By specifying 'between 2010 and time of appointment' we indicated that we are interested in applicants with up to three years in a tenure-track position as well as those who are just beginning their careers. In examining the pool of applicants, we have actually given the true 'entry-level' applicant an advantage in that such applicants will not have to compete with others who have as much as six years' more experience.Now, this sounds reasonable, if you are looking from the outside and have absolutely no idea what the academic job market looks like - especially in the humanities.
But from the inside of the academic job market - you know, the exact position that the chair of the English department should be looking from - this is still just as clueless and problematic of a statement as the original job ad was.
First, the chair is naively identifying "true 'entry level'" applicants as only those who are new Ph.D. graduates - or those who have jumped out of grad school directly into a tenure-track job. Wow, is that a blindfolded look at the academic job market! It's kind of staggering.
In a robust academic job market, this might be true. Every graduate will get a job, and then after a year or two young professors will reshuffle into different positions. That might make sense in a perfect-world academic job market ... but in the actual academic job market we have today? It doesn't. At all. And everyone in academia should understand that. No exceptions.
These days, someone looking to break into an entry-level tenure track job in the humanities could be either of these people, (not counting the mythical second-year tenure track prof looking to switch jobs): (1) someone who is currently ABD but graduating in May 2013 or (2) someone who graduated in 2008 and has been cobbling together part-time adjunct gigs at multiple schools, barely bringing in $20k per year while leaving no time for research or a personal life. Neither of these people have 'as much as six years' more experience' than the other. Both of them are just barely scraping by while trying to find that first, entry-level tenure-track job that they've been dreaming about since the moment they first showed up at their grad school's doorstep.
Do you understand that, CSU?? Both of those people are entry-level candidates. Neither of them have gotten started in their academic careers yet. Either of those people would probably jump at a chance for an "entry level" tenure-track job. Because they are BOTH "entry-level" applicants.
But your ad only excludes one of them.
And it does so in a way that confirms many people's suspicions - that long-term adjuncts are seen as damaged goods and are not seriously considered for tenure-track jobs.
Maybe that's not what you intended to communicate ... but it IS what you communicated. And if that's not what you intended? Then I have to admit, I'm a little terrified to see that the head of a major university department has such a shocking lack of understanding of the status of the current job market in English.
Look, CSU. It's easy. If you were looking for an entry level scholar, then you say that in the ad. "Soliticing applications for an entry-level, tenure-track Assistant Professor of English."
Then, as applications roll in? Pull out the ones that are sent in by current tenure-track faculty. (Hint: they'll be the ones that list "Assistant Professor" as their current job title. "Lecturer" or "Adjunct Faculty" or "Instructor" means something different. I know that's a tough code to break, but I have faith that you can figure it out ... or at least use Google.)
End result: you'll still get an applicant pool of entry-level scholars, without infuriating half of the academic world and giving the middle finger to a bunch of hardworking adjuncts who have believed so much in their dream of getting a tenure-track position and in the nonsense you've been peddling about "working hard and being rewarded with a tenure-track job eventually" that they've worked for shit wages and no benefits without complaint for the past five years.
But really, I should know better than to expect more from academic employers by now.
(I'm not even in English, and I never worked as an adjunct. But goddammit, this has to be one of the most tin-eared, close-minded, clueless moves I've ever seen a department make. I'm still speechless about it, three days later.)