Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2016 Academic Job Search Open Thread

Have at. Be civil. 

143 comments:

  1. Hi,

    1. Hi CJ, thanks for updating the academic postings.

    2. Anon 1:05 AM: Your theory is interesting. I agree with the suggestion that, when a search committee is overwhelmed with applications and x3 recommendation letters, that the flashy name of a well-known faculty member may preferentially catch their eye. But the rest of it sounds rather machiavellian. Do you have any anonymous evidence to back this up?

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  2. It seems to me the most important factor in getting a job at an RO1, and getting grants in this extremely competitive environment, are:

    1.) the name of your post-doc advisor (NAS member or Nobel prize winner)
    2.) how famous your institution is where you post-doc
    3.) are you smart and "quick" in the interview
    4.) publication record.

    Also, what I've noticed is: lets say that there is a faculty member on the hiring committee that post-doc for someone famous (like my graduate advisor worked for an NAS member at MIT). If you also post-doc'd for that famous person, and get along with that first person, that is a huge plus.

    And I went into science to get away from this B$llSh@t.........

    Why bother?

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    1. I am not so sure about number 4. I have seen so many new hires with 4-6 papers in total. In addition to these, your proposal should be in the "hot" research area of the time or it should be a derivative of your famous post-doc advisor's research.

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    2. Serious question: If your publication record and interview are both poor, what reason would a hiring committee have for believing you're going to be fantastic PI? Academic's disagree too much on what 'good' research is to fairly judge a candidate based 100% on a written research proposal, and even if they could, the quality of the proposal doesn't say anything about their ability to execute their research plan.

      Doing a post-doc somewhere reputable is unfortunately important. The committee is looking for a ref letter that says "I've had 5 postdocs that recently got faculty positions at R01 universities and they're all doing great. This candidate is at the top of that pile." A top university also helps establish connections with other future faculty that will be beneficial down the road.

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    3. "And I went into science to get away from this B$llSh@t"

      Not sure what And I went into science to get away from this B$llSh@t you refer to. Warranted or not, getting any job is highly dependent on pedigree. I know a lot of smart people graduate from Princeton and Brown: the same may be true for New Mexico State and the University of Akron, but I don't know that.

      you could equally add to your list:

      5.) are you tall, well-spoken and good looking

      May not be fair, but as humans it's how we're wired. Blame Nature.

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    4. I hoped in science we would be evaluated only on are knowledge and skills rather than the superficial stuff in my first 3 points.

      Yea, I know, its not realistic. You must be from Alberta. Right?

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    5. Sorry, but science is done by humans who have the same foibles humans have always had and always will.

      Have only been to Calgary a couple times. Nice enough, I guess.

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    6. One only needs to take a look at Retraction Watch for evidence that "scientists" should not be considered above the rest.

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    7. Regarding points 1 and 2, there's a lot to be said for putting yourself in a position where you are more likely to succeed. If you work for a spectacular PI at a top school, you have fewer TA commitments (and more time for research), more resources, more opportunities for networking, and better peers with whom to exchange ideas. When I see a student at a lower-tier school toiling for a guy who hasn't applied for a grant in decade and publishes sporadically in so-so or worse journals, I wonder how serious he or she is about this whole chemistry-as-a-career thing.

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    8. Many students (like me in grad school) may not appreciate how much the name of your advisor and institution make a huge difference. Heck, I thought if I had a PhD from any ol' school I'd be a shoe-in to teach at a PUI or liberal arts college (LAC). *laughs loudly* Now, even these places are often looking for big names and schools on the resume.

      I'll never forget a teacher describe his experience, 40 years ago, looking to to teach at a LAC- he said he "didn't know what he wanted to so with his life" and got the job. Now, he says, he "looks into the eye of someone to discern how badly they want to teach".

      These people could not have these absurd expectations (compared to 40 yrs ago) if there wasn't a plethora of talent to choose from, due to all the PhD the US produces and imports in from other countries.

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    9. Gotta say, Anon2:31 has an interesting point, i.e. "you want to work for top-notch people."

      I think it's reasonable to ascribe some level of personal responsibility to, say, a 3rd year or a 4th year graduate student in picking their postdoctoral adviser, and making plans accordingly. But this chain (referenced below by Prof. Shearer as K-postdoc) needs to start somewhere, and my chain in chemistry started by walking up to a nearly-random professor as a sophomore and saying "I want to do research in your lab."

      How the hell is, say, a 21-23 year old supposed to make that decision ("I want to work for the top-notchest person possible that I can work with") without independent guidance, in academic careers that appear to have less room for false moves than the path to become the captain of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier?

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    10. "Many students (like me in grad school) may not appreciate how much the name of your advisor and institution make a huge difference. Heck, I thought if I had a PhD from any ol' school I'd be a shoe-in to teach at a PUI or liberal arts college (LAC). *laughs loudly* Now, even these places are often looking for big names and schools on the resume."

      Yeah, while I did not choose Big Famous Prestigious lab at Top Tier Institution for my PhD, I made sure as hell to make sure I got into one for postdoc. We'll see if that's enough!

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    11. Without independent guidance? I'd hope, really, that this 21-23 year old takes the trouble to get independent guidance, whether it's from academics or just their uni careers service (I say "just" because this advice is not always correct with regard to academic careers), if they're serious about their future.

      Speaking of (inadvertent) false moves, they're the things that worry me the most. There is a secret rule book that none of us are allowed to see, but are required to follow.

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    12. SuperScienceGirl,

      I sought out plenty of advice when I was applying to graduate school, but to be honesty I went to an LAC without a lot of grad students and postdocs around to advise me (who are closer to the immediate ramifications of their choices on their careers) so some of the advice I got did not really give me an idea of how competitive the landscape is. Professors were candid with me that going to a top school would have benefits, but did not stress it nearly as much as perhaps would be merited its impacts on my career options both in academia and industry, honestly because the job market was not as tight when they were going up for jobs. Also there was a lot of discussing the "right fit" and not working for a big famous person who was too hands off or too much of an asshole. Ultimately when I chose to work for a brand new assistant professor at a top 20 school, they supported that decision. My undergrad advisor told me about the benefits of working for an assistant professor, as he worked for a brand new assistant professor. However, he went to Harvard, and working for a brand new assistant professor at Harvard is different from a brand new assistant professor at top 20 school.

      Of course, when you are a grad student/postdoc, it's hard to appreciate that maybe in the long run there are many paths in people's careers. I have certainly seen faculty candidates who do well coming out of smaller labs and/or less prestigious universities, especially if they went to a big name lab for postdoc, even those who end up at top schools. So perhaps my previous mentors attitudes has more to do with seeing the big picture.

      In reality, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle--probably it is true that older PUI faculty don't appreciate how competitive the job landscape is AND when you are in the throes of i,t everything seems more dire with less room for exceptions than it actually is.

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  3. I would add, doing a post-doc with a famous advisor in Europe does not help.

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    1. Doing a postdoc with a famous PI at a non-top 5 school in the states isn't a super great idea either, even after going to a top 5 place for both undergrad and grad school. But in my case, at least, this was at least partly due to not having lots of peers at postdoc school looking for R1 jobs the year before I looked. Don't underestimate the effect of learning from one's peers and having people to commiserate with.

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  4. From my experience, if confronted with two hundred applications showcasing the same high level of achievement, recommendation letters, papers in top tier journals etc., search committees will usually go for diversity.

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    1. And then the academics on the panel will reverse that.

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  5. 1) Is it possible to get an assistant professor position without a postdoc? Not even at a community college or liberal arts college?

    2) Do I have any chance of becoming a professor if I'm graduating of my PhD from a non-famous U.S. University and non-famous professor? I have 6 first author papers (one in Angewandte Chemie), two reviews/book chapters, and about 7 publications as a 2nd/3rd author. Do I really need to do a postdoc with a famous professor in a top-5 university?

    Thanks!

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    1. Several years ago Pace University awarded a position to someone who did the Ph.D. at the Stevens Institute of Technology? Ever hear of it? I hadn't.

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    2. Speaking from experience, if you have a track-record of research success (which you do!) and have good application materials, you can absolutely land positions at both M.S.-granting and liberal-arts colleges. Many of these places will want to see teaching experience though, so one route to consider is to VAP or adjunct for a semester or a year. Start applying for permanent jobs ASAP, but be prepared to gain teaching experience in temporary positions if it doesn't work out.

      A post-doc AND teaching experience is rapidly becoming the norm at selective liberal-arts colleges, but it is possible to receive offers without one or the other. I'd say it is probably quite difficult to land a job missing both though.

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    3. I am currently in a tenure-track position at a small liberal arts university straight out of my PhD at a top-20 school (maybe it was a top-10 when I started...not really sure, anymore). The next most junior chemistry professor here also didn't do a post-doc, although he went to a top 10 in his sub-discipline. We are currently hiring a visiting professor for a one-year sabbatical replacement and it has been very educational to see what the other professors are looking for in the hiring process (and to hear them comment on what they saw in me and on who they think will probably get offers for tenure-track positions.)
      (1) A clear interest in teaching is more important than a lot of teaching experience (although some experience is necessary). (2) A carefully written application package that is tailored to the school and doesn't sound like a form letter is important. If you will only be teaching undergrads at a certain school, please remove any statements about how well you are prepared to teach grad students! (3) Your research proposal must be doable with undergrads, if research is part of the position (considering the size of my school, research is a surprisingly integral part of the job.) (4) Letters of recommendation matter a lot. Some professors in my department only read through the applicants' teaching statements to see that they were free from errors, but they read the letters of recommendation in detail, so pick someone that knows you well and will take time to write a good letter about your teaching ability (if you are applying for a primarily teaching position).

      Not all departments/schools are looking for the same things but I have talked to enough people now to become convinced that there are a fair number of schools similar to mine. So, good luck. As Cat Herder said, be prepared to apply for some visiting positions but there is no reason not to try for tenure-track positions as well.

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    4. The highly competitive NIH early independence award that gives you 250,000 in direct costs per year if you skip postdoc.

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  6. There is a person who was promoted to tenured associated prof. at a community college (Schenectady I think) and only spent about 1 year at grad school. Not sure if a master's was even awarded as I thought that the departure was forced due to low grades.

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    1. meant as response to anon 1:47 pm

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  7. First I think I need to apologize for making it seem like all who do not get interviews are bitter disgruntled people. I think that the vast majority of applicants are people who understand the odds, have some sense of perspective, and take things maturely in stride. I came to this website for the first time yesterday, and only because a friend of mine told me I had to see a really irritating thread. I commented on it because I found it absolutely ridiculous that someone was getting berated for only offering help/advice/insight to others trying to find a job . To me it all read as nothing more than a series of anonymous, bitter, angry, “woe-is-me” attacks directed at the nearest innocent bystander. I realized then that these comments are originating from a very small minority of people.

    There have been some very good points raised concerning letters. First, from hiring committees I have been on I will say that it is very difficult to differentiate the top candidates. It is sort of like grant funding; the top 15 - 20% are all equally meritorious. I honestly feel that it could go either way concerning elimination of the letters. On the one hand you have an outstanding CV that would swing multiple committees; I think in this case pedigree would become even more of a deciding factor narrowing the pool. On the other hand, simply examining research statements could lead to an overall more diverse pool because what one school is looking for may not necessarily be what another school is looking for researchwise.

    Now lets put the letters into the mix. I can only state how I look at these files. I, and almost everyone else I know, first go directly to the research statement. This will eliminate ~50% of the pool right of the bat because a lot do not meet the goals of the position, or are poorly written. From this, people examine files differently. I next go to the CV focusing on papers, not pedigree (pedigree is something that I honestly do not care about). Following this I go to the teaching statement, as this is a more honest assessment of the applicant’s writing abilities. Based on these alone, most of the committees I have served on have come to a consensus top 15 right away (I will note that at this point I am typically the only person who has not read the letters). It is only after all of this that I look at the letters, as this really helps narrow down those 15. I try not to be swayed by an explicit statement of candidate X is better than Y (but I am not naive enough to think it does not influence me). If I am comparing multiple letters from the same PI over the years (we remember the enthusiasm of letters from people over the years) you can get a good grasp of how the PI places the student.

    Are there politics involved? To an extent. I don’t think anyone would deny this, but I think the role of politics are very minor.

    Is it a meritocracy? Well yes, I would argue it is. The best applicant typically come to the top, and these are the ones who have typically worked their asses off and have been most successful from K - postdoc. Will good candidates fall through the cracks? Unfortunately yes, but this is mostly because of the combination of it being a buyer’s market coupled with intangibles in the applicant’s file.

    It is an imperfect system, like everything. However, I cannot think of a better way to do this.

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    1. Thank you for this statement, which is much more informative and interesting than the initial one you posted at Chembark, where in a field of both over-earnest strivers awaiting their anointment as well as various folks bitter after dedicating their lives to the field only to find their aspirations dashed, you described yourself as "academically related to William of Ockham", with an "Erdos number" of 4, who had "12 interviews" as one of the "more sought after" "stellar" candidates.

      I probably shouldn't criticize so i can only say next time "know your audience" better.

      My biggest concerns are that the field is becoming overly dependent on name-brands, celebrity PIs and overemphasis on credentials at the expense of accomplishments/potential. If as you say the winnowing order is research proposal>papers>letters i wouldn't have anything to argue with either.

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    2. Ha, Jason. You probably didn't even get as far as the teaching statement in my application to your current competition. If you had, then you might have needed to change your underwear.

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  8. There are plenty of examples of people with faculty positions that did not come from a top 5 school or "famous" professor. A lot of people apply for these positions, and the committee looking at applications do not necessarily have the intellect of Whitesides. In fact, many don't really do exciting research (and some seem to have gone to sleep), but they do hold the keys to a career that allows you to seek government funds. That's just how it is. I don't know why we don't build more national labs to make more research positions in this country.

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    1. Another observation: consider that it's not unusual to see successful academics come from the first class or two of (now) established professors. I think that having a tangible impact on a lab is something that committees can (and should) really value in applications, something that's a lot easier to achieve with a young professor than prof. Fortypersongroup Mcfamousname

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    2. "Fortypersongroup"? Yeah that's how it was during my doctorate: + 30 co-workers (not counting undergrads), zero training for the job market, a research director who would literally stick his head in the lab once per week, ask "do you have it?" and literally declare himself to be "not responsible" for what happened to his graduates afterwards.....and yes he was very famous.

      The teaching statements which I write for faculty positions reflect that, because I would not want that to happen to anyone who would work for me.

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  9. A facutly member at PUI university told me that their department recently got many applications from top 5 schools and complained about it. I guess they think that such people won't fit in. Many of the profs at the PUI (which shall remain unnamed) come from less celebrated universities.

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  10. Eventually the data will be out and we can tally where all the hires came from to see if claims made on blogs are true. It would be interesting to have a website where everyone who applied for the position posted the non-confidential parts of their application so we can see what the committees had to choose from. I always thought the letter of rec was a bad practice, and I don't think that most faculty members are qualified to assess the merits of research proposals unless the prop is specific to their niche.

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    1. But they can appraise the polish, and we all know that style >>> substance at top-tier institutions

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    2. "I don't think that most faculty members are qualified to assess the merits of research proposals unless the prop is specific to their niche"

      Who do you think reviews your research proposals (and very often your publications submitted to broad Chemistry journals)? If you can't convey the importance, novelty, and impact of your research to other Chemists, then you will also have trouble getting funded or papers published in any journals except those in your 'niche'.

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  11. A lot of larger schools, where there are enough faculty to cover the core teaching requirements, are interested in a specific field or specialty, meaning even if the search says open, there is a predisposition to a certain field.

    That said, letters of recommendation are really important, new faculty are hired into a department as a career-length commitment. Good hiring committees scrutinize every part of an application. Letters are where some less formal, or holes in CVs can be explained or filled in.

    I dont think this is the corrupt machine many people imagine. These are big (>$1M) investments that are long term and have a significant impact on the culture and direction of a department.

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    1. At best the machinery is compromised. Does everyone remember the drama of C-H activation? What were the consequences (I'm not referring to the student)?

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    2. I thought this thread was about hiring/job seeking? I'm not sure what the C-H activation story has to do with that. There are absolutely issues with the (hiring) system, any situation with a lot of money and egos is going to have issues. By in large however, poor candidates are ferreted out during on campus interviews. 50 years ago, professors were hired with a letter and only a recommendation from their advisor. The system used presently leans towards giving applicants that aren't in the pool from top institutes/advisors at least be considered. Things are getting better, just a slow march.

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    3. With all the competition, a poor candidate had better not make it to an on campus interview.

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    4. One reason letters of rec shouldn't be a deciding factor: advisor's pass away.

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    5. My favorite undergrad advisor passed away the year after I graduated. Believe me, it happens.

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  12. Additionally, some advisors don't find the time to send in letters before the deadline.

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  13. That is just it though, a poor candidate could mean a poor fit for your department and that isn't obvious until you meet the person and talk to them, hear their seminar.

    I've also met plenty of candidates that on paper were rock stars, but were not in reality.

    If your advisor supports you, they will get letters in, the dead part is tougher to deal with, but an outlier.

    One last comment and I will stop, departmental websites, blogs all that are great, amazing resources. but they also make you feel informed when in reality you may not be. Everyone doesnt put everything up on the web, and there are *so* many moving parts to a faculty hire, departments, divisions, deans, associate deans, diversity, space that you can't interpret or divine from the web. And each school is unique. the best thing you can do is do the absolute best science you can, be a good citizen to the chemistry community, and if you don't get the position you want, regroup and see if you can do something different.

    I completely understand the frustration with how hiring works, but if you get a job, things dont get easier. Awards, grants, papers, all will be judged by the same people who are chosing fac candidates. The biases toward top schools gets *worse*, it doesn't end. Regardless of all that, however, the best science and most persistent scientists will win the long game.

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    1. Advisors who do write great letters don't always send them. Someone told me that Prof. X wrote an incredibly outstanding letter for me (this was said by a reviewer who takes letters very seriously). However, I can say that it's an uphill battle to get Prof. X to send the letter in on time. He's always traveling and very much in his own world. And being outside the US, I don't think he realizes how important it is. It's also a person with a huge ego and although he is supportive when he can be, what his students do after they are gone doesn't seem to be a big deal to him. This is a very real situation. I was warned about this particular advisor by a post-doc who did succesfully land an academic position (after I already accepted post-doc). The person who warned me said "You must constanty ask him everyday. Lie and tell him the letters are due at least two weeks earlier than the due date. Even with all this, most of the time he won't send a letter."

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  14. I might suggest also talking to people that were in the department and did not get tenure.

    At the PUI I adjunct-taught Org this summer it was clear they had very high turnover in the Chem faculty. How did I know? Looked at all of the names of the professors that taught there on "Rate my Professor" and were no longer there, and old department pages on Google Cache. Also, some of what the dept chair told me did not make sense from what I gleaned from these sources. She claimed that she expected teachers to get to a 4/5 in terms of student evaluations, but it was clear from "Rate my professor" that many assistant profs there stank and still got tenure. I presume that maybe these individuals brought grants in? Also, many who seemed to be good teachers with publications and did NOT get tenure. Quite eye opening. All this for a assist prof salary of about 45-50 K a year (!) (got that from looking up prof names on a state salary database).

    I don't think the school would want me (unless I had a grant) but if I were offered something there I would google the names of the people that were there according to "Rate my professor", contact them, and phone them to get the real story.

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    1. You get wildly disparate reviews on "rate my professor". Knowing undergraduate students, those who got through the course and did well are a lot less likely to log in and key a positive review, compared to students who bombed and are looking to vent. So I probably wouldn't derive much from the professors with a low score on rate my professor who got tenure - but using the website as a database for those who didn't get tenure, why not.

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    2. People often write positive reviews for themselves and negative reviews for their enemies. Not at all an accurate way to judge someone's value.

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  15. Two weeks back, a career adviser gave me an interesting story. He stated that he had worked with an unemployed chemist, who had nevertheless written a funding proposal, which was then approved. The awardee then used that grant to land a faculty position at a state university. I asked him if he could provide any further details regarding the funding organization or the university involved, but he declined.

    Obviously, that story is hard to believe, because one must have association with a suitable organization to carry out the research. Nevertheless, I called a NSF program officer and discussed this with her. Of course she confirmed my suspicions. I then tried a number of hypothetical situations on her, but she was (still) not moved.

    Any comments, especially on different rules with other funding organizations?

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  16. I am not in the least bit surprised by the negativity of these threads (this one and the thread after the post with excel spreadsheet of jobs), since, after all, it is the internet and anonymous and that tends to bring the worst out of people. But to be honest, what surprises me most between this thread, the commenters who are on search committees, and ChemBark and See Arr Oh's lists of faculty hires, is how many exceptions to the rules there are. From what you hear of the academic job market (and from what it seems from the faculty search at my PhD university in terms of who they interview), you would think that you need 5 nature papers and to be double pedigreed (grad school + postdoc) to get a job even at a PUI.

    But in these threads I have seen examples of

    1) People who come from smaller labs/not top schools for their PhD and get faculty positions, even at top schools
    2) People with weak pub records who get faculty positions, even at top schools
    3) People who work for famous people not at prestigious institutions who still get faculty positions
    4) People who get faculty jobs at PUIs without doing a postdoc, provided their graduate record is strong
    5) Successful examples of spousal hires

    Granted, these are certainly the exceptions to the rule, but there are way more exceptions than I would have thought. Also the number of times someone from a search committee has commented that the research proposal is the most important part of the package is enlightening and encouraging.

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  17. >What does it mean when on some applications it says Recommendation solicited:”No” Recommendation received:”No”?
    >Does this mean the school did not ask for recommendation letters and therefore there are none?

    That has been my personal experience and belief, yes. But as the previous commentator has mentioned, there may always be exceptions.

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  18. "....it is the internet and anonymous and that tends to bring the worst out of people."

    I disagree...the internet brings out the TRUTH. In life when dealing with people in person, you always have to have your smiley, optimistic game face on, because you will be penalized if you are perceived as negative, even if the negativity is based on a tough reality.

    Its a breath of fresh air to hear what the truth is.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly. The internet and its enabling of anonymity allows for us to divorce the medium (or espouser) from the message. We get both the freedom to share uncomfortable observations (as per the "whistleblower" point) and the luxury of judging ideas based solely on their merit and NOT on the credentials of the person (or otherwise...see handle) putting them forward.

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    2. Yeah, maybe that's why credentialism is so easily criticized here. I don't particularly care where CJ, NMH or DOG come from and i don't have to.

      On the other hand, i got called an a-hole so many times at some sites it was practically its own thread.

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    3. "I disagree...the internet brings out the TRUTH. In life when dealing with people in person, you always have to have your smiley, optimistic game face on, because you will be penalized if you are perceived as negative, even if the negativity is based on a tough reality."

      I think anonymity can bring out the truth, but it can also bring out people's utter trollish tendencies. So it's a mixed bag.

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    4. Some people on blogs make interesting points (eg the pedigree discussion previously), but when the message is delivered in personal attacks, the point is lost. its like Trump, the spectacle is entertaining, but no one takes the policy seriously. Deliver the message with some objectivity and constructively. Otherwise the conversation sounds like trolling.

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  19. => I think so.

    "Anonymously anonymous Says:
    December 3rd, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    Guys,

    I would appreciate if someone can enlighten me on this. What does it mean when on some applications it says Recommendation solicited:”No” Recommendation received:”No”?

    Does this mean the school did not ask for recommendation letters and therefore there are none?"

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    1. In my experience, if you're using an independent service (Interfolio) or applying for jobs at schools with good HR websites (UC System), then it means that you have not "solicited" your references to submit their letters to the website. Usually there's some link you click on to send an email to your reference requesting a letter of recommendation. Once they get that email "solicitation", then they will (hopefully) submit their letter of recommendation to the website, at which point it is finally "received" by the school.

      Hopefully that answers your question...

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    2. I saw that message at USciences for a couple months after I submitted my materials. Eventually they hit the button to ask for letters, and the status changed to "solicited: yes, received [date]."

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  20. Someone asked this question: "Those who have not received rejection emails are shortlisted for interview?"

    => Is this true? How many people do they keep on their shortlist and send rejection letters to the rest?

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    1. If that's the case, then I'm on A LOT of short lists...

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    2. I've said this in prior threads, but when I was interviewing for positions, I never heard back from a place that gave me an on-site interview. That was about ten years ago. There's still hope, right?

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    3. Hi Iron chemist,

      If you had never heard of the place which gave you an interview, then what's the story behind connecting with them in the first place?

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    4. Hi GC, I think you misread something. The school interviewed me, then never contacted me afterwards. I only wish that I had never heard of the place.

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    5. HI IC,

      Ops. I get it now. Thanks for the explanation.

      There are a certain number of university departments which never even send a generic rejection e-mail to the unsuccessful candidates.

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  21. >If that's the case, then I'm on A LOT of short lists

    Not to be a joy killer, but again, that answer depends. My personal experience (also via the Chembark blog) has been that rejection e-mails can be sent out over a period of several days. Of course there may also be other factors involved....

    On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree with the opinion of NMH. That is why "whistle blowers" are granted anonymity.

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    1. We probably should not get drunk together: We're both downers. I will not be visiting your favorite dive bar in East Palo Alto any time soon.

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    2. I was joking about being on lots of short lists...

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  22. Hi NMH,

    EPA? I only go there to buy groceries, and most recently to learn Spanish. A dive bar there would assume adequate knowledge of that language, and familiarity with some weird Latin-American drinks. Otherwise it's Palo Alto, for better or worse....

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Learning Spanish? How about applying for faculty positions in your favorite Latin American country and becoming a faculty member there? Heck, if the immigrants can do it to us here in the US, you go back right at them!

      Perhaps you also can get a hot latino wife....

      Delete
  23. Hi NMH,
    Actually, if we knew each others' real identities, then I could relate a bizarre and tragic personal story regarding Latin America. Which is still ongoing. No, it does not (yet) involve a hot latino wife, but I still have my hopes!

    In the meanwhile, there are also job openings in the PRC. At least from the photos which they post on their websites, the smog levels in the vicinity don't look too bad.....IMO, neither do Chinese ladies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you're a pale white guy like me you might get some interest from the dark eyed- Latino ladies. However, the ones I meet appear to be thoroughly Americanized so I usually I scare them off quickly when they find out I am sexist pig who only wants them to rub my feet.

      So, for you, moving to Agentina/Columbia,. etc, for you could be win-win. Brazil...well, that's porteguese.

      Delete
    2. The two of you can continue this particular thread/conversation somewhere else.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  24. There is an annoying unwillingness for chemists to stop being scientists, when it comes down to analyzing employment trends in their own field. The following study, which someone posted on the ChemBark thread devoted to this year's academic hiring season, attempts to quantify the extent to which prestige and networking determine who gets what job. The fields which were chosen to analyze did not include chemistry, but the rhetorical question is whether things are any different for us:
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/1/e1400005

    If not, then all of the talk about "we hire the candidate who is best suited to our needs" is certified boilerplate rubbish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The article makes no attempt to control for the fact that the most creative mentors and hardest working students are at the most prestigious schools. Rather, the authors say "Despite the confounded nature of merit and social status within measurable prestige, the observed hierarchies are sufficiently steep that attributing their structure to differences in merit alone seems implausible." What they feel deep down in their hearts is plausible or implausible matters more than bothering with the complication of doing proper data analysis. Although the article is interesting and worthwhile, their conclusion is rubbish!

      Delete
    2. This is more than a bit of question-begging.

      Delete
    3. I made an error in my original post: instead of "annoying unwillingness for chemists to stop being scientists", I should have written "annoying unwillingness for chemists BE scientists"

      Delete
  25. Biochemix asks: "What is the typical wait time between phone interview and on-site interview notification?"

    Looks to me to be in the 2-3 week range? I dunno. Folks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on where you fall in our phone interview schedule. After we finished we discussed the candidates and invited people that same day.

      Delete
    2. After phone interviews, will they let you know if you are not chosen for onsite interviews?

      Delete
    3. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I've have both experiences.

      Delete
  26. Undergrad here, will be applying for grad schools this time next year. I go to a top 10 school but our chemistry department isn't at that tier (top 25). I've been doing research since freshman year, but I haven't been consistent - I've spent the last three summers in three different labs, ranging from genetics to synthesis to physical organic (jack of all trades kind of deal). What are my chances of getting a golden ticket to the Ivy Leagues of chemistry for grad school if I don't anticipate to have a publication within the next year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you have a great shot. I got my undergraduate degree at a school that definitely didn't even crack the top 120 for chemistry but got accepted nearly everywhere I applied (all in the top 10). If you were active with research, have good letters of rec and grades, and do decently on the GREs you should be good.

      Delete
    2. Wow Anonymous - you've read all these old bitter posts and you still want to go to grad school?! You may just have the persistence to make it. My advice: if you don't get into schools you would like to attend, maybe take a year "off" to do dedicated research. Also, be open minded to all career opportunities that come your way. Maybe you won't end up a chemistry professor, but I do hope you end up happy. Best wishes.

      Delete
    3. The strategy suggested by "Anon 2:24 PM" sounds like a good one.

      Delete
  27. What is the typical wait time between phone interview and on-site interview notification? Can people share their experiences? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I was notified of an on-site interview 15 days after a Skype interview.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I was notified of an on-site interview 5 days after my Skype interview.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks very much.
    I was curious as my phone interview was 3 weeks ago from today and haven't heard yet about the on-site interview.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I keep on hearing that people know things from vines and stuff. I am just wondering whether schools share information of applicants with each other? That might not be good for the applicants.
    (Also, why is the chemistry academia world so gossipy? Like when I was in grad school, if someone (student, professor, or whoever) does something, the next day the entire department knows about it. I kid you not, a friend one time mentioned to me that he saw another grad student from a lab on the third floor often used the bathroom on the second floor, and I was like I don’t care where other people go shit!!) (I’m not sure I am ready to be a part of such a gossipy community)

    ReplyDelete
  32. In my experience, individuals at different schools hold their cards pretty close to their chests with regard to job candidates. That is, they disclose little to no information about their ongoing searches. Individuals at these institutions do, however, gather information about whether a potential candidate has other interviews by combing through online seminar calendars, etc.

    With regard to other gossip-related things, I imagine that varies widely by school/department and mostly reflects human nature.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I sent a response a day after my skype/phone interview, similar to a thank you note. I indicated that I wanted to be kept in the loop about the hiring process. Only, two schools held up to this honor while the others didn't reply (8 schools). So if you haven't heard back then I am not sure what to tell you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Do you guys know if there is a similar list but for Biophysics/systems Bio/Quant Bio fields? Many of us applying are qualifying as interdisciplinary and have applied to more programs than just chemistry. So I think it would be useful to have other closely related fields listed as well.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I've read the arguments back and forth about how pedigree seems very important during the job hunt. I think another elephant in the room is minority status. Obviously I agree, all things being equal, that search committees should actively seek minority candidates. However, it seems that minority status often comes before qualifications. Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that depends on what the goal of the school is. I would think at an R1 institution, the most important thing is to hire someone who gets grants. Therefore, I would think immigrant status and race are secondary to institution name and post-doc advisors name, which are the most important things to have on an RO1 NIH application, along with good ideas and some kind of publication record. In short: doesn't matter where you come from, just as long as you bring the R1 school the money.

      However, if you teach at a community college like I do (part-time), then the goals of the school are different: to attract low-income students who are often of minority status. A "culture of inclusivenss" is a big goal where I teach at, so I would think that teaching ability and minority status are most important.

      At a PUI, I would imagine its a middle ground between what is wanted at an R1 and what is wanted at a community college.

      Delete
    2. Minority status or any other special considerations quite definitely come in second-to-last place in academic competitions. For example, I technically qualify as handicapped. But such circumstances only count if the competition comes down to either you or another person.

      For example, gender. Before all the ladies who are reading this start demanding my censorship, I will point out that it is easy to find an official account of a recent court ruling on the Internet, which involved the Chem. Department at the U Nevada Reno. It revolved around their hiring of an assistant professor. The competition came down to two candidates, a woman and a man. They were deemed equally qualified. But because UNR wanted to improve their EE standing, the offer, which they made to the woman, was better than that which they offered to the man.

      I will now take shelter in my bunker as the shit and bullets begin to fly.... I wonder what Jason Sherer will show up on this website again.

      Delete
    3. "it is easy to find an official account of a recent court ruling on the Internet, which involved the Chem. Department at the U Nevada Reno"

      Link, please.

      Delete
    4. URM here. That status counts last in my opinion. Checkout #BlackinSTEM or #BlackOnCampus on Twitter, and you will see that the bitterness over not getting faculty positions is about the same as on here and ChemBark. I'm guessing the situation for URMs might be worse because of getting their PhDs at less prestigious schools for the most part.

      But it would be good to get numbers on these factors because there is way too much supposition. It would be useful if at the end of this job season we collected data from everyone who participated on both sites. Like gender, urm?, top 10 PhD?, top 10 Postdoc?, number of interviews, etc. And still keep it anonymous somehow.

      Delete
    5. If URM candidates come from eg, historically black colleges, and the committees are so committed to credentialism of Top 5s, obviously there's going to be a disconnect. This was recently discussed over at Drugmonkey blog as well. As a commenter there put it, "If you have ever judged someone by where they got their degree, you probably contributed to racial disparity."

      Here's a quick theory though. If schools want to hire only top group candidates, then hiring is effectively controlled by the top profs. Ergo, it's their selection of students/postdocs that determines the makeup of the resulting professoriat. This suggests that if the top groups right now committed to hiring URMs, the hiring pool could be more diverse within 5 years.

      Delete
    6. No two candidates can really be equal.

      Delete
  36. I would agree that URM is the last thing to think about in faculty hirings. However, I would also agree if it comes down to two candidates that are equal in every way, except one is an URM. I would pick the URM every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will never find such a situation, and if you think you have, it's because you are not qualified to evaluate scientists.

      Delete
    2. I question how well the individuals within some search committees are able to competently and objectively evaluate candidates, and the ethical basis and criteria by which they nevertheless do so. But then again, this observation is likely not unique.

      Delete
  37. Hi biotechtoreador,
    quoting from
    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nv-supreme-court/1413160.html

    "Farmer has failed to demonstrate that the University's pay disparity was rooted in gender discrimination.   Indeed, the University's Dean of the College of Arts and Science testified that the Chemistry Department had recently hired a female chemist at a higher salary than a male with similar qualifications in order to diversify its faculty and provide a female role model.   Market forces dictate higher salaries for female Ph.D's in chemistry due to a shortage of qualified women."

    Copying the preceding sentence also automatically copies the following link:
    See more at: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nv-supreme-court/1413160.html#sthash.28Dxw1q6.dpuf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.

      One might argue that a case decided in 1997, on a hiring that happened in 1990, is not recent. Sucks to be a white male (as I am)....whole world stacked against you....

      Delete
    2. You have my sympathy.

      Just today, I corresponded with one of my referees, from whom I asked a ref. letter for a position in a different area in his own university. Aha, I thought: finally some insider connections! Nope. So I asked if he might inquire about the competition: "I was wondering if it would be fair and appropriate for you to ask the X search committee what -in simple terms- they did not like about my current application package." His response: "I think it would be fine to ask, but I think ... will just get the standard answer: "There were stronger applications." "

      However: the salaries of faculty with state universities are public knowledge, and a substantial number of the positions being offered are likewise with such institutions. Would it be possible to request anonymized comments on candidates from the search committees under those circumstances?

      Delete
    3. UNR hired two faculty members in 2014: myself and Yftah Tal-Gan. You can easily verify that our salaries are identical.

      Delete
    4. Hi Laina,

      The quote which I unexpectedly found on the internet pre-dates your time at UNR by a number of years. I honestly don't know anything about the circumstances besides what I have copied here.

      BTW, has your department already made interview decisions for the IC opening?

      Delete
    5. GC: Yes, those hiring decisions were made while I was still in grade school, and I therefore know very little about those choices. I only know what happened the year I was hired.

      As to our IC opening, we've not made any decision public. Best of luck to you in your search!

      Delete
  38. Hi URM,

    I will stick by my assertion that being an URM is the 2nd to last criterion. The absolute last one is signing the contract. Here is my example: while a MSc student at Michigan State University, I knew an exceptionally talented and personable faculty member, who was Jamaican. One of my major mistakes was to not chose him as research director (I'm just a weird white guy). He received an offer to move to Harvard. However, that really pissed him off, because, in his words, they only wanted him to help their EE profile. So he stayed at MSU.

    I gotta get to "work" now.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see why he would be annoyed. I read an article a while back (don't remember where, but several years old) about schools recruiting black faculty from other schools, when they were already a sure thing. They were relying on smaller schools to do the work and take the risk of recruiting minorities. So being lazy, and keeping overall representation low. I too would refuse to move. I wouldn't want to be a window dresser to show how progressive a department is when they wouldn't have had the guts to take a risk on me as a newbie (the same risk they would have to take on any first time hire, be they weird white guy or otherwise).

      Delete
  39. Quick comment on UMass Lowell: that place puzzles me. The search protocol at their Chem. Department was very opaque (i.e. non-transparent). Are they also very bureaucratic? Or are the all genetically related to one another? Will we ever receive a "good luck" letter from them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question. I had a phone interview with UMass Lowell last hiring cycle. I was never contacted again. No "good luck letter."

      Delete
  40. I came to post about the Harvard letter, but LiqC (on ChemBark) beat me to it. For those who didn't receive the letter - as someone else stated on ChemBark, the "XXX" and "[title]" are in fact what was included in the letter (that is, LiqC was not trying to anonymize the letter; there was never a name to begin with).

    What a joke. Not only does it reflect Harvard's complete disregard for the candidates who applied, but I'd venture to guess it reflects a general apathy towards personnel management within the department.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm at least glad they took the time to try (barely). The 20 schools I applied to that have already completed interviews but don't have the time to notify the rejects are much worse, in my opinion.

      Delete
    2. Be glad Harvard actually sent out notification. Who the heck cares if it didn't personally reach out to you and caress your bruised ego - the feeling of waiting and wondering is much worse, and plain inconvenient.

      Delete
    3. Im so confused, I never recieved an email rejection from harvard. Not that I anticipate an interview.

      Delete

  41. Call me naive, but I thought that Chemistry was a scientific discipline. Please correct me if I am in error, but my understanding of the scientific process is:
    1. Develop a hypothesis.
    2. Design an experiment to test that hypothesis - which usually means collecting data.
    3. Collect the aforementioned data.
    4. Interpret that data to judge whether or not it supports the hypothesis.
    5. If necessary, then correct that hypothesis to agree with the data.
    6. Possibly return to step (1).

    Now, some folks over at Chembark did not like my listing of the pedigrees of unnamed assistant professors with an unnamed university. Furthermore it seems that Chembark erased that dat.

    I seriously used that data to decide whether or not to apply for their faculty opening. I also did not provide an interpretation of that data. I merely stated that others may find my methodology to be useful. I have two possible possible interpretations of that data:
    1. The assistant professors were hired on account of their publication lists, recommendation letters or other semi-quantitative metrics.
    2. The assistant professors were hired on the basis of whether their most recent subordinate positions were at prestigious universities.

    If there are any scientists out there, then I would be glad to consider alternative interpretations of that data.

    At the beginning of this application season, I rated each possible employer on a numerical scale, on the basis of how likely it was that I am granted an interview. The basis of that rating system was solely subjective and non-quantitative. As it turned out, it was also grossly over-optimistic.

    My head is becoming very sore from hitting it against the wall of the ivory tower. But if -against most logic- I were to reapply next year, then I would attempt a quantitative rating of each potential employer, using publicly available data. In that context, I was curious if a quantitative metric for the importance/prestige/fame of North American universities already exists.

    Happy New Year to the Trolls :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will admit I am from the "Ivory Tower", but I don't think it is as simple as 1 or 2. I may be wrong here, but I'd guess that generally the best quantitative data comes from the most prestigious universities. Sure there are outliers as there are duds at top schools and absolute monsters at lower tier schools. It is a very complex problem, I'm sure one could make a decent argument that it is also easier to publish papers in places like Science and Nature when you have prestige on your side.

      Delete
    2. "1. The assistant professors were hired on account of their publication lists, recommendation letters or other semi-quantitative metrics.
      2. The assistant professors were hired on the basis of whether their most recent subordinate positions were at prestigious universities."

      Probably more 1 than 2, i'd guess 60/40. I assume this is similar to any other job, so unsure what the surprise is.

      "I rated each possible employer on a numerical scale, on the basis of how likely it was that I am granted an interview. The basis of that rating system was solely subjective and non-quantitative"

      Now you have data to recalibrate your 'subjective numerical scale' (though such a scale seems oxymoron to me).

      " I was curious if a quantitative metric for the importance/prestige/fame of North American universities already exists."

      It does, and this: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-schools/chemistry-rankings is it (+/- a few ranks, but gives idea or which tier: Below UCSD and you're not getting a job at at RO1 school, past page 3 and you're unlikely getting a job at a university I've heard of, and past page 5, well, there's always a VAP or community college).

      Delete
    3. This year is particularly difficult from my observation so far. More like, below Princeton and you're not getting a job at an RO1 school; past half page 2 and you're unlikely getting a job at a university I've heard of; and past page 3, well, there's always a VAP or community college.

      Delete
  42. Thanks for the information, although it is dismal. I've passed this on to a few very talented former undergrads who also aspire to....yep, that's right.

    The comment "This year is particularly difficult from my observation so far." Deserves a comment, although it might be more appropriate as part of a discussion for a bar or pub. The question is whether the trend is clearly in one direction, or the current year is just a "bump". My beliefs tend towards the former interpretation. There are a number of experiments which could be envisioned to gain information on this:
    a. data on the applicants:positions advertised on an annual basis? Departments obviously have this information, but the question is whether they are willing to share it.
    b. Long-term degree outcomes e.g. five years after terminal degree. For example, one could measure the number of graduates against their ACS membership over 1-10 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Data on a may be interesting. My take from friends in academe is that for any position there are 100+ applications, the majority (maybe 80%) from people with no chance for the position (50 year olds with dismal CVs, PhD students from (let's say) 'developing nations') whose applications get tossed, of the remainder half get triaged out quickly and half the remaining half make the short list after some contentious committee meeting. Data on b would also be interesting, though DK measuring anything against ACS membership has any value.

      The problem with R&D is that measuring outcomes is tough: papers in 'good' journals/patents/companies started/grants obtained in 10 years? Which is more important? I recall some years ago having coffee with a PDF who'd been looking for a position for abt 5 years---he got usually a half dozen interviews a year, but never an offer. He asked, of a recent hire in our deptartment "what do they have that I don't have". I thought about it for a moment, and realized all the recent hires in our department were taller than average (>6'2") and he (as am I) was of average height. I doubt there are any data to support it, or ever will be, but I'll bet you could correlate (with r^2>0.66) height with having a faculty position. Not necessarily fair, but there you go.

      Delete
    2. Shit. If this is true, then it looks like my professional life (at least in this country) is screwed. So for those who are curious, here are some details from my own career:
      1. Was faculty in the UK, until the budget-obsessed university management and government closed the chemistry program.
      2. Returned to the US, and started applying to positions over here. Got some interviews.
      3. Finally landed a tenure-track position in an obscure location. But then the higher management demanded that I magically switch my research interests into an area for which I was not hired, nor had any experience.
      4. Since the state in question has hire-n-fire laws, in 2014, I lost my job, in spite of numerous protest from faculty and students. The departmental chair's apology was "we made a mistake".
      5. Turned 50 while at faculty job #2.
      6. Started re-applying for faculty positions. Absolutely no interviews.

      Delete
    3. It's a big investment hiring a new assistant professor. If you were choosing between making that investment in someone who was 35 with potentially 30 years of service ahead of them or 50 with 15 years ahead of them... which would you choose?

      Delete
    4. The financial investment would be greater at a richer R1 institution than a PUI or CC. I would think the older you are the more likely to find something in a PUI or a CC than an R1. Also I would think there would be far less age discrimination for 1-year contract lectureship positions. This is something I might look for myself, being a "man of a certain age".

      Delete
    5. While that is indeed frustrating, at least you had a chance at running your own group. Plenty of us out there that are struggling to even get a foot in the door.

      Delete
    6. Honestly, based on all his comments here and on ChemBark it's apparent that Generic Chemist is just bitter about screwing up his shot(s)--shots a lot of us will never even get. He seems intent to hijack whatever narrative helps him feel better about himself and cope with the fact that it didn't work out, at the expense of a lot of hopeful candidates and people who want to provide useful advice. I'm ready to hear less from this retread and more from the rest of the community on various aspects of the job application process.

      Delete
    7. Dear AnonymousJanuary 4, 2016 at 11:21 PM, aka Professor Troll: if you have any guts, then kindly give yourself a pseudonym, and let's have at it.

      Delete
    8. If you are a gentleman, GC, as you appear to be, let the choice of weapons rest with him. Duels are cool.

      Delete
    9. Fair enough, NMH.

      The nature of a troll is to disappear underground after making trouble.. That being said, the Wikapedia definition of a troll is a little different than that which is being used here. Perhaps a new term is in order? To stick with the Tokienesque origin of these creatures, perhaps a new name is in order? I recommend "goblin".

      Delete
  43. I agree with Anonymous and NMH. I don't mean to rain on your parade Generic Chemist, but on the search committees I have been on (at a top-20 R1) applications from anyone whose PhD is more than 10 years old is not even considered (and, realistically, that number is probably much closer to 5 than 10).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry--this was supposed to be a reply to the discussion immediately above!

      Delete
  44. At the state PUI I taught at this year, the Chem dept chair stated what they are looking for is "momentum" (this is the exact word she used), which I assume means you will immediately fit expectations of the school, no matter how extreme, exhausting, and poorly compensated they may be. I think there it meant is that if you had evidence that you were a good teacher and a project that you engage students with, and one that was sexy enough to be funded by the state grant funding agencies that existed, then they wanted you.

    In light of this infomration, because I'm "of a certain age" without a good idea for a cheap project, my best shot is at a CC. And I'm finding its a lot of work to teach on the side with a full time job in research to make myself attractive for this kind of position.

    I recall I went to a national meeting of PUI's about 10 years ago. The two things I remember were:

    1.) how exhausted the new hires of PUI's seem to be (on top of the low salary they receive).

    2.) There was one guy that talked about how to get a job at a PUI. He said that he looked at a candidate and tried to determine how much they have been "preparing all of their life" for that kind of job. But then earlier, he admitted when he was looking for a job (in the late 1960's) he had no idea what he wanted to do with his PhD and so decided to apply for the position he had. I really think things were easier back then.

    IMO, extreme competition has made everything far more miserable in the USA in the last twenty years. I really hope these other countries from around the world that keep providing us with their talent improve their states, but I'm not optimistic.

    ReplyDelete
  45. @nmh, you think new hires at R1's aren't exhausted?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Compared to PUI's, probably not. I work at a R1 and taught at a PUI. Although expectations maybe higher at R1 (bring in lots of grant $$$), workload at a PUI is FAR worse (teach 3 classes per semester and develop a project for undergads to do on a shoe-string budget).

    Ive always felt that faculty at R1'a have it easy, and the gravy train gets even better when they are tenured on 100% salary.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Well it probably doesn't count for anything in today's environment, but my own father was/is a renown scientist and stayed 100% active until the age of 75. Then became an emeritus.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Did anyone hear from West Virginia or University of Louisville?

    ReplyDelete
  49. No response from West Virginia.

    On an unrelated topic, since "Anon Jan 3, 2016 at 9:48 AM" and "Anon Jan2, 2016 at 4:41 PM" think that I no longer have anything to offer society, except for doing the dirty work of 100% teaching for real research directors, maybe I should use my ideas for a start-up? The adverts for the people working for me would be along the lines of "Scientists who are older than 45-50 years old, who feel that they are facing repeated age discrimination and who are willing to carry out bench work will be preferentially treated".

    Age discrimination is a dirty little word which, if one mentions during the process of searching for an intellectually challenging job, will automatically land your application at the bottom of the pile.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Read the first story of the front page about the history PhD trying to find an academic position. And you think we have it bad:

    https://phdscam.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi NMH,

      This may sound surprising, but ca. 2 years back, I read an authoritative article which claimed that doctorates in the physical sciences now have more trouble finding long-term positions than do "artsies". Unfortunately, I do not know the URL any more, otherwise of course I would post it here. However, I still mentioned it to some of my artsie-friends and they too were surprised.

      But I did scratch my head about how this could possibly be true. The only explanation which I had was that in spite of their intellectual interests, those history, English, etc. majors are not dumb. In other words, they anticipated a tough time finding real employment, and hence they are more willing to adapt to a changing job market than are physical scientists. After all, many of us started our studies being stary-eyed and full of enthusiasm and optimism about finding a job in our narrow fields.

      This contribution might become fodder for them thar trolls!

      Delete
    2. Hi, NMH,

      Perhaps a little along the lines of the "PhD scam" essay, I came across the following one from"Vitae", titled "Skip The Department Meeting", in reference to the plight of contingent faculty:

      https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1250-skip-the-department-meeting?cid=VTEVPMSED1
      The premise seems to be that the pyramid is starting to crumble.

      BTW, FYI, check out the CB faculty opening list. I am beating up on a couple of trolls over there.

      cheers

      GC

      Delete
  51. BTW, Marshall U. just sent me a second "thank you" e-mail. Either they felt the need to ascertain that they've gotten the point across, or they have incompetent staff.

    ReplyDelete