MOVING TO FRONT FROM THIS MORNING TO ENCOURAGE MORE COMMENTS
A graduate student in philosophy writes:
It seems like there are vast differences in the ways and amounts that students, especially graduate students, are involved in the process of hiring. I thought it might be something interesting to discuss on your blog.
I am a PhD student, and my department is in the midst of hires this year. Last year, we also hired more than one person. It was not the policy of the department to allow graduate students to attend the job talks, but when the graduate students asked, the department changed its policy and allowed us to attend.
The undergraduate institution that I attended not only allowed graduate and undergraduate students to attend, but there were representatives for undergraduates and graduate students on the hiring committees, from writing the job call to selecting the on campus candidates. They even got to vote on the final decisions.
As I see it, some involvement is good, allowing graduate students to see the process of hiring first hand before they go on the market. On the other hand, involving graduate students to be central in decisions could be problematic for several reasons. They are not long term members of the department; they might see more of the underbelly of the department in the hiring process; and they might hear discussions highlighting the faults of a candidate that will, the next year, be their professor.
I raise this issue as I have heard of different graduate students lobbying for more involvement in the process (up to voting), but I have my reservations about the practical implications of such a move. It would be interesting to hear what you and your readers have to say on the topic.
Thoughts from readers? What are practices at your departments? I have to say I had never heard before of a department that excluded graduate students from a job talk, but I'm curious to hear whether other places have such an approach and the reasons for it.