I've corresponded periodically with Carolyn Dicey Jennings (UC Merced) about her interest in data on the job market, and I have no doubt her intention is to provide constructive information. But the road to hell is often paved with good intentions, and an alleged "comparison" like this is confusing and misleading for fairly obvious reasons:
First, by her own admission, the data is incomplete (indeed, woefully incomplete in some cases I know about).
Second, no one would expect a department's reputation in 2011 to have any correlation with its placement prior to 2011 (unless there had been no changes in the interim), but almost all the placements recorded by Prof. Jennings are from students who would have started graduate school between 2000 and 2005. I would think philosophers are smart enough to understood that past placement success is a backward-looking measure, and that current faculty reputation, as it correlates with job placement, is a forward-looking measure.
Third, her measure of placement success takes no account of the kinds of jobs graduates secure. 2/2 is the same as 4/4, research university is the same as a liberal arts college, a PhD-granting department is the same as a community college. I know philosophers happy in all kinds of positions, but it's not information, it's misinformation, to equate them all in purporting to measure job placement.
Fourth, the placement rate is calculated nonsensically: comparing average placement, as incompletely reported on blogs, between 2011-2014 to average yearly graduates between 2009-2013 is equivalent, in most cases, to comparing two randomly chosen numbers, since many (maybe most) of those placed in 2011-2014 will have completed their degrees well before 2009 and well after 2013. This is so obvious that I'm mystified why anyone would think this is a relevant comparison.
NYU ranks 26th in placement according to Professor Jennings. Here is NYU's actual placement record. It really takes some perverse ingenuity to represent a department with one of the best placement records in the world as having a mediocre placement record. Prof. Jennings really ought to withdraw this nonsense from the web, and wait until she has complete data and can organize it sensibly.
UPDATE: Rather than withdraw the nonsense ranking, Prof. Jennings digs in her heels. Alas. She could share information about job placement without the nonsense ranking/comparison. (I note that just by adding two tenure-track placements from NYU that had been missed, NYU jumped from #26 to #14, which tells you the worth of this measure. In addition, of course, some of those treated as unemployed in this measure are JD/PhDs who have not yet gone on the academic market. Examples like this could be multiplied at all the top departments.)
AND ANOTHER: Another blog says "everyone in the profession should be appreciative and supportive" of Professor Jennings's work and objects to my criticizing her. But this blogger and I have a substantive disagreement: I do not think "everyone in the profession should be appreciative and supportive" since I think what she has produced in this instance (though not only this one, she has done this before) is confusing and highly misleading. I know many others think this as well, I've heard from them. These folks don't blog and, understandably, they don't want to get into disputes in the bowels of cyberspace. That falls to me, alas. This blogger also implies, falsely, that I am particularly critical of junior philosophers. I am not. My criticism of Prof. Jennings is, shall we say, rather more mild than my criticism of Prof. Nagel, among many, many others. I am an egalitarian: if people say and do things in public, I respond to what they say and do, not who they are. If what they say and do suggests poor judgment, dishonesty, carelessness, ulterior motives, etc., I also say so. (Prof. Jennings took issue with some aspects of the criticism, and as a courtesy to her, I removed one part of it.)
SUR-REPLY: The author of the other blog (to which I will not link, since he has created a forum for anonymous insults and obnoxious remarks aimed at me) repeats his objection to my criticizing her the way I did; but I criticized her the way I did because the nature of what she did (and its potentially pernicious consequences) warranted that response. The author can try to redescribe this any way he likes, but the point stands that we disagree about the substance. If I shared his view of the substance, my criticism would have been different. The author also denies, implausibly, that he implied that I harshly criticize junior philosophers; indeed on his Facebook page, he described his blog posting as "how the powerful talk to the less powerful." But any reader of the blog knows this statement is false: I criticize all fools the same way, and always have, without regard to status.
On the substance, some readers suggest that my real mistake was to assume that Prof. Jennings had "good intentions," and that may be right. She may simply be trying to discredit the PGR, which would explain why she circulated in public the nonsense ranking/comparison, knowing full well that it was nonsense. I'm agnostic on whether that is the correct interpretation.
ANOTHER: From a colleague elsewhere, who aptly sums up the nonsense that has accompanied the nonsense rankings:
I've not seen every twist of the CDJ issues. I saw her latest attempt at an "analysis" of placement issues and quickly saw it was a mess.
I then saw her being promoted as a victim of injustice (or mistreatment of some other kind) followed by her embracing that role.
I continue to be amazed that there is a segment of professional philosophers who think that junior faculty are children and highly vulnerable if criticized in any way...etc. And that these people think that inferences from "here is a good deal of bad work" to "this person is not the sharpest tool in the shed" are problematic. I *hope* this segment is relatively small and appears large only because of distortion caused by frequent blogging and loud claims of victimhood.
I was treated like a child exactly once as a junior faculty member and on that occasion I firmly but politely told the person treating me that way that I was a 24 year old professional with a phd and not a high school kid.
The whole display is clearly an artifact of the selection effect of those who turn to blogs and blog comments to air their grievances. Having talked to a number of adults about CDJ, I've yet to see any sympathy for her posture in this matter.