Saturday, June 11, 2011

More on publications and academic jobs

There seems to be a pervasive need by American academics to maintain the illusion of meritocracy by falsely claiming that publications count in hiring decisions. For the vast majority of hires at the assistant professor level this is simply not true. If it were I would have gotten at least one US interview from 2005 to 2007. Publications undoubtedly count for many other things, but for landing a first teaching job in the US they do not help at all and may very well hurt your chances. They can often signal to committees that your expertise is too narrow and outside the perimeter of what they are looking for in a candidate. Again for the most part they are looking for people to teach European history from 1400-1945 to freshmen, not anything specialized. I enjoy teaching in Africa so other than wasted time and effort being blacklisted in the US is not that big of deal for me. But, it really is misleading for American academics to be telling recent PhDs that if they just publish enough they will get a job. This is simply not true and in many cases publications might hurt their chances.

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