Thursday, November 18, 2010

APA Wishlist

There are lots of good suggestions in this Leiter Reports thread on what the APA could be doing better. To summarize my favourites:

(1) Improve the JFP website, e.g. to remove duplicates and allow jobs to be easily filtered by AOS/AOC, teaching load, etc.

(2) Centralized dossier service, for job and grad school applications.

(3) Stop facilitating the awful practice of job interviews at the Eastern APA. Encourage hiring departments to instead use video-conferencing for first-stage interviews (provide a "best practices" document to ease the transition).

(4) Work towards a future where all the major philosophy journals are open access. My suggestion: organize 'adoptions' for existing (not yet open) journals.

(5) Organize members to partake in collective protest (petitions, letters, etc.) against university administrations that threaten to close philosophy departments, fire tenured faculty without just cause, etc.

(6) Public relations / broad public advocacy for the discipline of philosophy. Establish a media presence. Arrange for moral and political philosophers to be included on ethics boards, and to be interviewed by journalists writing on relevant issues.

(7) Advocate and encourage the teaching of (age-appropriate) philosophy in schools. (They're already providing some good resources here, at least.)

(8) Collect more systematic data on the profession.

What would you add?


  1. The APA really does an awful job at supporting and representing philosophical jobs outside of colleges -- high school philosophy teachers, ethicists, etc. -- and facilitating the transition from academia to non-academic positions to which philosophy is still relevant. (This latter part, I think, is associated with your (6), because the APA really does next to nothing for philosophy outside of the academic context, which both radically limits its scope of advocacy and also helps to encourage the false and self-perpetuating view that philosophy is good for nothing except teaching philosophy.)

  2. I know there were disputes about whether there were legal obstacles for job listings if the JFP stopped being sent out as a print document, however, one suggestion that seemed good was to consider switching the distribution of Proceedings and Addresses over to PDFs. One possibility would be to allow people who strongly prefer print copies a way to "opt-in" to receiving them, while defaulting to PDF distribution. At the very least people should be able to opt-out of receiving the paper copy, which might help cut costs on printing and postage.


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