Would you be interested in an Inspire session or lunchtime workshop at #ESA2019 on the ecology faculty job market?

Proposals for workshops and Inspire sessions for #ESA2019 are due Nov. 15. I’m toying with the idea of organizing either a lunchtime workshop session (maybe panel discussion format) or an Inspire session on the ecology faculty job market. My vague vision is a session of advice for people seeking ecology faculty positions, including but not limited to data addressing common anxieties and widespread myths about the faculty job market. My big compilation of data on recently-hired N. American TT asst. profs in ecology and allied fields would feature somehow, maybe along with other data yet to be collected. Maybe complement that with some presenters who’ve recently sat on ecology search committees at a range of different types of institutions.

But is that too redundant with my blog posts, or with other recent ESA workshops?

I’m also unsure about session structure. Having never run or attended an ESA workshop, and only attended a few Inspire sessions, I don’t have much feel for what makes a good one. And I’m entirely ignorant of recent ESA workshops and Inspire sessions that have covered this topic.

So the floor is open. You tell me: what sort of session would most interest you? What would you like to see covered? Have you organized or attended workshops or Ignite sessions on this topic before? If so, what aspects of those sessions worked and what didn’t?

8 thoughts on “Would you be interested in an Inspire session or lunchtime workshop at #ESA2019 on the ecology faculty job market?

    • **What sort of session would most interest you?** I would benefit from a panel of hiring committee members for recent (last few years?) hires who are diverse w.r.t. department (basic/applied), university/institution, senior/junior/administrative, fields, and from those who have served on failed and successful searches.

      **What would you like to see covered?** I would benefit from anything, but hearing from a diverse group of those who recently served on hiring committees. I would be especially interested in hearing about how opinions were formed before, during, and after in-person interviews. Examples of how candidates seemed good on paper and were easy to get along with, yet totally bombed elsewhere (in seminar or Q&A or preparation). TBH, hearing anything from new people who are honest about the process would be great.

      **Have you organized or attended workshops or Ignite sessions on this topic before?** No. After reading the description of the Ignite sessions, however, I am not sure this style (rapid fire presentations) would be as useful as a panel discussion.

      **Question**: Could this be live streamed or recorded (audio or video) for ESA members who cannot attend 2019 meeting?

      **Response to J. Drake twitter response**: I am interested in applying for academic and post-academic positions, so this would be useful, but, I find it hard to believe a combined (academic and post-academic) session would be as useful as individual sessions. If a combined session were competing with an individual session at the meeting, I would attend the individual session.

  1. It feels like there are career sessions/workshops at just about every conference these days, and no shortage of advice out there, so I think you’d be most successful if you focus on what your session could say that’s different/better than other sources of advice, and to what extent your session would allow you to reach a different audience or say something different than what’s already on DE.

    My own two cents is that your job market data are unique and valuable (other DE posts on the faculty job search are also valuable, but less unique) and I’d be enthusiastic about a session that used data from a few different perspectives to contextualize people’s experiences of the job market and dispel myths about the market. In addition to your data, I’d love to see data on how many applications people are submitting and rates of getting interviews/offers, and I’d love to see the data on a search (e.g., number of applications, statistical summary of candidates making different cuts). I have some doubts about the latter being feasible, but it’d be really interesting. What do you think about the potential for reaching a broader audience? My guess is that you’d get the most interest from people who are on or will soon be on the market, and while you’ve pointed out that only a small fraction of ecologists regularly read DE, anecdotally a pretty large fraction of early career folks seeking faculty jobs are aware of DE and the series of job market data posts you’ve been doing.

    • It’s like you read my mind! This reassures me that I’m thinking along the right lines.

      Re: data on how many applications people are submitting and how many interviews they’re getting, we have a bit of data on that: https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/you-cant-tell-much-about-your-odds-of-getting-an-interview-for-a-faculty-position-from-common-quantitative-metrics/

      And yes, getting systemic data (as opposed to mere anecdata) on # of applicants/search, summary stats for candidates making different cuts, etc. might not be doable. But I’m mulling it over…

      • Echoing some of the comments above, I think the data you’ve collected are both unique and very valuable – they help show a lot of us young’uns that the prerequisites for a faculty job are daunting, but not impossible. I think you mentioned that this would be the last year that you’ll be doing the full collection of data? If that’s the case, then I think an ESA session would be a great opportunity to pass on the torch, and encourage people to build some kind of durable, community database that keeps the data collection going into the future.

      • An ambitious suggestion!

        I confess I’m unsure how well crowdsourcing would work as a way to continue data collection in future. It seems to work well for compiling a list of jobs on ecoevojobs.net (though how many of those jobs are added by the crowd as opposed to by the moderator?). But I feel like compiling the information I’ve compiled is more work than just compiling job listings. Most N. American faculty job ads appear in at least one of a short list of places (right?). And once you’ve found the ad you’ve found all the info you need to add it to ecoevojobs.net. In contrast, chasing down all the info I compile for each new hire requires at least a bit of sleuthing and sometimes a lot.

        Ok, you could crowdsource it by asking people to fill in info they already happen to know. But I already use crowdsourcing as one of my data collection approaches, and only a minority of my data comes in that way. So crowdsourcing the whole thing would come at the cost of having a *much* smaller and more statistically-biased dataset with *much* more missing data. And I worry that a smaller and more statistically-biased dataset would do more harm than good. It would foster myths instead of busting them.

        Maybe ESA has a staffer they could dedicate to compiling the data?

        Thanks again for the good suggestion, I’ll continue to mull it over. It’s worth thinking about.

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