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You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"
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McCain, John (2004, September). In Search of Courage: Finding the Courage Within You. FastCompany, 51-56.
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November 28, 2005
Merit in Action
Assume you're the hiring decision-maker at Hypothetical State. You're hiring for a tenure-track position in English. The position involves some teaching of composition, though the majority of the courses are literature and/or film. The department search committee sends you three finalists:
Earth Mother: ABD from Respectable State, "almost done," lots of composition experience at multiple colleges, great committee work and collegiality, likable personality, teaching awards, a few conference papers.
EuroDude: Ivy Ph.D., book contract, references from gods, great job talk, contacts/experience in film industry, slightly icy personality, minimal teaching experience, has never breathed the word 'composition' or taught outside Ivy U.
Sisyphus: M.A. from They Have a Graduate Program? State, longtime internal adjunct, trailing spouse of bigshot at Nearby U, faithful to the department for 15 years, plays well with others, taught everything from soup to nuts, no plans for a doctorate, never published.
Which one has the most merit?
The only intellectually honest answer is: it depends.
Like every other hiring situation in the world more goes into the decision than a single criteria - in this case which is the best candidate for where the department is currently and where they want to go? Well that depends...and in truth much of what it depends upon is unlikely to be obvious to the candidates. So make yourself prepared for your search...broadly prepared. Be skeptical of advisors who say you don't need publications or maybe, teaching experience before you go out...be broadly prepared because you have no idea what skills will be required or what will make you rise to the top of the pool.
Posted by prolurkr at November 28, 2005 11:08 AM
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