Posts Tagged ‘Academic Search Committee’

With the beginning of the school year it has been easy to forget that a year ago I was in a much different situation.  For everybody who is on the job market (or who is still trying to figure out what happened on last year’s job market), this post gives an interesting look inside a search committee.  While the position in question is for a philosophy department, a number of the factors that the committee deals with (high numbers of applicants, evaluating job talks) will be similar across departments, though the numbers of applications are likely higher because of the school’s location in New York City.

Most interesting, I thought, was this paragraph:

How did we prune our field from 637 to 27? An important selection criterion was holding a Ph.D. from a good university. Members of our department earned their Ph.D.s at Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, and University of London. Additionally, City College is known as the “Harvard of the Proletariat,” with distinguished alumni that include nine Nobel Laureates, more than any other public institution in America. Our faculty members are expected to live up to this legacy.

I am leery of any school that describes itself as “the [insert higher-profile school] of the [insert different group or geographic location]” but it is interesting how much a Ph.D. from a “good university” seemed to matter.  Based on this list, the top programs in philosophy seem to correspond to schools that the general public would think of as “good,” but I’m guessing that this is not the case in all disciplines.  I would be particularly interested to see if departments at schools that think of themselves as “the Stansbury of the East” (remember how bad Jessie Spano wanted to go to Stansbury?) feel pressure to hire from schools with impressive names even if they don’t have particularly impressive programs in a given area.

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