Volume 20, Number 3:  December 2001

From the Chair  |  In Print  |  Panels & Presentations  |  Awards & Appointments  |  Miscellany  |  From the Editor

The Common Reader

From the Chair

As the semester draws to a close, I've grown accustomed to the sight of several faculty ensconced in the work room, reading through job applications in order to determine the candidates whom they wish to interview at the MLA Convention to be held between Christmas and New Year's Eve.  Those reading the applications have commented on numerous occasions about the high quality of the applicants and the difficulty of determining whom to interview.

Fortunately, such a difficulty is a good one to confront, for I believe that the applicant pool ensures that we'll once more be able to bring in new colleagues with considerable teaching experience as well as established records of scholarly activity.  Because so many well-qualified candidates have applied for our positions, on various occasions I have remarked to our search committees that I don't believe it productive to search for a single "right" person for a particular job within the department; rather, committees should seek to identify a number of potential colleagues, each of whom is competent to teach our courses, likely to have productive research agendas, and capable of making positive contributions to our numerous service activities.

I will freely admit, of course, that differences among the candidates might make one preferable to another.  However, such differences seldom show up on the many pages of paper that the search committees examine, for they mostly involve how people interact with one another.

And that is why it is important for all faculty to meet our potential new colleagues; each of us should exercise our right to provide input as the search committees determine their recommendations concerning the person to be hired.

On-campus interviews start December 10 and will probably conclude around the end of February.  I hope that all faculty will participate in the time-consuming, but essential, process of selecting our new colleagues.

--Bruce Southard


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Copyright © 2001, ECU  Department of English.