Saturday, 18 February 2006

Satisficing is the watchword

Spending today listening to presentations at the Teaching and Learning Conference has reinforced my prior belief that I would be happiest teaching at a private liberal arts college—I was intrigued by the interesting (dare I say cool) things being done by professors of research methods at Birmingham-Southern and Richmond. It could just be coincidence; I don’t know. But in the absence of definite competing opportunities, I’d probably accept an offer from a different sort of institution, particularly one offering a modicum of job security.

As far as the competing offers question goes (a situation I have yet to be in), I still haven’t worked out for myself the transitive ordering between “one-year job at a liberal arts college, narrowly-defined*” and “tenure-track job somewhere else”; it’s something I’ve pondered before and not really gotten any good advice on.

At my first ever campus interview, the chair of a ninth-tier combined department once tried to sell me on the idea that any tenure-track job (versus a one-year gig) was a signal of status to other potential employers—I don’t think he was reading my mind (in which admittedly I was simultaneously plotting the quickest exit possible from the godforsaken place, trying to forestall a panic attack); he just was probably used to giving the speech—but somehow I doubt that’s really the case except when comparing among fairly similar institutions.

* By “narrowly-defined,” I mean a small, private residential college with at least a modicum of selectivity in admissions.

Ed Orgeron: Megarecruiter

More fodder for the “Ed Orgeron could sell snow to eskimos” file: the scoop on how Coach O got blue-chip QB Brent Schaeffer to come to Oxford, passing up more prominent programs like Wisconsin and NC State.

This sort of recruiting prowess puts the Ed Orgeron hummer ad in a whole new light… maybe it sells more H3s than I’d have thought it would.