Monday, April 24, 2006

Dear applicant

April 17, 2006

Dear applicant [1],

Thank you for your interest in the [Small Liberal Arts College] [subfield] position. A total of 104 applicants submitted files for the [subfield] position vacancy. After extensive review of files, which included CVs, supporting materials, and three references [2], the committee narrowed the pool to 11 semifinalists. Semifinalists were requested to send in samples of course syllabi and scholarly writing, as well as additional supporting materials on teaching and scholarship. [3] Three finalists were invited for on-campus interviews. [4]

After careful deliberations, the committee selected Dr. ____________, formerly Assistant Professor of [subfield] at [Big State School, Flagship], who has accepted our offer. [5] We would like to emphasize that the quality of our candidate pool was very high, [6] and many individuals gained our attention and respect. [7] We congratulate you on your career accomplishments to date, [8] and wish you the best for the future.

[1] That's a fine start! It shows the high level of respect afforded to us nameless, faceless hordes.

[2] Thanks for reminding me. I've applied for so many positions, I had forgotten the specifics of your requests. It's important to know, so, say, I can calculate out exactly how much the postage must have cost me to mail the materials.

[3] This sounds like the kind of listing you would present to distraught parents who can't understand why their freshman, who "got straight A's" in high school could possibly have received a "C" in your class. "Well, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, these were the course requirements, which every student needed to abide by, and I'm sorry to say, your child didn't deliver. 11 of my students received an A, 14 received a B, and your child was among the 16 receiving a C."

[4] My, how unusual. Three, did you say? [I feel like being Owl, for a moment]. You know, my cousin's best friend once said that he had interviewed on a campus where they invited 5. Can you believe it, five! And you know, it was just...

[5] Oh, how exciting for you! What's the ring look like? Ooooh, I'm gonna cry.

[6] No shit! We all have PhDs, don't we? I mean, at least the majority of us didn't just buy them at Wal-Mart.

[7] Like the ones we took the extra 15 seconds to address by name... but you, my friend, were not among them. So, naaah!

[8] Whatever the hell they may be. Really, we only skimmed the materials you sent us. Honest, we've got student papers to read, and tests to grade. We can't be bothered to actually give a damn about you, that's why we prefer to address you all in aggregate, rather than actually giving you the attention and respect that we pretend to have.

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