Monday, November 13, 2006

One more down

Knocked off the job application today, for the Canadian post with a Wednesday deadline. Submitted via email. Haven't heard back from Tasse Plein since the conference, so I have no idea when or if he'll be sending the requested recommendation letters. I don't like to do this generally but I asked that his file letter (which is now more than a year old) be sent along with the other two (which have just been updated in the past month) from my doctoral institution dossier. They charge $5 per application, which isn't much, but adds up over time. In any case, they may likely end up with two letters from Tasse, but that beats the alternative of them receiving only two, and putting my application aside for lack of completeness. Since the deadline was so short, as it is they'll be receiving the letters a week or so after my cover letter and CV. The deadline isn't hard and fast, as it's posted as "or until filled". But I wanted to at least get them my materials ASAP.

I took some of BPG's advice. I broke out three paragraphs from my cover letter, and created a free-standing add-on to my CV called "Current Research Projects & Teaching Interests". As the latter part of that title suggests, I added a fourth paragraph on my teaching interests which begins:
While research is central to the work I do, so is teaching. I believe the two are complementary enterprises, enriching and strengthening each other. As a scholar, I find teaching demands I keep practical matters and relevance in the forefront of my inquiries. As a teacher, research provides me incomparable opportunities to test my own and other's theories, and to enliven my lectures with points of immediate and direct comparison to sometimes remote topics under discussion. Courses I am prepared to teach include:...
I'm doing all I can, that's about all I can say. I can't make myself any less of a researcher. It's too much of my identity. But I can work hard to allay any concerns committee's might have regarding whether I'm a good or enthusiastic teacher as well. All I need is a few more open doors. I blew it the past couple years. I've had a total of four calls, resulting in two campus interviews. But I didn't make the cut after those campus visits. The first one was real close I know, as I think I've blogged before, since at least two of my recommenders spent about an hour each on the phone with the committee after my visit. But, as the old saying goes: almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.

One thing that Big Presence Guy asked at the conference was whether or not I had been short-listed anywhere. Yes, I have. Well, that's a good sign. That's the rubric that tells you someone is hireable. That's a good thing for me to keep in mind. I'm not sure of the corollary though. If you haven't been shortlisted, does that necessarily mean you won't make the cut? It seems so arbitrary at times. But, for those of us grasping for straws... any stray blade of grass for hope will do.

I'm feeling pretty good about this job season right now. There are quite a few postings that are more up my alley than last year seemed to offer. In any case, I'm committed to at least one more season of applications. I'm trying to find that right tone, the right voice to speak for me in that silent shuffle of papers that cross a committee member's desk.

But I'm not holding my breath. As of tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll have that office of my own. Discovered today however that setting up internet would cost me quite a bit more than I had bargained for (twice what I had been quoted last week, before signing a lease). Too much for my blood at this moment. I'll hope that someone in the building has an unsecured wireless, or that I can find a T-Mobile Hotspot somewhere near by. Worst case, I'll just get used to getting my internet fix at home in the mornings before heading out, or in the afternoons after returning. I'm excited about the prospects, even though I'm not yet sure how I'll use the office. One thing's for certain, I've got a darn good reason to become more productive, and I plan to use it.


trillwing said...

I am soooo jealous of your office. As an adjunct I have to share office space (and my TAs have to find their own offices because the department's TA office was given to a faculty member), and it's a pain not being able to hole up in there whenever I have time (and babysitters).

On your teaching paragraph: It strikes me as more than a bit generic. Any chance you might include a "for example" to liven it up and ground it?

ArticulateDad said...

Trillwing, well... yeah, it is a bit generic. I see that. I'll work on it. Teaching is the toughest part for me to present at this point. (Writing about teaching seems such an odd and disconnected exercise.) Unexpected, since I had six terms (2 years, including double load in the summers) experience as an adjunct in a cc before beginning the PhD. I thought that would carry me through.

But now that experience was nearly 7 years ago. In the meantime, I've only guested for other's classes, and taught one of my own (an interdisciplinary reading/discussion class) for which, unfortunately I have no usable student evaluations.

I was on fellowship years 1, 3, and 4. Year 5, I was over 1000 miles from campus, dealing with family issues, and writing the dissertation. My second year, I might have TA'd for one of the massive lecture courses, but Tasse Plein had sheltered me from that, intimating that it was more work than he'd like to see me doing, that it was essentially the same course I had already taught as teacher or record at the CC (same textbook even), so what had I to gain?

That year, I wound up a TA in title, but assigned to an interdisciplinary center (directed by Tasse), for which my duties were mostly administrative. Thus, my cc teaching experience has faded into near oblivion. So, you can be jealous of my office, but believe it or not, I'm jealous of your adjuncting. :)

trillwing said...

I'm torn about all my teaching experience. Yes, it's been a good ride. Yes, it's terrific experience for the job market. But it's kept me from having the time and energy to really get into research and publication, esp. post-dissertation.

Three years on fellowship, that's terrific! I don't think anyone in the humanities around here gets that kind of deal.

ArticulateDad said...

I don't think anyone in the humanities around here gets that kind of deal.

It wasn't as easy as all that. Year 1 was an internal fellowship, the only guarantee I had on admission. Year 2 I failed to win a coveted internal "humanities research assistant" fellowship, which I did win in Year 3. My fourth year, I was on a Fulbright grant in Central Europe.

I was actually surprised to learn of the many graduate students in my [Field 1] and [Field 2] departments (both ostensibly in the humanities) who came in with multi-year packages.