Tuesday, October 2, 2012
But at the last minute I got put on a search committee from another department as an "observer." My job is to offer an outsider's perspective AND to fill out a series of EEOC surveys at the end, showing, ideally, that all manner of equal opportunity were available to all candidates.
Except when it's not.
The main problem has been that what the committee is looking for, focusing on, discussing, is only one part of the job ad. In fact it's the secondary feature of the job ad. The main idea, the main set of duties, the main discipline, is never talked about, and has even been sort of joked about.
The ad says, roughly, "We're seeking a zip line specialist, who has some background in liquefying sand. A secondary interest in deconstructing butterfly wings would be preferred."
"Oh, look," one member said. "Another zip line specialist! They're everywhere!"
"That's crazy," said another. "Can he liquefy sand? That's really what we're looking for."
Folks around the country (90 at this early date) with zip line experience have been sending in their letters and dossiers hoping this would be their dream job.
When I asked about the zip line requirement in the ad, one member told me, "Well, the last department member we had was a zip liner. We have to show the administration we're just taking over the old line and not asking for a new one. We won't get to keep the salary any other way."
And there it was. Bait and switch.
I was told by the Dean's office that I was just to offer perspective as we went along, and that the committee had 100% latitude to do what they wanted. But it feels wrong. I want to speak up, but suspect that it will cause nothing but trouble.