There have been a litany of complaints about the organization of American Philosophical Association (APA) since the close of the Eastern APA. I thought I’d gather them here.

  1. Philosophers Anonymous has several complaints here and here
  2. Leiter posted a complaint by David Velleman here. That thread is still generating interesting discussion.
  3. The Philosophy Smoker has seven suggestions for the APA here.

I won’t weigh in on all of the comments and concerns here, but I will note that one of the more fruitful suggestions comes from Gregory Wheeler in the comment thread on the Leiter post. Here’s what he said.

To amplify Jon Kvanvig’s remarks, Jobs for Philosophers and the placement services are far below par. Departments write out adverts for jobs on paper, mail them in to the APA, and someone there (re-)types this information into a non-searchable file designed to yield a camera ready image for a printing press. Then, at the meeting, a bottleneck forms as hundreds of people queue to find someone with a clipboard who has interview room information. This is no way to run a business.

Suggestions: Let departments type their own ads into an online form and create a searchable jobs database; stop printing JfP on paper and get rid of the typing pool for JfP entirely; use a scheduling software system for interviews, and put *all* of the services handled by the jobs placement service online. Let candidates and interviewers trade messages on the system, upload CVs, dossiers, etc.: offering the option of a paperless search to departments is an example of how to add value to the profession. Searchable job ads, candidate and department interview schedules, along with the meeting program…all of this should be entirely online. The APA IT person should be able to write such a program in short order, with the appropriate security for privacy and financial data. (If not, get a new IT person.) Worried about students not having a computer? Rent a bank of them from the hotel with part of the money saved by not lodging APA people with clipboards. Then, plow the rest of the savings into setting up a press office.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

One Response to “Is Something Wrong with the APA?”

  1. thomblake

    well, duh. It’s ridiculous logistic problems (with obvious solutions) like this that remind me again that it’s a professional organization for philosophers, not engineers.

    And concerned that a student might not have a computer? Probably more likely one won’t have sight or hearing. Treat it like any other rare disability.

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