On senses of place

I will eventually stop reacting to this piece, but not until I have said all I have to say about it. I have been listening to this advice since the first time I heard the Emeritus Professor give it to a student. I was still in elementary school then, so it was a long time ago, and I have heard the advice again and again, term after term, ever since. I have also followed it, to my own detriment. I therefore do feel both qualified and also entitled to speak to every point I wish to address, and every perception I have.

But I think I may have been too hard on the author, who is a professor at the University of Iowa. I have never been on a Midwestern hiring committee but I have been on many on the Pacific coast and in the South. It is true what this author: it is often hard to hire from the East. People do not want to go so far from home and they are from a densely populated region with many schools, so they have the possibility of job offers there. The cost of living may be higher, but salaries are also much higher; often more than 50% higher. They will save on visits to family and to their European research sites, they will be within their regional culture and close to their friends, and they will not have to face the cost of real estate near the Pacific Coast Highway or the Pacific Crest Trail.

Unlike Perelmutter, though, I tend to take this situation in stride. I still put people from the East on my short lists, but I never make the mistake I saw made once at a desirable university in the West. For one job they invited six — yes, six — candidates in from a total of three New England states, only to be rejected by one and all. I learned from this that hiring departments should also be open minded. Yes, it is prestigious to hire from Ivy League schools and from Berkeley. But there are many good job candidates produced in “flyover” states and at slightly less prestigious, yet still very good public institutions. If you are willing to consider such people, you may find yourself able to hire a great colleague after all.




Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Questions, Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?

2 responses to “On senses of place

  1. For some reason this reminds me of the boys I knew in high school who would complain that no girls were interested in them when what they meant was that no cheerleaders were interested in them.

    • Z

      Exactly! And that, again, is probably why I have such a strong visceral reaction to the piece — it is so whiny, or such a boy-whine, or a boy-whine-scold.

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