There’s an awkward truth that perhaps isn’t as well known as it ought to be about academic careers: an oversupply of qualified, motivated candidates chasing an extremely limited supply of academic jobs. Simplifying somewhat, the problem is: if one tenured professor (or “lecturer” as we call them in the UK) is primarily responsible for fifteen PhDs over their career, then fourteen of those newly-minted doctors will not get permanent jobs in academia.
That wouldn’t be a problem if the career aspirations of people studying for doctorates were in line with the statistics – if about one in ten to one in twenty PhD candidates wanted a job in academia, then there would be minimal disappointment. However, that isn’t the case; many more doctoral students have the ambition and indeed the belief to go on and have an academic career: and when belief meets reality, sometimes things break. Even when they don’t, the oversupply of idealistic, qualified and motivated candidates leads to distortions, such as a large number of underpaid sessional teaching staff, assisting in the delivery of courses to ever larger cohorts of students (see also). The sector hasn’t sunk as low as the “unpaid internship” seen in other oversupplied careers (games, journalism, fashion) – though it has come close, and there are some zero-hour contract horror stories out there, as well as the nigh-on-exploitative short-term postdocs that are also part of the pyramid.
All this is a somewhat depressing way to set the scene for our way of redressing the balance: Goldsmiths Computing is hiring to fill a number of positions. Some of the positions are traditional lecturer jobs – fixed-term and permanent – and while they’re good openings, and I look forward to meeting candidates and working with whoever is successful, they’re not what’s most interesting here. We have also allocated funds for a number of post-doctoral teaching and research fellowships: three year posts where, in exchange for helping out with our teaching, the fellows will be able to pursue their own research agenda, working in collaboration with (but not under the direction of) established members of staff. I think this is a hugely positive move, and a real opportunity for anyone interesting in the particular kinds of areas of Computing that we have strengths in at Goldsmiths: Games and Graphics, Music and Art Computing, Data and Social Computing, Human-Computer Interaction and AI, Robotics and Cognition. (And if applicants were to want to work with me on projects in Music Informatics or even involving some programming language work, so much the better!)
The complete list of positions we’re hoping to fill (apply by searching for the “Computing” Department in this search form) is:
- Lecturer in Computational Art – 0.5FTE, 3 year fixed-term
- Lecturer in Computer Science – full-time, 3 year fixed-term
- Lecturer in Computer Science – 0.5FTE, 3 year fixed-term
- Lecturer in Games and Graphics – full-time, open-ended
- Lecturer in Games Art – 0.5FTE, open-ended
- Lecturer in Physical Computing – full-time, open-ended
- Post-doctoral Teaching and Research Fellow – full-time, 3 year fixed-term
The deadline for applications for most of these posts is Monday 8th June, so get applying!