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Modern British 2010

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Search committee members:
PhD: 12
ABD: 6
ABD and will defend this year:  4
Post Doc: 2
FIrst time on market: 5
Three or more years on market: 5
Unemployed, looking for job: 1
Have short-term gig, looking for TT: 9
Have TT position, looking for new one: 1
Tenured but hankering after greener pastures:
Glutton for punishment: 1
Is nervously checking my cell phone and my e-mail every five minutes hoping to get an MLA invite: 2
Getting impatient! (The Americanists seem to have so much more gossip!): 3
Added a "gossip" column at the end of the job list
Feeling the dark encroachment of an old catastrophe: 3
Staring to feel sick to my stomach 1

Primary area of research:

Fiction: 10
Poetry: 3
Modernism: 12
pre-1945: 5
post-1945: 7

I'd like to make one SMALL DESPERATE PLEA to those of you with campus visits. Please, please, PLEASE cancel your visit if you already know you absolutely aren't going to take the job for whatever reason. I realize there are very few of us (not me) in such a luxurious position this year, but, if you are, there are alternates on short lists who really, REALLY want those campus visit spots and won't get them if you wait until after your visit to drop out. Thank you--& good luck to everyone!!

OFFERS MADE (any info here would be greatly appreciated, even if it is through the grapevine):Edit


Bridgewater State: offer made and accepted (2/26)

Eastern Illinois U: offer made and accepted (heard from SC chair, 2/23)

East Tennessee State U: offer made and accepted

Ithaca College: offer made and accepted

Marquette: made and accepted

UChicago: offer made

Bridgewater State College (MA) British and Irish modernism (Until Filled) LinkEdit

  • Does anyone have an idea if this position might be an inside hire?
  • Have you been given a reason to think it is?
  • I thought that I saw a VAP here that did British and Irish modernism, but I must have seen it at another school.  I've looked at so many websites that they all begin to look the same...
  • Has anyone heard anything from BSC? (11/29)
  • No, but the deadline is Dec. 1st.
  • Phone interview scheduled (12/10)  (x2)
  • Notified for on-campus interview via email (12/24) (x2)
  • Be careful with this school:  They've posted essentially the same job twice before and failed to fill it, and they do a very poor job of communicating with candidates.
  • Anyone accepted / turned down an offer there?
  • I have interview scheduled for early February...
  • Offer made 2/19
  • And accepted?
  • Offer accepted 2/26

Colgate U, Deadline: November 20Edit

  • I've deleted some comments below that were _pasted in from the 20th/21stC American page_ b/c they're not important and are leading to mass confusion.
    • Q1: Anyone know what "modern fiction" means in this posting? Are they looking for a modernist or just 20c in general?
    • Q2: Are they strictly looking for an Americanist?
  • EOAA form by mail (12/7)(12/14) (12/17 Am I just getting over-sensitive at this point, or it is totally lame to send an EOAA form without any sort of letter whatsoever?)
  • Plenty of faculty in the Colgate English department specialize in fiction.  The theater dept is affiliated with the English major ---and "housed" there for administrative purposes --- but mostly functions as a separate concentration.  This is definitely a purposefully open call, so don't sweat it.
    • I don't think anyone on this page is sweating it. But maybe it would be helpful to post this rebuttal on the Americanist page, where the conversation started (:
    • A friend who doesn't use the wiki got an interview request via email this morning (12/14).
  • MLA Interview request (12/14)
    • So I suppose that modern fiction specialists in world lit are out of the running. Too bad.
    • I kind of thought so, too. I had hoped for an interview. Then I recalled that this university is absolutely in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.
      • They are in the middle of nowhere. I am also a more than a bit miffed that Colgate and Dickinson wrote what amounts to a very vague and misleading search description. Shame on them!
        • Shame? Really?? There are plenty of search descriptions that are in good faith that later lead to more strictly bounded searches.
        • campus visit request has been made -- heard through grapevine

Dickinson College (11/6) Contemporary/1945-present Edit

  • There are five people on the 20/21C American page who got asked for more materials. No one on Anglophone or Modern British reports any requests. You know what that means, kids.
  • A: That Dickinson could have written a job description specifying that they were looking for an Americanist and saved hundreds of us well over a thousand cumulative hours spent reading about their school, their department, looking at their faculty profiles, their courses, their mission, then composing a custom application letter? Dickinson, if you're reading, did you not know when you drafted the job ad that you wanted an Americanist?
  • Yes... they really shouldn't have done this to Brit lit people.  If they wanted a wide range of smart contemporary Am lit people, there were ways to imply it in their ad ("US-based, transnational interests, etc.) 
  • It may mean they do not want Anglophone or British people; it may also mean that the Americanists are more active in updating their Wiki. Or both. A: It's the latter. At least one MLA interviewee was British.
  • campus visit requested -- heard through grapevine

Eastern Illinois (11/6) 20th/21st C British Edit

  • email ack. with link to online EEO (10/28) (11/18 x3, 11/19)
  • MLA interview scheduled by phone (12/17) x 2
  • They have invited two people to campus so far.
  • Has anyone got any news?
  • offer made and accepted (heard from SC chair, 2/23)

East Tennessee State U (12/11) Modern BritishEdit

  • lack of application and AA form (11/30), (12/4)
  • MLA Interview scheduled by phone (12/17) x2
  • Has anyone who interviewed with ETSU heard anything yet about campus visits?
  • Campus visit invite by email!
  • Campus visit scheduled by phone (1/25)
  • An offer has been made and accepted.
  • Nearly two months after my February campus visit, I haven't heard a word from ETSU. Nor have I been reimbursed for my travel expenses. A very poor showing.
  • How frustrating. And I thought it was bad that three months after my MLA interview with them I haven't heard a word, though they assured me that everyone interviewed would be notified either way by mid-January. This market's abject.
  • They were great with me - kept me informed at every turn.
  • Well, okay, but you posted those last two comments simultaneously to make it appear that two people were posting. Also, you're apparently the person who got the job--the same person who posted this positive feedback posted an update in the "offers made and accepted" section. Why am I not surprised that ETSU would take care to communicate with you? I recognize that this is an anonymous forum, but please don't intentionally try to deceptively manipulate our perceptions.
  • I've removed the second comment. Sorry they haven't been forthcoming in your case. Good luck.
  • This was, by far, the strangest MLA interview that I had.

Florida Gulf Coast University (1/07/10) Edit

Does "Modern British" mean the entire 20th century or post-1945? Is this a position for someone who specializes in British Modernism?

  • e-mailed ack of application, with schedule (phone interviews by end of February, campus interviews middle to end of March) x2
  • email requesting phone interview, 2-8 (x2)
  • campus visit invitation extended by phone, 2-17
  • Offer made 4/14
  • This was, by far, the strangest phone interview that I have had this year.

Georgia Gwinnett College (rolling)Edit

  • Am I the only person who applied to this? Has anyone heard anything?
  • No, I applied, too, but I have not heard anything. According to last year's wiki, they did nothing until March I believe. (1/25)
  • phone interview request (by phone and email) (1/26 x 2)
  • Has anyone heard anything since the phone interviews???
  • Campus interview scheduled (2/23)
    • Just curious: how did you hear? Thanks...
    • Phone call and follow up email.
    • Any updates? Any idea how many people were brought to campus? I see mentions in the news that the school is fighting budget cuts and layoffs of faculty, which does not bode well.
    • Any updates? Checking the HR page tells me my application is still "in progress." Has anyone else had a campus invite? Gotten an offer? Thanks for any feedback. (5/11/2010)

Ithaca College (rolling) British modernistLink Edit

  • has anyone heard anything from Ithaca? A1: Nothing here. A2: No, but it's early days.
  • Is it still early days? (11/29)
    • Yes. It's not uncommon to not hear anything until mid-December. And of course you always hear the random story of a person getting a call for an MLA interview on Christmas... Or, even better, once the convention has started. (11/30)
    • Yes, but by then they've already looked at writing samples, etc., no?
    • But I don't think that anyone has received a request for a writing sample, right?  Has anyone received a request?
    • That's precisely the question. I'm the impatient one from 2 and 4 posts ago. The response was that it was still early days vis-a-vis getting an interview. But my initial question concerned materials requests.
    • I was the "early days" poster.  I still think there's plenty of time to hear before MLA, and I also agree with the other posters it's very common for schools not to request more materials before inviting to first interviews, based on past experiences.
  • Some schools never ask for a writing sample. Did they ask for letters of rec.? If so, they may just go straight to scheduling MLA interviews. Very common.
  • Yes, they did ask for rec. letters initially.
  • Received phone call for interview. (12/08) x2
    • Have heard nothing yet (12/10)
    • Have they already called everyone they would like to interview at MLA?
  • Letter of Rejection (12/09) [Revised: My bad. I confused this letter with another. Sorry] { It's OK. Everything begins to blend together at this point! :) }
    • I know for certain that absolutely no rejection letters have gone out. (12/11)
      • Well, that's interesting!
      • Awk-waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!
  • Letter of rejection via e-mail (x7), 12/16.
    • That was a very polite rejection email, and it is good to know sooner rather than later.
      • Forgive my naivety, but is it that unusual to get a polite email? I mean . . . is it at the point that we minions breath a sigh of relief, because the head of an English Department, who earns a large sum of money based on words, manages to craft a cordial bit of electronic text? "Thank you for applying. We appreciated your efforts. Based on our department's needs, however, we have not selected you for an interview. Good luck on your job search." How hard is that? It's becoming almost perverse that people are relieved to see a pleasantly worded rejection letter.
    • Agree. I'm hearing crickets from everything else, so a very polite and timely rejection was nice.
      • The very good points made in the 'To the Search Committee' section about mid-Dec rejection letters and MLA conference still apply, however. MLA's a week away. The majority of my letters came around Dec. 3, and I was able to alter my travel plans accordingly. I do wonder about the lucky candidate who might be making his/her airline ticket purchase at this stage. Ah well, a polite rejection letter is reason to cheer about in these days.
    • Did anyone else receive two separate rejection emails on two different days, worded slightly differently?
    • I tend to make positive remarks when search committees are prompt and polite and human. I have certainly seen unfortunately worded and poorly managed rejection letters. I think it's ultimately helpful to give search committees feedback like this. So kudos to Ithaca for telling us quickly and politely, in a letter composed by a person not generated by a computer bank.
    • Offer made--heard through grapevine.

Marquette University (11/1) Modern British and Irish Edit

  • Request for writing sample (11/2) (x2)
  • So fast-- congrats! Can you say when you filed your application?
  • I'm not the OP, but have info from the 20th/21st c. American page (Marquette's also hiring in that area): They seem to be reading applications as they are submitted online. Several people were asked for writing samples well before the deadline passed. [Looks like most people got requests within a week after they submitted their applications.] (11/4)
  • To the OP, who reported request on 11/2, you applied specifically for the British job, right? (As opposed to the Americanist job?)
  • I'm the OP. I submitted my materials Oct 31 (for the British job, not the American)
  • MLA interview scheduled by phone (12/10)
  • Rejection email, 12/21.
  • A friend has a campus visit scheduled.
  • Heard through grapevine--offer made and accepted.

MIT (10/20) Contemporary Literature or Media (not specifically British) Edit

  • email ack. (11/5)
  • 20th/21st c. American page indicates requests for further materials were made on 10/30 and 11/13.
  • Same on the Film Studies page--looks like they may not have wanted British lit. people.
    • See discussion of Dickinson above for similar phenomena.
      • At least one Brit. person--a friend of mine who doesn't use the wiki--was asked for more materials in Nov. (x2)
        • I would strongly encourage people to add information like this -- even if it is about a friend. If we do not add to the wiki, the wiki will not help all of us.
  • 20th/21st c. American page lists MLA interviews (12/16)

Mount Saint Vincent University (12/4) Modern and Contemporary Literature - Poetry Edit

  • Quick personal email ack from chair (x2).
  • My referees were asked to submit letters of recommendation just before the holidays. Committee will be meeting again in January.
  • And then???
  • And then crickets. Received a response to an enquiry in late January promising something "fairly soon". Naught since.
  • Campus interviews scheduled in February and held in first two weeks of March.

Providence College (11/02) Modernism / 20C British and Irish link Edit

  • email ack. notifying me that transcript not yet received (thank these good people!) (11/12 x 2)
  • Anything, anyone? (11/29)
  • Nope--I emailed last week to follow up, and they said they were still reviewing applications.
  • Any word?
  • Nothing here.
  • MLA interview request by phone (12/16 x2)
  • Congrats and good luck to you! Anyone else get a call?
  • Rejection email, 12/22; Rejection snail mail 12/26
  • Still waiting for a rejection by whatever mode. Others? (1/11)
  • Yep. I sent an email inquiring tonight.
  • And then got a rejection via email today. Thank you! Was that so hard??
  • Any MLA interviewees hear anything about campus visits?
  • Nothing yet.
  • Post-interview rejection via email (1/15)

Ripon College (11/1) Edit

  • ack via snail mail (11/9) x2
  • Anything, anyone? (11/29)
  • Interview request by e-mail on Monday (11/30) x2
  • Letter of Rejection (12/09)
    • Mind if I ask what form rejection letter took? (e-mail, snail?)
    • Snail
  • Would the people who received interview requests and rejections mind sharing when you submitted your applications?  I've gotten neither and am wondering if my rejection is in the mail or if they have not finished with the apps. yet. (12/14) x2
  • Once they've made interview requests, you can give up hope. They just haven't gotten around to sending all the rejections out yet. (Rejections are often sent in stages, whereas interviews are set up in one day--or two/three days absolute max.) (12/19)
  • Still waiting for a rejection. Others? (1/11)
  • Also still waiting.  I've heard that schools really shouldn't send out rejections until after someone accepts an offer.  A school where I  was a VAP found itself in the uncomfortable position of being turned down by the first two candidates they brought to campus  and offered the job to.  Since they didn't really like the third they brought to campus, the committee wound up having to go back through all the applicants in the fall and restart the search.
  • Anyone have a campus interview set up yet?
  • Colleague who doesn't use the wiki has a campus visit scheduled.

Rowan University (NJ) (11/02) 20thC / 21stC British Edit

  • email ack 10/23 (two days after application) --- Q: has anyone else who e-mailed an application gotten an ack yet? --- A: yes, email ack (10/25, 10/31) --- Q2: thanks. maybe better to put it this way: has anyone else who e-mailed an application NOT gotten an ack yet? --- A2: I just spoke with the dept. chair, who said they are having e-mail trouble. So if you haven't received an ack, that's why. (I consolidated this thread; hope no one minds.)
  • WS request 11/14
  • Request for writing sample and statement of teaching philosophy 11/14 
  • same request 11/7, 12/2
  • very nice rejection email (12/11 x 7)
  • Never even an ack.  Does that mean they lost my application?
    • Probably so. I sent my first email and never heard from them. Then, I spotted the above comment about email trouble and re-sent my application right on the deadline. Then I received confirmation a few days later.
  • Had any of those who received a rejection email been asked for a writing sample?
    • Yes: 0; No: 5
  • Has anyone had an MLA request?  They promised to call on 12/14.
  • MLA interview scheduled by phone (12/14)
  • Very kind post-materials rejection e-mail, alas! Sigh. (12/14)
  • Ditto (had materials requested, got kind rejection email) 12/14
  • Campus visit scheduled (1/4)
  • Had an interview but not invited to campus.  Nor rejection email yet.  Am I still running?  Time to give up hope? 
  • Often post-interview rejection emails go out months after the MLA.

St. Olaf College (10/15) Global lits in English and 20/21C British link  Edit

  • email ack (10/15), (11/1) (x2)
  • Has anyone heard anything?  The email acknowledgment suggested they'd be in touch in November.
  • Nothing here yet.  I emailed them to see if my letters got there in time in mid Nov. and they never responded.
  • MLA interview requested via email (12/8) (12/11)
  • Rejection via mail (12/14) (x2)
  • Darnit!  I even learned their fight song!
  •  : ) Does anyone else go through extended (and ultimately damaging) imaginative exercises picturing living in each college town and actually look at houses for sale in the area? ... sad but true.
    • Yes.
  • Does anyone have an idea if this might be an inside hire?
  • Why do you think it might be an inside hire?
  • There's a VAP listed on the faculty website who seems to work in this field. The university where I finished my PhD never hires their VAPs for TT positions, but I'm not sure what the protocol is for VAPs at small liberal arts colleges (or at St. Olaf in particular).
  • A friend has a campus interview scheduled (1/11)
  • Rejection email (1/11) (x1)

University of Chicago (11/6) American, British, or Anglophone literatures from 1880 to 1950 Edit

  • Request for writing sample 11/23
  • Request for writing sample 11/30 (x2)
  • Phone call to set up MLA interview 12/17 (x1) [I applied to both this and the contemporary job, and the single interview will cover both periods.]
  • Rejection email 12/21, 1/14
  • Campus visit scheduled, 1/8 (x1)
  • Offer made, 3/1 (x1)

University of Chicago (11/6) American, British, or Anglophone literatures from 1950 to presentEdit

  • American page lists requests for extra materials (11/23) (but right now the requests seem to be for the 1880-1950 range) [From OP: Oops--sorry! That info wasn't yet up when I posted this update here.]
  • American page now lists 3 requests for Writing Samples, 1950-present. (12/2)
  • Request for writing sample 24/11
  • Phone call to set up MLA interview 12/17 (x1)

U Pitt at Johnstown (3/15) Modern-Contemporary British / PoCo Edit

  • Ack letter rec'd via snail mail (3/23)

University of Nevada - Reno (10/29) 20th C. British and/or Post-Colonial link Edit

  • Request for writing sample and dossier (letters, Xscripts) (11/11)
  • Email rejection (12/10 x 4) - Quite a poorly-written one at that!
  • Email rejection #5 in this list, 12/10--but I thought it was a passably nice note.  At least they tell you what's going on in their search. - (#6) Yeah, it seemed pretty harmless to me, too.
  • Email rejection (#6) on the same date.

University of North Carolina - Greensboro (11/20) Post 1900 British and Anglophone Literature link Edit

  • Snail mail ack. with AA form (11/16), (11/21) (ditto 11/28)
  • Request for writing sample, teaching philosophy, letters of rec. (12/2) (x2)
    • Do you mind saying how you got this request? I just got the acknowledgment via snail mail today!
      • The request for additional materials came via email.
  • Did anyone else get a request from them?
    • Yes
  • Phone interview request via email. (12/11)
  • Rejection letter received (12/26)
  • Job offered and accepted (3/13)

University of North Florida (11/2) Early 20th Link Edit

  • Request for writing sample (11/9x2) (11/13)
  • Has anyone who got a ws request heard anything further from UNF? (11/29)
  • No.
  • MLA interview request via email (12/13) (X2)
    • This is a job to love--interesting department, cordial, welcoming people. One of the happier-looking departments I've visited. Enjoy your interviews!
    • Campus visit scheduled by phone (1/07).
    • Does anyone know what the visiting schedule here is--i.e., when campus visits are finished/offer is expected? Thank you!!

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse (11/20) British and/or Irish Modernist Literature Link Edit

  • request for rec letters, made straight to recommenders 11/5 (PS, from OP: I think this automatically happens when you file an application)
  • Has anyone who made an application to La Crosse *not* gotten a dossier request? I'm trying to confirm the accuracy of the last post.
    • It's definitely automatic. My recommenders notified me of the request the very same day I filed the application. (I know that doesn't *exactly* answer your question, but hope it helps.)
    • Yes, that's exactly what i was wondering about. Thank you!
  • It seems like their composition search is proceeding (MLA interviews), so maybe now they will get to the British Lit. search.
  • I wonder if this one's still going on.
  • MLA interview scheduled via phone (12/13)x3
  • I'm confused--I just got an email from the SC chair saying that I have survived the initial round and that they will be in touch if I am selected for a campus interview.  But apparently they have already scheduled MLA interviews. Was this email simply a nicety? (12/21) (x12)
  • I second the confusion.  Are they doing all of their interviews at the MLA or has anyone done a phone interview, etc...?
  • I assume no one among the 13 above has heard anything since the hopes-raising e-mail? (1/11)
  • Smaller state schools often keep people who made the first cut, but didn't get interviews on file instead of rejecting them because their top candidates often withdraw when courted by larger schools.  UWL interviewed people at MLA.
  • Campus visit scheduled (1/12)
  • Does someone want to put a "x3" next to the campus visit so the rest of us can stop checking the wiki? Or has no one else heard anything?
  • I hate to have come to this conclusion, but good luck getting the successful (in general) to share information with their peers. Cautiousness conduces to success -- especially, for some reason, in this particular discipline.
  • To the above posters: this should go without saying, but not *everyone* uses the wiki (and therefore you won't always see that X3). I happen to know plenty of colleagues who avoid it because they feel it is soul-killing. So.

University of Wisconsin at Madison  (11/27) post-1945 British and Irish literature Edit

  • Has anyone had an ack of application? 
    • Yes; letter received 11/13 (x2), 11/23 (x2), 12/1, 12/4, 12/5
  • Request for writing sample. (12/10) [x4 (and rec letters)]
  • Request for writing sample and rec. letters via email. (12/14)
  • MLA interview request via email (12/18)
    • Any of the other 5 mats requests above still waiting?
      • I am!
      • The Search Committee is meeting today (12/21).
      • Have they contacted anyone else?
      • Rejection email (post mat. request) (12/22)
      • still waiting (12/22 after hours)
      • After enquiring, received a reply that all MLA interviews had been scheduled (12/23). Waiting till the 23rd for an interview request is bad. Waiting till the 23rd for a post-materials rejection is just indefensible.
      • Agreed.  Really horrible. 
      • I never got a post-mats rejection. NOTHING. Anyone else in this boat?? The weird, annoying thing is that the dept chair (I think he was, anyway) and I got into this long talk in the elevator at MLA, and I was thinking, "WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY DAMN APPLICATION?!?!"
      • LOL! Same thing for me with N. Fla (I mean, except for the elevator encounter).
      • I'm the OP (12/23). I doubt I would have heard anything if I hadn't emailed on Christmas Eve-eve. I intend to write to the chair when I get back. I encourage you to as well. It's time applicants insisted on the fact of their own value as human beings, and brought home the absurdity of a system that seems to force (nice?) people to do bad things.
        • Good luck with that. As an alum, I know that Madison has a history of rudeness with searches. Just last year, for example, they had already done phone interviews and brought people to campus before the mid-March application deadline for their 18th-century position. (You can look this up on last year's 18th-century job wiki, too.)
      • Have on campus interviews been scheduled yet? Anyone know?
      • Rejection Letter received. 1/26
      • Would you mind saying whether this rejection came via email or snail mail? Did you have an MLA interview?
      • What happened?!!! Please update. Was the search failed? Or was there a hire?!!! Somebody on the inside, please release us from this AGONY!!!

Westminster College (MO) (11/13)  20th C British or AmericanEdit

  • Snail mail ack. with AA form (11/23)
  • somebody on the Anglophone page says phone interview scheduled by phone (12/18) 
  • phone interview (1/12)
  • campus interview scheduled (1/14)


Inside Candidates

  • Does anyone have any insight about clues that might suggest a school has an inside candidate for a position? I would appreciate any feedback or ideas!

I Went to the MLA and all I got was the swine flu

  • convention stories here:
    • MLA rocks. This place is rad. I've been out of US academia for 10 years and within 10 minutes of showing up at the Philly Marriott I had seen 5 people I knew from college, in various capacities. It's like a theme park. Weird and wonderful partially-recognizable specimens from times gone by. You guys don't know what you're dissing.
    • This is the third MLA in Philly that I've attended, and I found this one just deserted.  In 2004 and 2006, the halls seemed packed between exhibits; this year, the book exhibit seemed to get some traffic, but the panels looked empty to me. 

Rejection Letters

  • So when do I cancel my MLA hotel and registration?
  • How about posting the odd rejection letter here, the best and the worst? We can start a rejection letter hall of fame/infamy.
    • God, what I would do for a rejection letter right now, rather than radio silence. . .
    • You say that now, but no news really is good news here.
  • Points for not sending it the day before Xmas, but the the faceless, nameless, computer rejection thing is pretty unclassy. No sign of humans anywhere in their process--not even a cyborg. Respectable points for punctuality; low points for computerized boilerplate interfacing. Eco points for the paperless process:
Position Title: Assistant Professor, Twentieth-Century British and/or Postcolonial Literature (2009)
Search Number: 70599
Applications have been reviewed carefully and after considerable deliberation, the number of candidates has been narrowed. Unfortunately, your application was not one selected for further consideration at this time.
We appreciate your interest in employment at University of Nevada, Reno. Jobs become available frequently at the University and we encourage you to continue to visit our website at http:/ When you see a position that you are interested in, please submit your application electronically through this site.
Best wishes in your job search.
University of Nevada, Reno
  • Count me among those who doesn't mind e-mailed rejection letters, including this one. A paper rejection letter is no less of a form letter, and has no more of an individual touch; it just costs more money and uses more natural resources, at a time when universities should be conserving both. And since many of these jobs—including Reno—took our applications online, what's wrong with the correspondence from their end being online as well? I know I appreciated the money I saved on postage by applying online, and I see no reason to insist that the university not do the same.

    • What s/he said...

    • Nobody has said s/he minds rejections by email. Both rejection letters posted here came by email. But there is a difference between a one-size fits all boilerplate rejection letter that serves all departments and searches and is signed "The University" and an email that's formulaic but is specific to the search and signed by the chair. I prefer the human generated as opposed to the machine generated letter. But either way, I applaud the paperless process. I am very grateful this year to the searches that asked us to email or upload cv and application letter first, without requiring writing samples, letters and transcripts up front. That's a positive trend in my view. So is the emailed rejection letter.
  • I know this letter is from an Anglophone search but many of us work in both areas, so I am posting it here. High points for nice letter with a human feel to it. Came promptly after MLA interviews were scheduled too, not months later. When I emailed the chair with a query before applying, he emailed back promptly. Looks like a well run search.
Dear Candidate,
Thank you for your interest in the University of Hartford. Please forgive this formulaic response, made necessary by the sheer volume of applications we have received for our position in Anglophone literature. We have identified a small number of candidates to interview at MLA and, unfortunately, you are not among that group. Rest assured that the quality of the applicant pool made settling on a short list to interview at MLA extremely difficult.
I wish you well in your job search.
Yours sincerely,
Robert A. Logan
Professor of English
Chair, Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences

Best jobs/Worst jobs

  • All right: what's the choice job among the above? What's the dead end? Opinions?
  • Best Job: U Chicago.  No contest.  And you never know a dead-end until you're in it.
  • Chicago is a dead end you can see from a mile away.  It's a great city, but a totally dysfunctional department that uses searches as political weapons.  This job has been listed for several years and no one has ever been hired.  Plus, they're unlikely to tenure junior faculty, even those with books from top-notch presses.  Madison is by far the best research job listed here.  Lots of others would be wonderful quality-of-life jobs (if such a thing even exists anymore). 
  • UW Madison would be my favorite. I interviewed with UNF recently and liked them enormously. Too bad the search failed.
  • Hey, I'd like that Madison job, too.  Maybe we could share.
    • Fine by me. Shall we tell them two for the price of one?
    • Could do, though now (12/11) I see that several people have been asked for writing samples, and I'm not one of them.  Sigh. I hope you are!
    • I am sorry you weren't. I really like this department, the work they do and the quality of support they give to their students. Even the way the search was worded was exemplary. I hope there are other jobs on your list that you like as much as this one.

Questions for SC MEMBERS:

  1. Why do YOU check the Wiki?
  2. Why do you request more materials days apart?
  3. Do you reject without reading a candidate's material if you can tell from her letter she works, say, later or earlier than you would ideally like?

More specific stats?

  • I am also interested in WHO is getting requests for more materials, interviews, and ultimately jobs: Ph.D.'s in hand mostly? Top 10 Ph.D. program graduates only? For specific jobs, what areas of expertise are being contacted? I really don't know HOW to make myself a better candidate (I already have multiple publications, for example) and it's comforting to know that, well, there's nothing I can do about not being a U Chicago graduate or not working in poetry, or not already being an Assistant Professor. But, yes, I know some of us beyond these parameters do, in fact, get good jobs. It also feels good to post when you do get a request, as well as, when you don't, to share disappointment through humor (see, for example, the categories of searchers we've created) with a job-seeking world that, while still virtual, is a little more tangible through the God-or-Foucault-bless-the-Wiki.
  • Please offer your stats?:
    • recent PhD, top-15 program, 1 p-r'd publication, 13 applications made, 2 mats requests, 1 post-mats rejection, 2 MLA interviews
    • defended this year, program at a large state school (big 10), no publications, about 15 applications maybe, no requests; 1 MLA interview
    • recent PhD, non-TT post at degree-granting institution (smallish, 2nd-tier), 1 publication, ~20 applications, no requests :-(
    • Postdoc. top non-US phd. one book. two articles. several reviews. 30-odd apps/2 mats requests/1 post-mats rejection.
    • ABD, book under contract, 3 p-r articles, 1 request 
    • recent PhD, program in top 25, several book reviews and one short article on pedagogy, one-year VAP, 24 applications, 1 request, 1 MLA interview
    • Recent PhD from 2nd tier program, 2nd year in a VAP position at small institution, 2 p-r'd articles (one on pedagogy), 2 textbook-related pubs, 16 applications, zero requests (boooo), 1 MLA interview (yaaay!)
    • Can someone please define for me what a top tier vs. 2nd tier university is? I know that seems like a silly question. My program is in the top 20, but not top 10--is that top tier??
      • I don't think that's a silly question at all! I'm always baffled by these rankings, too, so I don't really have an answer for you. I would guess, though, that a program in the top 20 is in the top/1st tier; then maybe programs ranked from 30-50 would be in the second tier. What do others think?
    • ABD, top-20, no pubs, 34 applications, 1 request, 2 first-round interviews.
    • What do the rest of you mean by "request"?
      • I mean, request for more materials.
    • ABD, second tier state u, three publications, about 30 applications, 2 requests, 2 interviews  
    • Defended in June, top-tier program, no publications, 22 applications, 3 requests, 5 MLA interviews
      • Wow. Well done. Any tips or insights for the rest of us? Would be nice to know what makes the ideal candidate.
      • (OP) I actually don't think there is such a thing as an ideal candidate.  I have colleagues who have more interviews than I do, but there's no discernible pattern for which schools want to meet which candidates.  The common denominators seem to be a compelling dissertation that makes a clear intervention in the field and interesting contributions to theoretical debates, a supportive committee who will assess your work honestly and write good letters, lots of professional activity, good communication skills, and plenty of enthusiastic collegiality.  Beyond those basics, it's a matter of fit (their perception of fit, not ours--several jobs for which my work seems ideally suited haven't come through).  I had as many MLA interviews last year as I have this year, and no TT job materialized.  But I try not to take things personally, and I don't seek validation in this process because the humanities today are in a bad way.  Best of luck to everyone out there.
      • ABD, top tier program, 1 good pub, about 25 apps, 6 requests, 4 interviews
  • For what it's worth, as of 12/17: so far, 7 overall are "done," 3 are ABD.  Of 10 respondents, 7 have interviews.  5 with interviews are "done," 2 with interviews are ABD.  4 with interviews have publications, 3 don't.   In other words, there are no hard and fast rules.  It's a limited sample, but there's some useful information in there, i think.
    •   But--or *and*--many more interviews are reported above, under the name of the school, than are reported here with the recipient's informative stats. I wonder why that is.
      • Well, not everyone has chosen to share their stats here. I think that's the answer.
      • Right, but my question was *why* are some choosing not to share their stats but forthcoming with the other info, given that this is all anonymous. The stats are what those with fewer or no interviews and/or requests really need to know in order to understand their own comparative situations. Why the opacity (or selective transparency)?, was my question.
      • I don't think that giving information like this is actually a good idea. It tells people without interviews exactly nothing. This is too small a sample size, first of all. And second of all, I think it is clear that people get interviews for reasons not entirely explained by this information--I think a lot of it is driven by fit (actual or perceived) with the dept, not these stats. Also, I think that this is not entirely anonymous. If a search committee member wanted to try to piece together who was talking about their school "anonymously" online, he or she might be able to use this information to hazard a guess. I realize it is a long shot, but in this market, I am unwilling to take that risk.
        • I disagree with the previous post. First of all, these sorts of stats can tell us something AND they can simply make people feel better; in this process, anything that can make us feel better is (in my book, at least) a huge plus. For instance, I'm from a second-tier university--it makes me feel better, and more specifically less jaded, when I see that other people from second-tier schools are getting requests and interviews. This is just one example. As to your second point, I realize that this process can make people paranoid, but this is overdoing it a bit. And even if you're right and some SC member does extensive detective work to match up your real and electronic personas, the worst thing that could come of it is that he or she will know how many other interviews you have. And this could actually work in your favor. So, I understand if people want to remain private, but I would encourage you to be realistic about it. (12/15)
      • Points taken. I think I certainly am being realistic, though. If I weigh the benefits of posting stats about myself to possibly make someone somewhere feel better (or not--couldn't a second-tier university person see someone with similar stats getting interviews and wonder what he/she was doing wrong? to which, by the way, I would say nothing. I think the process is both arbitrary, to a certain extent, and about fit) against even the tiniest (and, I agree, unlikely) risk of appearing to gossip online about schools with which I am interviewing, then why would I make that choice? And given how few people posted stats, I don't think I am alone in thinking that.I have been on other anonymous forums and see people get outed all the time. It isn't all that unusual. This is a brutal market, and I think minimizing risk and being professional are important. Plus, does it not make people without interviews feel worse to see people updating/keeping score--x number of requests. x interviews? The whole process feels lousy anyway--why rub it in? I'd say it helps to know if you likely have not made it to the next round when universities are not disseminating information in a timely manner--that is psychologically helpful. Anything else on here, given sample size and the way the hiring process actually works? It's debatable whether that is helpful. Before I had any interviews set up, it just made me feel worse.
        • I still think you're being overly paranoid. I'm going to assume you have a job in academia right now; if so, you know that people have SO MUCH on their plates right now, and the last thing they are going to do is play a game that requires sifting through lots of applications only to come up with a possible identity of a poster here. Also, I fail to see how posting one's statistics here is unprofessional. As to your point about how adding info can actually make people feel worse, I see what you're saying. I personally appreciate it, but I could see how it might make people feel bad. But those people are free to *not* scroll down and read this section while still benefiting from the wiki.
    • Agreed. I tend toward being overly cautious/sometimes overly paranoid. Glad to see not everyone is and can maybe give you some information that is helpful to you. I don't see distinct patterns in what is above, which seems to confirm what I already know about the process--while where you go to school matters to some extent (though I think the top tier is bigger than most people think, from what I hear from several friends on search committees, most of whom actually do check the wiki), I think that the process remains both alarmingly arbitrary and very much about the prejudices/desires/biases of the particular people on the search committee. [R: Well, on *that* point we are in complete agreement! :)]
    • To the poster who felt it was a risk to post here, I do believe search committees read these wikis more than is visible. And like the poster below, I agree that it's better to register and use a screen name rather than your IP address. But beyond that, the point of the wiki is to share information, learn from each other, and create a temporary sense of community as we run this gauntlet. If you want to see a great sense of community on a wiki, look at Creative Writing, both last year and this year. The more experienced people are mentoring the newer people on everything from "what is a dossier" and "what will the interview be like" to "what does it mean if there's an inside candidate." They are candid, generous and at times very funny. They speculate and learn from each other, particularly about publication records and hiring trends. And they name names--who landed which job. They're sharing more information than we are here. They look like people who'd be good to work with, not people who are taking big risks online.
    •  For those with privacy concerns, you are more anonymous here if you start an account with a username, rather than simply not registering and logging in.  If you do not login, the system uses your IP address (which shows your internet service provider in most cases, and may also show your geographical location.  If you logon at school or work, it may be very obvious.  On the other hand, start an anonymous account with a non-identifying name, and you are more difficult to pin down.  (When there are 300 or more people applying for a job, then it doesn't much matter if someone realizes you're from a particular state, but I am just putting it out there if anonymity is a concern for you.)
      • That is very helpful--thank you! Will do.

  • I just got an interview request and a materials request on Thursday. It's still early in the game, I think. I think this is the week. Good luck, everyone!

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