Monday, March 28, 2011

What's Life Like as a Visiting Professor?

Trying to decide if you should apply for a visiting position? Wondering if it's worth it to relocate for a temporary gig? For more on the life and professional prospects of visiting assistant professors, check out my latest IHE  column, "Just Visiting":


Michael said...

This, and the post below, are why I have been telling my fellow grad students to *at least* consider careers beyond the academy. I've tried and tried to get them to put together a resume, think about what skills they have and how they can be applied elsewhere, network, etc. My concerns seem to be falling on mostly deaf ears, but I fear they will be forced to come around to my position. There just aren't enough good jobs for all of us.

recent Ph.D. said...

We should remind ourselves that the shortage of good jobs isn't caused by the lack of need for good faculty. It's caused by a system more than willing to exploit good faculty (grad students, adjuncts, VAPs, postdocs) who are too willing to sell themselves short because they have internalized the self-destructive myths, which only serve the interests of their exploiters, that we do this for love and not money and that putting up with contingency in the short-term will lead to tenure-track employment later.

We'd all be bankers and corporate executives and corrupt politicians if we pursued careers solely for the money.

Love is beside the point (Marc Bousquet puts it well in the post currently up at "How the University Works": "Every time someone with wealth, parental or spousal backing, and/or high household income brays about how they’d do the job for free, they put another brick in the wall in front of those who don’t have those advantages"). The point is that colleges and universities NEED good faculty and ought to treat them more fairly. At the very least, contingent appointments should come with a performance-based path to better pay and greater stability.

Since that isn't going to happen anytime soon, I say it's time more of us started "just saying no" to the evils of contingency. Clearly, spending time as a VAP does not lead to the tenure track, no matter how great your teaching or extensive your publications. Don't be fooled that it's any better -- in terms of your long-term future -- than being an adjunct.