Hark, a job! Assistant Professor, modern Britain, Baa Ram U.

FYI, from the h-net job advertisement:

The Department of History at Colorado State University invites applications for the position of Assistant Professor of History, with a concentration in modern Britain (c. 1700 through the twentieth century, including the British Empire).  This is an entry-level tenure-track position, beginning August 16, 2013. The successful candidate will be appointed untenured and at the rank of Assistant Professor.  Required qualifications include Ph.D. in History at time of appointment; a demonstrated record of scholarship and promise of publication in area of concentration; a demonstrated record of teaching excellence; and a demonstrated ability to work effectively with faculty, students, and the public.  Preferred qualifications include ability to place the history of the British Isles into a European and wider world context.  Responsibilities include teaching undergraduate courses in the area of concentration and graduate courses in European history, as well as introductory-level survey course in Western Civilization or World History; pursuing research and publication projects; providing academic advising to undergraduate and graduate students; and fulfilling appropriate service assignments for the department, college, and university.

.         .         .         .

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but to assure full consideration application materials must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2012.  Send letter of interest, curriculum vitae, graduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a writing sample (article or chapter length), and evidence of teaching effectiveness, such as sample syllabi and teaching evaluations if available,to Dr. Elizabeth B. Jones, Chair, British History Search Committee, Department of History, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1776, U.S.A.  The department will conduct preliminary interviews at the American Historical Association meeting, or by telephone/skype, in January 2013.  CSU is an EO/EA/AA employer and conducts background checks on all final candidates.

The full position description is  available here.  Please circulate this announcement widely, and encourage all qualified people to apply.  I can answer general questions about my department, the teaching load, and our students (for example), but please direct any more specific questions to Dr. Jones.  (Our departmental website, which is badly in need of an update, is here.)

26 thoughts on “Hark, a job! Assistant Professor, modern Britain, Baa Ram U.

  1. Good question. My department experienced a massive turnover in the late 1990s-early 2000s, when the generation of men (and they *were* all men) hired in the 1950s-early 70s retired. This was before administrators figured out that they could save $$$ by casualizing a great deal of faculty labor, and so they replaced the retiring guys with women and men who were for the most part tenured and promoted to Associate in the mid-2000s, myself included.

    The few full proffies we have were the few people hired before the massive turnover–people hired in the late 1980s and earlier 1990s. There will likely be 2 more full proffies next year, BTW. Oh, yeah: and we also changed our T&P standards, so essentially the rule for promotion to full is to have a second monograph IN PRINT, so that’s slowed down my generation in terms of achieving full professor.

    Of greater concern to me is the fact that our Associates keep getting picked off, and we’re not being permitted to replace them with TT hires, even at the Assistant rank. We have only 4 Assistants now, one of whom is up for tenure this year.


  2. That’s a nice, clearly written job ad. If candidates are equally thorough and thoughtful, the process should go smoothly.

    Last I heard, the MLA was still discouraging asking for quite so many materials up front, because of the cost (especially but not only when they need to be printed and sent by mail). I don’t know whether the AHA does the same, but I realize that sometimes a 2-step process isn’t possible, due to time constraints and/or HR requirements. At least having to gather/send so much might provide a disincentive to applications for those aren’t good potential fits (on the other hand, anybody on the market should have all of the above available, so cost is probably the main barrier/disincentive).


  3. Hope you get a really good person that will make everyone happy and smiling.

    We hired 8 people the last three years. Not everything is quiet on our front though. (God, has been half a century since I read Erich Maria Remarque.) We are the 1% of universities.

    Comradde, except for assistants most our 20 semi-warm bodies are full. It looks bad, most are 50 something and will stay put with little added value. A friend once said: “associate is the time you do your best research.” He has a point.

    Again, happy hunting.


  4. CC: about the materials. We always talk about reducing the amount of stuff we ask for, but then we can’t decide what to leave out, because we find all of that stuff helpful. It’s helpful not just in terms of selecting semi-finalists and finalists; it’s also helpful in building departmental consensus about which candidates to invite for interviews. (My department is radically democratic, so the search committee merely recommends candidates for advancement at each step of the way. The department must vote to ratify the search committee’s recommendations, or to propose a re-ranking of the candidates.)

    What I did as a job candidate w/r/t the transcripts is that I sent a photocopy rather than an (very expensive) official copy, with a note suggesting that I’d be happy to forward an official transcript. No department ever asked to see an original copy.

    Koshembos: I wonder if that point about Associate Proffies is a science thing? I feel like historians only improve with age, wisdom, and experience, so long as they remain active researchers.


  5. Stupid question here, but when you say transcript, do you mean the bit of paper with what classes you took and grades you got? Do you still care about that stuff at this stage? In the UK/Aus, you need the PhD and usually list your degrees and classification, but we don’t ask for that detail of information and generally don’t volunteer it.


  6. Yes, the transcript shows your coursework as you passed it in grad school. In some searches, this information is really useful, esp. if a candidate is ABD or has just finished the Ph.D. For example, every search committee I’ve been on is a public history search, and it’s helpful to know who’s actually had coursework in public history, versus people who have migrated into public history but have no formal training. I am not on this search committee, but I’m guessing that (for example) if someone’s research is mostly in the “Long 18th C” but it’s clear that her coursework included modern as well as early modern history, she’ll be a stronger candidate than someone whose coursework was strictly early modern.

    But as you suggest, it all depends on where the candidates are in their careers. If they have taught and published a bit, then the specifics of their grad coursework is less important, as we can judge them on the basis of what they’ve done so far.


  7. I just returned from visiting (in the social sense) a research-oriented department that I visited in (in the academic sense) years ago. They ran searches almost like military operations, in that they wanted extensive evidence of written materials from the first stages of the search, not for the sake of seeing how prestigiously published is this person, but because they intended to become deeply and widely informed about how that person thought and imagined across the disciplinary sphere. The search committees worked like dogs, and once finalists were selected and their stuff put out to read, it was considered explicitly gauche for a non-committee member of the department to offer a strong opinion about a candidate’s scholarship if they had only been able to skim through the materials. I get the sense that they’ve softened a bit on this over about half a generation, but they took the function very seriously as an intellectual proposition. I admired that vision (at least as a vision) then and still do, although we don’t go anywhere that deep (back when we still had searches).

    On age/stage, and “best research,” the latter is a pretty fuzzy concept at best, and I don’t think it can be generalized categorically, at least without a whole lot more systematic evidence than we have at this point. So agreed with Historiann on that one, and agreed with FA on the transcripts. I never sent an undergraduate one, and except for avoiding outright fraud in the claimed credentials after the fact, can’t see a whole lot of use for graduate transcripts as a substantive sorting/screening mechanism. The gentleperson’s A is still fairly prevalent, and course names cover ground that can probably be better left to the letters. Maybe not.


  8. Cool. This creates an interesting dynamic for those coming from abroad then who don’t do graduate level coursework, unless they did a Masters. However, my Masters was a research training style (so very popular at the time), so I got to do one course that was subject based (women’s history whoot), and the rest was joyous things like: qualitative methods, quantitative methods, historical research skills, philosophy of social science etc. So you know I have skillz, but not necessarily knowledge (apart from the PhD of course!)

    Just out of interest what happens if you get people who are ‘further on’, say with a book in press, but haven’t yet had a t-t job? When do they become eligible to apply for tenure?

    Sorry for the questions; I’ve always wondered these things about the US system.


  9. I wonder if that point about Associate Proffies is a science thing? I feel like historians only improve with age, wisdom, and experience, so long as they remain active researchers.

    The anecdotal lore on this is that in the heavily analytical sciences–where sheer brain power is at a premium–like mathematics and theoretical physics, scientists do their best work when they are young and then fade out as they age. Conversely, in the experimental sciences–and especially the biological sciences–where experience, intuition, and the taste for important problems are paramount, scientists do their best work when they are older.


  10. It’s just amazing that they expect 2 monographs in print, in 7 years. This seems to be the norm now. It is at my PhD institution. How can you possibly have a life with those expectations on you. Got my PhD from an R1 in the 90s and was bummed about my CC job but now am very happy I am out of that scene. Best of luck to all applicants and give the eventual winner a great big hug.


  11. FA: I would encourage anyone with a book in press to apply to our job! The “entry-level” language (I believe) is meant to apply to work in a TT job, so anyone who is not tenured is theoretically eligible for this job. I have never seen an extensive publication record held against a candidate, but we have been instructed that we may not interview people who are tenured or on the verge of tenure in a TT job for this position.

    I came to BRU after working in a TT job for 4 years, and was offered 4 years of credit towards tenure although I only took 3. A colleague of mine was hired with 8 (?) years of experience in 2 different TT jobs as an Assistant Proffie, and he was offered just 3 years of credit, I believe. I think that 3 years of credit towards tenure is the most the college will offer these days.


  12. smalltown prof: My uni does not require 2 monographs in 7 years. For tenure, we require either 5 or 6 articles OR a book. For full prof, it’s another 5 or 6 articles OR a book that’s not based on dissertation research. Furthermore, there is no time limit on coming up for full proffie–Associate Professors have the luxury of time.

    When we revised our tenure standards 7 years ago, I was against requiring a book at each stage because we do not offer pre-tenure leave, and my colleagues agreed with me. The college has been good about funding sabbatical leaves, but beyond that and our 2-2 load, we do not have a great deal of research support.

    People who can figure out a local (Colorado or U.S. Western) angle for a second book can do it faster, but people like me, whose research is at quite a distance, expect that it will take us longer to write another book.


  13. We have a job too (http://jobs.ucmerced.edu/n/academic/position.jsf?positionId=4128)

    We don’t ask for transcripts. But on some of the other questions: in the last year we hired two people at the advanced assistant level. One had a book out, but no prior service as a ladder rank faculty; the other had three years experience, and a book in press. Both will come up for tenure in (probably) their 3rd year — long enough to get a few new things out on new projects. People can go up for tenure early, so unlike the situation at BRU, it’s not a matter of how much credit we give, but when we think the tenure case will be persuasive in a rather labyrinthine system.

    As for ratios of Full/Associate profs: this is a new university, and in the early years they hired some full professors, but then hired lots of assistants. Since then a few new people (including me) came in at full, but we’ve mostly been tenuring the amazing group of assistants who arrived in the beginning. So we are completely upside down from every other institution, with only about 40% tenured. and those skewed towards the associate level.

    And CPP, an undergraduate teacher of mine told me that historians are like wine, they improve with age.


  14. FA–contact me by e-mail and we can talk further if you like, or perhaps it’s time to direct your inquiries to the search chair. I encourage you to apply–why not?–and my department likes international people and perspectives.

    As Susan suggests, if you have a book manuscript or a book in press and some teaching experience, transcripts are overall a less important component of your dossier than if you are straight out of school.


  15. The transcripts and classes are a problem since you are asking for an expert on British history. A PhD in the UK has no course work attached to it. Yet, it seems reasonable that some of the people specializing in British history might have gotten their degree from the UK. Having a UK degree from SOAS was one of the things that prevented me from ever getting an interview in the US. Really why is coursework rated higher than publications and the actual degree at this stage in hiring in the US?


  16. I wouldn’t say it’s rated higher, Otto; much of the language in the job ad is boilerplate, and because we have a Briton on the staff, we’ve discussed the fact that many British unis don’t have traditional coursework or a U.S.-style transcript available. Like I said above, it’s more important for people at early stages of their careers, less important for those with a record of publication and teaching.


  17. I was fascinated by CPP’s distinction between the “analytical” and the “experimental” sciences, even leaving out of the equation the stated implications about the consequences of “extended fermentation,” i.e., *aging*, on intellectual development trajectories. It’s been a cliche in some contexts that mathematicians and some even say musicians “do their best work” before [fill in the age here]. There are even prize criteria framed around that. But the distinction CPP makes within what some of us humanists might just lump together as “the sciences” is interesting on this and probably a number of other accounts. I wonder what comparable “fine score marks” between various arts and humanities disciplines there might be that those of us within them recognize intuitively and operate around but have never bothered to treat or categorize explicitly? Might make the basis for a whole ‘nuther thread.


  18. I work in a fairly theoretical research area that would be nothing without a close connection to fieldwork. In my observation, our brightest luminaries tend to be the folks who combine the very theoretical with impeccable field skills and these people tend to burn bright throughout their careers. I’ve also noticed a sort of “mid life crisis” pattern in which theoreticians suddenly turn toward building observational instrumentation (and taking it out into the wild somewhere to see how it works).


  19. A publication record of two books and several journal articles did not help me get any interviews in the US either. It is quite apparent that US institutions will always prefer a US ABD with no publications to a PhD from SOAS with two books and several journal articles. The primary reason for hiring somebody in the US seems to always be that they had been a TA at a US institution. Almost everybody hired for the slots I applied for in the US had fewer publications than me and often they were still ABD. Yet I keep reading on the Internet that publications are the most important thing in hiring. This is clearly not the case. If you really do think publications are the most important thing than just hire the person with the most and forget about openly discriminatory measures such as requiring teaching experience or coursework. Because if you get a PhD in the UK you are not going to have either upon completion and there is no way then to ever, ever, get any such experience in the US. Once you miss out on a US TAship it is impossible to ever get an academic interview in the US. I suppose would be fine if it were limited to UK citizens who can legally work in the EU. But, it also effectively bans US citizens like myself from ever working in our home country due to having a British degree while at the same time being banned from working in the EU for having a US passport. If it were not for Africa there would be no possible places in the English speaking world for us to work.


  20. I had teaching experience on finishing my UK PhD, and I don’t know many people who didn’t. Most institutions try to make sure their PhD students get some, so in that SOAS really let you down.

    And, I don’t think I’ve worked at any institution in the UK or elsewhere that didn’t contain at least one American on staff (many had several). I also know many Americans who work in other parts of Europe. Getting a working visa for an American academic in Europe isn’t particularly difficult if the university wants you. I mean half of SOAS’s history department are American!Similarly, half of the Ivy League is filled with Oxbridge PhDs (or rather DPhils!), so a lack of coursework is clearly not debilitating.


  21. Feminist Avatar: When I was at SOAS there was only one American there, my supervisor Ben Fortna. Nobody in my PhD cohort or the one before it had any opportunity to teach at SOAS. It was my understanding that this was typical for the UK. My understanding of EU law is that they must prove that there is no EU national capable of doing the job including the entire population of Poland before they can consider somebody from outside the EU. Even getting a work permit and residency permit in Ghana is difficult. My first one too nine months to get and the second one four. But, it is a lot easier to prove that there are no Ghanaian applicants capable of doing my job than proving the case for all of Europe. Yes there are lots of Oxford and Cambridge PhDs in the US. But, no search committee has even ever heard of SOAS so the two are not really comparable. If publications really were important I should have at least gotten one interview out of the more than 300 positions in the US for which I applied.


  22. Well, it’s true that you have to claim that a non-EU job candidate is not replicable in Europe, but in academia, this is remarkably easy, because literally you’re the only person that has written your PhD. And, this is grounds that universities use to apply for a visa for you – that your research is good for society and no one else can do your research. How long a visa takes is often more about the speed of bureaucracy than anything else. How easy it is really depends on how many hoops they make you jump through, not the length of time it sits in a pile somewhere. So, my visa to Australia was easy because I filled in an online form, uploaded a whole whack of documentation to prove who I was and waited. And hey presto, several months later, with no other questions asked, no need to prove savings, or anything like that.


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