Apropos my comments last evening about the online presence of candidates for academic jobs, Brian Lieter, Steve Bainbridge, and Chris Bertram weigh in on the subject. None are especially encouraging for those whose views are outside the mainstream in academic circles. Bainbridge puts it thusly:

I’d like to tell prospective job candidates not to worry – that life is too short to go around pulling your punches. But I can’t. There is a strong bias against conservatives and libertarians in the law school hiring process (most recently discussed here). A right-leaning blog may well affect a candidate’s hiring chances, at least at the margins.

I lack the self-restraint to let that knowledge rein me in very often, but it’s something worth keeping in mind for the aspiring academic. It’s not as if getting such a job is particularly easy anyway.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. John Lemon says:

    Not just getting hired, but getting tenure and promoted after that.

  2. John Lemon says:

    But I still can’t figure out Drezner. Chicago tends to have a few more conservative folks, especially when it comes to econ, but there are a few hardcore lefties there too. It may be that Drezner’s strategy was to become so well known that it would be difficult to cut him. He has a good scholarly vita.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Yeah–but think how far he could have gone if he was more leftie. Why, he could be a Harvard. Or even Troy State!

  4. John Lemon says:

    I made the following point to someone before who was talking about ideological bias in our elite universities. I do acknowledge such bias exists (being that I experience it on a regular basis), and that it can affect employment and/or promotion status (of which I have direct first hand knowledge hashed over on CalPundit). However, I actually think the problem with ideological bias is not as severe at our ELITE universities (say top 50 or so) as compared to second and third tier schools. And the problem is really horrific at the community college level!

    At the elite institutions, you are judged by your research quality and output. There is a degree of objectivity in the peer review process and if you have a good argument and evidence to back it up you will generally get published somewhere.* When tenure time comes around, the research record will speak the loudest, thereby minimizing “personality” or “ideology” issues. At lower tiered schools, research may still be important, but it tends to be weighted less than teaching and “citizenship” issues. Here is where ideological bias can really seep in. I’ve given talks at some community colleges and have noticed how highly charged the ideological climate is. The questions I got and the one-on-one discussions with faculty revealed that there is much more “agenda pushing” at this level and I don’t doubt that this seeps in to hiring and promotion decisions.

    * Unfortunately, not all anonymous peer reviews are examined from an objective, scientific viewpoint. This is because, largely, the anonymous review process is not all that anonymous. With specialized articles, there usually is only a community of 20 or so people that share the same narrow expertise. At least one of the persons reviewing your article is likely to be somebody you know closely and have cited their work. If a personal conflict arises, these things can work their way into the review. I recently received a review wherein one of the reviewers thought that I was someone else (of whose work mine is based on), and this person spent most of the review arguing against this person’s last book, never addressing my article. Funny.

  5. John Lemon says:

    And to “Little Miss Atilla”:

    Thank you for your kind words and pressure to get me to resume blogging. I do still have the itch to get back in the game, but my schedule has been busier than ever before. I’ve been invited for numerous talks around the country (and world) and am being wooed away from my present institution. All this has really drained my time and energy. I also am working on several very promising research projects and teaching some time-intensive courses. Since blogging can be quite addictive, I have decided to stay away from this pasttime for awhile and will likely make a return at some point in the future.

    In the meantime, look for my snarky comments at a blog near you!

  6. John Lemon says:

    And in relation to my note above, I really cannot figure out how Drezner, Bainbridge, Volokh, Taylor, etc. have time to blog.

    (and P.S. Another reason I’m not blogging as much is because I have decided to put more energy into parenting, which my kid appreciates. I have a million “Things I Said Today” entries that I would love to post.)

  7. Me, I figure I’m already screwed… so at least the blog will keep me entertained in the brief amounts of free time I’ll have teaching a 6-load.

  8. I can’t hear you . . . [fingers in ears] . . . la la la la la.

    Okey-doke. Makes sense. It’s the same reason I haven’t picked up Michael Connelly’s latest book yet.