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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.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

This whole publishing racket...

Well, my application (and my fate) is now officially in the hands of the chairs of the two search committees. But that's not what I wanted to talk about today. Over the past 48-72 hours I have been reading from a lot of other blogs about the trials and tribulations of writing in the academy, particularly by those (like myself) who are still trying to break into it (see Cognitive Dissonance, Who's Deadline is it Anyway, Learning Rocks, Lessig Blog, The Program, and Who's Deadline is it Anyway again).

My good friend Nate Lowell has proposed what I think is a neat idea (see What's in a Name?"). Basically the idea is to create an academic journal that is much like a blog. The articles are posted to the journal and an editorial board review each article in a short time frame nder much the same peer review system that we are accustomed to in the academy. Once the article has been reviewed, if it is accepted it is published to the blog with the comments on the reviewers and then it is open for anyone to discuss through comments or trackback, just like any other blog.

Nate started something a few months back called Terra Incognita to give people a visual of what this might look like and how it may operate, although I think that his thoughts on what he is proposing now are more refined. Basically this would be rather new, David Wiley tried something similar to this a while back (see David Wiley: Pitch, Pitch Journal, and Submitting to Pitch), but for whatever reason I note that the Pitch website is no longer available. In his own post, Nate refers to Innovate, which is similar, but not everything that I have described above.

So, is this next wave of academic publishing in the academy? If it is, then the next step would be to convince Promotion and Tenure Committees of the value of this form of publishing. Given the difficulty that many of them have with simply online journals, this may be the bigger challenge.

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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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