Who Lands Tenure Track Jobs? A Community Project

This study relies on a community of graduate students, PhDs, and faculty who contribute time or funds.  I manage the project, verify the data, analyze and report on the findings of the project.  We want to know: who is landing tenure track jobs?

Can you contribute? Read on!

Over 2014 and 2015, I was hired byhe Chronicle of Higher Education to build JobTracker, a study of who landed tenure track jobs in 11 disciplines for the 2013-2014 academic year. The findings from the study were surprising:

  • ABDS were the single largest cohort hired in the humanities and social sciences. In some disciplines, half of tenure track jobs went to people who were in their final year of graduate school or who had their degree in hand for only a year.
  • We also learned that few adjuncts are making the leap from contingent to tenure-track status. This is, perhaps, not surprising, but it is devastating to the hundreds of PhDs eking out a living (or not, as it were) teaching semester to semester. Only 3% were working as adjuncts.  Another 18% were working as contingent faculty teaching off the tenure track.  (VAP, Instructor, Lecturer, etc).
  • In English and History, almost 70% of the jobs went to graduates from top-ranked programs. In fact in history, 50% of jobs went to just 15 programs.

I presented data from the project in a webinar.

The findings from the study challenges the advice most graduate students hear about the academic job market: that you can publish your way to a tenure track job; that you should wait to go on the job market until you’ve finished your degree. Wrong and wrong again.

But the data from JobTracker is only for one year and the CHE project is now wrapped. We need more data to understand the academic job market and to provide graduate students and faculty with the knowledge they need to make informed choices.

I want to keep this project going, and I need your help.

Get Involved

Researchers/Editors I need help! I spent hundreds of hours building JobTracker.  Now that I’m doing this without a paycheck, I need researchers who can help me populate data sheets by entering information from job wikis, and dig around on university websites to figure out who was hired into these positions. It’s boring and time-consuming, but so valuable.  Right now, I can’t pay you. I will, however, thank you and acknowledge your labour publicly (if you want.)  If I raise enough money, I’ll compensate you.

Learn more about the project here.

Subscribers/Contributors:  Lilli Research Group is a one-person start up – it’s me, Maren! I do not have a salary and derive my income from consulting/researching, career coaching, speaking, and freelance writing. Understanding who lands tenure track jobs is critical, and I want to keep working on this project, but I can’t without funds. I’m asking the people who will benefit from this study to help fund it.

Make a one time contribution: 
Option 1 :$10 USD PayPal
Option 2 :$25 USD PayPal
Option 3 : $50 USD PayPal
Option 4 : $100 USD PayPal
Option 5 : $200.00 USD PayPal

Want to contribute a higher amount? Make more than one payment at check out.

 Become a subscriber: 
Option 1 : $5 USD – monthly  PayPal
Option 2 : $15.00 USD – monthly PayPal
Option 3 : $25.00 USD – monthly PayPal
Option 4 : $50.00 USD – monthly PayPal
Option 5 : $100.00 USD – monthly PayPal

Money raised will go towards compensating people working on the project.  LRG is an LLC, so funds contributed are not tax deductible.  Think of it more like subscribing to your favourite online newspaper/magazine.  We do not offer refunds. You can, however, cancel your subscription at anytime.

Why crowdsourcing/crowdfunding?

There are many reasons why crowdfunding and sourcing is the best option.

First, I’m not eligible for grant money because I’m not affiliated with a university. And, I’ve asked around.  Everybody is interested in the findings; institutions are squeamish about publishing the results.

Second, we can’t rely on institutions or organizations to report this information. Institutions are limited in what they can publicly report due to privacy laws.  There’s also the politics of academic culture  that deter departments and graduate schools from making this data public. What if nobody gets tenure track jobs from a department? What then?

An outside voice can deliver the bad (or good?) news unfiltered.  This project is about speaking truth to power.  So help me do that.

Join the community. Together we can crack the mystery of the academic job market. And by revealing the truth about hiring, we can hopefully help reform a very broken system. Give $10. Or Give 10 hours.

— L. Maren Wood, PhD