Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Queries, Advice, and Discusson Concerning the Job Hunt (Summer 2008)

Pretty much what it sounds like. If you've got questions about your application, short interviews at APSA, or whatever, post them here. Experience indicates that people will, in fact, answer them. Whether their answers are any good, however, is subject to debate.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am entering a top 25 program in the fall, and have the following conundrum. Currently, teaching is my passion, while research is not more than an interesting side-hobby. Assuming that my interests do not change (and I make it through!), I have a couple of questions. First, do institutions vary greatly on how teaching and research are balanced, or is the dichotomy more strict than that (ie. liberal arts college vs. research U, or are there many points in between)? Second, is there some sort of alternative currency (other than publication) which carries weight on the teaching end of higher education? If so, what is it?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Do not tell potential dissertation committee members that you want to be a teacher. Hunker down and play your part in learning how to get a job at an R1 institution. This doesn't mean you have to do that in the end, but preparing to do it will keep your options open and keep your potential committee members happy. Aside from this, there are things you can do. Get excellent teaching evaluations, go to seminars and training sessions on teaching, publish something in PS that shows you care about pedagogy, and get some experience teaching in your university or in a local college near your university. Do all this before you go out on the job market. Teaching schools will notice these kinds of things. But, again, back to my first point, good teaching schools will still want to hire the best political scientist they can hire. That means playing your part as R1 devottee for the next 4-5 years.

Anonymous said...

What that last commenter had to say is spot-on. To it, all I would add is that, when the time comes, you need to be honest with your committee chair about the type of job that you are really hoping to get. If you aren't, your committee chair may pitch your rec letters in a way that may undermine your efforts to land a teaching-intensive position.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that your assumption about your preferences staying the same may be a tenuous one. The experience will be a lot more interesting if you go into it with an open mind.

Anonymous said...

I came into grad school thinking "research, research, research." I'm leaving hoping for a more teaching oriented position. (I still enjoy my research, but I love working with students.) My closest friend in grad school came in wanting to go into teaching and left extremely happy that she's working at a Ph.D. granting institution and will be more focused on research. She's a good teacher and will be a wonderful mentor for Ph.D. students, but doesn't derive the same enjoyment I do from working with undergraduates.

Keep an open mind. But get your research done and get out. Make sure that you pick a dissertation chair that will be supportive of your decision if you still want a teaching job in the end. My chair is supportive of that and that makes for a good relationship. Other people in my department consider me a waste of space now that they see me going away from the world of R1 work.

Anonymous said...

Pardon the simplistic question, but how does one track down positions? I am aware of the ASPA ejobs site and the Chronicle. Are these the primary locations for job listings? I'm headed into what I hope is my final year and would appreciate any/all start-up advice.

Anonymous said...

For people out there that are familiar with job searches in prior years. Is the volume of job advertisements at this point of the year similar to or different from prior years?

Anonymous said...

Seems thin to me.

Anonymous said...

Far fewer job ads.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Not many jobs this year... Or not many going to APSA anymore. Seems to be only the smaller schools for the most part.

Anonymous said...

I have an application question and would appreciate some guidance. Is it good to let Catholic schools know that you are a Catholic who is active in your parish? And if so, how do you do it without sounding ridiculous?

Anonymous said...

American and Comparative blog says that some jobs - including purported jobs at Harvard, Yale, and Cornell - appeared and then rapidly disappeared on E-Jobs. Anyone noticed anything for IR?

Anonymous said...

Arizona State University will be hiring IR/Comparative this year at the junior level.

Anonymous said...

Am at a top 50 R1 program and my imression is that big state schools, including mine, are feeling budget cuts once again. As a result, many searches have been suspended. It is a sign of the economic times. Unfortunately, this probably means more candidates than jobs.

Anonymous said...

so it seems like the market is the worst in the last 3 years. or does it just seem that way because the last 2 years it was so flush with jobs? what's going on? is it the economy?

Anonymous said...

Top 50 R1 private schools have suspended searches as well. At least my school did (we didn't get to the ad-posting stage before having to suspend, so can't speak to the ads being posted and yanked off ejobs).

Schrad said...

I'm suspicious of this "yanked ad" bit. I've been watching eJobs religiously since the spring, and I never saw either of these "phantom" ads. (And if I had, I would have made a pdf copy.) Moreover, I didn't see them printed in the eJobs print supplement that was sent-out with the preliminary APSA conference schedule.

Anonymous said...

I can't speak for a "phantom" ad. But I have been told that a couple of the jobs I was looking at that were pending budget review didn't get that budget.

And they are still up for the timing being.

Anonymous said...

What jobs do you know of that didn't get funded?

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering, given that many departments run multiple searches simultaneously, what is the general advice concerning applying for more than one position in the same department? For instance, a quantitatively oriented IR student might think that they were qualified for both an IR job and a methods job, or an area specialist might think that they were qualified for both an IR job and a comparative job.

To maximize your chances, it might seem like a good idea to just apply for both jobs. But I've also heard that this might be viewed negatively by a search committee.

Any advice?

Anonymous said...

RE: 3:35PM. Usually applying to two positions in the same department is not recommended, because it implicitly says you do not even know which position you are most qualified for. Kind of like a politician who runs for two offices in the same election. Make the effort to figure out which one is the better fit for you, and go with that choice.

Anonymous said...

Based on my own search committee experience (N=1), applying for both jobs isn't viewed negatively, if you're really qualified for both jobs. If you're really, truly strong in both areas, it might even help. It's a turnoff if a candidate applies for multiple jobs in a department, when s/he clearly fits one job much better than others.

Anonymous said...

While 8:19am is technically correct, I would also caution that it is a truly rare situation when a candidate is EQUALLY qualified for two job postings. Only in this (extremely) rare situation should you apply for both, and you should justify very clearly in your cover letter why you are equally strong in both areas.

In virtually all other cases, I would go with 12:00am`s advice: It shows laziness and is inconsiderate to spam departments with multiple applications when not warranted.

In fact, I would take 12:00am`s analogy one step further: Since different search committees often represent different factions within a department, applying to two jobs in the same department is almost like a politician who oscillates between espousing liberal and conservative values when speaking to different groups, hoping to pander to both Democrats and Republicans. Be careful with that strategy.

Anonymous said...

8:19 here again. 4:33 is correct in all respects. My use of the phrase "really, truly strong in both areas" is meant to communicate the point that he/she made more emphatically.

Anonymous said...

As a prospective job applicant, I wish departments would give slightly more information about what they are looking for, especially when holding multiple searches. For example, U Michigan's IR search is open with regard to specialty, and so is their IR/Comparative job. I'm sure I am a better fit for one than the other, but I have no information available to determine which job...

Anonymous said...

Stanford's IR job listing has disappeared from e-jobs. Does this mean they have cancelled their search?

Anonymous said...

On the question of "phantom" IR jobs, Stanford had an eJobs ad that disappeared.

I do not know if that means the search is cancelled or whether the ad just lapsed.

At any rate, I think many ads from R1's may not be posted yet.

Anonymous said...

I heard Stanford will search in IR.

Anonymous said...

Stanford's posting was up there for a while. I think it just lapsed. The same ad still appears on other job sites.

Anonymous said...

Well, the deadline is not until October 15th, and Stanford also has a comparative job that is still on e-jobs (with the same deadline), which would suggest that the IR job has been cancelled.

Anonymous said...

I have also heard that Stanford will search. Don't know about the deal on the eJobs ad.

On the issue of multiple job listings, I think those raising concerns about applying to both jobs are over thinking things. Committee selection of candidates is an idiosyncratic process and everyone knows that. The best way to succeed is to give yourself a lot of chances. Nobody will think you are unfocused in applying to many jobs. They will just think you are realistic.

Anonymous said...

How important is it that one’s PhD research, and dissertation in particular, make up a coherent body of work? I have a number of promising ongoing and latent projects, but only about 1/3 of them are on the same topic. The standard approach would be to focus on a single topic and write a book-style dissertation. However, following that strategy would require me postponing my work on most of these (promising, partially done, and very tempting) projects. Alternatively, I could pursue my various projects and submit them as an economic-style paper-based dissertation (to the extent that it’s relevant, much of my work involves quantitative and formal methods). This would better suit my eclectic intellectual inclinations, but I am concerned that multiple-project paper-based dissertations aren’t common in political science and that my ‘brand’ will be less prominent since it will be more diffuse.

Broadly: how substantial are the costs of pursuing multiple research projects, all within the same field, but otherwise basically unrelated? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Anonymous said...

To 10:34:

The three-paper dissertation is gaining traction, especially with research schools that are very article-oriented: it says that you know how to churn out the publishable unit, and have multiple ideas.

In the long term, it is much easier to make a name for yourself operating in a single idiom than it is in multiple ones. Think of it like the record industry: Coldplay might be interested in pursuing Latin jazz, but people expect--and they know how to produce--good rock records. If you can truly do everything really, really well, you are an exception to the rule.

That said, people do admire those folks that are able to do many different things at once. Part of the reason that we admire them is that they are rare.