3

I'm curious to know if anyone has any experience with conducting a tenure-track job search during the summer for positions in the US. I've noticed jobs posted from late May through early July. What's the timeline for hiring decisions this late in the cycle? Should I expect a typical interview / campus interview / offer process? How late are these decisions typically made? If I applied for a position in early June but haven't heard anything by early July, should I assume the position is closed?

I'm looking for positions within English departments at four year teaching institutions and HBCUs, pretty exclusively. Thanks so much!

  • 2
    You panic continuously for at least three week and make sacrifices to the gods of human resources? – dmckee Jul 5 '16 at 22:19
  • Also, at my place such a hire will be "interim" meaning that you'll have to search again next year during the regular season. Of course, if the person you hired is working out they may have a leg up during the re-search because who's going to take a unknown factor over someone you know (a) can do the job and (b) matches the departmental culture pretty well? – dmckee Jul 5 '16 at 22:22
5

In my academic circles, it is essentially verboten to do tenure-track hiring over the summer. (One cannot count on having a quorum of faculty members in-town, and those who are around probably have other plans.) You might get better advice by specifying your field and the kind of institution you've applied to (e.g. research university, four year college).

I just saw @aeismail's answer: yes, I think that summer tenure track hiring is likely to be a kind of "Plan B," or alternatively comes from an administrative initiative rather than the departmental level. (In my experience, upper university administration can be surprisingly out of step with faculty hiring timelines.) But to me this kind of hiring feels "exceptional," and some of the standard hiring practices may be abridged or otherwise bent.

As a general rule, I would not assume an academic position is closed until they tell you. If you are still interested in the job, send a short email to the chair of the hiring committee. She will tell you whether the position is still open. You should know however that sometimes "the position is still open" means that they conducted their search, interviewed their candidates, and found a candidate that has indicated willingness to accept but hasn't filled out the paperwork yet. You should certainly be pursuing other options, and you should be aware that in almost any academic field, there will be many more hiring opportunities available during the academic year.

  • Thanks so much, Pete! I'm seeking a position in an English department and looking exclusively at teaching institutions (four year and HBCUs). I appreciate your feedback. – deltapass77 Jul 5 '16 at 18:46
  • @delta: You're welcome. Your edit should help you get useful answers. Of the ones you've received so far, I think Chris Leary's is the most applicable. Unfortunately the humanities are not represented very well on this site, but maybe someone with that kind of expertise will come along. – Pete L. Clark Jul 5 '16 at 18:50
3

When positions are posted in the summer, in many cases that means that the initial attempt to fill the position during the school year failed, either because not enough high-quality candidates applied (nowadays unlikely in the US) or (more likely) because the preferred candidates accepted positions elsewhere.

In any event, each university has certain requirements for faculty hires which the department is obligated to follow: at a minimum, you should expect an on-campus interview and offer process to be a part of a summer hiring process, even if the rest of the process is somewhat truncated. (I would suspect the phone/Skype interview to be optional for such a search.)

As for determining when the position is "closed," you should keep in mind that getting the necessary quorum for hiring committees is much harder in the summer, given faculty travel schedules. So I would not automatically assume that you've missed your window of opportunity. If you have a question, a politely worded email to the contact for the search may provide some information. (But I would have a strong reason—other than curiosity—for sending the email; perhaps you have travel or work-related unavailability.)

  • +1, but I wanted to add that there's a variety of other reasons that a search can happen last minute. Faculty sometimes get sick, melt down, get a late breaking grant, or the university overenrolls new freshman and need four more sections of intro, or a whole bunch of other reasons. I tend to see these leading to one year positions rather than TT hires, but it does seem to happen at smaller places sometimes. – shane Jul 5 '16 at 19:06
  • Yes, that makes sense, Shane. It is a bit stressful for candidates needing to know if they're going to have to move across country in the next couple of weeks :) I appreciate the feedback! – deltapass77 Jul 5 '16 at 20:00
3

My first official act as Chairman of my department was to conduct a summer job search. The search process was the normal one: post the position; decide which candidates to interview; interview; make an offer. We posted in June, the fall semester began in late August. Naturally, there was a desire to expedite the process in order to give the new hire opportunity to get to the area, find housing, and so on. I don't think we made a decision until mid July or so. I would not assume that the position is filled yet. If you haven't heard anything by late July, things might be different. You can always contact the institution to see how the search is progressing. In spite of best efforts, these searches can drag on.

  • Thanks so much! You mention that you made a decision in mid-July, had you already interviewed? Or did you begin calling for interviews in mid-July? I appreciate the perspective. I'm currently in a position, but I've never done a search outside of the standard year-long process and am feeling a bit at sea in terms of what to expect. Thanks again. – deltapass77 Jul 5 '16 at 18:43
  • @deltapass77 - Yes, we had already interviewed. Our position arose because one of my colleagues resigned when his wife got a deanship at another institution. – Chris Leary Jul 5 '16 at 19:15
2

I'm a postdoc in philosophy, rather than English, but I have applied to a bunch of positions advertised in the summer, some of which have been TT. (Don't know much about HBCUs though, sorry!)

My experience has been that there is no real rhyme or reason to summer hires. The ordinary process (first round interview, on campus interview, offer) might apply or might not. For one years, they have tended to do just one round of interviews, usually via Skype, and then make an offer. For summer TT hires, they might skip the first round and just bring three or four people to campus.

My sense is that mid-July is the latest an offer could go out for a TT position starting in September, not because the University doesn't want to stress out their candidates (they don't care about that), but just because there are lots of compliance issues and paperwork that needs to be done before the start of class, such as criminal background checks. Working backwards, that would yield a timeline like:

  • 15 July, offer goes out.
  • 10 July, search committee meets, makes recommendation to dean/provost.
  • 7-9 July, interviews conducted.
  • 1-5 July, first round interviews conducted, if there were any.

I think that would be an incredibly tight timeline, so I would take it that if you haven't heard any good news early next week, then you've probably not been selected to move on.

  • Thanks for this, Shane. That's a really helpful bit of information. A few jobs have posted in the last week or two (talk about stressful!), so we'll see if I hear anything on those any time soon. I, like you, suspect if I don't hear anything by late next week, I probably missed out on this round. Thanks! – deltapass77 Jul 5 '16 at 19:59
  • @deltapass77, Keep a good thought and best luck to you! – shane Jul 5 '16 at 20:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.