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Job Placement

Overview:

Vanderbilt's Ph.D. Program in English offers professionalization training and sessions aimed at the job market from the student's first year in our program.

  • A proseminar in year one (required for all first year students) begins training students in important skills like writing conference abstracts and papers, presenting public papers, and developing the kind of research and argumentative and theoretical skills that will lead to publishable writing.
  • The English Graduate Student Association (EGSA) hosts a conference for the first year students that gives them a valuable opportunity to practice their conference presentation skills, with feedback from fellow students and faculty across the College.
  • EGSA also hosts an array of events for graduate students aimed at developing research, pedagogical, grant application, and paper performance skills every year, and keeps an up-to-date database of job application materials from c.v.s and application letters to teaching philosophies to support students as they begin to prepare for the market.
  • All graduate seminars throughout the student's course training are designed with an eye not just toward content but also to aspects of professionalization.
  • In year four, the English Graduate Program offers students the opportunity to participate in Project: Publish!, a year long series of sessions, peer-group work, and one-on-one draft feedback from various faculty, and finally careful editing, aimed at getting a seminar paper or dissertation chapter into publishable essay form. Participants submit their finely-honed essay to their target journal at the end of April.
  • In years four and five, Vanderbilt's English Job Placement Service provides advanced PhD students and recent degree recipients the resources they need for success on the academic job market. Every fall semester, Job Placement organizes a series of workshops designed to help job candidates meet the challenges of gaining academic employment, from the first draft of the cover letter to the negotiation of a job offer. There are sessions on the job market timeline, on crafting c.v.s, abstracts and application letters, and assembling dossiers, on interviewing at MLA and on-campus, as well as on applying for post-docs. They keep a substantial archive of resources for job seekers, including resource files on every aspect of the application process, and they centralize all job postings on their site, which all Vanderbilt PhDs can access. Each year they host a "speed dating"program where multiple faculty have brief one-on-one sessions with students entering the market so that students get feedback from several different faculty. Job placement also runs mock interviews as well as practice job talks and teaching presentations for job candidates.

Responding to Today's Challenges:

Applicants to graduate programs in the humanities should go in with their eyes open about the continuing tough job market and the likelihood that the relatively low number of tenure-track opportunities will probably not increase in the near future. National estimates for the percentage of humanities doctoral students who will end up in tenure-track jobs range from 50-60%. (See, for instance, "Where Are They Now ," Inside Higher Ed [2015] or Report of the MLA Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature [2014].)

In response, the MLA has called on programs to help doctoral students find employment both inside and beyond the academy and to shorten the median time to degree, which in the Humanities is a shocking nine years for language and literature doctorates.

Our doctoral program's placement record for tenure-track jobs is right at the national average: 56% of Vanderbilt English PhDs end up in tenure-track jobs. Note that most students here and elsewhere do not start in a tenure-track job: they work their way towards it through postdocs, visiting assistant professorships, and lectureships. The Vanderbilt doctoral program hits the 56% mark five years out from the PhD, the first year of which is typically spent as a Lecturer here at Vanderbilt. For a listing of all the jobs secured by Vanderbilt PhDs over the last six years, see the comprehensive list below, which includes every PhD from those years regardless of the kind of job, from tenure-track to alternative academic to non-academic. All schools should be able to provide you with comparable information.

Our average time to degree is the second-fastest in the College of Arts and Sciences 5.19 years and our median time to degree is the fastest in the College: 4.4 years. These numbers indicate that our program is over twice as fast as the national median time to degree in the Humanities. Moreover, 80% of our students over the last six years finished in five years; our attrition rate over that period is 9%. Again, these are numbers the MLA has asked schools to make available.

Support for alternative-academic careers (alt-ac): Vanderbilt is committed to supporting all students in their efforts to secure employment both inside and outside the academy. The PhD should be understood as a passport to multiple career trajectories. See our Professionalization page.

In the comprehensive list below, the career trajectory for each student is listed, beginning with their first position.

Placement List:

2016

Anne Margaret Castro
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Literature of the Black Americas, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, 2016

Lucy Mensah
Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, 2016

Petal Samuel
Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carter J. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2016

2015

Kat DeGuzman
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2015 -
Assistant Professor (tenure track), San Francisco State University, 2015

Dan Fang
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2015

Andy Hines
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2015

2014

Emily August
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2014 2015
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Stockton University, 2015

Adam Miller
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2014

Megan Minarich
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2014 2015
Postdoctoral Fellow, Tennessee State University, 2015

Aubrey Porterfield
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2014
Postdoctoral Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities, Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland, 2014 2015
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2015
Instructor, English Department, Kent Place School, Summit, NJ, 2016

Nicole Spigner
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2014 2015
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Columbia College Chicago, 2015

2013

Christopher Pexa
Mellon Postdoctoral Appointment, Cornell University, 2012
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Oklahoma State University, 2015

Matthew Duques
Visiting Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University, 2013 2014
Assistant Professor of Early American Literature (tenure track), University of North Alabama, 2014

Heather Freeman
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2014
Assistant Professor, Florida Polytechnic University, 2014

Caroline Hovanec
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2014
Assistant Professor, University of Tampa, 2014

Donika Kelly
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2014
Lecturer Women's and Gender Studies, Vanderbilt University, 2014 2015
Poet and Lecturer, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, University of California, Davis, 2015 -

Michael Alijewicz
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2014
Postdoctoral, Institute for Collaborative Research in Humanities, Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Academic Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2014 -

Elizabeth Barnett
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2014
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow & Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Berea College, 2014 2015
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Rockhurst University, 2015

Amanda Johnson
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2014
Lecturer, Rice University, 2015

2012

Derrick Spires
Coordinator American Studies Sustainability Project, Vanderbilt University, 2011-2012
Assistant Professor (tenure track), University of Illinois, 2013

Matthew Eatough
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2012 2013
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Baruch College, CUNY, 2013

Diana Bellonby
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2012 2013
Independent Scholar, 2014
President/Co-Founder, The Fringe Foundation, 2015

Destiny Birdsong
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Academic Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2013
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013

Erin Garcia-Fernandez
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2015
Lecturer, University of Tennessee Martin, 2015

Emily Hines
Contributing Columnist, Nashville Scene
Editor, Elance, 2013

Jane Wanninger
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Academic Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2013
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013
Assistant Professor (extended contract, renewable), Bard College at Simon's Rock, 2016

2011

Elizabeth Covington
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2011 2012
Senior Lecturer / Assistant Director of the Writing Studio, Vanderbilt University, 2012

John Morrell
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Academic Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2013 2015
Head of English Department, Loomis Chaffe High School, Windsor, CT, 2015 -

Kimberly McColl
Research Associate, IQTalent Partners, 2013 2014
Contract Recruiter, Github, 2015

2010

Charlotte Amanda Hagood
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2011
ACS Environmental Fellow, Hendrix College, 2011 2013
Director, Blended Learning Initiatives, Associated Colleges of the South, 2013 2015
Director, Academic Special Projects, Eckerd College, 2015

Justin Haynes
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2011
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Randolph-Macon College, 2011
Director of the Black Studies Program, Randolph-Macon College, 2013 2014

Beau Baca
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2014
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Academic Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2011 2014
Academic Adviser, Oregon State University, 2014

Bethany Packard
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2011
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Henderson State University, 2011 2013
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Transylvania University, 2013

Sarah Kersh
Conference Coordinator, 2011 North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, 2011
Lecturer, Dept. of Languages & Literatures, University of Wisconsin Whitewater, 2012
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2012 2013
Adjunct Faculty Writing Program and First Year Seminar Program, Dickinson College, 2013 2015
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Dickinson College, 2015

Elizabeth Meadows
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2011
ACLS Fellow, Mt. Holyoke College, 2011 2013
Faculty Coordinator, Curb Creative Campus & Curb Scholars Program, Vanderbilt University, 2013
Assistant Director, Curb Creative Campus & Curb Scholars Program, Vanderbilt University, 2015

Sarah Passino
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010
Worker's Dignity Project, 2013

Chu-Juin Alice Chuang
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2012
Assistant Professor, Xing Wei College, Shanghai, China, 2012
Lecturer, New York University Shanghai, China, 2015

2009

Frances Henderson
Adjunct, English School of Arts & Sciences, Aquinas College 2009

Jennifer Krause
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2014
Lesson Assistant, Saddle Up!, 2006
Freelance Writer, Copy Editor, Translator, 2007

Daniel Spoth
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2011
Adjunct Instructor, Hendrix College, 2011 2012
Adjunct Instructor, University of Central Arkansas, 2011 2012
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Eckerd College, 2012

Miranda Nesler
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2010
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Ball State University, 2010 2014
Freelance Editor, Researcher, and Social Media Coordinator, 2014 2015
Research Associate, Max Rambod, Inc. (rare books & manuscripts), 2015

Donald Jefferson
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2010
Assistant Professor (tenure track), University of Wisconsin Whitewater, 2010

Rebecca Chapman
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2010
Senior Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2011
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Holy Names University, 2011 2012
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2013

Christina Kasman
Adjunct Instructor, Iona College, 2009 2010
Adjunct Instructor, Passaic County Community College, 2010 2011
Adjunct Instructor, Ramapo College of New Jersey, 2010 2012
Pratt Institute, 2012
Librarian Special Collections, Historic Hudson Valley, 2013
Substitute Reference Librarian / Circulation Assistant, Franklin Lakes Public Library, 2013 2014
Librarian, The Yale Club of New York City, 2014

Lauren Hoffer
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2010
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina Beaufort, 2010 2011
Assistant Professor (tenure track), University of South Carolina Beaufort, 2011

Sarah Childress
Visiting Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Bowdoin College, 2009

Nafissa Thompson-Spires
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2010
Instructor, Tennessee State University, 2010 2012
MFA Student, University of Illinois, 2012
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, 2015

Brian Rejack
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2010
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Academic Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2011
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Illinois State University, 2011

2008

Katherine Fusco
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2008 2009
Assistant Director, Writing Studio, Vanderbilt University, 2008 2009
Senior Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2012
Assistant Professor (tenure track), University of Nevada Reno, 2012

Nicole Seymour
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2008 2009
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Louisville, 2009 2012
Assistant Professor (tenure track), University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2012 2014
Fellow, Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig-Maximilians Universitat, Germany, 2013 2014
Assistant Professor (tenure track), California State University, Fullerton, 2014

Persephone Emily Harbin
Writing Center Coordinator, Presbyterian College
Assistant Professor of English & Director of the Writing Center, Converse College, 2015

Joshua Epstein
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2008 2009
Adviser, College of Arts & Science Pre-Major Academic Advising, Vanderbilt University, 2009 2010
ACLS Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2010 2012
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, 2012 2014
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Portland State University, 2014

Christian Long
Lecturer, University of Canterbury, 2009
Honorary Research Fellow in Media Studies, The University of Queensland

Jeffrey Menne
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Richmond, 2009 2010
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2010 2011
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Oklahoma State University, 2011
Program Director of Screen Studies, Oklahoma State University, 2013

Benjamin Graydon
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2008 2009
Assistant Professor (tenure track), Daytona State College, 2009

Brian Deyo
Lecturer, Vanderbilt University, 2008 2009
Visiting Professor, Grand Valley State University, 2009
Assistant Professor, Grand Valley State University