Saturday, April 29, 2006


Is it a fact that the more prestigious the school, and the higher rank the faculty member, the less time and consideration is put into writing? I mean, you wonder if some people have ever even heard of editing, much less considered using it.

Today's mail brought the following, from the chair of the search committee at [LakeViewU]:
April 25, 2006

Dear Professor [ArticulateDad]:

Thank you for your interest in the faculty opening in [Field1] we had in the [Program] at [LakeViewUniversity]. We are happy to say that while we had many good applicants, this made the decision much more difficult.

We are pleased to announce that Professor [InternalCandidate] has accepted the position.

Best wishes for your future endeavors.


[Icouldn't Careless]
Chairman, Search Committee
It does make you wonder.

And, just for a little background: This particular Prof. Icouldn't Careless happened to spend a term as visiting faculty at my doctoral institution, after I had entered candidacy. I had met him before, when I interviewed as a graduate student on his campus. (It's a big deal there. They paid to fly in about 6 of us potential grad students, put us up in a 3 star hotel, and wined and dined us for a few days! So this wasn't a passing, glad to meet you sort of thing.)

During his time at my doctoral institution, I had coffee and lunch with him on at least two occasions to memory, possibly more. I discussed at length with him some details of departmental and campus politics and such, though always tactfully, since he was considering and being considered for (hush hush) a position on our campus.

On April 24, I sent him the following email:

Dear [Icouldn't],

Now that I hear the [LVU] search has come to a successful conclusion, I'd like to ask you for some feedback on my application. This has been an exceedingly, and unexpectedly, frustrating job season, as I remain without a faculty post, more than a year after completing the dissertation. I am seeking to get whatever feedback I can from those willing to offer it, in hopes that what remains of this season, or the next, will offer me more promise. I hope that our personal contacts in the past might incline you to lower the veil of silence that normally separates job seekers from those in positions to hire.

I would very much appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have to offer me, as I continue to seek an appropriate appointment. I realize there is now an open search for a lecturer in [Field1] at LVU. I'm not at all clear whether it would be appropriate for me to apply. To be clear, in case you are involved in that search as well, I am not seeking any special consideration, merely a greater understanding of the process, to assist me in locating the most appropriate posts, and best presenting myself as a candidate for them.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration,

I guess courtesy was too much to expect. Ah well, other fish to fry.


Prof. Me said...

Hang on a second: was the first note from Dr. Careless an actual letter (like the standard mass-mailed rejection), or was it an email? If it was a letter, then hopefully Dr. Careless will actually write you back via email. If THAT was his email to you then... well, that sucks, and it's not at all genteel or respectful or any of those other nice words we expect to be able to use to describe educated people.


ArticulateDad said...

Okay, to be fair. It was one of those m,ass mailings, from the Dean's office (at least that's what the envelope said). But, my email went to him on the 24th. The letter was dated the 25th. That's the only response I've gotten. QED, either that is his response, or more likely, he just doesn't care. As you say, perhaps an email will come in the next day or so. But, as you might have guessed, I won't be applying for the lecturer post at LVU.

Meantime, I really don't like being bitter about these things. Honest. It's just so depressing. Posting about it helps me let it go. Perhaps I do a service to the many others in my position, to understand that they are not alone. And maybe, just maybe, these posts may cause others to reflect just a tiny bit more about how what they do might be taken or might affect others.