Academic jobs stop asking for reference letters challenge. Just stop. It’s an enormous effort for everyone involved and most won’t even be read (at least not closely). It stresses everyone out and slows down applications. Just request them for shortlisted candidates.
If you’re already asking for a CV, cover letter, teaching dossier with evaluations, syllabi, and teaching statement, plus additional research/pedagogy don’t also need letters. At least not for the preliminary review.
Good letters are difficult to assemble. It takes time to form those relationships, and effort to craft the letters. Asking for letters can put huge pressure on both the applicant and the referee. In some cases, applicants might even be worried to ask unless they’re finalists.
In particular, it makes life harder for precarious instructors who are teaching at multiple schools or across departments, and can’t always guarantee a go-to current reference. It makes it nearly impossible to apply for a number of jobs at once when you’re trying to survive.
Philosophically, it’s also classist. Applicants are told to seek out “known” scholars, names and Ivy-league credentials are still important, even rank is a sign of experience/prestige—these are often more important than the content of the letters.
Asking for letters frequented can put a strain on professional relationships. Asking a colleague for a letter can actually be gut-wrenching sometimes. Advertising that you may be on the market can even endanger a person’s employment. All for letters that are barely skimmed.
The entire academic application process is designed to privilege those with a lot of resources who have the time, energy, clout, & community to craft these extensive packages, while the majority of applicants destroy themselves trying to navigate HR sites and attach endless docs.
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