Searching

Yesterday was a teaching day, with lots of prep the two hours before the two-hour class. After class I spent my time working on getting together my ten publications for submission to the committee that will evaluate the applicants to the position I have applied for. Tedious, tedious work.

One interesting twist is that the administration is asking specifically for “published” scholarly work. For as long as any of my colleagues can remember, applicants to positions in Norway have always been able to submit both published and non-published works (and in the bad old days I think you could submit everything you had). Since half of what I had hoped to submit is not yet in print, I emailed to double check, and got back the response that I could submit things that have not yet appeared, but that the committee was not obligated to consider them in their evaluation. In some ways that makes a lot of sense, and rewards scholars who are proactive about getting their work out, rather than just sitting on it. This makes for a tricky calculus though, since they only want work from the past five years, and that work needs to be directly relevant to the specialization. I have gobs of things published in the last five years, but not all of it is directly relevant to Ibsen (cabins? lesbian detective fiction? monster movies? Erlend Loe?).

I happened to run into the dean at the café in our building, so I asked her whether this represents a new policy; she gave me a pretty interesting (and definitely useful) response, but didn’t really address the larger question of whether there is indeed a change in practice going on. I suspect the answer is yes, not least because this search had an initial “sorting committee” to narrow the field to a short list. As it happens, there were only seven applicants, so I presume all seven were “short” listed. I suppose all this needs to be filed under “Comparative Academic Cultures”; it’s always really interesting to me to see how these things are done differently in different national contexts. Mostly the Norwegian system seems fair and equitable to me, though quite different from in the US. The little I’ve seen of such practices in the UK scares me a little. I’d love to know more about how job searches are carried out in other contexts.

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