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As a fourth year doctoral candidate, in addition to having completed comprehensive examinations and prospectus and working on the dissertation, my thoughts are also turning towards the job market and securing that first academic position. This purpose of this blog is to chronicle the trials and tribulations of completing my Ph.D. and finding that first job.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

First one goes out today...

Well, today I sent out my first ever set of materials for a position in the academy. To give you a little background, I'm a second year, second semester doctoral student at the University of Georgia. I will be completed all but one course by the middle of July and will be completing my written comprehesive examinations over the summer months. In the Fall semester, I will be taking my last course, doing the oral defense of my comprehensive exams, along with writing and defending my prospectus. My plan is to be ABD by December 2005.

Based on this background, you might assume that now is probably an odd time to be submitting my first job application. My anticipated graduation date isn't even until May or Augut 2007.

The thing is that my dream job at the perfect institution for me has opened up. They are accepting applications for numerous positions and will keep any of those positions open until the "right" candidate comes along.

So, for the past three months I have been preparing my cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of research interests, and teaching philosophy. I've had drafts of each document reviewed by almost a dozen different individuals in two different provinces and four different states (obviously covering two countries). I have also tried to do the other things that one does to put themselves in a better position to be competitive in the academy. I have been writing and submitting things for publication, applying for grants and various awards, and getting involved in service activites in my college and in professional associations that I belong to. All in the hopes that I will be that "right" candidate.

Having gone through this process once, I am keeping my fingers crossed that this job is "the one," as I would hate to have to go through this process again. Granted, given the timeline that I have outlined above, had this not been my dream job I would not have started this process so early in the game. So, if I am unsuccessful in this application it will probably be another year before I begin the process again.

In terms of my chances, I really have no idea. I have tried to speak with people at that institution not directly involved in the search to get a sense of their take on me and my application. I have gotten a great deal of feedback about the type of candidate that I am right now from those who have reviewed my material. However, none of those individuals are among the select few sitting on the search committee that will decide my fate. Given that this is my first time, I am wondering how others who have gone through this process feel, the range of their emotions, and what they try to do about it; particularly the time from when they send off the application to the time when they are finally contacted about the status of that application.

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Blogger Dr. Marc Glassman said...

Yes, that first position at a university. I recall that I was half way through my dissertation at the University of Georgia when I was brought up to Memorial University of Newfoundland for an interview. When I was offered the position, I was asked "You will have your dissertation and degree completed?" I replied, "No problem." If I only knew the problems that awaited me.

Still, all turned out well, and I have been here at MUN for the past 28 years. How good it would be if we had another UGA graduate here at the Faculty of Education at MUN. I was the second UGA grad, and we have always needed a third. We shall see.

3:59 PM

Blogger MKB said...


Who is the other UGA grad at Memorial?


5:54 PM

Blogger Dr. Marc Glassman said...

Dr. Max Prince, who was from Georgia, received his B.Ed. and Masters degree from UGA. He was here a few years before I came and retired about 10 years ago.

5:52 AM

Blogger Dr. Marc Glassman said...

Now, if we could only bring springtime weather from Athens to St.John's, we would become a worker's paradise.

5:54 AM

Blogger Nathan Lowell said...

I've got paper out myself. But I've got a job that I like a lot -- so I'm sorta riding out the soft-money and watching.

I'm guessing my first paper out there is not all that great. So far I haven't been rejected but ...

1:55 PM

Blogger MKB said...


I know that you were further along in the doctoral process when you started to apply for positions, what did you do to keep your mind off of potential positions after you had sent off your application materials (i.e., how did you not dwell on it?)?


9:18 PM

Blogger Nathan Lowell said...

I had actually graduated before I sent out my first paperwork.

My circumstances are not typical in that I have a full time, professional position doing work that I enjoy and believe in. I'm HOPING that I'm still in the running, but I'm not depending on the outcome to keep the wolf from the door.

I don't have time to dwell on it. My current job keeps me too busy to worry about future employment and theoretically I've got until 2006 before the soft-money goes away.

There are a couple posts that I've got my eye on, but I'm not going out of my way to beat bushes.

Having said that ... if any of the AECT gang has an open slot for a DE prof .. ;)

9:36 PM

Blogger MKB said...

Thanks for the follow-up Nate, I appreciate your insight.


7:06 AM


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