Tuesday, September 09, 2008

2008-2009 Job Market Discussion (September)

This is the official kickoff thread for discussion of the 2008-2009 job market. Recent chatter at the IR Rumor Mill has focused on whether or not there are fewer jobs than in recent years, and, if so, why this is the case. The current consensus answers are "yes" and "a slower economy."

Feel free to discuss this, or any other rumors about the general character of the job market, here.

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65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there any rule of thumb about how many positions to apply for? Is there any downside to applying to every position that is even remotely appealing (say, 30 or 40 total)?

Separate but related question: how much do departments communicate with one another about their applicants/candidates, if at all?

Anonymous said...

I think the best rule of thumb is not to apply to any job that you would not accept even if you did not get any other job offers. Other than that, I think the idiosyncracy of the job market rewards those who have many opportunities to succeed.

In my experience, departments share very little information with one another directly about search candidates. But they all find out what everyone else is doing by coming here!

Anonymous said...

To 3:43: As a current member of a search committee, I'd say there is no rule of thumb in terms of number of applications. The thing to focus on is balancing 1) the maximum number of credible applications, and 2) customizing your application for each. There are so many chance elements at play in searches that you'll want to cast a relatively large net. However, your applications should be customized for each application (ideally, it would be great if your letters of rec were customized as well, but this isn't realistic).

As far as depts communicating with one another, my experience is that this just depends on whether there are personal contacts/ relationships between the two. If your letters writers can give you an extra personal "push" via telephone or email, especially if they know someone well where you're applying, it would certainly help your case.

Anonymous said...

As part of the ABD "clusterbomb" approach to the market, there is nothing unusual about applying for numerous job openings to increase your chance of finding 1) a job, and 2) a good fit. The only downside I can see from an applicant's viewpoint comes with the monotony of sending out 40+ different versions of your application letter. Funny story: due to a glitch in saving a draft letter, I accidentally sent an application to the University of Chicago that was actually addressed, and written for the University of Colorado. Not surprisingly, I wasn't considered by either. So, don't do that.

Anonymous said...

I'm serving on my first search committee. My first piece of advice to job-hunters is that once you've identified some jobs that you think are particularly enticing, make mention of this to your adviser and really, really make sure they are pressing the flesh for you. We work in a limited-information environment, and a little fleshing out courtesy of your adviser is appreciated on our end, too.

Think of it as a somewhat costly signal on their part. You know signaling games, right?

Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding writing samples. I have two writing samples to send out with my applications. One is an article that has been accepted for publication and is accordingly polished, but has little to do with my dissertation other than that they are both IPE. The second is a dissertation chapter that has been reshaped into an article manuscript. The second writing sample is fairly well developed and close, but not quite at, the point where I would send it out to a journal. My question is: am I better off sending out both, knowing that one is still a bit of a work in progress, or should I just send out the more polished article? I have been sending out both, under the assumption that there is value in demonstrating that I am far enough along in my dissertation to have developed the article manuscript, but I am starting to question this approach.

Anonymous said...

Having served on multiple search committees, I think your initial instinct was correct: send out both. I'd want to see not only that you're publishing (which is terrific), but also get a taste of your dissertation. In fact, if you just sent the article, I would probably wonder why you didn't send any of your dissertation.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with 7:27: send both. Make sure that whatever you send includes the paper around which you'll be designing your job talk. The job talk is the thing. The job talk is the thing. Start chanting this to yourself at night if it helps.

Anonymous said...

Question: Is there such a thing as a job-talk being TOO polished? I mean, is there a chance of coming-off as phony? Do people ever say "wow, that was a great talk... but there's NO WAY someone can deliver like that day in and day out in a classroom setting?"

(Just curious, and in no way overconfident.)

IR Rumor Mill said...

This discussion belongs on queries, comments, and advice. We'll be copying it over to there, and we ask that follow ups be directed there as well.

Anonymous said...

So... what's this page for, then?

IR Rumor Mill said...

General discussions of the state of the job market, its nature, etc.

Anonymous said...

Okay, the job market is terrible this year, unless you want to live in Texas. You can close this thread now.

Anonymous said...

Do we think there will be fewer senior moves this year, given the terrible housing market? I like my current job, but even if I didn't, I'd be nervous about trying to sell a house at least for the next couple of years, and that would certainly impact my decision to move.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've been checking zillow.com too - I should have moved a couple of years ago! Houses in my area aren't selling that well at the moment. The question is though, what might the housing market look like in late spring/early summer 2009, when I would (theoretically) be looking to sell my house and buy a new one?

Anonymous said...

All signs point to a continued slide. Thankfully, we got a buyer on our place this spring, but that was after being vacant and on the market for nine months (which sounds like my first go-round on the TT market). I'm just happy to be out of that mess. 2009 might be a good time to buy, still not good to sell.

Anonymous said...

Where do you people live? I might be interested in buying your house.

Anonymous said...

On average, say for a place like Texas Austin (neither top nor bottom), how many applications do you think are received for the one job posted?

How about for top 5 schools? and third tier ones?
T

Anonymous said...

I was on the search committee at an R1 school last year and I think we had a few hundred applications.

Anonymous said...

The number of applications depends on the posting. If it is general IR with no emphasis, around 100 is not uncommon, especially in attractive locations. If it is more specific (e.g. int'l orgs, security, IPE, etc), then 40-50 is about right. But among the applications, typically about 1/2 can be thrown out because they do not fit the criteria set out in the ad.

Anonymous said...

So, many applications are thrown out after the committee members read the CVs? Could someone tell me the order of importance among: CV, letters, writing samples, and perhaps other documents?

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's an easy answer to your question. Take two hypothetical examples:

File A: a cv that indicates a publication in a top tier journal, but letters that are lukewarm and a dissertation topic that is less than thrilling.

File B: somebody without a publication but with glowing letters from top names, an impressive writing sample, and an interesting and innovative research program

Who would my department interview? Probably File B, but I wouldn't want to generalize from that that letters or writing samples are more important than publications. It is cliche, but in my department at least, we really do look at the application as a whole.

That said, a lot more people have glowing letters in their files than have impressive publications. Get published is the number one piece of advice I'd give any job candidate.

Anonymous said...

I somewhat disagree with 6:06. The CV is very important for the first round. If there are, say, 50 applications in a pile, it is very unlikely that all applications get read in depth. Committee members need some informational shortcut to sort out the cadidates. The CV is the most useful bit of information in the first round, but mainly to throw out candidates on the basis of pedigree, fit for the position, presence/absence of pubs, etc. After this weeding out process every bit of information becomes relevant.

Anonymous said...

Do you think this may affect the IR job market?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/education/02college.html?_r=1&ref=education&oref=slogin

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it already has. BU had been listing an IR job.

Anonymous said...

Has Boston College canceled its IR search? There is an ejobs listing, but the department's website indicates that it is not seeking to fill any positions...

Anonymous said...

The Boston College IR search is definitely on. Ignore department website

Anonymous said...

Hard to say. I've seen colleges with job postings on their sites from 3 years ago...

Hopefully it is just a slow IT department.

Anonymous said...

On the 0809 jobs wiki the following hiring freezes are listed:

Washington (with some exceptions)
Maryland (with some exceptions)
University of Oklahoma
State University of New York (note: last word was that SUNY Albany's two poli sci searches would go forward)
Florida (with some exceptions)

Can anyone from these schools confirm this information? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

U. of Florida had a stated freeze, but in practice 10 new faculty hires are going forward, including one in political theory, and rumor has it the political science department has been given the go-ahead to hire in IR to begin fall 2009 too. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Rice decided to delay its job search because of Hurricane Ike?

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the other states, but the Oklahoma hiring freeze has a few exceptions. If the job is a replacement for a faculty member who left (and I don't know if that's the case at OU or not), then the line can be filled. (source: Tulsa World interview with OU president)

Anonymous said...

Some comments: Yes, do send both! If you don't send stuff from your dissertation the committee will wonder.

Second, on what the committee looks for: good question + competent execution. Period. We sort on both. Truthfully, though, good questions are much rarer than competent execution.

I see much unwarranted verbiage in application letters. Almost all of that is ignored. If you can explain why your question is a particular good one, and novel, or why your answer to an old question has or can have a broad impact, that's space well spent.

Good luck to all. Just be grateful you're on the market and not next year ....

Anonymous said...

Assuming I (and many others) don't get jobs in this year's slim market, is it too soon to know what next year will look like? Are we going to see fewer retirements because of the stock market?

Anonymous said...

If you assume like most that it's going to take at least a few years to get out of this mess, then yes, I suspect next year will be a down year as well.

It's not just retirements either. I'd also expect a reduction in new lines as university endowments suffer, as rich people have less money to endow chairs at their alma maters, etc.

Anonymous said...

I would not be so sure that SUNY Albany's IR search will actually go forward. Major budget cuts for the entire SUNY system are in the works, but have not yet been finalized. Everyone in the system is waiting for the axe to fall. Cancellation of the search certainly cannot be ruled out. One of the questioners in the presidential debate last night asked how the Wall Street crisis/bailout would affect regular people. Well, SUNY job applicants, this is how it affects you.

Anonymous said...

From a friend at SUNY Albany, I have heard that it is very unlikley that the department will go forward with its IR search or any others for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I - being completely clueless - assumed that no search committee would really look at more than one writing sample, so I sent out my peer-reviewed pub, which has nothing to do with my diss. I mentioned that the diss article was underway and I'd be happy to send it along if they wanted it, but did I basically deal myself a death-blow by not including it?

Anonymous said...

Depends. If "underway" means "not yet well developed," then you might have done yourself a favor by leaving it out. Sins of commission are usually worse than sins of omission, if that makes any sense.

That said, in my experience, people on search committees will ask, "Ok, great that he/she is published, but what about the dissertation?" Has your committee sent out their letters yet? If not, then you might encourage them to vouch for your dissertation in their letters.

Anonymous said...

As long as you are a legit ABD I think it would be better to send the published material.

So I think you are fine. Of course like everything it depends on the members on the committee...

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Anonymous said...

Dear Fellow Rumor Mongers:

Could we keep rumors on the rumor thread and general market discussions on this thread? It'll make it easier for all of us.

Best,
OCD Academic

IR Rumor Mill said...

Moved. Please listen to OCD academic.

-- OCD IR Rumor Mill Admin.

Anonymous said...

The Oklahoma IR searches are definitely back on. They are hiring in IR for an int'l security position, and Comparative-IR for an East Asia area specialist. Both positions are jointly appointed lines in Political Science and their new School of IR. (Source: OU faculty member)

Another OCD Academic said...

Please listen to the first OCD academic. Post rumors to the rumor thread, general market discussion here.

Anonymous said...

Any word on Miami University's (Miami University of Ohio) search (International Law and Organization)? They were supposed to have begun interviews on October 6.

Anonymous said...

I thought Miami's (OH) deadline (for apps) was Oct 6, so if that's the case, wouldn't expect anything until late this month.

Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard to post rumors on the rumors thread and market discussions here? Presumably everybody reading this either already has or will have a Ph.D., which one would think is more challenging than following the rules on a message board. Rant over.

Anonymous said...

Mission creep?

There are too many threads these days. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate that someone takes the time to provide the twin public goods of information and moderation, but let's not get carried away. This is just a rumor mill.

Anonymous said...

Has UC Riverside cancelled its IR search? The Department website no longer lists the job opening.

Anonymous said...

Has UC Riverside cancelled its IR search? The Department website no longer lists the job opening.

No it has not. Their website never had that job posted (they still have last year's jobs on there!).

Anonymous said...

This is a point that was referenced on one of the other threads, but it seems that schools might be moving more slowly this year to make invites. I know that when you add the human element involving committee member schedules etc. into the mix, it makes things unpredictable in terms of timing. But, things still seem to be moving slowly. Is that a product of the economy, maybe? I know that a lot of better endowed places rely heavily on endowments for operating budgets -- maybe that is part of it.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to take a post-doc before a job because I'll have time to publish. But, I'm worried that due to the financial crisis there are going to be cutbacks in education in the next few years. If I'm offered both a post-doc and a job, would it be better to take the job since there might be fewer openings when I'm finished the post-doc?

Anonymous said...

if it is a job you would like, accept it on the condition that they give you a delayed start date, so that you can take the post-doc too. It will be in the school's interest that you get your pubs in the pipeline too.

Anonymous said...

2 part question:

Any ideas why so few job announcements provide a salary range?

And, any ideas on the average salary range for assistant professors at R1 institutions?

Anonymous said...

You can check the Chronicle for salary info.

Anonymous said...

How much is the economic downturn affecting job openings and the number of faculty searches? It seems the market has fewer job searches this year than last.

Anonymous said...

just wondering, does anyone know whether I'll get a job?

or should i just apply to be an assistant to the regional manager?

Anonymous said...

Please note that the Boston University Department of International Relations has reopened its search for someone who can teach courses on negotiation. It is no longer for an open position, but just at the assistant professor (tenure-track) level. BU has been extending offers this year in a variety of fields, so this is a real search. Please pass it on to everyone who might be a good candidate!

Here's the ad, for those who have not seen it:

The Department of International Relations at Boston University invites applications for a position at the rank of assistant professor from International Relations specialists able to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in international negotiation. Substantive area of expertise is open and may include conflict resolution, trade, finance, and the environment, among others. Successful candidates will be active research scholars who are committed to excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching. Publications and teaching experience required. Ph.D. must be completed by the time of appointment. The salary will be commensurate with record and experience. Please submit CV, graduate transcripts, samples of written work, and three current letters of recommendation to: Chairman, Negotiation Search Committee, Department of International Relations, Boston University, 152 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215. For full consideration, applications must be received no later than February 15, 2009. Boston University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Anonymous said...

Am I too far gone? I look at the people who have been getting jobs this year, and many of them are sprightly recent PhD (still wet behind the ears), with relatively little experience. Me, I'm 38, published widely and over 10 years, great teacher (so I'm told) in three countries, and European trained. I don't even get a look and I'd like to know if there's a watershed for hiring...

Anonymous said...

Ohio University is conducting a search for a term appointment in IR, field open:

International Relations-Area of Specialization Open

The Department of Political Science at Ohio University invites applications for a term appointment in international relations, commencing September 2009 and renewable for up to three years. A strong regional focus, especially in Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia, or China, would be a plus, but is not essential. Appointment will be at the rank of visiting assistant professor. Candidates should have a Ph.D. in hand by Sept. 1, 2009 and be prepared to offer a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in the field. Those applying should show a commitment to excellence in both research and teaching. The Department of Political Science (www.ohiou.edu/pols) has 20 faculty members, 450 majors, and 80 graduate students; we strongly encourage applications from those who would complement the diversity of our intellectual community. The University serves 20,000 students on a residential campus located in the hills of southeastern Ohio. To apply, please register at www.ohiouniversityjobs.com, and send a letter of application, vita, graduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a sample of scholarly writing, and evidence of teaching effectiveness to: Ohio University, International Relations Search Committee, Department of Political Science, Bentley Annex 264, Athens, OH 45701. Review of applications will begin on April 7, 2009 and continue until the position is filled. Queries should be directed to Department Administrator Nina Sharpe: sharpen@ohio.edu. Ohio University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer.

Anonymous said...

The LBJ School at the University of Texas is getting an early start on fall applications. They will begin looking at files in July but probably bring people out in late September or October.

The LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin is seeking candidates for THREE tenure track faculty positions, two of which will primarily enhance the capabilities of the new master’s Program in Global Policy Studies and one of which may be focused more on domestic policy issues or public management. Applications are sought from creative scholars conducting significant policy-relevant research on pressing issues of the day. Policy-relevant work experience is a plus.

The LBJ School is a graduate program offering a research oriented PhD Program in Public Policy as well as both a master’s degree in Public Affairs and, more recently, a master’s program in Global Policy Studies. Many of the more than 300 graduate students are in dual degree programs in which they also receive degrees in area studies, law, engineering, business, regional planning and other disciplines. Disciplinary affiliation is open.

Candidates should have the potential for excellence in research and teaching at the graduate level and demonstrate excellent communication skills. The successful candidate must hold a Ph.D. or an equivalent terminal degree by the time the position starts and have a strong research agenda for productive scholarship. Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. The expected start date is either January 2010 or September 2010.

Applicant Instructions:

Candidates should submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and a sample of written (ideally published) research.

Candidates should also request that three letters of reference be submitted on their behalf directly to the search committee.

Applications and letters should be sent to the Faculty Recruitment Committee, The LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, P.O. Box Y, Austin, TX 78713-8925. Please include the job ID number shown above. The committee will begin reviewing applications on July 15, 2009, but applications will be considered until the positions are filled. For further information, interested parties may contact the Faculty Recruitment Committee. Please direct inquiries to Ms. Fran Pena at f.pena@mail.utexas.edu.