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Must Visiting Assistant Professorships Be Career Purgatory?

After earning her history degree in 2007, Tamar W. Carroll spent three years in temporary positions — one as a postdoc at the University of Michigan, two more at Cornell University.

All the while, Carroll says, she tried to focus on research for her book on postwar history, because a publication would help her earn a tenure-track job. She felt, however, like she never had time for that research because she was too busy looking for her next job. She wondered, "Was it going to be viable for me to stay in academia?"

Her fate changed when she took a visiting professorship at the College of the Holy Cross, a small, Jesuit, liberal-arts institution outside Boston. Thanks to that position, she says, she is now an associate professor and acting chair of the history department at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Carroll feels lucky, she says, because not all academics make it to the other side.

Another history scholar is alone in her apartment, putting the finishing touches on an academic essay and preparing for what will probably be her last-ever conference. Erin Bartram felt strange calling the conference organizers, asking them to change her affiliation on her name tag from "University of Hartford" to "Independent Scholar." ...

Read entire article at The Chronicle of Higher Education