Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wanted: The Department of Love

The fabulous Maude Lebowski had the inspired idea of reversing the job market process. Instead of departments putting up totally impossible ads of people who do half-a-dozen totally unrelated administrative things, conduct field-boggling research, and are happy with a 4/4 load (only Dr. Crazy can do all that and she's. . .well, crazy -- lovely, but totally exceptional), we should put up our want ads.

So here's mine:

Wanted a supportive department that has a strict policy of never sending emails to the faculty list on weekends. No more than a 3/3 load with the MLA-recommended class size -- and the balls to refuse enlarging class size to the dean and university. A department that encourages faculty involvement in service and outreach programs -- and looks at them as purposeful scholarship since, let's face it, it's often far more productive to make one's work useful in the community than to have some boring article (yes, mine!) published that will only affect the half-dozen people who will really read it -- and then maybe only two out of those who read it without a critical pen in hand and the doubting game in their heart. A department who pays for conferences and research travel. A collegial (pronounced callejial, by the way) department that understands that at the end of the day work is just work -- that drudge you do for dollars so that you can raise your children and love your husband without living on the streets. A department that consists of cool people that anyone would actually want to hang out with, chatting and drinking wine with on the weekend, talking about everything from the latest scholarship to film adaptations to video games to sports at least a few of whom actually keep current on research. A department that puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to accepting difference and engaging in useful self-questioning about issues like academic discourse, the canon, standard English -- and all the ideologies, viewpoints, and people that such choices marginalize and silence. A department that refuses to prolong a dull meeting by nit-picking at the lint on a document in process. A university that takes seriously its mission to serve and educate students, rather than see teaching as the thing we have to do in order to be able to close our office doors and get back to our research. A place where I can teach all the facets of English Studies, rather than being pigeon-holed as the person who does X. A place, preferably in the Western half of the United States, where my fiance and I can find a farm on the outskirts of town and live and just be happy.

6 comments:

Nik said...

My dept. to a T. Except the "end of the day" work. And the scholarship ambiguity. And the western half of the US. That's the biggest drawback.

"Maude Lebowski" said...

your ad would get so many more hits than mind.

adjunct whore said...

i love this idea!! i'm going to write one too.

and did i somehow miss that you're engaged? congratulations, that is amazing!

Earnest English said...

Darn close readers! AW, we're engaged to get engaged. That is, I have baggage so he has to get down on one knee. He's plotting it -- I can feel it. Anyway, there's got to be a term for that, right?

Janelle said...

This is pure poetry. 'Nuff said.

Eddie said...

Hmmm...if that kind of department really exists I think I need to go back on the market! :-)