Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Hiring in the academy

Leopold Stotch has some thoughts on meritocracy in academe. At my end of the food chain, my perception is that I’ve more often lost out on positions because search committees (or deans), for whatever reason, want people from “name schools.” The only time I’ve heard gender or race discussed on the job trail is in reference to other positions that I didn’t apply for. However, I have had my graduate program insulted to my face through backhanded compliments of my other achievements in interviews (“well, normally, we wouldn’t hire someone from Mississippi, but since you have that ICPSR thing…”).


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. Scott wrote @ Wed, 8 Feb 2006, 7:36 am CST:

Meh. You know my thoughts on this. Perhaps I was not short listed (and therefore never interviewed) because of “name brand” bias against my doctoral degree granting institution, but I can only recall two instances (and Chris will correct me if I misremember) where…if I were interviewed…I didn’t get the job. And I interviewed for, and was offered, a significant number of (admittedly non top-tier…some non eighth tier) jobs over 2 years of searching.

And “stellar” is not a word generally used to describe my scholarship or personal charisma.

For one of those I wasn’t offered, the department voted to offer me the job (and phoned to tell me so) but the dean reversed their decision. I believe it went to another male cracker. I am pretty sure that the dean reversed the decision because she had also grown up in North Carolina and knew darn well I was lying when I said I would be happy to live and stay in Massachusetts.

The only other job (to my memory) I wasn’t offered was when I was pretending to be a pub admin guy for a job at a school and location I REALLLLY wanted. It also went to a fellow male cracker.

Is my case anecdotal? yes…but so are Leopold Stotch’s examples.


As we all know, the plural of anecdotes is data. ☺

For what it’s worth, I have a sense that there’s a lot of quota-filling that goes on in the discipline (explicit or tacit), but in our mutual sub(sub)field that doesn’t seem to happen much—most minority behaviorists seem to pigeon-hole themselves as minority politics scholars and compete for those jobs instead, and there aren’t that many women in the subfield to begin with, so they’re snapped up before we even get down to our part of the academic food chain.

Anyway, gotta teach…

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