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Columbia statistics department is hiring!

Official announcement is below.

Please please apply to these faculty and postdoc positions. We really need some people who do serious applied work, especially in social sciences. Obv these will be competitive, but please give it a shot, because we’d like to have some strong applied candidates in the mix for all of these positions. Thanks!

The Department of Statistics at Columbia University is looking to fill multiple faculty positions. Please see here for full listings.

Tenure-Track Assistant Professor (review of applications begins on November 29, 2019) This is a tenure-track Assistant Professor position to begin July 1, 2020. A Ph.D. in statistics or a related field is required. Candidates will be expected to sustain an active research and publication agenda and to teach in the departmental undergraduate and graduate programs. The field of research is open to any area of statistics and probability.

Assistant Professor (limited-term) (*multiple openings*; review of applications begins on December 2, 2019) These are four-year term positions at the rank of Assistant Professor to begin July 1, 2020. A Ph.D. in statistics or a related field is required, as is a commitment to high-quality research and teaching in statistics and/or probability. Candidates will be expected to sustain an active research and publication agenda and to teach in the departmental undergraduate and graduate programs. Candidates with expertise in machine learning, big data, mathematical finance, and probability theory are particularly encouraged to apply.

Lecturer in Discipline (review of applications begins on January 6, 2020) This is a full-time faculty appointment with multi-year renewals contingent on successful reviews. This position is to contribute to the Departmental educational mission at the undergraduate and masters level.

The department currently consists of 35 faculty members and 59 Ph.D. students. The department has been expanding rapidly and, like the University itself, is an extraordinarily vibrant academic community. We are especially interested in candidates who, through their research, teaching and/or service, will contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community.

In addition to the above faculty positions, the department is also considering applications to our Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowships in Statistics. Review of applications begins on January 13, 2020. See for details.

Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply. For further information about the department and our activities, centers, research areas, and curricular programs, please go to our web page at

P.S. Thanks to Zad Chow for the above photo, which demonstrates how relaxed you’ll be as one of our colleagues here at Columbia.


  1. Adede says:

    What’s the point of a 4 year professorship? No way you could mentor a PhD student in that time.

  2. D Kane says:

    Is it common for an “Assistant Professor” position to be non-tenure track? I have never heard of such a thing.

    • Andrew says:


      I don’t know how common it is, but we’ve been using the title in this way already. I guess other departments do so also.

      • D Kane says:

        So Columbia can have two faculty members, both with the exact same title of “Assistant Professor,” but only one of whom is tenure track?

        What is the purpose of such a policy if not subterfuge?

        • Andrew says:


          Columbia also has nontenured associate professors and tenured associate professors. And I’ve heard that some companies have hundreds of executives with the title Vice President, but that vary a lot in their duties and responsibilities.

          The two words of a job title only convey a small amount of information regarding the job.

          • D Kane says:

            The key word is “convey.” What do the words “Assistant Professor” convey? (Again, I don’t think a singly Ivy League university, or even any R1, does what Columbia does.)

            Imagine that we survey 1,000 faculty members from US R1 universities. We tell them that “Sarah Smith is an assistant professor in the statistics department at Columbia.” We ask them: “Is Sarah Smith on the tenure track at Columbia?” I bet that more much more than 900 (at least 950, maybe 990) say, “Yes. Obviously. That is what the words “Assistant Professor” mean. Someone not on the tenure track would have a different title and/or one with more words, perhaps “lecturer” or “of the practice” or “visiting.”

            When an institution like Columbia uses words that 95% of the relevant audience misinterprets than it is guilty of something . . .

            In the case of “Vice Presidents,” the relevant universe (executives at other US companies) knows exactly what Vice President means.

            If Columbia’s words don’t convey the facts, I bet that Columbia is using misleading words on purpose . . .

            • Adede says:

              Yep. Strikes me as title inflation in lieu of pay/job security. That’s how we got hundreds of adjunct “professors” working at-will for less than minimum wage.

            • Andrew says:


              Maybe you’re right; I have no idea! The Vice President thing may well be obvious to me but to me it was a surprise; it was only recently that I learned that (a) a company could have hundreds of vice presidents, and (b) that vice president was not #2 on the chain of command. In general, I think we underestimate the novelty of terms that we happen to already be familiar with. I was already familiar with non-tenure-track assistant professors, but, sure, I can believe this could cause some misunderstanding. Some of this may not be intent to mislead, but rather a way of dealing with Columbia paperwork. We have some red tape here, and rules about how long people can work, and how much they can be paid, at different job titles. There might be some paperwork reason that someone thought the title “non-tenure-track Assistant Professor” worked better than “Lecturer.” But I’m just speculating; again, I have no idea.

              What I would like is for us to get some strong candidates with applied focus, especially in the social sciences. Hence the above post.

              • Kyle C says:

                A vice president is a corporate officer whose title indicates that they have authority to bind the company to a contract. I have no idea what “associate ” and “assistant ” mean in academia but I di think the distinction meant something related to tenure.

              • Kyle C: the terminology’s very confusing, but most vice presidents at banks do not have so-called executive authority. According to the Wikipedia,

                In brokerage firms, investment banks and other financial companies, “vice president” is a seniority rank rather than denoting an actual managerial position within the company. It is a relatively junior position, usually does not denote managerial responsibilities and companies have multiple vice presidents,[7] perhaps as an inexpensive way for a company to recognize employees, or perhaps because of delayering when an employee can’t be moved higher in the organization but still deserves recognition.[

              • Kyle C says:

                Bob Carpenter — Interesting! Yes, what I really meant is that a vice president “may” or “could” have authority to sign contracts, that’s why it matters as an honorific.

            • Vince says:

              Leaving aside whether it’s a good policy, non-tenure-track assistant professorships are pretty common. For example mathjobs has an ad for positions at the University of Michigan in mathematics that are called “Postdoctoral Assistant Professorships, Byrne Research Assistant Professorships, and D.J. Lewis Research Assistant Professorships.” These sorts of positions (which are in some sense postdocs) have been around for a while. Some institutions have “fixed-term” or “research” assistant professor positions. Harvard has “Professors of the Practice” positions that aren’t tenure-track. Etc.

              • D Kane says:

                Vince: Yes. But the extra words in all those titles indicate clearly, to other members of the academic community, that these are not standard assistant/associate professor positions. Those names “convey” accurately that they are not tenure track.

                The Columbia case seems very different. This position is “Assistant Professor,” with no accompanying modifiers. Those are the words that will appear in the course catalog, on the office door and on the CV.

                Consider this CV entry:


                I won’t provide a link since there is no reason to blame this junior person for Columbia’s sleaziness.

                99% of the academics reading this CV would assume (it would be obvious!) that this person had a tenure-track position at Columbia. But, they don’t!

            • Andrew Althouse says:

              Sorry, but I think this whole chain of carping about a non-tenure-track Assistant Professor position is hilariously petty and silly.

              i am part of a group in a School of Medicine that has several non-tenure-track faculty who are typically hired at the rank of Assistant Professor (with real full-fine jobs! Offices, computers and everything! We’re just like real professors, I swear) with potential to be promoted to Associate (at least four of the faculty in our group are non-tenure-stream at the rank of Associate, most promoted after about five or six years at Assistant).

              If you think “99 percent” would interpret it your way, maybe try getting out more.

              • D Kane says:

                > School of Medicine

                Medical Schools are (in)famous for doing things radically differently than other parts of a research university, as you presumably know.

                > carping about a non-tenure-track Assistant Professor position is hilariously petty and silly.

                What if the position was called “Professor?” Imagine that the Columbia Statistics Departments had people whose title was “Professor” — just like Andrew! — but whom did not have tenure, working on year-to-year contracts. Would that be AOK? Or might a little “carping” be in order?

                All this is just another step toward a majority (a vast majority? all?) of the faculty at Columbia don’t have tenure.

            • N Rahman says:

              Mr Kane, I would want to point out that Vice President at Goldman Sachs for example is a very different beast from Vice President elsewhere.

          • Columbia is so committed to corporate think from the top down that instead of deans, we have executive vice presidents! I’m surprised we still have a provost and president rather than a COO and CEO. I’m guessing following D Kane’s suggested experiment, nobody would know one of our EVPs is a dean with a funny title.

            I also love that the departmental postdocs are called “disginguished”.

  3. CC says:

    In what ways will women and minorities be afforded special consideration in the selection process?

    • Andrew says:


      What it says above is, “Women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.”

      • I saw the words, but I have no idea what “especially encouraged to apply” means in practice.

        The reason I have no idea what any of this means is that I’m just a mid-rank research scientist in ISERP. My only connection to Columbia’s stats department is that Andrew finagled a shared office for five of the Stan team there. I not only don’t have tenure, my contract is at will, meaning the month the grant funding dries up, I’m out the door. This is despite Columbia skimming 40% of the gross off the top of our federal grants and 10% of our foundation grants. Last promotion round, I was denied promotion to a senior research scientist position that would’ve come with 5 years guaranteed funding (I did get promoted one step above the most junior level position available at which I was hired). So Columbia risks losing employees like me because we’re disgruntled, but it doesn’t risk having to pay me past my ability to pay myself.

    • pk says:

      I am a minority and I don’t need special consideration. I do not want to spend my life wondering why I was given a job. In fact, in job applications I simply don’t declare my “minority” status. Bloody sick of it.

  4. Zad Chow says:

    Who knew Rex would be internet famous

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