UNL Job Data

Ask and ye shall receive Dr. Pannapacker:

Okay, it might not be exactly what he asked for, but I took the titles on the history department’s placement data provided for 2003-2004 through 2011-2012 graduation classes and the Proquest database of dissertations (for the listed advisor) to examine the placement of UNL’s recent PhD graduates (You can check my work here). What I found was that there were almost equal numbers of tenure-track placements as non-tenure track academic (14 assistant/associate professors vs 15 adjunct/lecturer/visiting assistant professor/resident assistant professor at Creighton). In addition to these placements, three graduates work in government positions, one teaches high school and one I was unsure about in terms of tenure.

Of these 34 graduates, 9 (26.5%) were students of the retired John Wunder and another 7 were students of professors who are no longer active members of the UNL history department faculty, adding up to nearly half of all the recent grads. However, this is not too surprising because 12 students (35.3%) comprised the 2003-2004 graduation class, which was nearly a decade ago and subsequent classes were much smaller. In total, 14 different professors advised the 34 students.

Most stayed close, 11 placing at institutions within Nebraska and 7 in states that bordered Nebraska. None of the tenure track jobs came after 2009, though this is a bit misleading because the job data doesn’t include the most recent graduates or PhD Candidates with full time positions, which I know includes two tenure track, two alt-ac and two non-tenure track positions at colleges outside of Nebraska. The tenure track placement rate may improve somewhat for more recent classes as I do not know when this specific list was created.

Overall, I think the data bodes fairly well for UNL’s history department (it’s not ALL doom and gloom in the job market), though this data shows that expectations of incoming students should be tempered. Tenure-track positions at a research university with an ocean view, according to the limited numbers available, will be hard to gain. But, if you want to teach at a smaller, landlocked college you have a chance. If I were really optimistic I’d give it a 41% chance (14 tenure-track placements out of 34 recent graduates), but even I think that’s a bit too generous given the poor job market, but still, I’m saying there’s a chance….

5 responses to “UNL Job Data”

  1. Svetlana Rasmussen Avatar
    Svetlana Rasmussen

    So what about distribution of tenure track vs non-tenure track by field of research?


    1. Brian Sarnacki Avatar
      Brian Sarnacki

      I don’t think the data set is big enough for tracking by field to be all that useful, but you can check out the subfields for yourself here: http://www.history.unl.edu/grad/


  2. I am pretty sure that Kurt Kinbacher is tenured at Spokane Falls CC. They just refer to everyone as “instructors.”


    1. Brian Sarnacki Avatar
      Brian Sarnacki

      That’s good information to know. My method was inherently flawed by relying on merely titles (a more official database would better). Adding another tenured professor would push the numbers even closer to 50%


      1. I mucked around on PhDs.org ages ago and recall that much of the improved placement rates of higher ranked history programs came from having more students doing post-docs.

        I am not sure that many Pannapacker’s additional categories are remotely useful at the level of individual institutions where they are basically anecdata.


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