had important changes), but I also found an unintended benefit...

If you send your updated CV as an email attachment (I recommend also sending a paper copy), the email reply will in some cases reveal information about that institution's search: i.e., "the committee is scheduled to meet next week"; or "we start interviewing candidates tomorrow and you aren't invited"; etc.

Knowing where to send your updated CV is another instance where the IR Rumor Mill proves useful, because you'll have some idea which schools have already hired someone, so you don't need to bother sending your new CV there (unless you're just hoping to make someone feel bad for not hiring you).

Anonymous said...

Replicating the experiment for theory and public law:

http://politicaltheoryrumormill.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Just curious here: what is the "average" salary for a starting assistant prof? What is the range? (I'm not asking about what particular individuals are getting paid).

Anonymous said...

Depends on level of school. Teaching schools are around 43, big research school 55, but geography matters as well.

Anonymous said...

there is a "big" research school whose policy is to offer the "average" salary across other big research schools, and this school's first offer to a friend of mine was 60+.

Top 10 public research schools seem to pay 70+ for 1st yr assistant profs, while 80 in your 1st year is not impossible with multiple offers from private research schools.

You should also look at research budget and teaching reductions, not just salary. There seem to be patterns in this regard, too.

But again everything you see here is just "cheap talk"!

Anonymous said...

If it's a state university, the salaries are often public information and can be found on the web. Very useful information if you can find it.

Anonymous said...

I just looked at my top ten research university and 70k for an assistant professor is quite high. First year professors usually make in the low-middle 60s.

Anonymous said...

This database is somewhat useful for the question about salaries (at least as a comparison across states and types of schools)...

http://chronicle.com/stats/aaup/

Anonymous said...

How depressing. However, I get the impression that many professors in political science manage to supplement their income with other activities. Is this true? Does anyone know how they do it? If you want to be an academic but also be properly compensated, how would you go about it? There should be a manual for this sort of stuff.

Anonymous said...

Remember that the AAUP report is an average and that the median rather than the mean is probably a better indicator for what a political scientist should expect [the distribution has significant skew].

Also, one can negotiate summer salary alongside 9 month so that these figures do not reflect actual compensation levels. 80 [base and summer support]happens in top 25 departments at public universities for first year assistants.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget cost of living. The flagship univ in my midwestern state starts around $50,000, while I know of universities in the DC area that start just above $50,000. Yet, a nice 3BR house here goes for $150,000, vs closer to a million in DC.

If you want to be a prof, and live well, and live in a coastal metropolis, good luck.

Anonymous said...

Folks. Given the lull in rumors perhaps we could take some time to discuss our opinions about departments in the field of IR. Go forth and educate: http://irdepartments.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

So much depends on the school.

The top 10 schools pay much higher.

Some good state schools but in states with poor support for public education have lower starting salaries and very compressed salaries for full faculty.

The top 20 or so teaching schools pay more like mid 50s, not 45.

Yes you can supplement your income but if you are junior, forget it.

Anonymous said...

Offers can vary quite widely if you're looking at a tenure-track position at a non-top 25 teaching or research university (which is most of us, really!). I have received junior offers ranging all the way from the high-30s (at a "directional school") to the mid-50s (both at a public and private university). These were all in mid-to-small urban areas (ie, affordable places).

So there is a lot of variation, and the money's never great. But surely you knew that when you started grad school anyway!

Anonymous said...

Just to throw in my two cents worth on salaries- I am just out of my PhD program and got an offer from a (predominantly) teaching, private university in an urban area in the midwest. The salary is mid 50s plus a few k for research. Others in my cohort got offers from teaching schools in urban areas on the east coast and the salary was about the same. Research oriented, state universities paid in the low 60s.

Anonymous said...

Point taken that there is variation (I've personally heard $35,000 to $70,000 in interviews), but actually, the variance in academic salaries is low compared to most professions.

Full profs at Ivy League schools are probably making less than three times as much as their colleagues at poorly-funded public comprehensive universities, and the range is considerably smaller at the assistant level.

Compare that to the difference between neurosurgeons in Boston and GPs in Iowa, or the difference between the top 10% and bottom 10% of lawyers, engineers, MBAs, and PhD salaries are extremely even.

Though to be fair, I guess you should include those PhDs clever enough to go earn big bucks at McKinsey instead of teaching at Budget Crunch U.

Anonymous said...

The other thing that seems relevant here is whether the school is on a set salary scale or note. My impression from interviews / offers I've received is that liberal arts colleges are usually bound to a set salary scale, which is intended to make sure there aren't big pay inequalities between faculty in the same department. This means that salary is not negotiable for these schools, even if you have competing offers. Re research universities, they are much more willing to bump up your research allowances and summer salary -- rather than your base salary, as the increased base salary will compound as years go by.

Anonymous said...

Judging from the list (and this blog may not have all of the relevant information), I find it interesting that several top schools have not hired yet. Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, UT Austin, and several others are still listed vacant slots. What is going on? Are these schools just slow to make a decision? Was the market "weak"? Are they going to re-post next year?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to take a second to interrupt the alternating angst (perfectly understandable) and piss and vinegar (regrettable) to say that it is possible to get a job you love even if you don't come from a top-10 place or do super high-tech work. It might take a few years, but it can happen.

[pep talk] So don't lose hope! If you do what interests you, believe in yourself, work hard, and keep putting yourself out there (so that you are in a position to capitalize when a lucky break comes), you can get the job of your dreams. [/pep talk]

Anonymous said...

Dear Abby (and anyone else),

I'm from a non-top twenty program and won't be finished with my dissertation until next spring. Is it worth the effort to go on the market in the fall even if I will not defend until 2007?

Thanks,
Footnoting Fran

Anonymous said...

Depends on how far along you'll be in the fall, and whether you'll have anything published. Not sure how it can hurt to try -- search committees often change from year to year, and institutional memories are short. Unless you get an interview and tank, I can't see how an unsuccessful application in fall '06 would be harmful.

Anonymous said...

Dear "Footnoting Fran,"

While there's no harm done in terms of going on the market, I would consider the following:

1. Inevitably, the process of putting together applications takes time--time that could be spent writing. Once you have sent out those files, you will also waste away a lot of time in October and November wondering and worrying (and reading this blog!), unless you are a very disciplined soul. On the plus side, things like research and teaching statements get better with iteration (as do job talks), so the earlier you get to work on those, the better.

2. Not being finished is a significant "minus" in terms of how your application will be viewed. It can be overcome if you are viewed as a strong candidate or one whose work is very interesting, but it will hurt you at a lot of places. One search committee chair once told me that they automatically add 6 months to every ABD's projected defense date. So if you (and your advisors) think you will defend in the Summer 2007, they will take that to mean you won't finish.

So if you do choose to go on the market:
--Don't let the process cause you to fall behind on your dissertation writing. Regardless of what happens, make sure that you defend by August 2007 (you absolutely don't want to hit the market *twice* as an ABD).
--Don't get too stressed out about it.
--There's a big market in the winter/spring for one-years and post-docs, which you may also want to target. By then, you will have (hopefully) made enough progress that your claims of defending by such-and-such date will actually be credible. Those can be a good springboard for hitting the market the following year.

These are all just my take based on what I and my colleagues (I'm from a non-top 20 department too) experienced.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear Footnoting Fran,

This is actually standard practice for the school I graduated from (it is top-twenty, but so what?) I went on the market with exactly one chapter and did quite well. But my impression is that the previous poster is correct: an ABD status will force you to explain just where you are in your dissertation if you get invited out. And you will only get invited if someone on the committee really likes the stuff you send them. It also depends on the years you've been in grad school. If you're in the 5th year as you go on the market, I don't think there will be quite as much concern about you finishing as there would be if you are in your 7th year. It will also depend on your letters and whether they suggest you are likely to finish. Some of my friends who went out before completing the dissertation got offers from very nice places immediately, and others had to try again the following year. Since they ALL got offers then, I guess trying can't really hurt. Bottom line is that if the topic is hot in terms of the department looking to hire in that area, ABD status won't be a problem.

Anonymous said...

I served on a search committee this year in a top 25 department and we did not interview a single person with Ph. D. in hand. Departments that are seeking to "move up" will often only look at people early because they fear that the best will be gone before their Ph. D.'s are in hand [some belief in proper market sorting, I suppose].

However, we only interviewed ABD's from top 10/15ish places and the committee was composed of people who all had Ph. D.'s from top 10/15ish places. Though pedigree is not a perfect predictor, people who have it believe that it matters and this ends up being largely self-fulfilling when interview lists are constructed.

Anonymous said...

Re: 10.39am comment. Do you read applications from non top 15 fully or is it an automatic disqualifier. Would other factors (like adviser, letters, or publications) be mitigating?

Also, any general impression of what's been looked for?

Anonymous said...

I went on the market not ABD, and not with a new Ph.D., but with a Ph.D. in hand and a year in between (law school). It is not that I did not get a job when I was ABD/on the market - I was ABD for less than a year, and knew I did not want to get a job immediately (the law school thing). But now, two years out of my Ph.D., I am ready and interested in getting a job (and have a law degree) - but I feel like this is actually hurting me, because people assume that I have been failing at getting jobs for two years . . . does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

You are in a good position. Law degrees definitely help. You could also apply to i law positions in law schools in addition to political science departments. the people I know with both qualifications have done very well. If I was doing it all over again that's what I would do.

Anonymous said...

Any tips for anyone who's got more than one offer? Any suggestions/advice on what are things that could be negotiated beyond of course salary, etc. basics? thanks.

Anonymous said...

To negotiate:
- Research budget - per year, or lump sum. How fungible is it (ie, can you pay yourself summer 9ths)? Travel budget? Conference budget?
- course reduction(s), perhaps bank to use in future years
- time-off for a post-doc after a year or two
- Grad student RAs paid by the Dept, not out of your research budget
- money to bring in outsiders for a speakers' series (this also indicates good citizenship)
- money to host a conference at your university, perhaps inter-departmental

Anonymous said...

And don't forget the most important factor of all when deciding between multiple offers...

pick the school with the better football and basketball teams.

Anonymous said...

so Utah had to go back to the pool when december interviews did not pan out (for IR)?

Anonymous said...

I heard OK State has made an offer for a Chair.

Anonymous said...

regarding the post stating a law degree helps I beg to differ. Our department has shunned Ph.Ds/ABDs with JDs out of fear of losing them to the higher paying law school via a joint appointment. Also, as far as outlets, law reviews are summarily dismissed as student edited/refereed. You're better off with some bottom feeder (e.g., Global Governance or International Politics) article than most top law reviews.

Anonymous said...

RE: what to negotiate

My advice would be to max out on your salary first. It will be the baseline for future increases and for counter-offers, so you will be setting yourself up for a long time. Everything else is secondary.

You can get money from external grants for travel, intramural sources can probably handle most of your needs until you get an external grant. A fungible startup is a must although in my case I blew through over 50K in less than two years because it allowed me summer ninths. Some external grants also provide for RAs.

I don't know that as a junior you should be asking for money for public goods (speaker series). Yeah, that may make you a good citizen but don't kid yourself into thinking you will have the time to manage such a series. (Or that you should, anyway.) You should concentrate on getting as much work done as possible.

This brings me to courses off. Ask for at least 2 (better yet, 3). Don't use them in your first year. Why? Because no matter what you do, you will not have any time whatsoever for work on account of all those courses you have to prep. It won't make any difference whether it's 3 or 4 courses, your hands will be full. Instead, use the time off in your third year and then use the fourth year semeseter off (you should get this as a sabbatical) to set yourself aside some nice time for research. Just make sure the school allows you to bank the courses.

Anonymous said...

On negotiating-
I think asking for more research funds should be a big priority. Think of it this way: if you don't pay for books, travel, etc, through a research budget, you are paying for it out of your own pocket. Plus, because research funds are not taxed, you can think of this as tax-free "money you don't have to pay out of pocket."

Anonymous said...

Everything is fungible and different things have different value. Salary is often the hardest thing to get while being able to pay multiple 9ths over non-grant summers trades off; figure it out. Some places have research money from internal sources that makes the startup unimportant except for paying 9ths. Other places make this a huge and uninteresting bureaucratic hassle. Ask the juniors in the places that you are negotiating with about what is easy and what is hard to get once you are there.

Anonymous said...

Are there any statistics re: how many candidates did not get any interviews at all? Or how many interviews candidates get on average?

Anonymous said...

I hadn't read this blog before accepting a job offer. Didn't have time. Ater having been "on the market" with six interviews,and reading this material, I think I should write an article about the dynamics of the interview process itself.

For the record, I have no doubt that my qualitative/interpretive skills worked, in at least half of the cases, to my detriment. How many R1 universities have hired interpretive methods scholars or critical IR theorists in the past five years?

Gender is a component. But would Hyde, Dunning and Hafner-Burton have had such success if they had not had a quantitative focus? I doubt it.

Strong objectivity can only be possible if we train our students in a diversity of methodological approaches.

Anonymous said...

I am going to go back on the job market this fall after a few years in my current job. Since I will be applying pretty broadly, I am a little concerned about the headache sending out lots of letters might be for my references. I know that in other disciplines it is not at all uncommon for people to use paid dossier services for academic applications, but I have never seen such a service used in any search committee that I have been on. Would this be a bad idea for my applications? Would it make my applications look weird?

Anonymous said...

Many university career centers have letter services. My strategy was to use that for most of the applications, but I asked my chair and one other strong letter writer to personalize letters for the positions that were in my top 6-8 choices, best fits, etc.

Both of these people wrote "tenure track" and "post doc" versions of their letters to put on file with the letter service.

My sense is that the use of services, given the dynamics of the market, is becoming more and more.

It definitely reduces the applicant's anxiety -- if your chair is in rural Kenya, at least you have a way to get a letter out! So I suggest combining strategies. Get generic letters on file, and for priority jobs, ask, within reason, for personalization.

Anonymous said...

Do any of you have advice about leveraging an underplacing job offer for a spousal hires? What are the politics of it?

Anonymous said...

Decisions are blunt because there is a limit on give and take once deans sign off on offer letters and all that. If a spousal hire is what you really want, make them take all the necessary steps to set up interviews for a spouse and resolve that uncertainty before you decide. If you make it common knowledge that this is a dimension on which a deal is made or broken, you may be able to leverage it. But remember, most of the time it depends on how much they want you and how much they value the second choice, conditioned on the probability of getting the second choice, of course.

Anonymous said...

What causes a school to hire someone with research and teaching interests that differ significantly from the job description in the ad? Is the lesson to apply for any opening in a department where you'd like to work?

Anonymous said...

"What causes a school to hire someone with research and teaching interests that differ significantly from the job description in the ad? Is the lesson to apply for any opening in a department where you'd like to work?"

This is a tough one, and I suspect it will differ by department. I was one of these folks who was offered a job that (as advertised)didn't look like a perfect fit. I suspect the job was advertised the way it was in order to fill the shoes of someone who had left the department. However, they didn't have any candidates that they liked that exactly met the job description. I think some departments have a really clear idea as to what they want and will only hire someone doing X. Others have a general sense of what they want, but are willing to go after their best candidates rather than fill a particular job description.

I don't think it is a good idea to take a "shot in the dark" and apply everywhere (I can't pass for a theorist), but it doesn't hurt to apply broadly. If they don't want you, they won't call you. All you've lost is postage and copy expenses.

Anonymous said...

On why not what the ad text says, don't forgot that this is a very political process, played out over several months in most searches, related to many other hiring and tenure decisions.

Could be that since the ad was placed, they've had an unexpected resignation that has changed their needs. Maybe a candidate in another search had a skill or interest they wanted in this search, and so that constraint gets relaxed. Maybe the phrasing of the ad was to satisfy a dean's pet issue, and said deanship has turned over. Or the political constellation shifts, where a narrow win for professor A's preference for a specialist on Belgian pension reforms at the time of ad placement becomes a win for B's preference for Maltese nationalism when candidates are invited.

For example, I know of a dept (not this year) that hired someone who didn't do what the majority were looking for but who their dean would like, in order to earn political captial to fend off a senior candidate in another subfield who was being pushed by that dean and a minority in the dept.

We don't just study politics, we live it.

Anonymous said...

On inviting people who do not exactly fit. I think there are different parameters at times between public and private institutions. Some state schools appear to be strongly bound to what they put in the job ad. Smaller and private institutions seem to have more flexibility.

Applying broadly is a good strategy, but I think at the point of receiving an interview invite for which you are not an immediate "fit," t'would be good to have a sincere conversation with the chair.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an IR person, but I've been involved in a large number of searches since I've been in my current job. Because we're not a large department, we often search broadly within our applicant pool and do not focus too terribly much on the job description. So what happens here is that we often write a job description that gives some sense of what we'd like, but that isn't so narrow that it significantly reduces the applicant pool. We then look for people we think fit and, failing a high number of quality that fits, also look at "the best horse available." In applicant rich fields (like IR, CP, American) this strategy works very well for us. In applicant poor field -- meaning areas where we don't get a large pool and many of the applicants aren't good -- we're stuck either way. Hope that sheds some light on that specific issue.

Now let me address the candidate strategy issue. As long as you have some qualifications in the field, I see no harm in submitting your application other than, as one poster put it, losing the cost of postage. In my experience on search committees (which I have way too much of), I'd say that applicants don't apply broadly enough. There are many more "good jobs" out there than the standard graduate student thinks.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have rumors about jobs that may be coming up next year? Who's thinking of hiring?

Anonymous said...

I think WashU will be hiring next year for a development/conflict job that wasn't filled this year

Anonymous said...

Helpful hint to potential job candidates -- if you have signed a contract at another institution, don't accept the offer of an interview without informing of the signed contract. Not only do you end up screwing one of the two places, but you end up costing someone else a job interview.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, people do not sign contracts with other institutions, but the other institutions have a deadline sometime after the interview with the other place. I know of someone who had an offer, informed a second place of the deadline, and the second place got back to them three days after the deadline. What are you going to do, risk not eating next year? You assume that the place is not interested, and go ahead and sign the contract you have. Sometimes, waiting for someone after someone else's deadline and after that school promised they would get back to you is just too risky.

Anonymous said...

I said "contract" which is different than "deadline." You're being presumptuous when you assume I don't understand the difference.

Anonymous said...

So how would you have someone handle the situation outlined above - not accept the interview for a job you actually want, because you have another a looming deadline? Turn down a job without another offer? Say yes, but not sign a contract?

Helpful hint to employers: when you say you are going to get back to someone on x day, at least call them that day and tell them you have not decided yet, and it will be a different day. Some job applicants actually think you mean that you will get back to them on x day, and take it as a rejection when you don't. Especially when you know they have another offer with a deadline.

Anonymous said...

So how would you have someone handle the situation outlined above - not accept the interview for a job you actually want, because you have another a looming deadline? Turn down a job without another offer? Say yes, but not sign a contract?
***********************

If you've already signed the contract, you inform the interviewee that you're not available the next year but that you'd be happy to interview and, potentially, take the job in two years.

If you have an offer from another university but not a contract, the situation is different. If the deadline of the first comes before the second place makes a decision, then you need to make your own choice: 1) go to place #1 or 2) bear the risk of waiting until place #2 makes up its mind.

If you've signed a contract, that needs to be disclosed prior to the interview slot or you've been unfair to both place #1 or place #2, not to mention a fellow PhD looking for work who potentially gets screwed out of an interview.

Anonymous said...

"So how would you have someone handle the situation outlined above - not accept the interview for a job you actually want, because you have another a looming deadline? Turn down a job without another offer? Say yes, but not sign a contract?"

As I read the 6:45 AM post, someone signed a contract with one school - i.e., HAD COMMITTED TO A JOB, but then accepted an interview for a new position without informing the new school that they had already committed to a different job.

This seems totally unethical.

proposal_writer said...

Hi, comrades, I am Ph.D student from a midwest university. Now I am preparing for my dissertation proposal. I am doing IR, Political Methods and some N.E. Asian politics. I am wondering what specific topics are popular in JOB MARKET now. I know the most important thing is to write something I feel interested in for the dissertation, but as you know, it's a market economy... and our freedom of choice has to be constrained by the invisible hand of the market. So could you please share your job market experience with proposal writers such as me? Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

Proposal Writer,

The issue is not what is hot now, but what will be hot when you are done. It is almost guaranteed that if you select a topic based upon its current popularity, that in the time you take to do your dis the topic will have run its course. They key is to be on the upside of a wave, not at the trailing end. That is why everybody groans at yet another explanation for the democratic peace. You not only have to take into account the time it will take to do the dis, but also how long it will take to then carve off an article or two, get them reviewed and published and then get the manuscript out for the book. This is not just a year or so and out enterprise. Hell. 9/11 is almost 5 years old, yet very few dissertations and few really good academic articles have yet to deal with terrorism (and don't cite Pape, that is an awful piece of social science).So, my first point is you are looking at the timing in a less than useful fashion. People say write on what compels you not out of some Pollyannaish naivete, but rather because you will be working with this topic in some form or another for 10 years. Even those of us who love our topics can barely stand the sight of our own work after that long.

Second, those projects that impress most are those that identify a hole or shortcoming in the literature and exploit it, or combine approaches from different fields. That is the purpose of your graduate training. If you do this then you will lead the wave rather than trail it.

Third, all the best dissertations and ideas I have seen in my collegaues have not come from following what is currently hot. Most come in moments of inspiriation in the shower, sitting on the toilet or in a dream. Interesting topics come from the creative interaction of your subconcious playing with the volume of information you have crammed into your skull during grad school.

Approaching topic selection like you suggest is only going to result in yet one more dissertation on "an iterated bargaining model incorporating x applied to y" Oh my God....shoot me!

Seriously though, other than those blessed few who know in advance what they want to do, there is no good shortcut to the slogging and insecurity that is inherent to topic selection and development.

Anonymous said...

I look at this long list of comments and wonder just how many new and important things we would understand about the world if everyone posting and reading this blog spent their time instead doing research. If you want a good job, stop reading this and go read journals or a newspaper. Stop worrying about which Depts may or may not be hiring or who may or may not be leaving and GO WRITE!

Anonymous said...

Get off your high horse. The end of the grad experience is probably the most anomic period in anyone's life. The interaction people have here might be their only respite from a long day spent doing their research and writing. Most everyone needs to be plugged into some kind of community, and those that do not make miserable colleagues when they finally do get jobs. No one can focus only on writing and research 18 hours a day, so why do you begrudge them 15 minutes of down time to read this site?

I do not think that much "new and important" work is churned out at the tail end of a long day anyway. To be honest I do not think that 90% of what our field turns out is important, but that is a topic for another blog.

Bottom line, lighten up. If you do not like what you read here, or the energy xpended iritates you...then don't come to this site, because that is what it is here for.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any advice about going on the market as an academic couple? We both are in "IR" but do different work.

Anonymous said...

In reponse to the dual career question, my spouse and I received t-t jobs at the same institution in the same subfield. We found, to our surprise, that many universities viewed this relatively positively but we only let them know once a first offer had been made.

My advice would be for both of you to go on separately and not to mention your dual career status until at least one of you has been offered a position. If both of you get offers at different - but similarly ranked - institutions this may provide the necessary signaling effect that your spouse is an appropriate hire. A number of colleges, especially public universities, have administrative policies favoring dual hires - e.g. UIUC. So once you have offers do not feel shy in mentioning your situation.

And Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last post. There are restrictions on what employers can ask you, and questions on martial status are not allowed. If this is your first job you should sent out packets of applications and if one of you gets an offer, negotiate for a second position. This is not only legal, but it is considered ethical by most departments.

It's not an easy road but there are legal protections against discriminating against candidates based on their partner or martial status. One of you needs to get an offer, then discuss your partner, and then the university has to come up with a second position to land you.

Anonymous said...

What is your partner is not an academic? To what extent can you negotiate employment or classes for that person?

Anonymous said...

Can we open up the J.D. issue again?

I'm about to start grad school at a top-10 program, and I already hold a JD from a similarly ranked law school. (It took me a few years of practicing law to decide to go for the academic flag.)

I'm trying to forecast my job-market success 5 (ha!) or so years down the road, and it's hard to decide whether I'll be in a wonderful position (I can go on both the poli sci and the law markets! Life is good!) or an absolutely terrible position (I'll be neither fish nor fowl, I'll have no credibility for the lower salaries in poli sci, and I won't have the stupid irrelevant qualifications that law schools demand, like clerkships! Please shoot me!).

Does anyone have any insight here?

Anonymous said...

A JD with a Ph.D. will put you in a good position in both markets. Political science will focus on the Ph.D. and largely ignore the JD. Law schools increasingly regard the Ph.D. as a viable alternative credential to the more traditional route into legal academia (clerkship, practice, etc.).

Anonymous said...

Does the political science side ignore the JD even if the JD is relevant to the poli sci work?

Anonymous said...

The JD credential is less important than how good the political science is -- whether the political science is informed by independent reading, formal training in another discipline, or whatever. If the work isn't good, the credential doesn't make up for it. If the work is good, the JD is irrelevent.

Anonymous said...

Warning to the wise: Avoid any positing from Lynchburg College. The Dean is nuts and thinks the Faculty Handbook is rubbish. He just canned a tenure-track faculty member in IR for asking a question about salary.

Anonymous said...

Here's another sensitive question for the peanut gallery.

How much does a bad publication (say something you unwisely published early in grad school) harm you on the market, if there are good publications in its stead?

Anonymous said...

why not respond to the appropriate discussion forum?

Anonymous said...

sounds like somebody's a little jealous!

Anonymous said...

You mean that piece of crap you wrote? Bad news.

Anonymous said...

If a candidate on the job market had a choice between one of the larger commercial presses (Palgrave, Blackwell) and a smaller university press (not Cambridge or Oxford), which would you recommend and why?

Anonymous said...

STILL sounds like somebody's a little jealous they didn't get published early in their career.

Anonymous said...

4:34pm- "You mean that piece of crap you wrote- bad news."- Is that really appropriate? Afterall, how would you even know whether someone's work was "crap" or not unless you knew who you were talking to (which you can't, since the posting was anonymous). Maybe's it me, but this blog seems more dedicated to anonymously settling personal rivalries than answering questions and discussing important issues pertaining to the field. I hated this crap in junior high and high school- I'm surprised to find it here.

Anonymous said...

I posted the 7:56 question - for what it's worth, it's a sincere question meant to spark some discussion of the issue, not an anonymous jab at anyone. I'm interested in hearing some opinions on the smaller university press v. big commercial press issue.

Anonymous said...

8:22- your question is a superb one- I wish there were more like it; I was referring to previous posts, not yours.

Anonymous said...

You want tenure or professional visibility? University press.

You want sales, or DC influence, or are already tenured? Commercial press.

Anonymous said...

Another grad student, about to go on the market, with a question about commercial press vs. academic press. How common is it to be approached by presses at this stage and does this make a difference in marketability?

I know that tenure books are supposed to come from as highly ranked an academic press as one can get into, but is it necessary to wait till after tenure to publish with commercial presses? Or if you publish a book which gets good reviews, with a commerical press, is that considered fair for tenure? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Depends on your department. Lower-ranked places may treat all books the same. Higher-ranked ones won't.

Better to take a little bit of time trying to land it at a good press, in my opinion. You can always come back to a commercial press as late as year 4 or so and still have it out in time for tenure review.

Anonymous said...

Remember, too, that books with prestigious presses tend to get reviewed more often and in higher profile venues. A colleague of mine published a great first book with a well-regarded commercial press, and it has hardly been reviewed, while just about any Cambridge or Princeton book will pick up a bunch of reviews pretty easily.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback on the publishing.

How common is it for commercial presses to approach students? Does it make a difference in your job application as a fresh PhD if you have been approached by a good non-academic press? Or does it only matter if its Cambridge or Princeton?

Anonymous said...

Amy rumors about APSA interviews?

Anonymous said...

who's amy?

Anonymous said...

Doh! Any rumors about APSA interviews?

Anonymous said...

Here's a rumor I heard at APSA; Reiter did a job talk at Chicago, the experience was unsatisfactory for either or both parties, and Reiter is now telling friends he'd only leave Emory for Harvard.

Anonymous said...

Then why's he a visiting prof. at dartmouth for the year?

Anonymous said...

"*new* [2006-03-30] Participants are reminded that the unit of analysis here is the job (or the job-year), and not the individual job-seeker or department."

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, Dani Reiter is not a visiting prof. at Dartmouth this year. He's still at Emory.

Anonymous said...

Reiter was just at Dartmouth for the summer session. He's back at Emory now.

Anonymous said...

A lot of jobs out there this year. Any thoughts on what is being looked for?

Anonymous said...

Looks like a lot of jobs this year. However a good number are asking for area specialties, especially the Middle East... which makes the average IR student wish there was a cleaner divide between IR and CP, at least in the job announcements.

Anonymous said...

People who were starting grad. school when Sept. 11 happened (or went to grad. school because of Sept. 11) are on the market for the first time this year... is that the reason for all the Middle East postings?

Anonymous said...

My guess is that it has far less to do with supply of grads, and far more to do with demand, which is likely being driven by events and the current lack of people studying that are. Still, it would be nice if the job announcements made more of an effort to distinguish between international relations and comparative politics.

Anonymous said...

Why is there a need to see jobs listed as either IR or comparative? The fields are converging on a variety of issues--political economy, civil war, etc. So, does it make sense to advertise positions that are strictly one or the other when so many people these days are working at the intersection?

Anonymous said...

Departments make new hires according to their teaching needs. As long as IR and Comparative are taught as separate subfields, their jobs will be advertised separately.

Jobs in Pakistan said...
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