Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Adam from Albuquerque. Campus Visit #2.

This morning I woke up after a marathon day at my second campus visit. I reported earlier from the MLA about my conference interviews, and then I - too breathlessly, maybe, but I was excited - filled in the details about my first campus interview, a surprising and wonderful visit to a large state school in the middle of the country.
Monday I flew to the Pacific Northwest to meet with the committee at an SLAC located in a gorgeous and green countryside location.

While the MLA interview had gone really well, once I got on campus I noted a distinct rift in the department, one group going one way, and one group going very decidedly another. It's clear that the department was badly split about the wording of the job ad, and more than one person told me they were amazed that they even went ahead with the search, so badly the lead-up had gone.

It was a full day and I think I did well, but I could tell that whoever they hire will be in the middle of a cauldron from day one. I didn't like the tension I felt at the large group meetings and the dinner, and despite my interest in the position, I'm already pretty sure I wouldn't take the job even if offered.

One more visit to go. No word yet - obviously - on the first school I visited last week.



  1. That's a 10-4, little buddy. Stay far, far away.

    My partner was hired this year at an Ivy. The first 2 weeks were amazing, as he got the Ivy treatment and we were both abuzz with excitement at being on campus and accessing everything it has to offer.

    But oh-so-quickly did it become apparent that he was hired as a bridge between two warring factions. What a stress bomb. People dissolve into tears on a regular basis, make passive-aggressive comments that would make Louis CK blush, fire off hateful emails to the whole department that are confrontational and abusive, sabotage each other's teaching attempts -- one person literally put up a sign in a classroom that class had been canceled, just to "show administration" that Professor X can't organize the classroom.

    You should have seen the 2-month, people-almost-quit dispute over adopting a new copier system.

    So far my partner has remained the quiet stoic type that everyone sorta believes might be on their side, but OMG I don't understand how he goes to work every day. I would not be able to shake a stick at the crazy like that.

  2. Do you know we have 2485 posts in total? And that is just in less than two years. We keep this up, we might be able to make a book out of this!

  3. And 26,502 comments. I actually can't believe it.

    1. I was thinking about books because that reactionary nerd Nathan Rabin* of the Onion's "A.V. Club" took the bulk of his "Year of Flops" review column and actually made a book out of it - and the original columns are still up on the site!


      * Never gave a leftwing documentary a good grade; seems to be a Libertarian (which is just a Republican who smokes dope on the weekends); called Marxism a plague.

    2. In a peer-reviewed journal, I assume.

  4. You'd need more information I think. The department might be split on hiring but gets along okay on everything else. If you were offered the job, that would be the time to ask some searching questions. And you could ask around, too, if you know anyone who knows anyone.


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