The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Wanted: Beginners with experience!


I’m getting weary of job advertisements in academia that state that recent graduates and even ABD candidates are welcome to apply (ABD = “all but dissertation,” in postgrad degrees where the defence of the dissertation is the final step required), and then I see the following: Those same advertisements go on to list the essential qualities in a candidate, followed by the preferred qualities. The list of essentials lists things like “must have excellent university/college teaching record” or “must have research supervision experience” or “must have experience lecturing int his subject.”

Those are the essentials? Look, either you’re open to people who have just graduated and not worked full time in the field, or you’re not. If you’re not, just say so. It’s a bit like advertising for a wife and saying “Virgins welcome to apply: Must have sexual experience!”


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  1. Bob

    You need another analogy … sexual experience doesn’t always involve taking ones virginity

  2. It does in the sense intended in this blog post. I preferred not to say “must have copulated.”

  3. Academia is a feudal system: lords and squires and peasants. (Switching to a simile) It’s like a pyramid scheme: find young and eager scholars to study under established scholars and promise them positions in the future — all the aspiring scholars do is pay the tuition for the people at the top of the pyramid.

    My first degree (Theology) left me qualified for nothing more than loan repayments (of course, no means to make them). I only entered my current degree program (English) because I was able to get a teaching assistantship. Maybe that will mean something when I apply for jobs in the Fall.

    I hope you can break in somewhere and that the frustration doesn’t kill you.

  4. esilverman

    Actually, some philosophy programs give you more opportunitites to teach during your Ph.D. than others. I went on the market while ABD, but had taught over 15 sections including six different course topics and three upper level courses. The teaching assistantship that I had during my Ph.D. required that I teach between six and eight classes during my program. This helped set me up for success on the job market… despite coming from a program with a low Leiter rank.

  5. Thanks for that esilverman. My PhD was by thesis only (so the whole ABD thing never came into play), but teaching opportunities were pretty limited – one tutorial role.

    What’s a fellow to do?

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