Go read GayProf’s latest bons mots on the job search process, “Advice for the Newly Hired.” I wish I could be GayProf’s colleague–if only Big Midwestern U. would relocate to the sunny West! He explains in a few thousand words how to be successful, and why it’s essential to remain generous and humane in the process. Dr. Crazy has a companion post up at her blog called “Advice for the Newly Hired: Regional Comprehensive Addition Edition,” since GayProf’s advice was tailored more for people at R-1 universities.
I taught at a comprehensive university, and now I teach at what’s officially an R-1, although the College of Liberal Arts has always been something of the red-headed stepchild of the university: there to teach service courses, but not to produce Ph.D. students. (Some departments have Ph.D. programs, but mine has just an M.A. program.) I still think that this part of GayProf’s advice is relevant to everyone: “Manage your career for the expectations of your field, not your current university or your department.” Dr. Crazy is right that comprehensive universities will look for different things at tenure than faculty and administrators at R-1s, but in my (admittedly brief) years of observing this process, 1) if you publish, you’ll be difficult to fire from whatever college or university you work at, and 2) if you publish, you’ll have other opportunities if you want or need them. Dr. Crazy says that “it makes sense to be happy where you are,” and I agree–especially in today’s tough job market, we should all try to bloom where we’re planted. But there’s nothing wrong with being prepared for another opportunity down the road.