Wading into the academic job market

Man working at desk

I will be the very first to admit that I am beyond lucky to be in the very small minority of (soon-to-be) graduates from PhD programs who landed a tenure-track job; as it so happens, I will be starting as an Assistant Professor at Washington College in the Department of Business Management in the fall. I’ll save my gushing for another post, but I’m thrilled to be in a department where I can do applied rather than theoretical research, and I’m very excited to have teaching as my primary focus.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited, along with my colleague and friend Senyo Ofori-Parku (who, like me, was hired into a tenure-track job over the holidays; he will be heading to the University of Alabama, where he will join our former SOJC colleague Toby Hopp in the APR) to talk to other SOJC doctoral students about the job market and what looking for a position requires.

While I don’t want to go into a great deal of detail regarding my specific processes and methods (at least right now), I do want to make note of the listservs and websites that I used to keep track of job listings. Keep in mind, however, that I come from a communication/media studies background, which is (along with business/marketing, lucky for me) one of the few fields in academe that is actively hiring as of this writing. Some of these links, as a result, will not be relevant to “general” academic job seekers; I’m targeting people in communication and media studies in particular. So here we go.

  • The NCA “CRTNET” list is probably the #1 place to start. Virtually every job I saw ended up listed here, at least eventually (but usually first).
  • HigherEdJobs.com is probably the second top source I would recommend. Virtually every job would appear here, including some that didn’t surface on CRTNET. It caters to all fields, and you can create email alerts that fit your criteria very easily.
  • AcademicJobsOnline.com is an older, less robust site that nevertheless is still used by a number of schools (including the SOJC at UO) to process job applications. Because of that, it’s worth setting up an email alert with their system, despite the fact that the site doesn’t look like it’s been touched since 1996.
  • Vitae from the Chronicle of Higher Ed is OK, though I never saw anything come through this system that one of my first two sources here didn’t identify.
  • Every once in a blue moon a very interesting and unique opportunity would surface via the HASTAC “Opportunities” list; they tended to be fairly specialized and seemed competitive, but I would also occasionally spot a tenure-track position bubble to the surface. Worth looking at if your expertise is in digital humanities, especially.
  • I did not use the AEJMC Job Ads board, but it seems like something at least worth glancing at.

As I said earlier, those of us in the field of communication and media are extraordinarily lucky to be looking for work at a time when schools are scrambling to add these programs to their curricula (my first job as an adjunct was under a professor I’d had as a grad student at The New School; he’d just been hired to launch the Communication department at Manhattan College, and I am eternally grateful for that launchpad). Each individual will have to decide how to prioritize his or her own search, but I’ll talk more about that in a future post.