Friday, October 17, 2014

Slow years and job predictions: a graduate seminar in advanced straw-clutching

Today is the sixth week of the 2014-15 job market in German Studies. Some new jobs have appeared. Based on the new data, should I revise the number of jobs to be expected? Maybe.

To review: My previous estimate of the number of TT jobs to appear this year was 16, based on 9 TT jobs on opening day * 1.75. The basis for this was in history. The assumption is that a similar number of departments have their acts together enough to get a job ad into the opening JIL, and that's generally true. Since 2003, an average of 57% of all TT jobs have appeared on opening day, so 9 / .57 yields 15.8 jobs. Grim.

But wait! Now we have more data to go on. As of today, we're at 17 TT jobs, already ahead of the projection. Are more jobs coming? Since 2005, an average of 81% of all TT jobs have been advertised by week 6, so 17 / .81 yields 21 jobs. That's four more jobs, but still grim.

But wait! Maybe it's a slow year and lots more jobs are on the way!

No. No charge of the MLA job list stampeding in over the horizon is going to save you.

It's possible, however, that there has been an increase in the number of universities and departments whose  budget situation is so screwed up that they can't get a job posted by Halloween. And in fact there's some evidence for this. Between 2005 and 2008 - "the good old days, except we thought 2008 was just a down year and not the new dismal" - an average of 58% of TT jobs were posted on the first day, and 87% by week 6. Since then, it's been 51% on the first day, and 77% by week 6. If we use the more more recent averages from the dismal years since 2009 - the years most like 2014, in other words - we would project 18-22 jobs (using the first day/week 6 averages, respectively).

Which one is more accurate? Since 2009, the first-day projection as proved to be more accurate twice (in 2009 and 2011), while the week 6 projection has proved to be more accurate twice (in 2010 and 2013); they were tied (and dead-on accurate) in 2012. Taking the more recent years as a guide would suggest that the week 6 projection might be more accurate for this year: 22 jobs. Another way to look at it is that the lower projection was more accurate in 2005-2008, while the higher project proved more accurate in 2009-2013, again suggesting that the higher projection will be more accurate this year.

So I'm revising the projection upward by 6 jobs from 16 to 22. There might just be 5 more TT jobs out there waiting to be advertised. There's historical precedent for this: Since 2009, an average of 6.2 TT jobs have appeared on the JIL after week 6. The rule of thumb for next year might even become the number of TT jobs on opening day times two.

In other news, the number of non-TT jobs now advertised (11) is tied with 2005 and 2007 for the highest at this point in the last decade. Yay?

Friday, September 12, 2014

The jobpocalypse of 2014

On the opening day of the 2014-15 MLA/ADFL job information list for German, there were a total of nine ads for tenure-track (9) or open-rank (0) jobs. This is a new record for the least number of TT jobs advertised on opening day, beating out such lackluster years as 2009 (11), 2010 (11), 2013 (14), and 2012 (15).

Between 2003 and 2013, an average of 57% of all TT jobs that would appear on the ADFL job list appeared on opening day. The average for 2008-2013, at 52%, is little different.

Based on those numbers, we can expect a total of 16 or 17 TT jobs to be advertised in the JIL by the end of AY 2014-15. The last TT job ad may not appear until February or March, or even later.

If the predicted total of 17 jobs appearing in the MLA/ADFL job information list holds, 2014 will be the worst year on the job market for German in generations, somewhat worse even than 2009 and a level not seen since 1955, when "Personalia" recorded a total of 11 new tenure-track appointments. Your advisor, your advisor's advisor, and perhaps your advisor's advisors' advisor never saw a job market this bad.

From 2006-2013, an average of 90% of all positions were advertised in the JIL. We might therefore expect one or two additional TT jobs to be advertised outside of the JIL.

There were also four non-TT jobs advertised, but there is no way to predict the number of ads that will eventually appear, as they tend to show up at a steady but irregular rate through the summer.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to shrink the Ph.D. in German Studies. Part two

The first half of this post identified our target—41.3 Ph.D.s in German per year, less than half of the current number—and the reasons for making this our goal. This post will lay out one way to get there.

To establish program-specific targets, I started with the number of each program’s average number of tenure-track placements per year since 2008. Then I added bonuses (worth a quarter of a TT job) to those programs with post-2008 TT placement rates at or above 30% (Princeton, Texas, Penn State, Cincinnati, U Washington, and Massachusetts), and an additional similar bonus to those programs that seem to be operating efficiently (Cincinnati, Florida, Harvard, Virgina, UC Davis, Stanford, U Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Illinois). Then I applied geographic bonuses based on regional balance; schools in the Southwest and Southeast get a bonus and the Plains schools suffer no penalty, while the New England, Great Lakes, and Mid East schools take a quarter-point penalty and the Far West schools take a half-point penalty. I multiplied the result by 1.43 (based on the ratio of Ph.D.s to TT jobs in 1981-2007). I didn’t apply the outcome mechanically, but instead used the resulting figures as a guide. The table below summarizes the results.

The path to 41.3 Ph.D.s per year is littered with corpses and the emaciated figures of the gaunt survivors. I present the plan here only as one possible variation on the least bad option for restoring some balance to the job market in German Studies.

The programs that don’t have to change a thing. Princeton, Texas, Cincinnati, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Florida, and Tennessee can keep on doing what they’re doing. Their record of TT placement and/or their geographical good fortune mean that they’re already producing about the right number of Ph.D.s each year that the market can bear from them. Florida and Tennessee seem too small to me to be sustainable, but presumably they know something I don’t. If they can avoid growing, then they can keep going.  North Carolina and Duke have already done the hard work of combining programs, so the future UNC/Duke program can continue at a rate slightly above UNC by itself right now, but not as high as UNC and Duke added together.

The dirty work’s already done. The easiest cuts are the ones that have already happened. The average number of Ph.D.s for 2008-2013 includes some now defunct programs, including Iowa, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, and Utah. That’s already 1.2 Ph.D.s per year on average.

Close the programs that are too small. Brown, CUNY, UC Santa Barbara, Connecticut, and Purdue: I’m sorry. You had a good run. But your doctoral programs produce Ph.D.s in such low numbers that they’re either tiny, or bad at turning grad students into Ph.D.s, and your graduates don’t seem to be finding TT jobs. It’s not much, but we need the 1.7 Ph.D.s per year that you contribute together.

I’m assuming that 1 Ph.D. per year is around the lower limit for the size of a healthy program. If you admit only 3 M.A. students each year in a 2-year program, of whom 1.5 (on average) continue on to the doctoral program for two years of doctoral coursework, followed by three years of dissertation writing (with .5 students from each year stopping at the ABD stage), then you have a total program enrollment of 12 grad students (6 M.A. + 3 doctoral + 3 writing dissertations), including 9 grad students in coursework. If students are offered little choice on electives and the dean is understanding, that might be enough enrollment for the seminars to make.

The stillborn. Colorado, what the world needs now is not more Ph.D. programs in German. I know, you’re doing innovative things, but we need less innovation and more immolation. Your plan is to put all your grad students on the five-year plan to cut down on grad school dropout rates. But we’ve only got 41.3 Ph.D.s to award each year. I know your region is underserved, but three years of efficiently mass-producing Ph.D.s in German will serve your region’s needs for the next two decades. Arizona’s program is too close to graduating its first Ph.D.s to shut it down now, but it belongs on this list, too. Allowing one Arizona Ph.D. per year means shutting down some other program that probably deserves to continue.

Close the departments that are too redundant as departments. This is the list where the hurt begins: Georgetown, three more UC schools, Illinois-Chicago, Maryland, Michigan State, NYU, Northwestern, and Wayne State. Between them, they account for 10.7 Ph.D.s per year. There are several excellent programs on this list, but none of them have impressive placements rates, and all of them face too much local competition. Keeping Arizona (or any other program) alive at a minimal rate of 1 Ph.D. per year means losing the legacy of Heidi Byrnes to SLA in German Studies. Keeping Georgetown means losing someone else. That’s how painful these cuts are going to be.

Modest reduction. People who know the local programs better might argue that it would make more sense, say, to keep Georgetown but close Rutgers, and it’s quite possible that they’re right. Some of the programs on the following list benefit from the demise of their neighbors, possibly unjustly. Programs that can meet their targets with only modest adjustments include Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, Virginia, Stanford, UC Davis (or some other UC school outside of Berkeley), Penn State, Kansas, and Vanderbilt, who need to produce only one Ph.D. less every two years, on average. This only adds up to 3.1 Ph.D.s less per year.

Major reduction. Other programs need to graduate around one Ph.D. less every year. These are programs of significant size that need to become programs of modest size: U Washington, Ohio State, Indiana, Cornell, Illinois, Michigan, Harvard, and Columbia. Together it results in 7.3 Ph.D.s less per year.

Over-producing Ph.D. programs that have to face the music. The biggest cuts have to come out of the largest programs that have modest to poor placement rates in order to get the job market back into balance: Chicago, U Pennsylvania, Yale, Washington U, Wisconsin, and Berkeley, who all need to produce around two Ph.D.s less per year. Their reductions together provide another 11.0 Ph.D.s less per year.

The UNC-Duke project might provide a model for programs to follow. Georgetown and Johns Hopkins could choose to partner with Maryland, for example. Or Illinois with UI-Chicago and Purdue with Indiana. Michigan partnering with Michigan State and Wayne State seems like a logical step. NYU and CUNY could talk to Columbia (NYU actually has better placement rates than Columbia, but Columbia has a better name to trade off of). Brown is not far from Harvard, and Connecticut is not far from U Massachusetts. Berkeley and Stanford are within commuting distance. UC Los Angeles, Irvine, Santa Barbara, and Davis could set up a consortium. (Davis has the better placement record, but with Berkeley/Stanford up north, it might turn out more feasible to have a program based in southern California.)

This is the least bad future for our discipline, and the most equitable way that I can find to distribute the pain. It leaves 31 doctoral programs in German Studies still functioning, distributed in all regions of the country.

There are other options. One could let the biggest programs survive at their current size and close all the smaller programs. That option leaves only 16 doctoral programs still operating. Or we could do nothing and let a Ph.D. in German Studies turn into a career crapshoot reserved for those with a significant trust to fall back on. We can imagine different methodologies that value different things and arrive at a different list of casualties and survivors, or even more other undesirable possible futures for doctoral-level German Studies in the United States. Unfortunately, one of them will become reality whether we like it or not because the job market of 1981-2007, the one that your adviser thought was bad when she got her first job but that actually looks pretty good in retrospect, is never coming back.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to shrink the Ph.D. in German Studies. Part 1

This post is getting long, so I am splitting it into two parts. In the second part, I will offer a concrete plan for reducing the number of Ph.D.s in German Studies, including specific programs that should maintain their present size, others that should shrink or form partnerships with other programs, and some that should close entirely. In order to explain how I arrived at this proposal, I’ll lay out my assumptions in this post.

1. The job market in German is not ever going to recover. Since the crash of ’08, we have seen six ADFL job lists and six job wikis appear with no sign that our discipline will ever return to the same rate of tenure-track hiring that it enjoyed in the 80s, 90s, or early 2000s. Both grad students and grad departments should plan on a future no rosier than the present.

2. People earn Ph.D.s in German in order to become German professors. Completing three or four years of coursework, writing a dissertation on Heinrich Heine, and gaining foreign language teaching expertise is a terribly inefficient way to prepare for a career in anything else. There’s nothing wrong with people choosing to pursue other careers, but the number of grad students for whom alt-ac is their first choice is quite low.

3. German Ph.D. programs in North American exist to serve the North American market. Teaching German language and literature at colleges and universities in the U.S. requires an odd mix of preparation in SLA, literature, and culture that isn’t well met by graduates in literature or DaF from German universities. In the same way, American Ph.D.s face handicaps outside the U.S., where their language-teaching background is not as strong as a German in DaF, but what they do have is a liability compared to those who have focused strictly on literature.

4. Good graduate programs should continue their work. Poor graduate programs should shrink or close. Existing prestige hierarchies have always poorly served the needs of hiring institutions and should not be reflexively reproduced in the future of German Studies. Instead, programs that have been effective in placing their students into tenure-track jobs should continue to do so. Programs that place their graduates into teaching-focused jobs should be preferred to programs that prepare their students for research-focused jobs that they can’t get.
5. There are too many Ph.D.s in German. To restore some balance to the market, the ratio of new Ph.D.s to advertised tenure-track jobs needs to drop from where it is today (well over 2 to 1) to where it was during the 1980s and 1990s (less than 1.5 to 1). That doesn’t mean that everyone will find a job, but it will improve the situation for job-seekers. (Reducing the number of M.A. degrees awarded is a separate but related issue.)

6. Reducing the number of new Ph.D.s will improve the situation for job seekers within a few years. There is not a massive backlog of underemployed Ph.D.-holders that a reform of doctoral programs in German would need to work through. My evidence for this lies in the facts of who gets hired, where Ph.D.-holders more than three years past their date of Ph.D. conferral who have not previously held a tenure-track position comprise a tiny fraction of those who are hired. With a few exceptions, people who have not found a tenure-track position after three or four years move on to other career options, or develop ties to a location that preclude seeking a TT job outside their immediate vicinity.

7. Programs can be too small or too large. Some small programs should close rather than continue investing in a graduate program that does not offer its students a broad range of faculty research interests and seminar topics. For a relatively efficient program, I estimate the lower limit at around one Ph.D. per year. Other programs admit more students than they can support. With the academic job market as out of sync as it is, graduate programs should only accept students for whom they can provide full funding (and a stipend of $8,000 for teaching three or four classes a year is not an acceptable substitute for full funding). Even programs that can fund all their students may need to replace TAs with full-time lecturers as their programs shrink.

8. Diversity of graduate faculty and programs is healthy and should be preserved as much as possible. While programs need a certain size to be viable, it’s also important to maintain as far as possible the diversity of faculty expertise, geographic distribution, and program emphasis. Ph.D.s should be produced approximately in line with the hiring of tenure-track professors in their regions. It would be a loss to our discipline if reducing the number of Ph.D.s awarded came at the cost of eliminating entire subfields or geographic regions. To put it another way, the pre-1750 subfields are already so small that the intellectual impoverishment of eliminating all of them would have very little effect on the number of Ph.D.s produced each year. To have a noticeable effect, the cuts will have to come out of the larger programs and the center of our discipline.

9. Denying opportunities to people causes less unhappiness the sooner it occurs. It’s less painful to not get into grad school than it is to fail out of a program. It’s less painful to make a career change right after getting a Ph.D. than it is after several years of working on a contingent basis in the field. Like reducing the number of part-time adjunct positions by hiring fewer full-time people instead, improving the chances at a tenure-track job by reducing the number of grad students leaves everybody better off in the long run.

With that in mind, let’s look at the cold equations of the academic job market in German and see where we need to go. Between 1981 and 2007, there were 57.3 tenure-track positions advertised on average each year in the ADFL job list, and 82 Ph.D.s awarded on average, or a ratio of 1.43 TT jobs/Ph.D. Since 2008, there have been on average 30.2 TT jobs advertised and 82.7 Ph.D.s awarded (according to my records, higher than the average of 77.6/year according to “Personalia”), or a ratio of almost three Ph.D.s per TT job. In order to restore balance to the job market, bringing it back to the conditions that prevailed between 1981 and 2007, the discipline of German Studies needs to shrink the size of doctoral education by over half, to around 43 Ph.D.s per year.

But first, we'll saw off Canada. Hiring of Germanists in Canada seems to be different enough from the U.S. that it’s hard to know what to say about it. Not many Ph.D.s from Canadian universities are being hired there or in the U.S. Either a radical restructuring of the Canadian programs is needed, or I just don’t understand their system. For now, we’ll remove Canada from the equation by eliminating Canadian Ph.D. programs from further consideration, and reducing our target by 4.4%, the percentage of jobs advertised each year that lie in Canada. Our new goal is to bring the number of Ph.D.s down to around 41.3 per year—a level not seen since 1961.

Regional alignment. The table below compares Ph.D. production by region (as used for Carnegie classifications) to the number of jobs advertised in the same region, and it says a lot about the misery of German studies today.

In most regions, graduate programs have produced wildly more Ph.D.s in German than the number of tenure-track jobs in that region. The only exceptions are some of the smallest regions, including the Rocky Mountains (where the closing of Utah’s program is about to be replaced by the opening of Colorado’s) and the Southwest (where Texas is the only Ph.D. program, soon to have competition from Arizona). One relatively bright spot has been the Southeast, where a small number of programs (Florida, the fusioning North Carolina and Duke programs, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Tennessee) have benefited from a significant number of tenure-track searches. Programs in the Plains region (Iowa’s closing leaves only Kansas, Minnesota, and Washington University) also face limited competition, but haven’t benefited from as many TT searches.

After that, the picture becomes much grimmer, with multiple large programs chasing few TT searches. In the Great Lakes region, there are six graduate programs within a few hours’ drive of each other (Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, Northwestern, Indiana, and Purdue), with Washington University just over the border. Perhaps Chicago and Northwestern aren’t training students for the same kinds of jobs as Indiana and Illinois (although Illinois and Indiana might dispute that), but there’s not enough room for Chicago and Northwestern in the same city, or for the four public schools within a short drive of each other. The worst case is the Far West, where five UC schools, Stanford, and Washington produce together the third-highest number of Ph.D.s in a region that has offered the second-lowest number of jobs.

This can’t go on. Some programs have to shrink. Others have to close. In the next post, I’ll show one way that it might be done.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What Vitae’s Job Tracker Needs to Do

Reading their introduction, it sounds like the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae Job Tracker project is asking most of the right questions. What they are proposing to do in a pilot project for eleven academic disciplines is similar to what I’ve been doing for German for several years, mostly for my own interest and more recently for your edification and amusement. Looking at what they propose and at my experience, these are my recommendation for Brock Read and Maren Wood, or for anyone else thinking about undertaking a project like this.
  1. You have to know the field. If 10% of Ph.D.s go on to academic careers from a history program, that’s a disaster. If the same percentage go on to academic careers from a physics program, that’s normal. If most physics Ph.D.s are still in postdocs three or four years after completing a doctorate, that’s normal. If most of the historians are postdocs, that’s a problem. (And are those historians in prestigious research-intensive postdocs, or stuck teaching 4-4 in a “postdoc” that’s really a VAP position with shiny training wheels?) You have to know the trees that make up the forest.
  2. You have to track the people who earn Ph.D.s. The Survey of Earned Doctorates doesn’t provide enough information for what you want to do. You can’t know how well or badly a graduate program is doing if you don’t know how many Ph.D.s it produces. A small program whose single doctoral graduate usually lands a TT job is much preferable to an enormous program that boasts four or five TT hires each year (while churning out twenty new Ph.D.s). Also, it’s important to look for a source outside the graduate department itself to confirm the number of doctorates granted, such as ProQuest’s records of dissertations and theses. Some programs are inconsistent in reporting who leaves their program with a Ph.D. In addition, it’s tricky but usually possible to assign dissertations to a recognizable disciplinary subfield. It’s much more difficult and often not possible to assign job ads to a subfield, simply because many job ads will mention multiple criteria that may not match up with any recognizable subfield. What subfield is “anything before 1890” or “able to teach women’s literature, post-Wende literature, or digital humanities”? Tracking the specialties of the people who get hired is the only way to see what’s going in with disciplinary subfields.
  3. You have to track advertised tenure-track jobs. It sounds like Vitae is making the correct decision to focus on TT hiring. Too much of NTT hiring happens outside of public view for it to be tracked easily. Following TT hiring is much easier now that we have job wikis to collate jobs advertised both in central disciplinary job lists and in other places. It’s important to maintain focus on particular fields: No one gets a degree in “MLA,” and the job markets in the various humanities disciplines don’t move at the same pace (the 90s were horrid in English, but mostly pretty good in German). It may take several years of collecting data or some historical research in order to develop a sense of the history of the job market in a particular field, and what volatility from year to year means.
  4. You have to match Ph.D.s to advertised jobs. It’s not enough to find out where Ph.D.s go. Most Ph.D.s will manage to find something interesting and productive to do of their own accord. It’s not even enough to find out who ends up in a tenure-track job, as there are routes onto the tenure track that don’t tell us much about the applicant except they married a future dean, or a departing provost decided to stuff some long-term lecturers into some favored programs. It’s also important to figure out when advertised jobs have gone unfilled. So: don’t just track job ads, or Ph.D.s, or graduates who land TT jobs. Instead, match Ph.D.s to job ad outcomes. This is the most reliable way to see which graduate programs have good or poor records of placing graduates into jobs on this continent, or determining where the number of Ph.D.s have gotten out of alignment with the job market.
  5. You have to find out who got hired from the hiring institution. Identifying newly hired TT faculty is usually easy. Most colleges and universities make the names of their faculty public. Picking out the new hire can sometimes be tricky, however, especially when there’s a delay (for assuming a prestigious postdoc, for example) before the new hire assumes the post. It can also be challenging to figure out which three faces in a large department are the new ones. If you’ve got the CHE backing you, you can call up the department in September and ask about the hiring outcome, if it isn’t customary to identify the hired candidate on the job wiki. What you can’t do is ask graduate departments where their graduates have ended up, because their incentives diverge strongly from giving the unvarnished truth. Adjunct and one-semester VAP jobs can too easily turn into “academic placements.”
  6. You have to describe the hiring programs. The easiest way to do this is to use the Carnegie classifications, which will let you automatically assign schools to states, regions, and useful categories. You’ll need some additional data, however, such as the type of degree granted. Many programs at RU/VH schools only grant a bachelor’s degree, for example.
  7. You have to watch for inputs from outside the system. Academic hiring is not quite a closed ecology. Some fields frequently hire faculty with degrees from other fields, or with PhDs from programs outside North America. Sometimes the new hire has already been in a tenure-track job, and sometimes the new hire is still ABD. It’s a good idea to keep track of this information, as it’s an important element of the job market. In some fields (English, for example), only a few jobs each year go to people with degrees in allied fields like American Studies, while in other fields (American Studies, for example), most jobs go to people with degrees in allied fields like English or history rather than in American Studies.
  8. You have to do this every year. A one-year snapshot isn’t enough, and it’s almost impossible to figure out what the outcome was of one year’s academic hiring after the next year has passed. The tables of Ph.D.s granted, job searches, and graduate programs need periodic maintenance. Eventually, you have to figure out when those formerly ABD hires turned into Ph.D.s. It’s a lot of work. But it’s important work, and no one else is going to do it. If you really want to know how the job market works in your field or any field, this is what you have to do.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Where the jobs are

For the discipline of German Studies, most jobs require a serious commitment to research. The notion that most faculty members find jobs at teaching-focused universities is often repeated, but it does not apply to German Studies. If you want to find a job in German Studies, or if you want to prepare your grad students to find jobs, focusing on teaching at the expense of research is a recipe for failure.

Before I provide the documentation, let’s unpack this a bit. By “jobs” I mean “tenure-track jobs as a German professor,” because that is what nearly all the students who pursue a Ph.D. hope to achieve (and if we included non-tenure-track jobs in the following analysis, it wouldn’t change the results in any significant way). I’m also focusing on universities in North American because few people enter positions in international Germanistik with a Ph.D. from a North American university. Our training in literature combined with experience in foreign-language pedagogy make us strong candidates at home but flawed ones abroad.

It has been obvious for several years, of course, that where the jobs are is not in German Studies, with the exception of around 30 positions each year. Academic departments should respond by cutting back the size of incoming cohorts and the number of degrees granted. They should recognize that many of their graduates will find careers outside of academia as a necessity, and be supportive of those who do so. What they should not do, despite all the hype, is try to prepare grad students for non-academic careers. A Ph.D. in German is a horribly inefficient way to prepare for a career in finance or technology or the non-profit sector or, really, almost anything except becoming a German professor. Let the grad departments instead focus their efforts on preparing their grad students to become the best-qualified candidates for the jobs that exist. That’s what they are—or should be—good at.

So there aren’t a lot of jobs in German Studies. But if you’re determined to give the academic job market in German a whirl, then you need to be aware of where the jobs that exist actually are. If you’re a faculty member in a Ph.D.-granting department, you need to know what kind of training your students actually need, and what your neighbor in the office across the hall says about her discipline may not be true at all of German Studies.

I’m basing the following on over 330 tenure-track or open-rank jobs advertised in German Studies, either in the MLA/ADFL job list or in other sources, from the 2006-2007 academic year through the 2013-2014 academic year. I’m combining the pre-crash years of 2006 and 2007 with the post-crash years of 2008 and later because the percentage differences were insignificant when I examined them separately. The crash appears to have affected the number of tenure-track jobs in all types of departments.

Now it’s true that most tenure-track jobs are found in departments that offer only a bachelor’s degree (53.7%), or only a minor (4.7%) or language courses (2.1%), meaning 60.5% of jobs do not involve graduate teaching. That still leaves a large fraction of jobs that do involve graduate teaching either at the MA level (10.3%) or the Ph.D. level (29.2%). Call it a 60:40 split between jobs that involve only undergraduate teaching and jobs that include some graduate-level teaching.

The crucial context, however, is that 59% of all tenure-track jobs are at research institutions (RU/VH, RU/H, or DRU in Carnegie classifications). Faculty in bachelor’s-granting departments at research institutions are required to publish in most cases, as your colleagues at Notre Dame and Dartmouth can confirm. Another 17.1% of jobs are found at master’s degree-granting institutions that may require research. The bachelor’s-granting colleges—mostly SLACs—do offer 23.3% of jobs, but most of them are still interested in faculty publishing (and including undergrads as co-authors). The only institutions that almost never require research are community colleges. Since 2006, there have been two tenure-track positions in German advertised at this level (0.6%).

The other kind of position that requires no research, available at all institutions of all types, is part-time adjunct teaching. Graduate departments should be doing everything in their power to avoid sending their students into that type of position.

It might help to classify the segments of the job market both by degree granted and by institution type, and rank them by the portion of the job market they comprise.

Figure 1: Percentage of tenure-track jobs in German Studies, 2006-2007 to 2013-2014, by the degree granted by the hiring department and simplified Carnegie classification of the hiring university

This is your future on German Studies if you are one of the lucky ones that finds a stable job. Your grad program had better prepare you for doing some serious research, or you won’t be a serious contender for the biggest segment of the job market: Ph.D.-granting departments at research institutions. Even if your department doesn’t offer graduate degrees, your colleagues on the T&P committee from departments who do aren’t going to grant you tenure if you aren’t publishing. You have to leave your grad program specialized enough to succeed in your subfield. Tenure-track jobs that are focused solely or predominately on teaching are rather uncommon in German Studies.

On the other hand, most faculty aren’t going to be able to teach only in their subfield, even at research universities. You’ll have to teach a combination of language, culture, and literature courses, usually not in your subfield. Those annoying breadth requirements in your graduate curriculum are there for a reason. So is your teaching methodology seminar.

Finally, be prepared to move. Here are the top ten states by the number of tenure-track jobs advertised in German Studies since 2006, comprising 50% of all jobs advertised. (I’m treating all of Canada as if it were a single state. Uh, sorry?)

Figure 2: Top 10 states for tenure-track jobs advertised in German Studies, 2006-2007 to 2013-2014 (sum of top ten = 50%)

Another approach is to look not at states, but at regions (again using the Carnegie classification, and treating Canada as its own region).

Figure 3: Regional distribution of tenure-track jobs advertised in German Studies, 2006-2007 to 2013-2014

That’s right: Most jobs are in places that are hot, cold, really freaking cold, really far away, or that usually vote Republican. Pursuing a job in German Studies will mean moving there so you can teach undergraduate courses outside your specialty while you’re under pressure to publish just as much as your colleagues in English who semi-regularly teach specialized seminars to grad students. For every job like that, fifty people will apply. For every one person who gets a job like that, three or four others won’t get any job at all.

* * *

We’ll come back to this data again next time to answer the question: Which grad programs need to cut back?