Academic hiring

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Helpful2013, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    Spinning off the thread about Ph.D.'s turning one into an emotional train wreck, I’m hoping to kick around this kind of uncomfortable topic. I’ve seen a number of threads discussing employment in academia after the doctorate. The assumption sometimes seems to be “if I get a PhD, then I will get a full-time academic position.” I think it’s rather more complex, something like: “if I have the PhD, then my publications will be looked at, and if I have major peer-reviewed publications, then I will be a viable contender for an academic position.” I don’t think data exists to validate or invalidate my opinion, but here it is. I think either a university or say a leading biotech firm is going to care mostly about the kind of research you’ve proven yourself capable of beyond your PhD. A resume sporting a Harvard degree without peer-reviewed articles at least accepted for publication is likely to be canned in the climate that has developed in the last 5-10 years.

    This also leads to discussion of what are accepted as credible peer-reviewed journals. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a great thread going on predatory publishers that siphon off people’s research, charge fees, and have no credibility. It’s worth reading for anyone interested in going this route. Beall's List of Predatory Publishers

    Other experiences? Has anyone been hired in a tenure-track academic position recently and care to comment? (Adjuncting, incidentally, is fine and honorable employment, but not what I’m addressing here.) At the very least, I hope this stimulates people to check out the top journals in their field and see what is expected.

    This, by the way, strikes me as the one way for a graduate from a new university or one with no reputation to make it. I know one scholar who made himself a giant in his field with a tiny doctoral alma mater no one has heard of, but he kept publishing top-notch research.
  2. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Many universities use the SJR ranking to check the credibility of your publications:
    SJR : Scientific Journal Rankings

    Another one is google scholar
    Google Scholar Metrics

    If the journal has some ranking, it is normally credible. I am familiar with Beall's list but it is not 100% accurate as it contains some journals that are indexed by ERA or Scopus. These two indexes are quite rigorous and they hard to cheat.
    I think Beall just included in the list any open access journal that charges money but there are some credible open access journals out there.

    It is quite possible to make it in Academia with a PhD from a low tier school if your publications are solid and indexed by scopus, thompson routers, era, cabells, etc.
    The number of citations of your publications is another metric used to assess the quality of publications.

    The problem is that many part time for profit online PhDs do not have publication requirements. It takes about 2 years from the time you send a publication for consideration to publication in a credible journal to publication (if accepted) due to the lengthy process of revisions. However, this doesn't prevent you from publishing but it is not going to be easy if you don't have a good coach that can help you to prepare publications. To make matters worse, many of the PhD dissertation supervisors at online for profit schools do not have publications themselves and many times are graduates from the same online schools.

    If you decide to go through the DL PhD path, my advice is to find a school with faculty with research publications. South African, Australian, British and State American schools normally satisfy this requirement.
  3. distancedoc2007

    distancedoc2007 New Member

    My outlook has always been to take whatever you have attained, be proud of it, and go where you will be a bigger (i.e. more appreciated) fish in a smaller pond. In my area, what we call community colleges or polytechnics offer job security once you are made permanent, and they are still operating at a level where a doctorate of any kind is a comparative rarity. That seems like a great place to work for anyone who has an atypical age and education profile. The "classic" tenure track is IMHO really built for people who are graduating at the age of 28 or so with really top-notch PhDs, people who are already attracting a buzz with their research. Be realistic, be happy. :)
  4. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I agree with this, I don't have statistics to back it up, but most tenure track hires are early 30s with top note PhDs at the school that I work. It is not very realistic for a 40 or 50 something with non traditional education from low tier schools to land a tenure track at a research institution.
    A school that is more teaching oriented school such as technical colleges would be more inclined to hire someone that is middle aged with good working experience and non traditional doctorate. They would care less about research publications, degree ranking and more interested in work experience and teaching experience.

    I was able to land a non tenure track administration teaching position at a research University with a non traditional doctorate, however, the job called for a senior person with work experience and it did not require publications. I have been trying to get a research position but the competition is fierce as I am competing with 30 something people with publication from top journals and degrees from ranked schools.
    I have decided to leave the rat race of tenure track hunting and concentrate in my consulting and teaching, I still publish but not targeting anymore top journals.
  5. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    Another useful journal ranking site is the European Reference Index for the Humanities. It’s keyed to their research assessments, which tend to be more formal than in North America, but it still gives a useful breakdown of journals for anyone.
  6. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    I'm on the tenure track at a small Midwestern university. I graduated with a Ph.D. from Capella University (for-profit).

    RF's advice is solid. At my school, we look for the middle-aged person with work experience because we are a teaching university. If you have teaching experience, we don't care about the doctorate as long as it is regionally accredited in your subject matter. Quite frankly, it's a "check the box" requirement for us.

    RF is also correct with "top-tier" schools. Those jobs are about attending a top-tier school with a strong publishing record.

    Good luck!
  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I learned this the hard way, people that earned their PhD part time, distance, external etc tend to be more professional oriented and are not focused on research as students that spend the typical 5 years in a rigorous program that requires publications.

    The tenure track path at research universities is made for people with traditional full time PhDs that have 3 to 4 publications in solid journals. The name of the school also matters, normally a school would hire someone with a PhD from a school with higher ranking than the school hiring. If you have a degree from 2nd tier school, you most likely will be hired by a 3rd tier school. The problem is if you have a degree from a 4th tier or non ranked school, you can make up the lack of school recognition by publications and experience but you must show superior performance than people with better degrees and this is not an easy task (not impossible but not easy).

    However, bear in mind that now even adjunct and teaching oriented positions require some publications. This is mainly for accreditation purposes, publications do not have to be in top journals but in credible peer reviewed journals.
  8. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    Another useful resource for journals is ERIH: The European Reference Index for the Humanities. It’s focused on the ranking system used in European academia, but includes journals from all over the world. I tried posting this before with the link, but it’s been several days and it hasn’t appeared, so I guess I’ll try again.
  9. jhp

    jhp Member

    Would like to expand on the original post.
    "This also leads to discussion of what are accepted as credible peer-reviewed journals" that one can afford.

    I have several research topics I could publish on. I am not willing to spend my resources if it will cost additional thousands and I for all practical purposes lose copyright and redistribution rights.

    My researches are primarily around social engineering, security and digital forensics. Most scholarly journals which would print my papers are low scored, or outrageously expensive for both authors and readers.
  10. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Really? I've never seen any adjunct positions posted with this requirement before.
  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I guess you need to catch up with the new trends. As expected, with the new flood of online doctors, there is a trend to filter candidates by requiring publications. I am afraid that just having an online doctorate is not going to cut it for graduate teaching anymore, Few examples below:

    Adjunct - Online - College of Doctoral Studies - Doctor of Business Administration Dissertation Chairs - HigherEdJobs

    Adjunct Faculty - Subject Matter Experts for Dissertation Committees - HigherEdJobs

    Adjunct - Online - College of Doctoral Studies - Economics for Business Decisions - HigherEdJobs

    Doctoral Instructor/Mentor - Sustainable Business - HigherEdJobs
  12. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    None of my publications have cost me anything, but we‘re in very different fields. I hear from people in the sciences that open-access costs a substantial fee, but that even the corporate publishers will waive the fee if you can show that your affiliated university won’t cover the cost. Hope that's useful!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2014
  13. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It takes about 2 years to publish in a regular journal mainly because waiting times. Chief editors are normally professors that do this on voluntary basis so they take all the time of the world just to read your paper. The open access paid movement is jut to accelerate publications, the reviewer still does't get paid in order to avoid conflict of interest but the staff gets a salary.

    If you don't want to pay money, there are two open access journals that do not charge for publication in the field of security.

    International Journal of Cyber Criminology
    International Journal of Cyber Criminology - Vol 7 Issue 1 Jan - June 2013

    Journal of digital forensics, security and law

    I sent one to jdfsl last June and still haven't heard anything. Some take up to a year to respond.

    I believe the best is a balance, it is ok to pay a couple of paid journals just so you can have something to show while get published in something more credible. Some academics are completely against open access paid journals so it is not good to have only this sort of journals in your resume.

    To be quite honest, some paid journals are as difficult to publish than non paid ones but you have ones that charge $800 and accept your paper in a day and publish in a week.

    I believe is reasonable to pay $50 to $300 dlls for a publication, more than this might mean that the journal is just a predatory one.
    The reality is that someone needs to maintain the web site and promote the articles through indexes. The free model is not working as it is not easy to get people to do the work for free.

    I also check the time the journal has been in existence, a lot of predatory journals have less than a year but have 24 volumes or more.

    If the journal is listed with Directory of Open Access Journals is a good sign as doaj screens for scams.

    In any case, these low ranked journals are just good to qualify as an adjunct for graduate course work or as faculty at low ranked schools. Most highly ranked schools are looking for financial times journals or indexed in thompson reuters. It might take up to 4 years to publish in a financial times journals so for this reason the need to do a full time PhD during 5 years so you can have a least a couple of them before graduation so you can land a good job, part time phds normally do not score well because holders hardly have any publications or some in low ranked journals.
  14. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member! Things are officially nuts in the world of adjuncting. Since most online adjuncts don't actually teach (more like course facilitators), I don't see how research and publications are even relevant. Interesting development.

    I'm assuming that schools now get so many applicants for each position (due to the stinky economy) that they are using publications as a way to narrow things down a bit.
  15. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    About 3 years ago, a dean said she got over 200+ applications for one (1) adjunct position to teach Masters level courses.
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

    I realize a stack of resumes can be daunting, but I'd personally filter through years of teaching experience or stellar recommendations rather than something irrelevant like publications.
  17. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    I agree regarding the value of teaching experience and professional recommendations, but why do you find publications irrelevant?
  18. Helpful2013

    Helpful2013 Active Member

    I hadn’t intended for this thread to talk about adjuncting issues, but this is rather interesting, because it highlights two views of distance learning.

    AV8R wrote:
    The other day, Steve Foerster and I had a friendly disagreement relating to this.

    Steve is right in principle that universities can choose to do the right thing and encourage their distance learning adjuncts to interact in meaningful ways with their students. How often they actually do that is another matter. But if we accept that, then an applicant’s publications reflect subject matter expertise they can pass on to students.

    I imagine this is primarily about using adjunct publications to winnow the applications or boost a sagging research profile, but it also fits the malevolent trend of universities trading their full-time professors for cheaper adjuncts and then expecting the adjuncts to fulfill the same role.
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    A professor told my class that she had to sacrifice being an A+ teacher in order to be an A+ researcher. She had to settle for being a B+ teacher. Research schools want the grant money and the prestige of being or eventually becoming a tier one research institution. I see it as more of taking away from teaching quality than adding to it. A lot of these professors are only good for teaching one or two types of courses because that's all they do their research on. They don't have time to get themselves up to speed on the other subjects. For example, in my program, there are professors that almost exclusively teach statistics and quantitative research methods. There are others who almost exclusively teach courses on ethics and race/ethnic issues. One of the statistics professors admitted that he doesn't know much about criminological theory.

    I think Steve was more so talking about how not all distance programs heavily depend on adjuncts. I did not have one adjunct or lecturer in my online master's program.
  20. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It depends, if the school has no hopes of being in the rankings (e.g. University of Phoenix), then publications are irrelevant.
    Publications are essential for accreditation such as AACSB and for ranking purposes. Even as an adjunct, you can contribute for the rankings of your school if you publish under the name of your university.

    Universities are supposed to be there to generate knowledge and not just to teach what is in a text book written by another professor.

    I believe each school has its own goals, If I am positioned as a teaching school that has the objective of just teaching what is in a text book, my goal would be to recruit good teachers. If my objective is to climb the rankings and be perceived as a institution of change and innovation, then I would be more concentrated in hiring faculty with publications.

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