Monday, September 24, 2007

My Brains All Broken, But I'm Feelin' Alright

I said it last week, the job market is on. My department had its first placement meeting a little while ago, and if that first meeting is any indication, it's going to be a very different experience from last year. The Old World Septuagenarian and Evil Columbo are off the placement committee, and instead we've got a different senior prof as well as a junior prof. Neither of them can remember FDR's presidency, and both of them had to go through the job market after the free-for-all hiring sprees of the 60s and 70s, when drooling idiots got offered tenure-tracked jobs before their shitty dissertations were even half-done.

Let's call this year's committee members Placement Committee Sr. and Placement Committee Jr. When someone asked a question about what we're supposed to do with our student evaluations (What does the department send? What do we have to send ourselves?), their response couldn't have been further from the Old World Septuagenarian's and Evil Columbo's.

First, PC Sr. and PC Jr. actually knew that some--even many!--departments ask for information about candidates' experience as teachers. They even knew what a teaching portfolio was, and that student course evals probably fit into them somehow.

But even better? There was one particular question about how the department deals with student evals, and neither PC Sr. or PC Jr. knew the answer. So you know what PC Jr. did? He said he'd find out. And then, like the next day, he actually found out. He even e-mailed the answer to us, which isn't something either member of last year's committee has the technical chops to handle on a regular basis.

So I'm on board with this year's placement committee. They've already headed off problems that drove me into aneurysm-inducing rage last year.

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