Rumors, discussions, and commentary related to jobs and fellowships in International Relations
Does anyone have any idea what the Univ. of Georgia is looking for in their senior search beyond what is in the job description? How much of this job is administrative versus research/teaching?
Random question: does ISA only notify those whose papers they accept for their conference? E.g. you don't hear back from them if they don't accept yours?
I'm pretty sure they let everyone know one way or the other. They haven't announced who got in yet though...
Emails were supposed to go out yesterday, but this delay seems normal
I have never heard of anyone ever getting turned down by ISA. This is not APSA. And, this approach shows when you go to most of the panels. Huge variation in quality at ISA. If you submitted, don't worry. You will get accepted.
Not true. ISA turns down a large number of proposals or shifts them over to poster sessions. Rejection rates aren't as high as APSA, but quality isn't much more "uneven" than at that conference. A lot of APSA panels are dreck. Goes with the territory.Be careful not to conflate "I don't like the way you do IR" with "poor quality." If we control for that, I think you'll find that ISA isn't much worse than any other large conference. Although I do have a theory that APSA is somewhat better because it is a "bigger deal" professionally for people, and they are less likely to not prep or turn in outlines in lieu of papers.Anyway, maybe the blog administrators could make a "conferences thread"?
Rejection rates vary widely among the different organized section of ISA. Some are nearly zero, as the first post states, but others are substantial (in the 30-50% range, IIRC).
I have organized section programs for both ISA and APSA, and I had to make serious decisions about what to accept and cut for APSA, with an acceptance rate somewhere around 25% if I remember correctly.ISA actually encouraged us to increase our acceptance rate, as I still had about 10 proposals out of 100 plus that I could not place--no fit and not willing to do a poster. Only a small % of people were sent to posters.This was a few years ago, but the differences were quite stark in terms of acceptance/rejection.Also, APSA was better organized so I am not surprised that the emails are late for ISA this year.
I can speak only for myself, but I have submitted at least one paper to both APSA and ISA for most years over the past 15 years. I have been rejected by APSA 4 or 5 tims and have never been rejected by ISA. Don't have systematic evidence from others, but have heard people make similar claims.As others have suggested, this has obvious impact on the quality of the papers presented. Nobody who has been to a large number of APSA and ISA conferences can credibly claim that the quality of the panels are similar. APSA panels are much better for three reasons. First, the quality of papers is higher. Second, the number of papers per panel is smaller. And third the probability that the papers actually speak to each other is much higher. This is true across sub-fields and across different methods used.ISA panels are either thrown together without much thought, or well conceived panels get random papers added to them (this has happened to me twice -- once as the paper added to existing panel, and once as the Chair who got stuck with an extra paper late in the process). If you doubt this, ask people who have worked on the ISA committee that plans the conference. Horror stories abound.
I just got my ISA acceptance about five minutes ago. Expect them today.
And even if you haven't gotten your e-mail yet (which I haven't), the preliminary program is up:http://isanet.ccit.arizona.edu/sanfran2008/PreliminaryProgram.pdf
Hi, I couldn't help but send in a comment. Frankly, the rejection rate has increased every year at ISA and this year we had nearly 1,000 more applicants than space. Nor is it fair to indicate that panels are thrown together...they are not. There are two types of panels: those set up by the program chairs based on the theme and those that are sponsored or co-sponsored by the sections. I've found exceptionally good panels at both. Quality may vary a bit depending on what types of applications the sections get, but since their quotas require them to reject up to about 40 percent of the panels submitted, I would think that they have significant choices of quality panels.Overall it appears that both the program chairs and the sections are doing a great job in creating a rich variety of work to exhibit from the field (in fact, ISA produces this year some fifteen percent more panels than does APSA). That variety often leads to charges of low quality, but I sense that some of that is about disagreements in the field about what is quality scholarship.
i submitted 2 papers to ISA this year. one was accepted, the other rejected (i assume it got rejected since it wasn't included in the program).
From what I understand, there is a waiting list at the moment (non-ISA members have to register for the conference this month, or their paper will be dropped). Once the waiting list clears, poster sessions will be announced, and I assume a large number of papers will be shifted over to posters. No one I know has been formally rejected yet.
Re: 10/1 11:48 AM:Sheer number of panels is not a good indicator. Assume that the submission pools to both APSA and ISA are identical in quality distribution and that the average panel size is the same. Under these assumptions -- which it appears you and some others who cite this fact make -- the median paper presented at ISA will be of lower quality than the median paper presented at APSA. The ISA powers that be have a strong drive to be "better than APSA," and they've interpreted this as meaning "bigger than APSA." ISA may have more panels than APSA, but number of attendees and number of presenters both tilt strongly in favor of APSA -- which suggests that APSA draws more broadly *and* more deeply from its membership than ISA does. APSA also has a higher percentage of presenters who submit papers (despite ISA's rule that you have to submit a paper or risk penalties the following year), a higher ratio of panels to roundtables and other formats (meaning more scholarship being presented), and a higher ratio of authors publishing in its top journals who attend (suggesting the perceived value/contribution of the conference and its scholarly activity).
All I know is that I've seen crap at APSA and I've seen crap at ISA, and between the two of them some of the most spectacularly crappy crap has been at APSA. Particularly the "roundtables."
Amen to the evaluation of the APSA `roundtables' ...
Question for those with search committee experience: what about cover letters?I'm curious about the impact of letters of interest, cover letters, or whatever you want to call them. Sure, one that was offensive/bad/missing would hurt, but beyond that how do they matter? What aspects of cover letters have moved candidates up or down relative to where their CV would have put them?
Having been on a number of search committees, here is how I would classify the job pack in order of importance.1. CV2. CV3. Letter of Rec.4. Cover Letter5. Writing Sample6. Teaching Portfolio (this could be moved higher if it is a teaching job.)I do not mean to appear too jaded, but the fact of the matter is that members of a search committee have a limited amount of time. As such, the CV is used cut a lot of applications from further consideration.Each time I cut down the number of applications, I spend more time on each packet. As such I would put a lot of effort into the CV. Be sure that the most important information is all on the first page (publications, R&Rs, grants). When I was ABD I put a small abstract of my dissertation on the first page. You have to assume that people will first look at your CV and make a quick judgment as to whether your file will get a more in depth look or be tossed.Maybe this is just my experience, but generally people have precious little time and need to use short cuts when looking at files.
To 1:54 PM, October 02, 2007I know someone who has been formally rejected from ISA, but that person had indicated that they were not willing to take a poster spot. Rejection letters went out yesterday.
Any info on Austin College? I was under the impression that they would be scheduling interviews by now.
I have a slightly different take on cover letters than 8:52 pm, but only for junior searches. I still use the CV to determine research progress, but a lot of these applicants don't have publications yet. So I use the cover letter to learn about the applicant's research, and a good description/summary of one's dissertation goes a long way. It is also a good place to summarize your skill set (quantitative, qualitative, formal skills, language skills, etc...) and list the types of courses you would be able to teach.Here's my ranking of the items in a file:1. Letters2. CV3. Cover Letter4. Writing SamplesI generally only look at the teaching stuff to see what courses the applicant wants to teach. We all have warm fuzzy evals to include, so I find them less than useful. Good luck to all the job hunters out there!
On cover letters: 1) use them to summarize your research in a FEW sentences;2) use them to indicate teaching interests/qualifications;3) Use them to summarize skills (languages/methods);4) Do not use them to praise yourself explicitly. So, remove adjectives in any description of your own research. I.e. do not say it is "pathbreaking" and so on. It is very off-putting if you do this. This is the job of your letter writers.
10/4 7:19 AM -- Austin indicated to me that they were beginning to read files this week. The 8/1 start date was a typo; they never intended to start that early.
ISA (from a past program chair): conference size has been expanding exponentially for about the past fifteen years, and while they keep trying to find hotel space which matches that expansion, hotels must be booked a surprising number of years in advance, and as the conference gets bigger, it is hard to find suitably large but affordable venues at all (particularly since ISA doesn't meet over a holiday). So yes, the rejection rate is rising. Also yes, rejection rate varies substantially by section: panel allocations are a guess (and I don't think are determined by a prior-attendance formula, which is the APSA rule) and one doesn't always guess right.
7:48: we're just reporting what people post/email us. It looks like people aren't bothering to update the wiki which, after all, is open to editing by anyone.BTW, we appreciate how many people are now contacting us with rumors. That's how we get our info -- mostly -- so keep it up :-)
does anyone have any idea what the process is for applying for b-schools or policy schools. i am a member of apsa and have seen a little up there, but am aware that i'm missing a lot of stuff.any ideas???
Wiki seems to be having a problem. I and others have attempted to update, at which point it says it is already being updated, yet no updates appear.
Re: 6:20I just tried a test edit of the Wiki and it seems to be working fine for me as of Tuesday afternoon (I then re-edited to remove the test line).
Any opinions on how important is a call from the candidate's adviser (all other things being equal)?
This isn't "exactly" a job-market question, but it follows from the APSA, ISA thread above.There's a lot of talk about "quality" at these things.Obviously the blog isn't the best place to get a decent sample, but guesstimating -- how many conference presentations become successful (i.e., published) journal articles? In other words, does the "quality" matter?For myself, I've done about a dozen conferences and two papers have gone on in life -- the rest disappeared down the memory hole (or the memory stick, to be more precise).
Journal articles I've seen that reference an earlier life as a conference paper either seem to have been to more than one conference (meaning the authors consciously used the conference to workshop the paper, not to network or be a tourist), or seem to have been presented at a small, selective conference that you have to be invited to participate in. I would imagine the large majority of conference papers are dead and buried by the time the authors are on the plane home, but I could be wrong.
Oh, the waiting. The cursed waiting!
I have never written a conference paper that I did not revisit later and send to a journal or include in a book project. Now, about 2 of them (out of 15+) have never ended up published in any form (book or journal)--though it's not for lack of trying. They just keep getting rejected. I would never write a conference paper that I didn't intend on at least trying to publish. It puzzles me that anyone would. Time is such a precious resource that I can't imagine wasting it on a paper that I wouldn't invest at least a little more time in to get published somewhere. Of course, my strategy requires that you admit that not every idea or paper is IO/APSR worthy, which for some grad students (and even faculty) is apparently taboo. I don't subscribe to the "published in a lower tier journal is worse than not published at all" mentality of some people.
10/10 1:00 is absolutely right. You should never write anything that you don't intend to publish. Why waste the time? The professional payoff from a not-for-later-publication conference paper is zero. I've presented lots of conference papers, but I have never done one since I was a pre-dissertation graduate student that is not either published or still in my queue of things to revise for publication. Sometimes the papers have to go through more than one--or two or five--iterations at conferences and journals before I get them right, but it has always happened eventually. (So far, anyway.) If you want to get your ideas into print, you have to be willing to keep working on them long after it stops being fun.
This discussion is so strange -- you use a conference to impose a deadline on a project you intend to work on and publish eventually. I don't understand why anyone would write a paper just to attend a conference.
Well, a lot of us enjoy getting out and visiting other cities, seeing old friends, etc. To get travel funding, you need to be in the program (at most places). I think it is a useful strategy to use conferences as a way to force deadlines upon yourself to get things written. Of course, that shouldn't restrict you: you should never force yourself to wait for a conference if you have the ability to write a paper earlier. But most of us are procrastinators who need deadlines.And I agree with several other posters: you should only begin to work on conference papers that you intend to publish eventually. Of course, some of them simply won't pan out into anything publishable and some of them may take years of re-writes before they finally become publishable, but you should always start with the goal of a publication. (And keep in mind: many authors don't necessarily list the conferences where a published paper was presented in the author's notes, so just scanning journal articles may produce a misleading result).
i concur with 11:56. waiting affords one a sense of what it must be like to be on death row.
My recent resolution to stop allowing myself to be baited by blog posts now melts in the face of the ISA/APSA discussion. Full disclosure: I've been a program chair, section chair, a governing council member or a combination of each in both organizations over the course of the past 14 years. First, it should be noted that the quality/quantity discussion is one that we would all consider unacceptable from our methods and stats students. True, university presidents and their admissions officers use this as a way of hyping USN&WR rankings. They do so with smoke and mirrors--chase more applicants not qualified in order to claim greater selectivity when they make their final cut. Conferences are different animals. They are slated section by section. Topicality and available slots don't always match up. Some years it is feast and some years it is famine; you may be giving back panels you can't fill with quality or you might be offering poster sessions to very good proposals. In my experience, ISA is also more enthusiastic about co-sponsoring which increases opportunities. Also, bear in mind that ISA is interdisciplinary. A proposal that a "pure" political scientist might consider weak and methodologically suspect may be something first rate from another field with at last a modicum of info we political scientists should be hearing. Old timers will also tell you that the ISA ranks started growing Back In The Day when it was clear APSA was stressing the "A" rather than the "PS" in panel numbers. In my observation, this is still somewhat true. For example, available security panel slots in ISA have sometimes been four times greater than in APSA. As for general organizational and specific conference admin, there are equal portions of "great" and "nightmare" tales for both. Finally, another semi-related knee jerk response. For some administrators trying (or required) to keep a hand in, a conference paper is one of the few annual options to do so--especially when your bosses say attendance is important to your institution but the bean counters will not pay unless you present. After my parole from ten years in admin, I had a huge pile of conference papers in my "someday" writing file.
On the conference paper v. publication question. In a job packet, when I see a relatively large number of different conference papers, but a relatively small number of (or no) publications, then I begin question the ability of the applicant. That is, s/he seems to have figured out how to write an abstract for invitation to a conference (or maybe its a poster), but not yet how to publish in a journal. And the latter is what gets him/her tenure.
Moved from other thread: Anonymous said... SO, is it safe to assume that schools contact all candidates to be interviewed on the same day? Such that, once one name appears on the big board, you might as well cross that school off your list... ******************* Not necessarily. Peoples' schedules, time zone differences, laziness, etc. might all affect whether all of the candidates are called on the same day. Also, schools have sometimes been known to do "B-lists." That is, they'll initially interview their top two, but have a B-list to go to if they don't get (or wind up not wanting) one of those top two. 11:29 AM, October 12, 2007 DeleteAnonymous said... SO, is it safe to assume that schools contact all candidates to be interviewed on the same day? No. I once received an interview offer in September, and the other candidates weren't chosen until sometime in November. 12:12 PM, October 12, 2007 DeleteAnonymous said... The only thing i've ever learned to be mostly true about the job market is never assume anything. Just because someone else gets an interview doesn't mean the job is closed, just because you get a call doesn't mean your candidacy is being taken seriously. There are a thousand internal political things going on in these search committees, each one more dysfunctional than the next. (honestly, how we , as a profession is a disgrace. i can't think of another profession outside the academy that coudl get away with this nonsense) 6:50 AM, October 13, 2007 DeleteAnonymous said... Regarding 6:50am, well, hmmm, take a look at Imperial Life in the Emerald City and other books on the occupation of Iraq to see hiring decisions that, ahem, were less than optimal. You can find hiring processes and decisions in all kinds of professions that lead to bad outcomes. We are not unique--we just know the bad processes that we witnessed, not the ones that lead policemen who lose it and kill six people, the accountants who bless Enron or subprime mortgates, the folks who run the reconstruction of New Orleans, etc. Ours is not the only business where the sausage making process is, when observed, not entirely pleasant. 8:34 AM, October 13, 2007 DeleteAnonymous said... Isn't there some other more appropriate website at which 8:34 a.m. can rail against the Administration and the government? 11:54 AM, October 13, 2007 DeleteIR Rumor Mill said... 8:34, in our view, provides perfectly reasonable examples of dysfunctional hiring processes outside of academia. But we also understand 11:54's concern that this not devolve into some sort of a left-right thing.
I'm going to suggest that the moderator(s) remove this thread. The relevant action is taking place on the other rumor thread and the big board. Comments here seem to be all over the map, and mostly about pet peeves (ISA issues, etc.).
Again, on conference papers rising from the dead -- I often use conferences as a way of gaging whether there is a market for an idea. Far worse than investing time on conference paper is wasting time on an article that no one wants.And the "why would you waste time" thing doesn't really seem to get at the issue. There were how many papers at APSA this year? Say 3 per panel (lowballing) and according to APSA over 700 panels. Roughly 2000 papers, not counting roundtable or state-of-the-field panels -- and of course many/most panels had 4 papers.2000 papers in 2007. A like number in 2006. Assume the same in 2008.For argument's sake, divide by 4 -- IR, CP, AP, Theory (writ large).500 papers per field. Are there enough journals to print 500 articles a year, every year, even recognizing that there's a lag in both transformation of the paper into an article and the final appearance of the final product?My guess is that a lot, perhaps most, of the papers that are presented die unlamented deaths, rendering the "conference quality" discussion somewhat moot.
Hmm, it looks like IPE dominates this year's crop. Anyone have any ideas why? I know that for a number of years, schools have been searching for IPE-ers. Did grads take this into account?
Conference papers not bound for journals: This assumes that the ink-and-paper journal remains the dominant form of scholarly communication. Extension of your vita, undoubtedly. Help you get annual "merit" increases: probably still the norm in most places. In terms of actually making your reputation (and, as a consequence, outside offers): in plenty of disciplines (and a few, though not many, sub-fields in political science) you want something readable and linked on the web. Conference papers are great for this; journals are often next to useless due to a. publication delaysb. the artificial 35 +/- 5 page length of the mediumc. the tendency for reviewers and editors, often as not, force a paper into a lowest common denominator, removing a lot (not all) of the interesting material. Which is probably closely linked to the fact that most published papers are never, even once, cited. Wouldn't suggest the web as a tenure strategy -- dead trees still rule in that domain -- but I think that's the direction things are moving. And again, I'm not at all suggesting political science is in the lead here, though it is probably not horribly far behind either.
There's still something to be said for having three scholars review your work and declare it worthy / not worthy, right? If we take out the gatekeepers, how do we decide what to look at when examining a topic?
11:01 is excessively sanguine about posting papers on the web. I don't deny all the downsides of print journals cited in that post, but there are also problems with papers on the web, including the lack of of quality control. Even if your work is good, the web is a crowded venue. Posting something on your website is a good idea for personal PR, but don't kid yourself about how many people will actually read the things you post there. There is also no centralized outlet for working papers in political science comparable to the NBER working papers in economics. Come to think of it, most of those eventually appear in print, too.
Response from 11:01: I'm simply extrapolating from what has happened in other internet-intensive fields: physics, computer science and linguistics are usually at the top of the list, and I've worked a fair amount with people in the latter two fields. They increasingly regard journals as archival -- the cutting edge is on the web.Once the mechanisms are in place -- some form of assigning reputation to a document -- that has the potential of being *hugely* better than the current refereeing system. Three reviewers, if you are lucky. Qualified and without axes to grind, if you are lucky. Comments are typically made 12 to 18 months before the piece appears in print, whether or not you are lucky. Web can potentially solve all of these problems (not suggesting I have the magic formula yet, but it will be solved, just as Google and eBay solved comparable problems).And of course just because something has taken off in physics, computer science and linguistics doesn't mean it will take off in political science. But that's the way I'd bet: we won't be first-adopters, but we will get there. To a certain extent, we are already seeing this in the movement to the Web, rather than the formal structures of the ICPSR, for data sets.
anyone with the details on the Cornell IR search? There's still only one name up there on the board, and it's been a while since it was posted...(someone hoping against hope for a call)
7.25 re Cornell seach:I know from members of the department that four job talks have already been scheduled for the two IR positions at Cornell.... Don't mean to crush your hopes though :(
Time for another reminder. We have a policy--which hasn't been perfectly enforced this time around--of not posting rumors of what specific candidates have offers unless that information comes directly from a candidate.This is what we wrote last time around:"Our current policy is not to disclose offers unless that information comes directly from the candidate in question. Job offers involve sensitive information exchanged between schools and prospective employees. A candidate often negotiates with a school over the terms of the contract. Other schools may have reasons to adjust their searches in light of a job offer. These and other reasons strike us as sufficient warrants for treading carefully in this area."We can't control such information on the wiki, of course, which accounts for some of the postings here.If you have thoughts on this matter, we're about to put up a thread on the subject.
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