On-site interview SLAC

I interviewed yesterday for six and a half hours. There was no scheduled time for lunch, so I brought a bar and peanuts, thinking that I could eat them on the run. That wasn’t as necessary as it looked, since I had 15 minutes between each part of the interview.

The president mostly asked me questions about my life. Of course, I was only there for ten minutes, so… He asked how I got to Texas from New York, why I chose my PhD alma mater, what things influenced me. Then he asked me three times what my research was going to be… He asked it three different ways, so it is possible I wasn’t answering what he was asking or he wasn’t understanding what I was saying. (I think now, looking back, that he was asking me where I was submitting proposals and papers. I would certainly have changed my answer, since I didn’t answer that at all.)

I told the chair that. She said she thought it might be X issue. I said I had thought about X issue and had presented a paper on it, back when I was teaching full time. I also said I had brought a copy for the president, but had not had an opportunity to give it to him. She went right out, put it in a folder, addressed it, and had it delivered to him. Doubt he saw it, since he was so busy, but…

I found out that there is a new chair for the department. I liked that. The new chair is the woman who supported me in the first interview. She is also the woman who took me around for my interview and introduced me to, it seemed like, everyone on campus. She becomes chair June 1.

The interview seemed to go fairly well. I am not the high profile candidate the president would like to hire, but I am a solid teacher and could, I believe, do presentations on a regular basis. I’ll just have to remember that it is part of my job description. Maybe I can get in touch with some people from my old college and present panels. Have to think about that.

I believe the chair likes me. I got on well with the dean, who is an easy-going person.

I think I got on well with the provost, too. While I’m scrutinizing it with a microscope I wonder if perhaps I didn’t seem a little too eager with her. As I was leaving she said, “You seem to have a lot of interests.” Now that would be good if she were talking about my teaching, but it came on the heels of my saying that her desk, a huge beautiful wood work with hand painted flourishes, was beautiful. I had already commented on how much I liked the blue glass, telling her that I collect it. And, when I came in, I asked her if she were born in September, because she had on a sapphire necklace (and earrings and wedding ring, but I noticed the necklace). So I’m now a little less sure about that.

I told the chair that, for a year or two, I would be willing to teach four sections of freshman English, if that was what needed doing, but that I did not want to do that for twenty years. She laughed and said no. She asked me what my dream job would be and I had trouble articulating it, even though I have written about it before. She kept asking me if I were going to be happy not teaching literature. I’m a writing teacher, primarily. But, having taught six to nine classes of freshman comp a year in the last six years, I am ready for a change. I am more than willing to teach business writing or something else, if that is available. (It doesn’t go to adjuncts at the community college for sure.)

We also discussed when in the day I would want to teach. Of course everyone wants to teach in the mid-morning (almost everyone). I said I’d prefer to teach a night class rather than a 4 pm MWF. Can you imagine being in Houston traffic at 5 three days a week? I would not enjoy that. But now that I’ve thought about it, I’m not sure when I would rather teach. Something else to think about. They schedule their classes early, so if I have a different opinion than what I told her, I should let her know if they call to hire me.

I think that my freshman comp class went very well. I taught for thirty minutes. The students were engaged; they laughed in the right places; they answered my questions. I did a little more lecture than student involvement, but I think it went all right.

However, in the tech writing class, while I showed that I know technology and I gave some good points, I was so busy presenting what I had prepared, that I didn’t engage the students. And that is the class the dean sat in on. (In fact, only the chair and the adjunct whose class it was were in my freshman comp teaching.)

I will try to remember that the teaching isn’t so they can find out what I know, but so that I can show them my best teaching style. That they did not see.

The chair said that she would let me know by June 1, hopefully. We’ll see.

If I don’t get the job, it will be God’s decision. When I started this search, with three colleges to apply with, I told God I needed him to be clear where he wanted me to go.

CC1 was hiring developmental writing only and so I didn’t get in. There are plenty of adjuncts who have done that for them on a regular basis. And they might have gotten someone from outside. I don’t know.

CC4? didn’t call me back after the phone interview. I thought they would, but I was wrong.

So whether I get an offer or not, I feel confident it will be what God has in mind.

Other things discussed:

The future graduate programs… MFA, JD, etc that are being envisioned and made part of the vision.

What the school is known for now. It is a SLAC, but at the rate they are changing, it won’t be that for long. Right now they’re strong in pre-med. Three of their sophomores were admitted to medical school, assuming they keep their grades up and graduate. They also have a very strong nursing school. In addition, they have a very strong bilingual education emphasis. They got $1.5 mil from the government for scholarships for that.

Developmental writing. The chair and I discussed this. I brought it up with the provost and the dean.

My considered response

After the phone interview, I almost withdrew my name. I loved the idea of working at a college like this one, which is why I applied, but the interview was problematic. However, I decided it was worth continuing because I did want to work there.

After the on-campus interview, even given that it went all day and had no lunch break, I really want to work there. I will be disappointed if they don’t offer me the job. There is a financial issue, though, because I need to make enough money to make it worth driving across town for. We probably won’t move. (I’ve considered it, but right now it would be unpopular with my family and financially foolish.)

I want to work there. It looked like a great place to be. Right now it’s small, but it is booming and will be growing like crazy. Being there in the transition stage could be good because I’ll get to know people across the campus and because I’ll then be in a nationally recognized school.

Besides teaching, which I love, I will also need to get re-involved professionally. That is a little harder to do because I have been out so long, but I am already moving that direction.

Update:
I was not hired for the ft position. I did adjunct there for two years, including one year where I worked ft for pt wages. They were hiring ft’ers but did not even consider my application. While they paid well for pt, I was glad to find a ft position and leave. The biggest problem was the change in atmosphere on campus with the new provost. The college became toxic. Many long-time employees were fired. (No tenure.) So I am glad they didn’t hire me after all.

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