At the request of Jim Humphreys, I’m making a little PSA about postdoctoral positions at UMass: there seems to have been some confusion over the labels used for the job searches on MathJobs. The label “POSTDOC” is a position is statistics. If you are not a statistician, and wish to have a job at UMass next year, make sure you applied for the Visiting Assistant Professor position, labeled “VAP.”
Just so there’s something for people to discuss: why is the mathematics community so bad at coming up with a unifying terminology for postdoctoral positions? The academic ranks on the tenure track as named very consistently throughout the US in both public and private institutions, but postdoctoral ones are a very confusing mishmash. You can be a “Fellow,” a “Instructor”, a “Professor” or even a “Member” with all kinds of possible adjectives without any kind of clear terminology behind them. I’m sure this is mostly just for historical reasons, but is there any hope of rectifying the situation?