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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On Not Getting Callbacks

At the Faculty Lounge, Carissa Hessick has sound advice about callbacks: when they come, how they vary both across and within schools, etc.  Dan and Sarah here at Prawfs have excellent arguments in favor of collecting information, but I think it is also valuable for individual aspirants to remember that their mileage may vary.  Let me add two things:

1) Carissa writes about the value of making alternate plans, such as applying for VAPS and so on.  This is excellent advice.  I thought I'd say one more time, by way of reassurance, that I did not succeed in my first go-round at the meat market.  Ultimately, through a friend, I heard about a school that likes to hire additional visiting faculty to help teach its small-group substantive courses, and I did that for a semester; it led to an offer to stick around for the summer semester to teach another course.  At the same time, I checked SSRN's "new positions" email every week, and saw TWO notices from schools looking for visiting professors in my field.  I applied, and in part because of my experience at that first school those applications led to two offers, and to a very enjoyable year spent at the University of San Diego teaching federal courts, legislation, and con law, and getting to know one of the single best faculties in the American legal academy.  By the time I went on the market again, I had a published article and a serious draft, I'd had a chance to present that draft at USD and thus get some good practice on job-talks, and I had serious teaching experience to commend me as well (yes, it's a plus).  Reader, I got the job.  I have friends who have had similar experiences. 

Again, your results may vary.  But I think Carissa is right to suggest that if you don't get any callbacks or offers, it's not the end of the world or, if you're serious about entering the academy, the end of the road.  In addition to VAPs and the like, keep an eye (and ear--talk to your faculty friends and mentors) out for visiting positions, which can pay pretty well and give you some great experience and qualifications.  And make sure that one piece of the visiting offer is that you get a chance to deliver a workshop while you're there.  In the meantime, at least for those who have a serious vocation, take heart.

2) Perhaps while candidates are thinking about pooling and sharing information, they might share information on one more piece of the puzzle: what the schools are offering by way of entry-level packages.  Those packages are individually negotiated and may vary even within schools, but it would probably help your own bargaining position if you knew what other schools are offering.  And, not to beat a dead horse, but as I have found in Tuscaloosa, there are all kinds of rewards involved in living outside one of the four or five cities that everyone wants to flock to; keep in mind issues of livability while you're at it, including housing prices and what the community is like.


Posted by Paul Horwitz on October 19, 2011 at 08:58 AM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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Is there a way to check the archives of SSRN's mail list?

Posted by: anon | Oct 19, 2011 10:01:23 PM

Here is another link to try. I've seen VAPs on here and I think they have a feed you can subscribe to: http://www.higheredjobs.com/faculty/search.cfm?JobCat=134

Posted by: anon | Oct 19, 2011 10:41:19 AM

Thanks! I'm all signed up now. I really appreciate the tip!

Posted by: waiting, also | Oct 19, 2011 10:36:13 AM

There is no such thing as a dumb question! No, just kidding. But yours wasn't a dumb question. SSRN has a variety of email notification services you can sign up for, and one of them is called "LSN Professional Announcements and Job Openings." Here's some information cut-and-pasted from the bottom of a recent email:

Individual membership (for those not covered by a site subscription), complete our web subscription form at our secure site: http://www.ssrn.com/subscribe
If you are undergoing financial hardship and believe you cannot pay for a journal, please send a detailed explanation to [email protected]

If you can't get a site subscription for one reason or another, you might see whether a friend (such as mentor, someone currently teaching, or a VAP) can forward this weekly email to you. You should, in any event, keep your ears open more broadly; schools often use this site to announce spots for visitors, but obviously they don't always do so. Good luck!

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Oct 19, 2011 10:28:26 AM

Hi Paul - Maybe this is a dumb question, but what is the "SSRN 'new positions' email" and how does one sign up to get it?

Posted by: waiting, also | Oct 19, 2011 10:13:49 AM

Further to the point of pooling information, I put out a general call a few days ago to fellow health law applicants to contact me, which turned out very well. I have shared everything I know and certainly plan to share information regarding entry-level packages. Because I think we have different preferences, and we now have significantly more information than we had before, to the extent to which we are able to leverege this information to both end up where we want, that would be great. And, at the very least, we now have a new contact in the same subject area. I would definitly encourage others who are in similar niche areas to do the same.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 19, 2011 10:06:20 AM

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