Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WTF Hiring Committees

As an adjunct I am always on the hunt for a new, better paying, more consistent gig. One thing I have always wondered is why universities make adjuncts jump through so many damn hoops. For example:

  1. Many universities I work for actually don't provide performance reviews. If you don't get a class the next term THERE is your performance review.
  2. The applications are mind numbing, why are you making my transcribe all the information from my CV to your online system?
  3. Also why the hell do so many universities want me to send my official transcripts before they have even looked at my application? That shit gets expensive after awhile.
  4. Also the three letters of recommendation, from who? The Dean who never has the time to talk to me and only calls me three days before a class starts? I could probably get the secretary to tell you I am a nice polite lady who always says please and thank you.

Yet I toil away in the hope to get enough cash scraped together to pay my heating bill this winter.


  1. I hate to be so cynical but universities have not accepted the reality of what is happening to education. Schools have to treat adjuncts like employees in every way but two: pay and consideration. If you're applying to state institutions they are often tied to state-mandated policies--thus the official transcripts and letters. I'm sorry that I feel the need to post this. :(

  2. My only real ongoing gripe with the searches is when they ask for volumes of shit in the first round. It's ridiculous, costly, and time-consuming.

    I've been on enough committees to know that you can weed out 80% from the letter and vita. That's one fucking stamp, friends. Yet I see more and more institutions that require the full court press and it's a complete waste of everyone's time.

  3. At least in math, now-a-days it is mostly electronic. Also, our professional society has a universal form that you fill once and then post and your potential employers can then view them online

    1. That is such an elegant idea. I can't believe academics came up with it. Although, to be fair, I don't know anyone in the Math building. I believe I've been missing out!

  4. Today I attended the first meeting as the outside member of the hiring committee. The committee knew the subdiscipline that the department needed, a few rowdy faculty members demanded somebody else and we all knew that the provost would only fund the position if the candidate was in a particularly hot field. The committee chair ended the argument by saying that the ad would advertise for candidates from all the requested fields then the committee would sift through all of them.

    And that is how you waste a lot of time of candidates who have no chance to get the job.

  5. Oh, I hear all of this. But I'm so encouraged to hear about the universal application. That is astounding and kind.

  6. Then there are those interviews that are held only for show because the preferred candidate was already, though unofficially, selected.

    At the place where I used to teach, I knew of one position that was advertised but, as it turned out, had already been filled. It was posted only to comply with internal regulations.

    I've been interviewed by institutions which brought me in and then promptly turned me down after I met with them. Fortunately, they paid my expenses, though I was irritated that I lost a day for no reason.

  7. Get letters of rec from students; they're the only people who have seen you working week after week.

  8. Our administration is scared shitless that adjuncts might find a way to sue the university and thus get a position without going through the mind-numbing search committee crazyness. That's why they make up these forms for you. I apologize profusely - we are so happy to have you, we couldn't survive without you.