Saturday, October 13, 2007

Coffee shop

This is an open thread, subject to moderation. Anything that doesn't belong in the actual rumors thread or the discussion of the job-hunting process, but does cover the general ground of what's appropriate grist for the mill, should be posted here.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good idea -- and good name!

Anonymous said...

Request to the moderators - could you place something on the Big Board that indicates when it was last updated? This would be really helpful and a lot more efficient than scanning through to see if there's anything new, especially when things start heating up. Thanks.

IR Rumor Mill said...

Okay. We'll add something on the next update.

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, it would be interesting if you posted your page view statistics from time to time. I wonder how many people are paying attention to this board?

IR Rumor Mill said...

We killed off the meter after someone pointed out (to put it in euphemistic terms) that one could, if one were particularly obsessive, correlate IPs with individuals. And we are curious--we suspect that a lot of people check this site--but not enough to even appear to violate our pledge to maintain our readership's anonymity.

Anonymous said...

OK here's a good one: how adviseable is it to make known one's minority status? Especially if you are LGBT?

Anonymous said...

It depends - on the department, location, etc.

But my experience is - it's better not to do so at an early stage, especially if you are interviewing at departments located in smaller areas. (They may assume you are not interested in the area and won't take the job or won't last long).

Anonymous said...

Ideally it shouldn't matter. But, I suppose it could help you, if the department is particularly interested in increasing faculty diversity. If departments would be less likely to hire you for this reason (of couse, not "officially"), it probably isn't a department or school you would want to work anyway. It is up to you, but maybe you should ask your committee for their input.

Anonymous said...

I am with 1:07 AM, October 18, 2007.

Be careful. Some people assume every single LGBT person wants only to live in SF, NYC, etc. And they won't ask you about it. They will decide for you.

I have yet to see a search where being LGBT gives you extra diversity points. Deans equate diversity with racial diversity, and that is what they reward.

Anonymous said...

I think the previous comment on race vs. LGBT is about right -- "diversity" generally doesn't mean diversity in sexual orientation/identity. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Universities and legislatures still have a 1970s view of "diversity." One could be a Hindu, homosexual, disabled, Palestinian immigrant, but wouldn't get counted as diversity. At our U, a native-born latino would be counted as diversity, but a Mexican-born immigrant would not.

On another note: IR, especially international security, has been male-dominant for decades. Women in the profession have been making great strides in recent years. The "hot" candidates over the past several years have included a good number of women. Just look at this year's board!

Assisting Politics said...

I've made a (PhD-granting)departmental ranking based on % of women. Please take a look here .

Anonymous said...

How does the PSS conference in South Carolina next month work? I've been assigned a 30 minute slot, but not a panel. Does this mean I get 30 minutes for just my paper? Should I present for like 15 minutes and leave 15 minutes for questions. Thanks in advance from the newbie for any guidance.

Anonymous said...

in the fall rumours, there were a couple of comments about european/american IR. my feeling is the divide is pretty wide. the generalisations i've heard is that european journals tend to not get much interest/reading/recognition in the US. so which european journals do have cred and readership in the US?

Anonymous said...

General interest: EJIR, RIS, BJPS (for comparative stuff). For more critical work (but still on the "mainstream radar") Millennium.

I bet a fair number of people don't even think of JPR as a European journal, but it is (PRIO).

If you work on EU/EC stuff, most of the top journals (and from a US perspective) are European.

If you look at the most recent PS journal ranking article, some of these journals (EJIR, JPR) do quite well.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with 6:59.

In order of their impact on American IR I would guess:

1. European Journal of IR
2. Journal of Peace Research
3. British Journal of PS
4. Review of IPE
5. Global Governance
6. Millenium
7. Review of International Studies

In addition to these journals there are a few newer journals that are good and getting better, such as:

Review of International Organizations

Journal of International Relations and Development

International Politics

Anonymous said...

At Peace Science, you get 10-15 minutes for your presentation. The rest of your 30-minute slot is for questions. Focus on your main argument and tell the audience what you found. Don't waste your time with a preliminary literature review and the like. Much of the audience will already be familiar with the background material. In my experience, their questions and comments are extremely useful. The format is one of the things that makes Peace Science such a great meeting. It is much more conducive to intellectual exchange than a standard conference panel.

Anonymous said...

thanks to 6:59 and 3:38 for your comments on european journals. much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Followup on Peace Science: You have up to 20 min. to present your work. But a good rule of thumb is to keep it to 15 min. to allow for at least 10 min. of questions.

The great thing about this conference is you are guaranteed some interaction with a sophisticated audience regarding your research. Even the posters are assigned their own discussants, and the poster sessions are fully attended. It is the best conference in IR, imho. Grad students get just as much respect as faculty, and the feedback is productive.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had any experience with the new editors at APSR? Are things running smoothly? AJPS seems to be taking longer to get things done.

Anonymous said...

Similar question to 1:27 PM, October 22, 2007: Any reactions so far to the new regime at IO? Has Adler proven different from Simmons et al?

Anonymous said...

re IO, i've heard conflicting reports, but one person who'd spoken with an editor said that supposedly they'd be inundated with constructivist-ish work based on the theoretical leanings of the new editors.

Anonymous said...

I just want to piggy-back on thr question from 1:27 PM - does anyone have recent experiences reviewing for AJPS? They sent me a paper a while ago, but I can't seem to find the email. (I seem to recall they assume that you'll just say yes and do the review.) Anyway, if the review is overdue already should I be expecting someone to contact me? Or is this part of their strategy for slowing the whole process down?

Anonymous said...

re AJPS review:
They will remind you after a month. you might try the website they use
ajps.edmgr.com
and use the forgot information link

Anonymous said...

Hi 6:39,

Thanks for the advice - glad I just checked on their website, since I'm not listed as having any pending reviews at all! I'm not sure why, since I never told AJPS I wouldn't do the review, and they never contacted me to say that it was no longer needed. Not that I am complaining about not having to write the review, of course. (Too bad I spent time reading the manuscript, which wasn't relevant for anything I work on...)

Anonymous said...

Umm... if that was my MS at AJPS, I would really appreciate you getting in contact with them about it. You may not be in the web system if the review was out before they set it up. I'm sure anyone else in my position would want you to do the same. I've been waiting on a review for 6 months. Sitting on it is not fair, but I'm not saying AJPS is right on this one.

Anonymous said...

Newbie, Seinfeld-esque question: "What's the deal with policy schools? I mean... c'mon!" I'm in the midwest, and I know of quite a few good policy schools in the region: Ford, Harris, LaFollette, etc., which are frequently hiring in comparative and IR. I don't get it--if you don't do comparative or international policy, what is the point of being in a policy school versus a straight-up political science department at the same university? Beyond a greater focus on "policy," how would teaching a course--say, an introductory IR course--differ within a policy school versus in a polisci department? I also get the sense that there is some inherent derision of scholars at policy schools by those in polisci departments. Could someone speak to any of this, here in the coffee shop?

Anonymous said...

From what I know -- and it's not too much, so take it with a grain of salt -- policy schools attract a much different subset of students than Political Science Ph.D. programs do. The folks who are going to get a policy Master's are looking for more applied training, and instruction would deal with real world problems that might be faced by FSOs, for example. Ph.D. programs are going to be directed at more theoretical questions. Of course, there's a lot of overlap between the two, and in my experience, it's not uncommon to have policy students taking classes in the Poli Sci department and vice versa. But I'm guessing derision comes from the fact that Poli Sci professors often feel (a) that applied stuff is somehow less "valid" than theoretical stuff and (b) jealousy about how much more money someone at a policy school makes. But again, this is just what I've seen, and others might have more to say on the subject.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the policy schools are filling a gap left by the political science departments largely getting out of the policy-oriented work to focus on theory (preferably something with a "neo" in front of it). This change started as a reaction to academic involvement in the Vietnam War, accellerated in the Reagan administration when academics were actively kept out of policy (replaced by 'think tanks') and then never really changed subsequently.

At present, due to unhappiness with the policy directions that this system has produced (Iraq, notably), there is very substantial interest in providing alternative sources of input, and consequently there is a niche ("chasm filled with money" might be more accurate) that policy-oriented schools can fill. Hence the expansion of programs such as the Harris School at Chicago.

Whether or not this is intellectually legitimate (leaving aside the money issues) is in the eye of the beholder -- arguably policy-relevant issues were the primary thing driving IR in the United States for most of the period 1920-1970, so we may just be seeing a return to an earlier pattern. At present there is substantial interest in the U.S. government for contemporary analytical and theoretical approaches, not just the training of bureaucrats, and this looks more like the earlier period, not the past thirty years.

Anonymous said...

Question about how best to show appreciation to committee members and others who write letters of recommendation and give advice. I feel as though these people spend a lot of time and energy writing letters and such and that I should give them a token of my appreciation but what? I am thinking chocolates? Or wine? Any creative ideas or advice? Is this taboo?

Anonymous said...

When I nominated my advisor for a university-wide grad student advising award, I received a thank you note by mail. So now I reciprocate, including another note card each year that I've asked for updated letters (for grants, fellowships, etc).

I also brought my main advisors gifts back from the field (coffee, tequila, etc.). Consumables are always good, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

My own impression is that public policy schools tend to be "applied" and political science departments tend to be "theoretical." Think, for example, of Amy Zegart at UCLA's public policy school. Her work (and public presentations) are on reform in the intelligence community -- an important problem for the nation, perhaps, but where does it fit into the Big Three Paradigm Debate?

Policy schools do tend to pay more and have different tenure requirements and different showcase presses (Texas A&M, for example, vice Cornell).

In practice, there's considerable overlap -- Robert Pape's work is "IR" but has (as his own public speaking record shows) policy relevance.

I would think that, in general, if you want a "real" academician's career, you'd avoid policy schools if only because of the connotations of "applied" work to some snooty academics.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks. I am working on grant applications and wonder what to do if I have a surplus? For example, if the grant is for $750 and I use $600 for travel but have $150 left over. Should I just stretch and find some other expenses to cover OR should I just say that it will support the investigator during the write-up? ANyone have an opinion about this?

Anonymous said...

Photocopying.

Postage.

Book purchases.

Taxi fares.

Parking.


You can work this out.

Anonymous said...

The previous post has it about right. When I was an undergrad, I worked in a restaurant and fell down in the walk-in. I had to go on worker's comp for a couple weeks of recovery, and the worker's comp attorney advised me "there's always permanent damage." While I didn't bite for the ambulance-chasing lawsuit, the message is about the same.

When administering the grant you've received, there's always "overhead."

Anonymous said...

Different subject: I'm 2 years out at an R1 institution, teaching a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses. Of course I spend most of my non-teaching prep pursuing my research agenda, which is, of course, focused on a fairly narrow aspect of IR. My concern is that I'm not as well-read as I was even in grad school, at least as far as breadth of literature. Maintaning a productive research agenda has forced me to specialize, and under the tenure gun I find I do not have the time to keep up in other areas of IR, let alone other subfields in political science. Do others have this same concern, and how is the best way to say "current" in the vast IR literature given the demands of the TT?

Anonymous said...

Regarding staying up to date: my strategy has been to attend panels at meetings outside my area--it's a relatively 'cheap' (in terms of time) way to find out what is going on in other areas of the subfield. Attending 2-3 such panels at each meeting will usually cover a lot of ground, if they are selected carefully.

Anonymous said...

1:58: I think this happens to all of us at a similar stage in our careers. We lose the luxury of consuming widely and have to focus on production (research & teaching).

My advice:

1) Subscribing to journal table-of-contents alerts, either via email or RSS, is a great way to keep up. I take a few minutes to at least skim the contents of a large number of journals, download PDFs, and read them when I have the time.

2) If you teach at the graduate level -- or even at the undergraduate level -- be sure to assign at least one relevant book that you want to read, but haven't.

3) Talk to grad students, both at your institution and those who contact you to network, about what they're into and what they think is exciting.

Anonymous said...

Great advice from 3:42. Keeping up is hard. I have had mostly good luck assigning books I have been meaning to read to graduate seminars. This not only forces you to read the book, but also gives you a ready-made forum for discussing its strengths and weaknesses. Reading at least the abstracts of new issues of the major journals is also a must.

Anonymous said...

Policy schools just don't have any necessary stigma in political science. (Econ may be another story.) WWS, KSG, SAIS, etc have employed too many impressive people for too long for that to be true anymore. Many policy schools have *some* people on the faculty who are understood to be either mostly-public-intellectuals or cabinet-members-in-waiting. But they've also got a ton of smart social scientists who just carry on doing their work.

And the "applied-pure" distinction won't really work either. There's more pure social science being done in the Harris School's polisci field than in Chicago's polisci department.

Policy schools pay more, and have the cost and benefit that you're teaching primarily professional-degree master's students. For some people the loss of either undergrad teaching or doctoral student training is a major problem; for a lot of people they're not.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned before that policy programs tend to have higher salaries than traditional poli sci departments. My question is this: what kind of salary can a starting assistant professor (in IR) expect? I suspect it will vary according to the kind of institution (e.g. R1, liberal arts, private, public) and geographical region (e.g. SoCal vs rural Midwest). What are peoples' experience in the area of starting salaries?

Anonymous said...

re: starting salaries

There was some significant discussion of this in the "Fall 2007 Jobs" thread (the one started July 13).

Best source of info is the AAUP salary survey, linked off of the Chronicle of Higher Ed web site (links in that thread).

Salaries actually vary less than you might expect by type and region -- much less than for professional fields like law or medicine.

Variation is more by type than location, meaning R1 profs in the rural midwest have nice houses, non-R1 profs in expensive cities have roommates and ramen noodles. See discussion of USC housing issues in that same thread.

Low end: a small college (not top tier) or non-PhD public school in a rural state might start mid 40s, even low 40s.

High end: R1 in a major coastal metropolitan area, mid 60s, maybe 70ish at the wealthiest private schools.

Anonymous said...

The other difference is between public and private schools. Top private schools can usually pay more than top publics, and have other perks such as nicer offices, travel budgets, research funds, etc. But, your students will be wealthier than you.

Schools on the coast do not pay much more than schools in the interior of the country, and this should cause people to think twice about comparable monetary offers at costal versus non-coastal schools. A condo in California will cost you +400k. A very nice house in the Midwest will cost you 200k. There are plenty of urban areas in the midwest & south that offer plenty of culture, without the killer cost. St. Louis, Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, Nashville, Denver, Columbus, etc, are all decent places to live. They are nicer than, say, Riverside, California. You'll find ethnic food, museums, music, etc, without the crazy cost of living. Just no coast.

Anonymous said...

"High end: R1 in a major coastal metropolitan area, mid 60s, maybe 70ish at the wealthiest private schools."

At least for top 10 schools located in relatively expensive areas, they can pay up to 80-82k to a heavily recruited ABD. This will only happen to a few candidates, but that is what the top end looks like.

Anonymous said...

Worth reading:

http://www.insidehighered.com/
views/blogs/
confessions_of_a_community_college
_dean/just_a_job

John Sides said...

As some of you may know, David Park, Lee Sigelman, and I have begun a new blog devoted to politics and political science research. The blog is here:

http://www.themonkeycage.org/

Information about the blog's mission is in our first post:

http://www.themonkeycage.org/2007/11/
why_this_blog.html

Please drop by, leave comments, and email us if you have suggestions or feedback. Thanks very much!

John Sides

Anonymous said...

I have a question for anybody that is interested in answering. I am a 2nd year I.R. graduate student at a top-25 Ph.D. granting institution. My current position is that I have been thinking about leaving the program for a while, and as of right now, I am scheduled to leave the program in May. But now I am not so sure that I want to leave the program. On the one hand, I really enjoy theorizing about international relations, and with time I could make a contribution to the field. On the other hand, everybody and everything seems so contrived in academia. Before I stopped caring about what goes on here, I used to worry about "perceptions." I could make a lot of money in another field and probably be content. I would have time for all the things that go along with a more "settled" life. My concern here is that I would get bored after a while. Also, I worry that people in another field would be similar. I am just worried that I am throwing away an opportunity that I might someday want back.

Can somebody give me some insight into the professional experience of assistants, associates and beyond? My relationships at the university have probably deteriorated to the point that I wouldn't be welcome back if I wanted to come back, but I would appreciate some feedback if there is anybody out there who can help me.

Anonymous said...

Grass is always greener. Wherever you go in life, it's all about "perceptions." "Everybody and everything seems so contrived" in the business world as well.

Anonymous said...

In response to 8:18 a.m., if your heart is not in it, probably better to leave. Living through 3-4 years of dissertation writing, followed by the job market (often another 2, maybe 3 years to find a good position) is not for the faint-of-heart. If you do not feel passionate about an academic career, it will be a very long road.e

Jeremy said...

This is 8:18. I guess I just don't know if my heart is in it. It could be in it. It might not be.

Anonymous said...

To 8:18: Have you gotten to teach any classes yet? If you like teaching, and also want a more "settled" life, you might finish the doctorate and go on to a liberal arts college.

Anonymous said...

8:18/Jeremy:

Why not consider taking a leave of absence? You can usually do this for a year or two without formally leaving your graduate program. This will give you time to try something else and see how you feel about begin away from academia. If you miss it, you can come back. If not, not. Talk to your DGS about this option. I suspect that he or she will understand. (For the record, I am the DGS in my department, and this is what I would recommend for someone in your position.)

Anonymous said...

So, Jeremy, are you having second thoughts about your assertion that "graduate school is where people who can't do anything else wind up."

Honestly, get real. Academia isn't perfect (not by a long shot). But go spend a couple of years in corporate America, law, government, the military, etc, and you'll see much of the same pettiness and small-mindedness you see here.

I love my tenure-track job and wouldn't trade it for any other profession in the world. I have no illusions that my research is going to change, much less save, the world, nor that my great teaching/mentoring is going to inspire some student to greatness, etc. But I think I do more good in my job than most people out there. At the very least, I'm not doing any harm, and that's more than you can say for a lot of jobs out there. The lifestyle's great, and the pay ain't bad.

Maybe academia isn't for you. And maybe you're in a miserable department that's showing you the worst side of the profession. Maybe you just need to grow up and quit dreaming of some perfect job out there. I dunno. But I'd take the advice about considering a leave of absence. This way, you can buy yourself a couple of years to figure it all out without throwing away what you've done so far. But that's assuming you haven't yet burned all your bridges beyond repair.

Anonymous said...

To 8:18. From a p[ractical standpoint, if you do not know this profession is what you were meant to do then you will not have the reserves to draw from to get through the dissertation process. There are many "down" periods where you doubt the field, yourself, the project, life, etc. But to be at that point in year two is significant. Most of us at year 2 still had fire in the belly and were going to rock the IR world. It is only in year 5 plus you just want to make it through and get a job (if you are not one of the superstars).

In short, the real time of struggle and self-doubt is still ahead. If you have it this early you might want to tlisten tot he voice.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy,

I would echo the advice above based on my own experience. I initially went to grad school right out of undergrad and was completely clueless about what it meant to be an academic and, while getting good grades in class, did not do much else and did not fit well into the program in which I was in. I got married and worked in the private sector for a a little better than 2 years. All the while, I kept reading academic work and really figured out that I wanted to be an academic and, more importantly, what kind of work I wanted to do. When I went back to grad school I was much more focused. The biggest benefit for me is that my experience in the world of cubicles gives me a really solid basis to compare my career as an academic to. Clearly it is not for everyone but a timeout was instrumental in me appreciating (and continuing to) that it is for me.

Best of luck in the future. Life is too short to do something that makes you unhappy and unfulfilled.

Anonymous said...

What is the salary range for assistant professor in Canada, in Can. $? Of course, Chronicle has no info on Canada. Thanks!

kufreak1994 said...

Apologies for cross-postings:

Call for Papers: Conference at Harvard on Networks in Political Science

The study of networks has exploded over the last decade, both in the social and hard sciences. From sociology to biology, there has been a paradigm shift from a focus on the units of the system to the relationships among those units. Despite a tradition incorporating network ideas dating back at least 70 years, political science has been largely left out of this recent creative surge. This has begun to change, as witnessed, for example, by an exponential increase in network-related research presented at the major disciplinary conferences.

We therefore announce an open call for paper proposals for presentation at a conference on "Networks in Political Science" (NIPS), aimed at _all_ of the subdisciplines of political science. NIPS is supported by the National Science Foundation, and sponsored by the Program on Networked Governance at Harvard University.

The conference will take place June 13-14. Preceding the conference will be a series of workshops introducing existing substantive areas of research, statistical methods (and software packages) for dealing with the distinctive dependencies of network data, and network visualization. There will be a $50 conference fee. Limited funding will be available to defray the costs of attendance for doctoral students and recent (post 2005) PhDs. Funding may be available for graduate students not presenting papers, but preference will be given to students using network analysis in their dissertations. Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.

The deadline for submitting a paper proposal is March 1, 2008. Proposals should include a title and a one-paragraph abstract. Graduate students and recent Ph.D.’s applying for funding should also include their CV, a letter of support from their advisor, and a brief statement about their intended use of network analysis. Send them to networked_governance@ksg.harvard.edu. The final program will be available at www.ksg.harvard.edu/netgov.



Program Committee: Christopher Ansell (UCBerkeley), James Fowler (UCSD), Michael Heaney (Florida), David Lazer (Harvard), Scott McClurg (Southern Illinois), John Padgett (Chicago), John Scholz (Florida State), Sarah Reckhow (UCBerkeley), Paul Thurner (Mannheim), and Michael Ward (University of Washington).

forgetfulstudent said...

Prospective grad student here. Can anyone give me a clue about which departments are strong in traditional IR theory and/or security studies?

I'll probably choose political theory when I start on my PhD, but because of the kind of work I want to do, I'd benefit from a program which is strong in both political and IR theory.

Anonymous said...

Re schools with strong IR and theory

Princeton, Chicago, Columbia, and Harvard are good places to start. Yale has been historically. But the attitude towards theory in that department has changed considerably in recent years. How one responds the question also depends on how far down the rankings one wants to travel for a good mix of the two...

Anonymous said...

I am taking IR comp. I heard that there are several useful web sources that contain summaries for core seminar and research seminar readings, like from Havard, MIT, Stanford, and Cornnell, etc.

Do anybody know and give the links?

Anonymous said...

I heard that there are several web sources that have summaries or notes for graduate seminar class readings, like from Harvard, NIT, Stanford, etc.

Do anybody know the links?

Anonymous said...

Olivia Lau's webpage at Harvard has links to an IR notes pool that is very useful: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~olau/ir/index.html

Anonymous said...

To 12:02

Look at Virginia as well. It is solid in both areas.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very muc.
But, what is the web address for Virgina?

Anonymous said...

9:21. If you can not find the web site for the University of Virginia on your own you may want to reconsider the whole grad school thing.

I'm just saying...

Anonymous said...

For the sake of personal clarity, which university programs are considered "top ten" and "top twenty"? Sorry for the basic question!

Anonymous said...

RE: What is the salary range for assistant professor in Canada, in Can. $? Of course, Chronicle has no info on Canada. Thanks!

4:39 PM, December 26, 2007

Check out:

http://canadianpoliscijobs.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what is the general view on the three essay type dissertation versus the book type project. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kM2dK6Mjjb8

I think this is referring to Kentucky's Kirk Randazzo. Students in the Bluegrass state seem to be struggling with methods.

Anonymous said...

I think it was just an inside joke among the students.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, that's . . . a riot! How does an entire class fail something (with one "mid-range C")?

Either PhD admissions have gotten too easy or the faculty have no clue how teach methods. I guess I'll have to keep a close eye on any manuscripts I review from that place.

Anonymous said...

Or it could just be a joke like the previous post mentioned -- in which case we probably should take it under the intent it was created. And it is pretty hilarious!

Anonymous said...

"I guess I'll have to keep a close eye on any manuscripts I review from that place."

Good to see you abide by the double blind system. At least you were nice enough to discredit your comments within your own post, it does make it easier for people to ignore what you wrote.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was an inside joke - and a very funny joke at that.

Aren't reviews supposed to be double-blind?

Anonymous said...

Not since people started posting their CV's online. It might still be single-blind.

Anonymous said...

Is it a joke or a cry for help?

Anonymous said...

Peer review is often *blind*, if you know what I mean.

Ka-ching!

IR Rumor Mill said...

Statistic humor.

[relocated from rumors]