I’ve heard stories, too. All I could say that it might come to help if you have a better connection. Go mingle a bit with local people, in and outside the academic community. You never know who you’d meet.
My only knowledge comes from a previous colleague who had worked there and mostly was responsible for revising and rewriting papers to be publishable in English for International SSCI/SCI Q1 journals. He didn’t stay there long, however, and has stated that he found his teaching career, although not tenured and with absolutely zero research responsibilities, to be much more fulfilling. I do believe there are opportunities there for Non-Taiwanese researchers (despite the name), in the case of native speaking talent I would guess that most of the responsibility would be proofreading and editing papers to make them fit for publication.
That is very similar to the unpaid, unappreciated, and uncredited work that I did for my PhD advisor, who published several papers that I wrote under her own name giving me zero credit. On the papers we did publish together she took credit for first and corresponding author (although I handled all correspondence on her behalf, yes 100% of the correspondence) and basically stole any credit that I would have received from being a corresponding author. Basically 1 point for first author, one point for corresponding author, but 1 + 1 = 1. Meaning that, in the case of being first and corresponding author, you still only receive one point. Everyone else just gets 0.5 points. This is something to consider if you are collaborating with Taiwanese scholars. Even those who were who have graduated from overseas.
I saw this happen years ago there, most of the profs have studied and worked overseas.
They are unethical and very selfish . They also often try to keep their PhDs hanging around for years waiting to be thrown a bone. Dog eat dog world Taiwan. Couldn’t be arsed with any insular Taiwanese academic institution unless one really wants to live in Taiwan .
And I know cronyism exists all over the world but as a foreigner you’ll be excluded mostly when push comes to shove. They aren’t generally open to foreigners here and the language is obviously a big barrier to stepping up to admin roles.
Are you referring to me?
Honestly, I personally have 100+ local friends for every “foreign” friend. This gives me a bit of 關係， but nothing that outvalues publications or other tangible KPI. In fact, “knowing someone” can be a liability, given the active avoidance of bias which many ethical academics exercise.
My “stories” are years of accumulated experience with inside knowledge. Not hearsay, but actual official recordings of selection committee discussions.
The suggestion that, on the surface, simply making friends with locals will help somehow assist with attaining tenure is quite ridiculous, to be frank. What is required, on the other hand, is a dedication to both research and service in addition to teaching responsibilities. The opportunities for potential tenure positions for both local and foreign talent is quite limited no matter what efforts we put forth. I wish all the best to anyone who applies to these positions. I have seen in many instances, and many schools, that a job advertised for a tenure position is actually only offered later as a contract position. Therefore, what I have stated above still stands and, while making friends with many people from many different walks of life is obviously beneficial in many ways, this is not the way to achieve or attain tenure.
I was adding to your post. I honesty don’t know how it is for foreigners, but I know some local professors that got the job through connection. And I know some administrative employees at college that told me the same stories. But, yeah, if you’re really good, you still have a chance to beat the others even without connections. But certainly having connections is a plus. And making friends =/= having connections. It’s merely the first step.
I see a little bit more clearly. However, some points remain:
- the word “Foreigner” should be used quite carefully, as I’m sure you are well aware. There’s a vast difference between someone who comes through another country which is not Taiwan, and someone who is a native speaker of a language which is being sought after for a teaching position. This distinction is very clear and should be used carefully in your future posting.
- It’s true that many administrative positions are assigned based on “who you know” more than “what you know,” to use a common turn of phrase. However for positions that are tenured and that involve a person in the position of teaching, research, and service, there is very little in terms of personal connections which can help you beyond your CV, based on my experience.
- to reiterate, based on many observations, it is not true (emphasis not true) that having connections will have any bearing on getting a position in terms of tenure. This is simply not the case. The selection committees are very well aware of any connections you may have to any person on that committee or in that institution and will in fact take it as a negative point if you do have affiliations with people who are stakeholders. Therefore, I want to make it clear that it may sometimes be to your disadvantage, yes disadvantage, to rely upon people who are connected to the job you’re looking for.
Well It was someone in my family that got a professors position and it was that person’s parents that was bragging about the connection and how they got rid of a supposedly better candidate. If you google 教職/內定 you’ll see a lot of discussion.
And I mentioned foreigners because hiring a foreigner is a different legal procedure, therefore there’ll be different concerns. Doesn’t matter if that person grew up here. Surely a foreigner could have a strong connection, and that would be an advantage. But it’s still a different story from a local person with strong connections.
Having connection isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you’re doing field research, you need connection. It would only be a disadvantage when you SOLELY rely on connection.
My experience is seeing it from the science side of things. The academic record is paramount but generally foreign nationals aren’t going to get a look in.
Also I suspect guanxi plays a role.to an extent for all.roles , even in academic circles overseas, in Taiwan maybe even more important in private universities ? In the famous public institutions you’ll need a serious track record to get hired as a scientific principal investigator PI.
I’ve been hired at fairly low level positions in Academic Sinica and ITRI, I don’t recall any foreign nationals that I encountered running departments there and very few foreign profs. They were only starting recruiting foreign students back then so I don’t know if things have changed .
The situation is slowly changing in Taiwan, partly because the job market is so horrible in the US right now that international candidates with impressive pedigrees / track records are out looking for work.
I agree with some of the points made above about having personal “connections” with people in an academic unit. There’s nothing wrong with knowing people (of course this can be a positive) BUT this should not be mentioned in any cover letter or an interview. Who knows who’s on that hiring committee? Hiring committee members might be (or often are!) in some opposing clique to the person you know, and will show little objectivity in trying to block their rival from getting their connection hired.
In short, it’s best to focus on the strengths of your educational/professional training, what you can do as a researcher/teacher, what you can bring to the unit to which you’re applying.
Just like any job search. Take care of what you can control yourself. Move on if opportunity is limited
NEVER list your connections in a cover letter or an interview. If you have a strong, the committee will know it anyways. It’s not meant to be mentioned in public…
And yeah, connection is everywhere, not just in Taiwan. And it works similarly to a reference letter. Of course some are just bribery…