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Teaching Loads

October 31st, 2014 | Jonathan Gray

heavy loadA random discussion on Facebook inspired me to write a post on teaching loads. There’s this moment in one’s grad career when one learns what a “two-two,” a “three-three,” or a “four-three,” for instance, means, and these seem to become magical incantations thereafter. I often hear people on the job market intone them as if they are a reliable way to categorize jobs, workload, and quality of life, with the smaller number automatically the better. It might help to unpack how teaching works so very differently in different places, on the way to offering some better ways to measure just how much a potential job calls for in terms of teaching and advising.

I’ll start by noting that my teaching burden at Wisconsin has regularly felt like a lot, lot more than my teaching burden at Fordham, even though I have a 2-2 here and began with a 3-3 at Fordham, before they converted assistants to 3-2. Why? Answers after the fold …. Read more…

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Banning Grad Student Publications: Dumb and Dangerous

October 7th, 2014 | Jonathan Gray

Yesterday I read an open letter to journal editors at The Chronicle of Higher Education that proposes that they all ban publication by graduate students. The idea is that this would put an end to the crazy fervor facing ABDs on the market who feel the need to have published a lot already. I really, really don’t like the proposal, not just because of the (lack of) merits of the idea itself but because of what it suggests and implies about grad school, publishing, and publications. So I’m responding.

(First, though, since it’s by a writer at Fordham and I have friends at Fordham, I guess it’s not unheard of that Leonard Cassuto will be directed back to my blog. If so, first, thanks for being the second person after my mother to ever read my blog, Leonard! Second, I mean you no harm. To propose that all journals might decide at the same time to ban publications by graduate students (since they would all have to do it to make the act meaningful) is extravagant enough that I realize it’s offered as a polemic and a way to get us thinking about some things. I’m doing just that, so no hate or disrespect is being sent your way)

So why am I wearing my grumpy pants when I read this proposal? And note that I read the proposal as suggesting grads shouldn’t publish at all, and thus assume that edited collections are pulled into its orbit, even though not explicitly stated. (If not, that just seems a tedious, pointless shell game of fetishizing chapters instead of articles.). More after the fold: Read more…

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Be My Colleague, Part II

October 25th, 2011 | Jonathan Gray

And a third posting …

The Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeks applicants for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in Media and Cultural Studies, to begin in August 2012. Candidates will be expected to conduct research, develop and teach courses, and supervise graduate students in the critical, intersectional analysis of identity and representation in contemporary media, including race, ethnicity, gender, and/or sexuality. Those whose work demonstrates a transnational/global/diasporic focus and an ability to combine methodological approaches are especially encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will teach a large undergraduate lecture course in addition to other specialist courses to both undergraduate and graduate students. Ph.D. in a related field and evidence of scholarly excellence and teaching ability are required. See also http://commarts.wisc.edu. Please submit a CV and a letter detailing interests and capabilities, and arrange to have sent three letters of reference, to Professor Jonathan Gray, Media, Identity, and Representation Search, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 821 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706. Electronic applications will not be accepted. The deadline to assure full consideration is December 29, 2011. EOE/AA. Employment may require a criminal background check. Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, information regarding the applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality. The Department of Communication Arts is committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community and strongly encourages applications from women, ethnic minorities, and other underrepresented groups. Questions about the search may be directed to Professor Jonathan Gray at jagray3@wisc.edu

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Be My Colleague

October 24th, 2011 | Jonathan Gray

For anyone on the job market in media studies, or anyone who knows someone, please do pass on these two opportunities, the first a tenure-track position in digital media production with a fast-approaching deadline, the second a pretty sweet postdoc position due two weeks later. I have fantastic colleagues, but am greedy and want more. Read more…

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Looking for an academic job or a place in grad school?

October 10th, 2011 | Jonathan Gray

While I slack off from writing real posts, instead I thought I’d give a wholly narcissistic shout out to some of my earlier posts. If you or someone you know is on the academic job market in media and cultural studies, this time last year I wrote a multi-part series with some advice, and some great folk contributed their own advice in the comments too, so be sure to read them. Earlier this year, I also wrote a three part series on applying to grad school, and once again some great minds chipped in down in the comments, so read those too.

The academic job market pieces, and links:

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As for the series on getting into grad schools:

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Edited Collections: Why Bother?

August 16th, 2011 | Jonathan Gray

Yesterday, I saw a link to advice against editing a collection. I was about to type a few words of response either at the original post or where I saw the link, but instead found myself with more I wanted to say. So here we go. See, I’ve co-edited three collections and am currently working on a fourth. I’ve gained a heck of a lot from the experiences, professionally and personally. Consider this post a defense of the oft-maligned edited collection, with pictures of some really good ones to further make the point.

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Let me start, though, by agreeing with the injunction not to edit a collection if you really think of it as a substitute for publishing work that you have written yourself. Edited collections won’t get you tenure or promotion by themselves, and they take time and energy, so if you have very limited reserves of each, you would be better advised to spend them elsewhere.

However, if you’re paid full-time to be an academic, unless you work a 4/4 load with lots of advising hours and you’re a slow writer, or unless you’re not working full-time, you very likely do have extra reserves. Which means that telling someone not to edit a collection because you could instead be writing a journal article is kind of like telling someone not to watch television because it’s important to read books: the fallacy lies in thinking you can’t do both. All three of my edited collections were compiled while I was writing monographs and journal articles.

As for tenure and promotion, I’ve seen numerous people across the humanities get tenure at top notch schools with the formula of one book + a strong selection of journal articles + another large project. That “other large project” is sometimes a second monograph (written or in progress), but it can also be an edited collection. Even directly, therefore, edited collections do and can matter – they aren’t fetishized as are monographs or articles at leading journals, no, but they still matter. Read more…

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The Media Studies Job Market, 10: The Offer

October 17th, 2010 | Jonathan Gray

And so I come to the end of my journey through the hiring process with this post. Before I wrap it all up, though, let me say that I’m sure I’ve missed a lot along the way. Please feel free to post below or to email me about issues you’d like to see covered. If I can do so, I will; if not, and if I think I know someone who could provide a guest post on the issue, I’ll try to get them to do so.

Anyways, the offer, after the fold: Read more…

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The Media Studies Job Market, 9b: The Campus Interview

October 9th, 2010 | Jonathan Gray

With pilot season behind us, it’s time to return to the job market posts. And I begin with a Tale of Two Interviews.

As an intro to discussing interviews, let me share these stories – a good one, and a bad one (they’re also my first and the second respectively – I thought my later ones would be less helpful for ABD readers). I’ll list lessons from them, along with some general points, at the end. But I want to share the stories, since my sense is that most people hear about “the job talk” and little more, thereby focusing all their energy on a small (albeit vital) part of the visit. More after the fold … Read more…

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The Media Studies Job Market, 9a: The Phone Interview

September 18th, 2010 | Jonathan Gray

Not all universities do phone interviews, but they’re pretty common. If you’re being interviewed by phone, you’re likely in the final ten or so, if for logistical reasons alone (it takes a lot of time to do these), and if it’s a group interviewing you, you may be in an even more elite group. It’s a tricky stage, though, since a lot of people wait till they get to the campus visit to do the really top-notch preparation, and there have been a few times when I’ve heard this become all too painfully clear in a phone interview. Below the fold, I’ll try to offer a few thoughts on how to interview in general, and how to handle the peculiar demands of phone interviews. Read more…

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The Media Studies Job Market, 8: The Upgrade Search

September 17th, 2010 | Jonathan Gray

Till now, most of my comments have been offered with an ABD or very recent Ph.D. in mind, but this post’s for those who’ve got a job already but are looking for another one. I planned to do it, and so am posting it, but in retrospect, it feels like I’m saying things you probably already know? So maybe this is still for the ABD who is thinking ahead to the next search? Please ignore as you see fit! After the fold …

Read more…

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