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Creative Writing Jobs 2009-10

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Q: Is it time to start a 2010-11 page?

C: Bucknell posted a 2011 job already.

C: went ahead and began a page here: http://academicjobs.wikia.com/wiki/CreativeWriting_2011


Job OffersEdit

Please only post verifiable information.


Score:

Poetry: Iowa 4 vs Everyone Else 9

Fiction: Iowa 4 vs. Everyone Else 8


Not much new information lately. Either nothing is leaking out, or the hiring committees are really slow this year, or funding has been pulled for some of these searches. Serious Question: How long do you have before you have to give a search committe that has extended an offer an answer? What is standard and/or the rules for giving a decision?


A: Usually you have between 10 days and two weeks. You can ask the chair. You should ask the chair. Often, extensions are granted.


C: I wonder if programs making job offers realize that sometimes the other finalists are finding out for the first time, here, on this site, that they didn't get the job. Ouch.


Poetry


TENURE TRACK:


1. George Mason: Ben Doller (MFA Iowa, 2 collections + 3rd forthcoming, Whitman Award)


2. Houston: Ange Mlinko (MFA Brown, 2 collections). Kevin Prufer (MA Hollins, MFA Washington University in St. Louis, 4 collections, 4 edited collections)


3. Brooklyn College: Ben Lerner (MFA Brown, 3 collections, NBA finalist, Fulbright, etc).


4. College of Charleston: Emily Rosko (PhD University Missouri; MFA Cornell; 1 book = Iowa Poetry Prize, 1 edited collection


(anthology?) forthcoming, Stegner, Ruth Lilly, Glasgow Prize


5. Cornell: Joanie Mackowski

C: What an unprofessional way to find out. Cornell, you should send out rejections in a timely fashion.


6. Kent State: Catherine Wing (MFA, U of Washington, 1 book with Sarabande)


7. Mesa State: any word?


8. Nebraska Wesleyan: James Shea (MFA, Iowa; 1 collection)


9. Northern Kentucky: Kelly Moffett (MFA, West Virginia; 1 collection)


10: Penn State York: Any word?


11: Saginaw Valley: Any news? A: One offer was made and turned down. A: Second offer made and accepted.


12: Texas Christian: Alex Lemon (MFA, Minnesota; 3 collection; 1 memoir). C: At least TCU had the decency not to invite its "finalists" to MLA--what a waste of time and money that would have been, since they hired the inside candidate. C: Don't forget the person(s) invited to a campus visit. They had to entertain false hope for a while. C: FYI, they didn't invite anyone to campus.


13: U Mass Lowell: Sandra Lim (MFA Iowa, 1 collection)

AND Maggie Dietz (MFA Boston U., 1 collection). They hired two poets from one search.


14: U Nevada Reno: Steve Gehrke




15: North Carolina/Greensboro: Rebecca Black (MFA Indiana) 1 collection, NEA, Stegner, Juniper Prize


16: U of Oregon: Daniel Anderson. Formalist. (MA Johns Hopkins, 2 collections and editor of Nemerov Selected, Sewanee faculty)


17: U of Tampa: Erica Dawson (MFA, Ohio State; PhD, Cincinnati, 1 collection, Formalist)


18: Wisconsin/Green Bay: Offer made and accepted by PhD grad with 3 collections.


19: West Chester: Kim Bridgford (MFA, Iowa; 3 poetry collections, one forthcoming).



VISITING:

1. Hodder: Cynthia Cruz & ZZ Packer


2. MO. State: Search cancelled for budgetary reasons.


3. U Conn:


4. Columbia College: * Does anyone know what's happening with this?


5. St. Lawrence University: Sarah Barber


6: Saint Mary's: * Does anyone know what's happening with this?


7. Amherst:


8. Reed: Offer made and accepted


9. Wichita State University


10. Oklahoma State University

C: Rejection received (letter, dated 6/11)


11. Augustana College


12. Framingham State College

C: "not selected for final consideration" (Email, 6/23)


Fiction


1. Western Michigan: Thisbe Nissen (MFA, Iowa; 2 novels, 1 story collection)


2. Butler: Michael Dahlie (MFA, WashU-St.Louis; 1 novel, PEN/Hemingway award)


3. Phillips Andover: Lewis Robinson (MFA, Iowa; 1 novel, 1 short story collection)


4. Texas Tech University: Cristina Garcia (no CW degree; 4 novels, National Book Award finalist)


5. SLU: Saher Alam (MFA, BU, 1 novel, Kafka Prize)


6. Willamette: who got this job I so coveted?


7. Mississippi: According to U of Miss MFA site, new fiction prof is John Brandon, MFA from Missouri, I think? Two novels w/ McSweeney's and one nonfiction book; meanwhile, Tom Franklin (writer-in-res the past couple years) upgraded to TT. Looks like Barry Hannah retired, maybe. No official announcement that I saw, but his name was gone from faculty page. Anybody get a rejection letter from them? A: Um, Barry Hannah passed away this Spring. John Brandon was the Grisham Writer in Residence this year and is likely being retained for now due to Hannah's passing. A: Ah, hell. Sorry about that, Barry. You'll be missed. P: John Brandon's MFA, is from Washington U in St. Louis.


8: Ithaca: Offer made.


9: Denison: Offer made and accepted. (name?)


10. Rhodes: Made offer, offer accepted by Mark Behr, 3 novels


11. USD: Offer made to and accepted by Halina Duraj (PhD candidate at Utah). Does Duraj have a book? Pubs? C: No book, few pubs, O'Henry


12. Shippensburg: (any news on this?) A: Offer made and accepted B. Name?


13. Hollins: Elizabeth Poliner, Inside candidate (J.D. University of Virginia; M.F.A. American University: One "novel-in-stories" w/ The Permanent Press)


14. Fresno: Randa Jarrar (MFA, Michigan; 1 novel; essays and translations)


15. Alabama-Tuscaloosa: Kellie Wells (PhD, Western Michigan; MFAs from Montana & Pitt; 1 novel & 1 collection of stories)


16. Cleveland State: Emily Mitchell (MFA, Brooklyn College; 1 novel published with Norton)


17. University of Northern Colorado: Nic Brown (MFA, Iowa; 1 story collection, 1 novel forthcoming)


18. Kansas State University: Daniel Hoyt (PhD, Kansas, 1 story collection)


19. UNLV: Visitor for 2010-11. New search will be opened fall 2010.


20. Warren Wilson:


21 Stanford: Adam Johnson (MFA, McNeese State, PhD, Florida State, Stegner Fellowship, 1 story collection + 1 novel)

C: You're kidding. The lesson here (listen up all you Stegners): if you weasel your way in and hang on long enough, you get a job.
C: Uh, or not - since this is the first faculty hire at Stanford since 1996. And it's not quite right to say Adam Johnson "weaseled his way in" - he's published two books, has a Ph.D. and won an NEA and a Whiting.
C: Wow. Bitter much?
C: The Adam Johnson hire makes sense based on his accomplishments, and the time he's spent proving himself to be an outstanding teacher at Standford. What makes less sense is the plethora of people listed above who've been offered jobs without having very distinguished publications. One would almost think they were hired for the demographic they represent, rather than achievement and ability.
C: Indeed, it's narrow to assume that in order to teach people how to do something, you should be able to do it yourself.
C: "Becoming famous and getting film deals" seems to be a bit of an hysterical stretch from my previous comment. Sounds like you subscribe to the notion of a CW class as social work or group therapy. Sorry, I thought teaching writing was about teaching students to write well. Publishing is generally easy if one writes well. If there's no interest in publication, then why pretend you're writing for others? Just go start a blog or keep a diary under your bed. It's probably safe to assume you already have both of those things, actually.

C: LMAO, if you believe he was the most qualified candidate who applied, I've got a Golen bridge to sell you in Palo Alto. He's friends with a big donor.

C: Two books, a Pd.D, an NEA and a Whiting, an established record of service in the department, & still all these ad hominems about whether or not he's as qualified as others who applied? Did you actually review the applications yourself and have any basis for making such a judgement, or is this just sour grapes that the search committee doesn't share your own high opinion of your own application? Try to be a good sport. If you have a resume even half as good as his, somebody will certainly hire you eventually.

C: Well, they'll hire the commenter eventually if he can keep his attitude out of the interview...

C: No doubt AJ has strong credentials and successes (but maybe not for a straight to an Associate Professor level position). What's disappointing here is that Stanford could not see beyond the ends of their noses. Why not hire someone who offers more representation? They certainly need it.

C: Probably a good idea to remember that jobs aren't prizes or grants -- there's no expectation of a meritocratic process. These are working people looking for colleagues. If they get a sniff that super-accomplished candidate A is a bit of an a-hole, while noticeably less accomplished candidate C is a total sweetheart who shares the same hobbies as everyone in the department and has legions of former students singing his praises, it'll be C.

C: As if prizes and grants come down to merit either! Above commenter has a bit of a rosy view; consider that "total sweetheart" is more likely to do a lot of committee work and meetings while remaining "total sweetheart" than "super-accomplished" candidate with possible busy career already in swing. "Total sweetheart" is also non-threatening; does not make department look bad by say, publishing more often and more noticeably. (Pardon my cynicism, but the worst part of being cynical is the realization in hindsight that one has not been cynical enough.)

C: ...aaaaand the above conversation is exactly why I'm starting to think it would be better to wear a hair shirt and live in a cave than pursue a life in academia. Raccoons and wolverines are nicer neighbors. Why do I even look at this thing? I mean, really.


22: University of Michigan-Flint. &nbsp Offer Accepted: Stephanie Carpenter, U Missouri ABD. "120 applications"


23: Stephen F. Austin: Offer accepted


24. Arizona State U: Offer made (according to 4/23 email, despite the fact that no one on this wiki was ever contacted in any way, shape, or form)


25.Carroll College


26.Columbia U: Search called off, according to apologetic email from SC, received 4/13.


27. Seton Hill


28.University of Alabama--Birmingham: Jim Braziel


29. Minnesota State U -- Mankato


30. Emerson College


31. Fairleigh Dickinson U: search concluded. who?


32.Monmouth U


33. Ball State U


34. Allegheny College: Position filled (email 5/12)


35. University of Chicago Fiction Lectureship: Vu Tran (MFA, Iowa; PhD, UNLV; Whiting, O. Henry, novel under contract)

36. Quinnipiac University -- Offer made and accepted (and good luck to whoever took this post, for when the Dean calls writers uneducated during one's interview, one should assume he or she is not going to have an easy time of it).


Non-Fiction

1. New College of Florida: Wendy Call (MFA, Bennington; 1 N-F book under contract)


2. University of San Francisco: Ryan Van Meter (MFA, Iowa; 1 N-F book under contract)


3. U of Alabama-Tuscaloosa: Dave Madden (MA/PhD, Nebraska; 1 N-F book under contract)


4. Dartmouth: Jeff Sharlet (no cw degree, 1 NF, 1 co-authored NF, 3 under contract)


5. Ohio U:


6.: Alaska-Fairbanks:



Playwriting/Screenwriting

Ursinus college: Don Zolidis, (MFA, New School, 31 plays, 6 forthcoming, Princess Grace Award)




Open Genre

1. DePaul: Rebecca Johns, offered and accepted (MFA Iowa, 1 novel published, 1 forthcoming, numerous magazine articles and essays, PEN/Hemingway finalist)


2. Eastern Illinois U: Lania Knight (PhD U of Missouri; no book)


3. University of Dayton Herbert W. Martin Fellowship: Offer made and accepted


4. Point Loma Nazarene:


5. North Central: "our search has been concluded" email 3/16 Anyone have a name?


6. Gettysburg Emerging Writer Lectureship: Offer made and accepted. Name? Nick Lantz (MFA UW-Madison, 2 poetry collections)

C: Are poets still "emerging" with 2 poetry books? (not being cynical)
A: In this market, most certainly, if it helps that poet get a job
A: Many of the past recipients had books in the works, as is the case here, or already published when they take the post.


7. Illinois College:


8. Lynchburg College (poetry or non-fiction):


9. High Point University: So I posted a name here and someone took it down. Is that how you all are playing now? Verfied information or is the truth no longer acceptible? C: Please post it again. There are still those of us who care, for one reason or another.

C: If a name dissapears, it should certainly NOT be re-posted. It's likely that the person who was hired does not want their name posted, for whatever reason, and that should be respected.

C: Unfortunately, once the hire is official, the name of the hire becomes part of the public domain. If that person does not want his or her name listed, too bad.

C: Considering some of the nastiness you occasionally see here, I can understand why somebody wouldn't want their name posted. It's not a realistic wish, however, and it's not like you can show up to teach your classes wearing a ski-mask and go by "Professor X."


10. Bennington: Anyone heard from Bennington yet?

A. They sent rejection letters in March.

Q: Who was hired?


11. City College, CUNY


12. Lebanon Valley


13.Malone University


14.Shepherd College


15. U. of Dubuque


16. Rowan U

I got an email July 1st telling me someone else was offered the position and accepted. Though they encouraged me to check for future opportunities, which I've never been encouraged to do before.


17.William Paterson U. Offer accepted 6/24.


Q. Any news about this search? Anyone heard anything? A: Campus interview scheduled today (5/13)

C: That's a bit odd, that the above person had an interview scheduled on 5/13 when the job was posted four days later, on 5/17. Inside candidate?

A: The job was posted on the MLA Job List several weeks earlier than on the AWP Job List.


18. Champlain College


19. Creighton


20. Gonzaga: offer made

Q. Does the person that received the offer have a book(s)? I'm just curious because I had a phone interview for this job.

A. I had a campus visit but didn't get the job. I have one short-story collection coming out this summer and a second book under contract. A. Offer accepted by Keya Mitra (MFA&PhD, Houston, no book)


21. Mount Vernon Nazarene


22. Rutgers U--Camden


23. SUNY Plattsburgh - any word?


24. Wayne State


25. Olive B O'Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing at Colgate: offer turned down

Edit: The offer was not turned down. Both candidates have accepted. C: Maybe one of these is a second offer? A friend of mine had to turn it down because she was given a second year on a current fellowship.


26. Ringling College of Art + Design: 2 offers made and both were accepted

Q: So was this a sham search or just no comments on here?

Campus Visit Requests (for jobs w/pre-MLA phone interviews or for jobs w/MLA in-person interviews)Edit

Poetry

UW-Green Bay - 2 (1/11)

Nevada-Reno 2 (12/31, phone call)

UNCG (phone call, 1/2)

College of Charleston 1 (1/11, phone call)

Nebraska Wesleyan U (1/20, phone) (2/15, phone)

Saginaw Valley State U (2/5, phone & email)


Fiction

USD

U of Alabama--Tuscaloosa

Denison (1/6, phone)

Saint Louis University (date? method?)

Shippensburg (1/12, phone)

Rhodes

Cleveland State (1/14, phone)

Ithaca (1/15 email) (2)

Reed (1/18 email)

University of Northern Colorado (date?)

Fresno (email 1/28)(2) They are inviting four finalists to campus

Quinnipiac University (Phone 3/3)




Non-Fiction

OU (1/7, phone)

Dartmouth

U of Alabama-Tuscaloosa

U of San Francisco (1/25 email)



Play/Screenwriting

Ursinus College (phone call 1/7) (email 1/21)


Open Genre

University of Dayton -- Herbert W. Martin Fellowship in Creative Writing and Diversity-- (12/23, by email and phone); Campus Interview sometime in February. They will bring three people in.

Shepherd University -- 1 (By email 01/02)

Eastern Illinois -- 2 (by phone 01/07)

North Central (1/12, phone)

DePaul (12/30, phone (during MLA? yes, just after the interviews were over); 1/14ish phone)

Post-MLA Rejections (i.e. "No campus visit for you...") Edit

Poetry

UN-Reno 3 (1/4, phone call) -- I am very impressed by this!  Very few search committees will take the time to kindly contact you in person.

C: Likewise--very refreshing to be treated so thoughtfully and humanely. I was also told I was being considered an alternate--which makes me wonder how many were told this

C: More than one, but a nice touch nonetheless.

C: I was also informed of alternate status; but I agree, UN-Reno has been kind to minimize the normal dehumanization that goes along w/ the process.

T: I used to teach there, and it is a rocking place.  I think it's amazing, and whoever gets hired is one lucky writer!

UNC-Greensboro (1/5, email) x 3

UMass, Lowell (1/12, email)

Texas Christian University (1/13, email after query)

Fiction

USD (12/30, email)

KSU x 3  (1/5 email) DePaul (email)

UNLV (1/14, mail); I received a rejection from UNLV (1/18) but never applied...I'm not a fiction writer at all. Ha! That's hilarious. Maybe schools are going to the model of rejecting people before they even apply. "Dear So-and-So, In case you were even thinking of applying for a job here, forget it."

Q: How exactly would this happen? Did they pull your name (and email or street address) out of a phone book? This sounds a little farfetched...

A: If I knew, I would have mentioned it. I never applied for a job there of any kind, but did apply to the Reno poetry job this year.

Texas Tech (1/22, email)

Amherst (1/29, email) (2)

University Northern Colorado (1/25, letter): Did others receive a letter, encouraging you to apply for future openings? Yes (3/13)

Ithaca (email 3/9)

Stanford (email 3/11)

Emerson (letter 4/22)



Non-Fiction

USF (email 3/11)


Play/Screenwriting

Ursinus -- an incredibly thoughtful, personal email from the Chair. It makes a difference. (When did you get this, please?) Jan. 7. Jan 19

RISD (2/23, email) x2


Open Genre

Lebanon Valley College (1/8 email) x2

High Point -- 1/28 Email "Having received over 800 applications for the three openings we advertised, the committee’s decision was difficult....."

Bennington (letter, rec'd 3/27)

Who is using this Wiki: Edit

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THIS WIKI?

Recommended by a friend/colleague: 5

Grad program/career counselor:

Department/college:

Found it on my own: 1


AGE

under 30: 5

30-35: 8

36-40: 8

41-45: 5

46-50: 3

over 50: 3


Poet: 55

Fiction Writer  37

Creative Non-Fiction Writer:  12

Multi-Genre: 21

Creative Nonfiction/Fiction: 8

Fiction/Poetry: 5

Creative Nonfiction/Poetry: 6

Creative Nonfiction/Fiction/Poetry:

Fiction/Creative Nonfiction/Playwriting: 1

Fiction/Creative Nonfiction/Screenwriting/Journalism: 1

First Time on Market: 25

Unemployed and looking for job: 17

Have job and looking for new one: 31

'Have short-term gig, looking for TT: 31

Gluttons For Punishment: 4

Now what?: 2

PhD: 49

MFA: 47

Terminal MA: 3

First book in progress: 22

First book under contract: 6

First book published: 28

Second book under contract: 9

Multiple books published:  35

----

For writers who identified as "Have job and looking for new one," why do you want to leave your current position?

Not tenure-track: 17

Didn't receive tenure:

Want a different geographical location: 6

Want a lighter teaching load: 9

Want to work in a more high-profile school/department/program: 5

My department/program is not very collegial: 5

Am going on the market to improve conditions (ie, salary, trying to get a spouse hired) at my current school: 5

Current job is in a different sector: 2

Would really like to teach what I studied for more than once every decade: 1

----

Post-MLA Job or VAP ListingsEdit

Tenure Track Edit

Fiction

Emerson College (Higher Ed Jobs)

Fairleigh Dickinson University's College at Florham (Higher Ed)


Monmouth University (Higher Ed Jobs)

Ball State University (MLA JIL)


McNeese State University (Higher Ed)


UW--Madison (not tenure track) (http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/pvl/pv_063996.html) : Work in a team environment teaching and creating online and in-person workshops. Prefer a candidate who has published and taught fiction, with genre fiction a plus.



Poetry

University of Chicago "invites applications from distinguished poet-critics for appointment as Full Professor of Practice in the Arts" (renewable term of 5 years, PhD required). (Chronicle)


University of Wisconsin--Platteville (Higher Ed Jobs)


Baruch College CUNY - "predominantly in freshman writing and a lower-division Great Works of Literature course, with an additional role in developing the creative writing concentration and teaching poetry" (Chronicle)


Delta State University (DSU Job Listings--scroll down for job details)


Nonfiction

College of Santa Fe (AWP) (Probably a good idea to look into this place before you apply--a half hour on google will do the trick. They went bankrupt, closed, and terminated all faculty last year, then were purchased by a for-profit institution that does not give contracts, tenure, etc. Some of the original professors remain, but not many. Might be a fine place to work if you don't care about tenure/job security, but you should not apply thinking this is a regular TT or visiting job--or a "standard" institution (if there is such a thing).)


Indiana University of Pennsylvania (JIL) -- any communication here other than a letter saying phone interviews will commence soon, with on-campus visits in the fall?



Open Genre

  • U. of Wisconsin--Marathon County (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CRWROPPS-B/message/4370): Lecturer that may become TT. Scheduled course load includes first-year composition, creative writing, intermediate composition, and the literary magazine course. This position is filling a vacant tenure-track position.
  • William Paterson U (Chronicle) - "especially poetry, creative non-fiction, and multi-genre writing"
  • Champlain College -- Assistant/Associate Professor of Professional Writing (Higher Ed): "The candidate should have a track record of excellent college level teaching in at least two of the following areas: fiction, poetry, journalism, editing, reviewing, creative non-fiction, screenplay writing, copy-editing, playwriting, technical writing, writing oral history, or travel writing"
  • Creighton University (JIL) Feb. deadline

Q: I am curious whether anyone knows if Creighton is likely to hire an inside candidate. It looks like they have an impressive visitor in C.W. Thanks.

  • D'Youville College (Higher Ed): "Experience in teaching Composition, Creative Writing, and/or Technical Writing required."
  • Gonzaga University (JIL) = fiction and/or nonfiction

Q: Does anyone have any additional info on the Gonzaga job? Inside candidate? Any dossier requests? Etc.

C. Gonzaga set up phone interviews on 4/8.

Q. Has anyone heard about campus visits for Gonzaga? C. Campus visits were arranged on 4/12.


  • Mount Vernon Nazarene University (Chronicle): Comp + creative writing
  • Park University (MO) (Chronicle)
  • Rutgers University-Camden (with specialty in urban, minority youth) (MLA JIL)
  • SUNY Plattsburgh (Higher Ed)
  • Tusculum College (Higher Ed) -- This is primarily a composition position, but the ad says that they might need this person to teach creative writing as well.
  • Wayne State College (NE) (Chronicle)

Visiting Edit

Fiction

Allegheny College (MLA)

Murray State University -- Lecturer (Higher Ed)

University of Central Oklahoma (JIL)

University of Cincinnati: Visiting Position in Fiction Writing (JIL)

Johnson State College: ("The successful candidate will teach four courses per semester, including introductory courses in composition & creative writing, upper-level workshops & form & theory courses in fiction, & courses in literature, depending upon departmental needs. Additional expectations include academic advising, continued scholarship & professional development, & participation though teaching & service in a college-wide commitment to early & ongoing student success." Whoa! You may also be required to milk the goats, iron student underwear, and mow the lawn of our 350+ acre campus!)

Q: Anyone hear about this one?

Scripps College, Claremont CA One-Semester Visiting Writer  http://www.scrippscollege.edu/about/employment/mary-routt-endowed-chair-of-writing.php

University of Chicago: Lecturer in Creative Writing (Fiction) (AWP)


Q. I know the deadline was only a week or so ago, but has anyone heard anything from Chicago? Or, know anything about this position?


Penn State Altoona -- Fiction Writing Residency (AWP)


Poetry

Augustana College -- Visiting Assistant Professor (AWP)

Brandeis University, Ziskind Poet in Residence (AWP)

Bucknell University, Emerging Writer Fellowship (AWP)

Manhattan College (JIL) -- "Interviewing local candidates only"

Oklahoma State University (Higher Ed) -- "One year appointment or two one-semester appointments, rank open"


Nonfiction


Open Genre

USC -- multiple genres (AWP)

Rowan University (Higher Ed): "fiction, creative nonfiction, children's stories, or introductory creative writing."

Holy Cross (full time) -- visiting faculty in fiction and creative nonfiction (New England HERC)

Converse College(low-residency MFA Program): "While we have no current faculty openings, over the next two years we anticipate the possibility of hiring additional faculty to join the award-winning writers currently teaching in the Converse low-residency program" (AWP)


Cornell University -- Artist-in-Residence: "seeking working professionals from all creative fields" (AWP)

Goddard College (Part Time, Temporary): "emphasis on fiction, creative non-fiction/memoir, or playwriting" (Higher Ed) (note that the hire must be availabe on Goddard's campus during all of this year's AWP conference...)

Illinois College -- Claridge Writer-in-Residence for the spring semester of 2011 (AWP)

Lincoln Memorial University -- Writer-in-Residence (Higher Ed)

Mesa State College -- Lecturer in Creative Writing, "One year, renewable contract" (Chronicle)

National University of Singapore, Assistant Professor / Visiting Fellow in Creative Writing (JIL)

Princeton University -- (Part-time) Lecturer(s): "seeking distinguished writers for openings in fiction, poetry, and translation" (Higher Ed Jobs)


St. Lawrence University, Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing for 2010-2011 -- "Fiction or creative non-fiction writers with significant publications and teaching experience are invited to apply" "2 books + significant pubs req'd" (Higher Ed Jobs) A: Several people have confirmed that they intend to re-hire the person who has the job this year.


University of Oregon: "wishes to maintain a pool of potential part-time, limited duration, not-to-exceed-one-year, instructor positions for undergraduate and/or graduate courses in fiction & poetry" (AWP)

Post-MLA Additional Documents Requests and/or Interview Requests (for jobs with later deadlines) Edit

Poetry


Saginaw Valley State U - phone interview request via email (1/6) (ditto for me 1/6)) (1/6 phone interview)

Missouri State -- x 1 (1/13) They asked permission to contact references, requested writing sample, and will schedule phone interviews soon. 1 (1/20) Phone interview scheduled.

U of Tampa x 5 (1/26) -- phone interview request (via phone) Told "a 20-minute interview"

Q: Anyone heard back for a second interview? Told the timeline was to make call-backs this week....no call and wondering....

A: Yes. They scheduled the second-round of phone interviews last week.


Q: Thanks for posting. Disappointing news but nice to know.


Kent State U x 2 (2/8, phone call) -- Phone interview; call for campus visit 2.24



Fiction
Allegheny College. Dossier (phone call 3/12) (phone call 3/15); AWP interview scheduled by phone (3/18)



Fresno: got a nice ack of ap today via email (1/3). They "received many more applications than we expected." Timeframe: intial screening by mid-jan, telephone interviews for 3rd week in Jan and campus interviews early/mid Feb. Fresno: Phone Interview (Email, 1/16) X3


University of Northern Colorado (phone 1/12). phone interview request x4

University of Michigan-Flint. Request for more documents (email, 1/21) x2; short phone chat, 2/14 x2

Stephen F. Austin State University, phone interview request (by email, 02/02)x2 (by phone, 02/02)

Warren Wilson request for more information: 2 essays, three current letters of recommendation, evidence of teaching excellence, and graduate transcripts (email 2.12)

Q: What do you mean "essays"? Why are they requesting essays for a fiction position?

A: There are two discussion questions they'd like potential candidates to answer, along with sending the supplemental application materials.

Q. Has anyone heard from Warren Wilson since submitting the essays and supplemental materials?

A: Nope, though I'd like to! (3.25)

Q. Time has almost run out, yet no one seems to have heard from Warren Wilson since submitting supplemental materials. Has anyone out there heard anything that hasn't been reported on the wiki?


Ball State, sample, teaching philosophy, letters (email, 3/8) X4 Q: Does anyone know what happened here? Are they interviewing at AWP? A: Yes, I have an interview at AWP on Friday April 9 (scheduled 3.31.10)

campus interview 4.17.10


In the initial "campus requests" section above, there is a statement beside the Fresno posting that Quinnipiac has invited 4 finalists to campus. I'm assuming this information should have gone here and am reposting it. But please correct me if I'm misreading or have this wrong. (I'm assumiing it was for the Feb. 28 deadline CW position).

A: Don't know how many asked to campus. Only know of one, a fiction writer.

A: Four finalists have been asked to campus. Last two interviewing next week.


Non-Fiction

USC (Jan. 24-26 visit). Five candidates invited to campus. Last candidate scheduled for 2/25. You can pretty much figure out who they are by going here: http://college.usc.edu/engl/news/

U of Alaska-Fairbanks (1/14, email)


Open Genre

U of Alabama-Birmingham (1/13, documents request by email; 2/1, phone interview request by email; 2/15, campus visit request by email)

Goddard College - request for phone interview (early March).

Q: Has anyone heard from Goddard since the phone interview?


Bennington College - More materials requested (3/17, email)

Has Anybody Heard From...? Edit

Creighton? Email that said their AWP trip had been cancelled by the Dean and they would schedule phone interviews the week of 4/5.

Q: Any further developments here???

A: "still in the process of selecting finalists" email 4/15 Q: So... still nothing from Creighton? I haven't heard anything since that 4/15 email.


Ringling (Sarasota, FL) ? I sent in my app 12/1, quickly received an e-ack, then nothing....


Cleveland? According the the wiki, they made campus visit calls on 1/14. Has an offer been made? An offer has been made but has not yet been accepted as of 3/1.

High Point? Campus visits are over, but has an offer been made?

A: I heard from someone in the department that an offer has been made, but I'm not sure if it has been accepted.


West Chester University? I had an MLA interview, was told they'd contact people in late January, and have heard nothing since. Anyone receive word?

A: They've scheduled their campus visits.


UNLV? I'm assuming they've made their campus visit calls by now but am fantasizing that they haven't. Does anyone know?

A: Three were brought to campus. An offer was made on 2/10.

Q: Okay, thanks. Dammit!


RISD? Seems like one of the three interviewees on the site might have heard. No?


Hodder Fellowship (Princeton)? In the letter I got they said they'd let people know in late December, but so far, radio silence. Anyone?

ZZ Packer won.


Northern Kentucky? I've been wondering because I got a request for more materials in late November, and since then nada. Have not been able to find out if they interviewed at MLA or if they will interview at AWP. No mentions anywhere on this wiki other than the listing & someone saying they heard (not first hand) that there were phone interviews.


U Michigan - Flint (Campus interviews)?


Houston (for their second position)? One campus visit scheduled; at least two to three others TBA.

C: Above poster, do you know if they already did all their video interviews then for the position? They were in really close touch with me through December (multiple emails), said they'd be back in touch in January for a video interview, and since then I've heard zip.

C: There are still a few video interviews to do, but I believe that they've contacted those candidates. The program has been incredibly slow with these searches.


Dubuque (open genre)? They phone-interviewed in mid-December.


St. Louis Univeristy: Down to two finalists; one author won the Kafka award, the other won the Iowa Short Fiction Award.


'Fontbonne (NF)? 'Phone interviews were before Xmas -- I'm assuming they have contacted people for campus interviews by now? I think they said second week of January....


University of Connecticut (Poetry)? They are just now (2/27/2010) setting up phone interviews.

Q: Can anybody confirm phone interview requests for UConn? Haven't seen them posted anywhere else on the Wiki.

A: I posted originally, and my phone interview was today. They said they planned to finish phone interviewing this Thursday and to bring a couple of candidate to campus in 2 or so weeks.


University of Alaska-Fairbanks (Nonfiction)

I sent in all my materials on time and I haven't heard a peep. Anyone? I just got a rejection email yesterday 1/7.

Same for me. Haven't heard anything at all.


North Central (Fiction)

MLA interviews were scheduled on 12/18 as noted below.


Bennington? (cw / lit)

Deadline is not until Jan 18. [Where is this deadline posted?] Here: [1] A: Yes, more materials requested (3/17)

Cornell? (Poetry)


Davidson? (Visiting Poet)

Does Davidson have a position? I've never heard of this. It was on the AWP.

A: Was listed early--an upper-mid-to-senior level position--50k for 1 semester, several books--


Stanford? (Fiction)

C: As to Stanford, two Jones Lecturers (post-Stegner Fellows) I know knew nothing about the job before it was posted, which at least indicates there's no inside candidate C: Finalists selected (grapevine) 2/9 - (Including an insider! Argh!) C: Since these lectureships go only to former Stegner fellows, what does it even mean to talk about "inside candidates" when speculating about them? Since the creative writing faculty makes the decisions (and not the the full eng dept, as I understand it), everybody applying has the insider track in that their former teachers are making the decision. What am I missing? A: The listed position is for a professorship, not the Jones Lectureship. Theoretically, this would be open to everyone, though, certainly, lecturers that are already doing a great job there would be the likeliest candidates.


Kent State? (Poetry)

C: Got a letter saying online materials were received and that they will contact folks they are interested in in January.

C: Got a voicemail tonight (2.8.10) that said to call them tomorrow. Scheduled a phone interview on 2.9.10. C: Three finalists have been invited to campus.


University of Southern California? (Creative Nonfiction)

Supposedly someone got a materials request (see above), though no word when exactly.


Columbia (MFA /undergrad fiction/undergrad nonfiction)

C: Best guess is Columbia jobs will go to rock star candidates, but you never know.


Arizona State? (Fiction) (Any rumors on this one?)


University of Mississippi? (Fiction)

Seriously. Does anyone have even a shred of intel about this U of Miss job? Any reason to think it's a bogus search, or budget-challenged? Maybe they have impossibly high expectations and tossed all applicants on the "not my cup of tea" pile?

MLA Grapevine: spousal hire, done deal.  :(

So the search was a sham?

Yes, the search was a sham. Tom Franklin (3 books, wife is a professor in the dept.) has been a writer-in-residence there for several years. Now they're moving him to tenure-track, and in order to do that, they had to advertise the post, even though they had no intent of actually looking for anyone else.

Fine, but they should have to pay all the applicants' postage back to them.

Thank you so much for clarifying what happened. When I researched the job months ago, I wondered why Tom Franklin didn't already have the tt position. Makes perfect sense now.

I'm cool with this outcome, or as cool as I ever am after being suckered. Franklin is a top-notch writer and his wife (Beth Ann Fennelly) is a hot-shot poet. They're both Southerners, barely 40. Stands to reason Ole Miss would want to lock them down for the duration. And I have to say it's very decent of the SC not to torture any sham candidates with pointless interviews and wasted campus visits- though, I suppose they still may do so, for equal op HR purposes. Now, if they'd like to talk about filling that open writer-in-residence slot, I'm all ears...

  • I hate to have to step in and correct you, but Beth Ann Fennelly is NOT a Southerner by any means.
  • Anyone with a 15 page poem about kudzu probably qualifies as a southerner, Kudzu Chronicles. And Franklin certainly is worthy of the job. But the systemic sham that took place there - and elsewhere - needs to be addressed.
  • Trite point, but writing about a region does not make you a native of that part of the country. A Southerner is from the south. Beth Ann is from Illinois -- Chicago, I believe. I concur that Tom Franklin is an amazing writer. He is the real deal. AND I completely agree that the sham search is really insulting, especially when, as the writer observes below, Ole Miss asked for so many supporting documents. God. What jerks.

It seems to me that if you're running a sham search, the decent way to run it would be to ask for nothing more than a letter and CV.  Ole Miss asked for much more -- letters of recommendation (Interfolio doesn't mail them out for free), writing samples (the post office charges extra for big, heavy envelopes), and even student evaluations!  I even emailed the search chair with a couple of questions at one point, and he was very encouraging.  How can people be so mendacious?  I imagine a department that can just lie to you like that wouldn't be a very good place to work; if that sounds like sour grapes, then so be it.

Agreed. U of Miss did ask for a hefty dossier up front, including letters of rec and sample work. Do you suppose they even looked at any of it? Say they got 300 apps, maybe 400. That's e lot of big fat envelopes, enough to fill a small U-Haul. Any of the folks posting here with SC experience ever been involved in one of these sham searches? I'm deeply curious about what goes on with these. Depending on who the spousal candidate is, and how good he/she is, I suppose the admin might use the sham search as a negotiating tool against them, draconian as that sounds.

I second the frustrations here, but...a couple things to consider: (1) If a school makes the sham search appear to be a sham, it opens itself up to legal trouble. That said, it would seem that a CV and the names of references, would be plenty to ask for. Yet, (2) it's important to remember that the inside candidate does not always get the job. Twice in my 10 years of teaching I have seen an "outsider" get the job over the inside candidate.

The big complaint is that the interviews are held at MLA--that is total nonsense. We no longer live in a world in which people must converge on a single city in order to communicate with each other. Sure, conferences are good. However, without the MLA job interview, I wonder if attendance at MLA would plummet. The schools that do it right are those who carefully sift through the applications, maybe make calls or do video interviews, and cut to the chase by inviting to campus (and paying for) the 3 or 4 people who seem the best match. Cut out MLA. It's the real sham here.

I don't think it's an either/or here.  Yes, MLA is -- well, I wouldn't call it a sham, but it's murder on poor grad students and writers who have to shell out a couple thousand dollars for quite possibly no more than one or two interviews.  It's ridiculously inconsiderate, possibly inhumane, and seriously inefficient.  SCs don't care because they get to travel for free and schmooze with old friends now at distant schools; it's the schools and the candidates who pay the price.  Really wouldn't interviewing everyone on the phone work just as well?  Especially in creative writing, where you've already read their work?  At the same time, sham searches are equally inconsiderate, inhumane, and inefficient; and if you must run one, why not have the decency to ask for the bare minimun?  Three years ago I was actually invited to a sham campus interview, which ate up two days of my life and did nothing for my self-esteem, as no one seemed very interested in anything I had to say, and my "teaching demonstration" was a mock lecture before bored, distracted department members.  (I guess they didn't want to waste their students' time.)  The job went to the wife of a longtime department member.  The school -- and I'm tempted to out them here -- should be deeply ashamed.  Interestingly, they're running the exact same search this year!  Their namesake, an exceedingly humane 19th-century writer, must be turning over in his grave.

C: It's also exceedingly wasteful, environmentally-speaking---the air travel, the gas, etcetera.

C: There should be some kind of code in the job posting to indicate that it is a sham search; an acrostic—“Send Hurriedly All Materials.” But this seems like too much to ask. People in positions of power, it seems, tend to take advantage of the powerless, not necessarily because those in power are evil, but because it’s easy. Easier than questioning the process and changing it in order to treat people fairly, at least. Next job search season we should have a new category on this wiki—"Suspected Sham Searches."


George Washington U./Jenny McKean Moore (Creative Nonfiction)


A: I have not. And I'd like to know what that means. (Obviously, no MLA. Straight to campus interviews? AWP? It's awfully late this year for interviews, and will probably come AFTER other job offers...)

C. Some of these schools may call for MLA interviews as late as Tuesday next week. The above jobs had to be SWAMPED with applications and writing samples. Some may need to delay their search because of the volume of applicants. None of them can afford to wait for AWP. Stanford most certainly has a superstar lined up for the TT position. USC may also have a superstar. Mississippi and Arizona are the real unknowns. Thoughts, anyone?

I can help with this one--I know they didn't even contact candidates prior to March in past years, and that was the first and only contact prior to an on-campus interview. It wasn't a phone interview either so much as a "Are you still interested?" query.

Me: Word is they will be making calls for interviews this week (Jan 11) or next. 


Anyone heard anything from the University of Tampa (Poetry)? 


See the above re. phone interviews, which calls for query:


Note "20-minute" phone interview on Tampa process: Is that uncommon? (Not sure what can be transmitted in such a brief time.)

A: Not sure how common it is, but I have had two such interviews. Everyone asked one question and they were focused on very specific aspects of either teaching pedagogy or approach to my work. There was very little about the campus, job, etc.

A: Unfortunately, yes. Even MLA interviews can be as short as 20 minutes. A: I had an MLA interview that lasted 20 minutes--and I spent five of them waiting in the hallway because the interviewers were running late.

A: I had a 20 minute phone interview with Tampa (in Fiction) a couple of years ago. I noted the time when it was finished and thought that meant it did not go well -- but then received a campus invitation. So that is just their style. I suggest, of course, to be to the point.


City College/CUNY? I called last week and the admin person said the committee was to meet the week of February 8th:


Gettysburg Emerging Writer Lectureship?


Rejection letter 3/9 - 280 applicants


Bucknell Philip Roth 2010-11 Residence in Creative Writing?

Rejection letter received 3/31 - 'many excellent applications'


Columbia Chicago?

A: Rejection letter 5/18

A: Me too--rejection letter 5/19


Saint Mary's?


MLA Postmortems Edit

Reed College: 1 interviewer; 3 questions (The first was "What do you see as the mission of a liberal arts college, and how does writing fit into it?" Number two or three was something about how I would critique one of my own pieces if I hadn't written it. I forget the third -- anyone?); very brief -- in and out in 25 minutes (the interviews were scheduled precisely 35 minutes apart); the interviewer was kind of stiff, didn't react much; at one point she handed me a chart with the college's salaries listed and said the range would be "somewhere in this area"; didn't have answers to a couple of questions about Reed; really nice room (I guess you travel in style if you're TT there); 15 MLA interviews for a one-year leave replacement (3-2) seems like a lot.

Third question was, how do you differentiate between beginning, intermediate, and advanced workshops.

Interesting comments about Reed can be found here: http://academicjobs.wikia.com/wiki/Universities_to_fear

Neither question will develop a conversation on your teaching experience. This concerns me. What were they really looking for at MLA? Were they screening out psychopaths? Or did they already have their top candidate selected, and they were using MLA to make sure that the candidate was sane and coherent?

FU: I'm so glad someone else had the same experience (the third question had something to do with the demands on your time?). It took place in a room with a bed (against MLA guidelines). My bottom was not even in the chair before I was asked the first question, no small talk about the weather, the conference, etc. that is used to put you at ease. I found the critique question ridiculous, as she wanted to know about a published story. Obviously, I had perfected it to the best of my ability before it went to press. If I were able to critique it further, I'd have fixed it before sending it!

I also interviewed with Reed, but I was genuinely impressed by the odd 3 question format. It was a nice divergence/challenge compared to the standard scripted questions from other interviews. It kept me on my toes. I hope I answered well. Overall, the conversation was genuine and friendly. I'm not saying this because I expect a campus interview. On the contrary, I get the impression that I probably won't be called in.

I interviewed with Reed as well. The interviewer was blase and detached from the whole experience--clearly uninterested in my application from the moment she opened the door. Why they bothered with me I will never know. I do not expect to be called to campus, and if they do call me, I will decline.

I felt the same way: why did they call me in? If only because, while my record is otherwise strong, I don't have a Big New York City novel or collection. Did others feel surprised at being called back by Reed?

Really? If you already plan to decline, why not withdraw your application?

I'm a different person than the decliner above, but also thinking of declining an invite if one is extended. I won't withdraw, as that seems like unnecessary bridge burning. However, I won't waste their money and time if selected (which, like the poster above, I seriously doubt will happen.)

Decliner Here: Ditto above! Well put. Not burning bridges...but in the interest of venting, explaining why creative writing is vital in a liberal arts education is a decades old argument, and I think undergrad students since the 70s have made it pretty clear they want to learn from writers. If anyone glanced at the Reed website and read their position on creative writing in the English department, I think you'll have your answer for how the Department views writers...nuff said.

Here, here, Decliner. If they offer me the campus visit, I am also planning on passing.

To Decliners: Remember that one person does not represent an entire department. One purpose of a campus visit (if you're invited) is to meet the other faculty and staff, the students, and the larger community, who might be wonderful. As for the asked-a-hundred-times-before questions: just every MLA interview question falls into that category. Besides, the questions listed here were softballs. Hope you hit it out of the park.

Yes, I agree. Plus, it's good practice, if you care about such things.

To Decliners: Please make it easier for me and DON'T come. :) {Have they offered you a campus visit???}

I agree: Please decline so I can get a better chance at living in an amazing city and teaching super smart kids on a beautiful campus.

Wow, I also interviewed with Reed and just discovered all this...clearly this interviewer provoked some serious reaction! I felt pretty lousy after my interview, and feel for everyone above. Good luck to us all!

This brings up interesting issues. How much does one person represent a department. If he/she is going to be your colleague, can you tell from your interaction with her how the year would go? Without bringing up specifics, she made it clear during the interview that I would be serving them, not the mutual give and take that I want from a  visiting position. It takes a lot to pick up and move, only to have to do it again next year, and if the school is not friendly or supportive, then the experience/recommendations from that position won't help you find a permanent one, yes? no?

A Decliner again: I would love to go to campus, should I be asked, but I don't feel it's fair to go just for practice if I'm unlikely to take the job. Of course, I could always change my mind once I got a feel for the situation.

Yeah, I understand the concerns of all the would-be decliners above, but I felt quite comfortable with the interviewer and actually sort of enjoyed the conversation.  She didn't seem so much blase'/detached as relaxed/mellow, and that helped put me at ease immediately.  I liked the succinct and unconventional questions.  My feeling is that the purpose of the critique-your-own work question was more to get a sense of your workshop style, demeanor and tone, rather than to test your awareness of the work's flaws.  Has anyone gotten calls yet for campus visits?  Yes, decliners!  Decline!  I'd love to have this job, even if just for a year.

Wow, it sounds like you interviewed with a totally different person. Lucky you! Maybe you're her REAL candidate and the rest of us are just suckers...

For those who didn't feel comfortable during the interview, are you easterners or from the west coast? I found her relaxed.

I didn't apply for the Reed job (a one-year leave-replacement VAP does not appeal to me), but jeez, that "easterner" question is insulting.  So "easterners" are so uptight, high-strung, aggressive, etc. that we necessarily regard a "relaxed" interviewer as aloof, uninterested, apathetic, unengaged, etc.?  Temperament knows no coast.  If you're putting off a big chunk of the people you're interviewing (presumably intelligent and accomplished people all), then you're doing something wrong, no matter where they (or you) are from.  And if several of them say afterward that they would not accept a campus interview invitation -- in this market, no less -- then you're REALLY doing something wrong.  It seems to me that the interviewer (and maybe Reed) didn't care all that much about the search, and whom they hire in the end.  In the end, they might just bring in adjuncts if they can get away with it.  This squares with what I've often heard about Reed:  that they have an exceedingly high opinion of themselves, much higher than they deserve.  (I think 15 interviews for a one-year leave replacement says it all, frankly.)  As for the person who made the previous comment, if you really do believe that "easterners" are that much different from west coasters, you'd better stay out there; we'll eat you alive here.

putting Tupac into CD player :: Sorry for insulting you.
As a native East Coaster eager to maybe get a job on the West Coast, I find the above pretty hilarious. We'll eat you alive here. Oh, you're killing me.
I believe the poster was engaging in something known as "irony."  They have that on the East Coast.

To the person who posted above:  "Without bringing up specifics, she made it clear during the interview that I would be serving them, not the mutual give and take that I want from a  visiting position."  Would you mind bringing up specifics?  It would be useful to me (and perhaps others here) to compare notes and see if, perhaps, there was something I missed.  To be frank, I expect any place looking to hire a one-year VAP to view the situation that way (that is, NOT as a give-and-take); you're expected to come in and do everything the TT prof you're replacing does (minus the committee work, if only because they don't want you weighing in there), and perhaps a little more (help organize a series of readings, say), for at least $10K less.  In return, you get a paycheck, exactly one year of experience, and, if you're lucky and if someone there has actually taken the time to get to know you a bit, maybe a letter of recommendation.


It's specific-less me. Perhaps I have the wrong idea about a visiting position. I feel that while I'm rendering a service, the school should be doing its utmost to welcome me into the department, give me some experience and encouragement, and help me get a feeling for a tenure track job. She made it sound like I would be substitute teaching, and, frankly, I hope my skills and experience make me a little more valuable than that. Yes, they'd be doing me a favor hiring me, but I'm not in this field for the paycheck, and I have a lot more to offer than just a pulse and a syllabus. I'm not being sarcastic here. Do I have the wrong idea about VAPs?

New comment: I've been a visitor at a couple of places, and dept.'s have always bent over backwards to make me feel welcome and to buffer the nuisance of moving and having no job security. How a colleague treats a visitor is prob. not that different from how he or she treats a tenure track colleague. Being a visitor is awkward at times and thoughtful colleagues keep this in mind. I would not work for a dept. that is less than hospitable b/c moving for one year is a royal pain in the you know what. It is crucial that the dept. like you enough to help you find your next position as well!

"REED UPDATE": (1/11) Email saying the hiring committee is delayed, and invites to campus won't be until after Jan. 18

Rhodes:  Scheduled interviews every 30 minutes and didn't take any notes. I got an impatient vibe from them, like they already had their candidate in mind. Anyone else I heard through grape vine, they have someone in mind. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything. Plans change.

I'd like to hear from some of the creative nonfiction interviewees.  Anyone interview with U. of San Francisco?  Dartmouth?  U. of Alabama-Tuscaloosa?  Ohio U.?  Murray State U.?  And what happened to the comments someone posted here about Rhodes?  (Yes, I know that's a fiction job...)

I interviewed with some of these schools, but doesn't seem like a terrible idea to use this Wiki to post anything (complaints or praise) about the people on search committees? Especially when campus visits haven't been extended yet? Most people do the best they can, and I can't figure out how anonymous screeds can benefit either side of this ongoing process. Maybe it can benefit future participants in the job hunt, but that's what the Universities to Fear page is for, right?

C: I agree--this isn't the place for it. However, if people feel the need to complain, it might be a good idea to register as a Wiki user if only because it's fairly easy to figure out who someone is based on an IP address, especially when a school only interviews10-15 people at MLA or via phone.

Writing as the person who created this section, I can tell you that I think it's working just fine.  My purpose was to serve the same function as the rest of the wiki:  to share information.  Everyone agrees on the value of learning that School X, which has yet to contact you, has already invited others to submit writing samples, interview at MLA, etc.  Why should it not be just as valuable to hear how others' interviews with School X went relative to yours?  If someone reports that their interview was a love-in, and yours felt more like a root canal, isn't that valuable information for you to have?  We all know that schools rank their candidates before the interviews, and that certain SC members (perhaps even the SC as a whole) are more favorably-inclined at the outset to some than to others; at the same time, we also know that some search committees will be amiable or dour with everyone.  This seems to be the case, more or less, with Reed, and speaking as someone who interviewed there, I am very glad to have learned as much here.  The only way this wiki DOESN'T work is if people, like the poster above, choose not to share.  So to you, Mr./Ms. "Terrible Idea," I say:  Don't be a wuss!  If you're going to lurk here, contribute.  Register, create a clever anonymous ID, and share your experiences, please.  We're all part of the same community here.  We want to hear from you.

C: Fair enough. My interviews with USF and Alabama went really well. I had pleasant conversations and was impressed by the folks on the committees. Very curious people with smart questions. (A wuss's answer, perhaps, but you asked for it. And for the record, a thorough reading of the Reed business above shows that an amiability or dourness with everyone was decidedly not the case.)

Interview Requests (phone and/or MLA)Edit

Please include school, date, interview location, and method of contact. [NOTE: Please list in chronological rather than alphabetical order.]

Poetry

George Mason-- 1 (11/5) campus visit scheduled for November

TCU--(Has informed a group of 8 finalists, from which they will choose 2-3 to bring to campus, but they will not be interviewing at MLA)

St. Lawrence University (one year VAP) -- 1 (11/30, email) MLA interview; 1 (12/1, email) Phone interview; 1 (12/1, email) MLA Interview

University of Wisconsin, Green Bay -- 4 (12/7, phone call) Phone interview

Pennsylvania State York -- 1 (12/7, email) MLA interview

UNCG -- 2 (12/10, phone call) MLA interview;

Nebraska Wesleyan University-- 5 (12/11, phone call) Phone interview

University of Massachusetts, Lowell  -- 4 (12/13, phone call) MLA interview

College of Charleston -- 4 (12/14, voice mail and email) MLA interview 1(12/18, email)

Mesa State College --2 (12/15, phone call) Phone interview

West Chester University -- 2 (12/16, phone call) MLA interview

University of Nevada, Reno -- 3 (12/17, phone call) MLA interview, 2 (12/18, phone call) MLA interview

U. of Oregon -- 1 (12/17, email), 1 (12/18, email) phone interviews in early January


Q.  Did anyone get an MLA interview for Brooklyn College?  Or any sort of interview whatsoever for Brooklyn College?

A: just got a rejection letter in the mail from Brooklyn on 1.6.10.


Fiction

Western Michigan

Cleveland State University- (2)  (12/3, phone call) schedule MLA interview

Rhodes College (2) (12/4, phone call) schedule MLA interview

Columbia (Lectureship) (12/4, phone call) schedule interview (See discussion below.)

Kansas State (2) (12/4, phone call) scheduled MLA interview

Ithaca College (1) - (12/8, email) schedule telephone interview

St. Louis university (2) 12/9 phone call schedule MLA interview

UNLV - (2) 12/9 email, follow up phone call MLA interview (pre-scheduled & non-negotiable except in case of "sudden illness or accident")

Denison U (3) (12/9, phone call) MLA interview (they plan to interview 12)

Univ of San Diego (6) (12/9, phone call) MLA interview (Do any of the interviewees know how many people they plan to interview at MLA?)

Murray State (1) (12/9, phone call) MLA interview

Reed College (6) (12/10, email) MLA interview (NOTE: position is fiction/nonfiction.) (Additional discussion moved below.)

Willamette U (1) (12/10, phone call) phone interview

Shippensburg University (5) (12/14 phone call) MLA interview need to send official transcripts

Butler (VAP) (3) (12/14 email) MLA interview

Hollins (12/15) campus interview

University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa (12/16, phone) MLA



Non-Fiction

Ohio U (11/23, phone & email) MLA interview

Fontbonne U (11/30, email) phone interview (2), held 12/8

New College of Florida (12/4 email) phone interview, held 12/7 (Note: position is "prose")

Murray State (12/9 phone call) MLA interview (2)

U of Alabama - Tuscaloosa (12/15 phone call) MLA interview

Dartmouth (12/15 email) MLA interview (2), (12/17 email) MLA interview (1)

U of San Francisco (12/15 or 16 phone call) MLA interview (4)

Playwriting/Screenwriting

Ursinus College (12/8 phone call) MLA interview (2)

RISD (12/10 phone call) MLA interview (3)

Open Genre

University of Dayton -- Herbert W. Martin Fellowship in Creative Writing and Diversity-- (12/2, by email); phone interview Dec 17 or 18 (2)

Shepherd University (12/3, phone call) MLA interview (3)

Lebanon Valley College (12/2, phone call) MLA interview

High Point- (12/3, 12/4, email) Phone or Skype interview Dec. 10 &11

Eastern Michigan University - 2 (12/7, interview request by email)

Point Loma Nazarene University - (12/9 email)

DePaul (12/16, phone) MLA (3)

Eastern Illinois University (12/17, phone) MLA (3)

North Central College -- 3 (12/18, email) MLA

Confession Time: How Many? Edit

N.B.:  To those of you who are reporting multiple genres, would you please specify in which genre(s) you have your interviews?  And please give the breakdown, i.e. "Poetry/CNF, 4 MLA interviews (3 poetry, 1 cnf)"

FICTION:

Whatever Wanda (Fiction, 1 book, MFA): 2 apps, 2 dossier requests, 2 interviews, 1 rejection, 1 campus visit

Careful Cat (Fiction: 1 book forthcoming, MA, PhD-ABD): 5 apps; 1 dossier request; 1 rejection; 1 MLA interview.

Boris the Blade (Fiction/Noir) three books, one forthcoming, one under contract, MFA, 10 apps, 1 req for docs, 0 interviews, 3 presumed rejections, 6 unknown/ pending.

Satisfied Sue (Fiction: 2 books under contract, MFA, PhD): 9 applications, 2 req. for dossiers/samples, 2 MLA interviews (so far, some still pending)

Anxious Allison (fiction writer 2 books): 24 applications; 6 requests for "more info"; 6 MLA interviews; 1 rejection; 8 places that have scheduled interviews with people other than yours truly; 9 places still pending   {C: Chin up, Ally!  No need to be feeling anxious with 6 interviews...} A: Thanks, anonymous supporter! 

Happy Hannah (Fiction, one book) MFA, 7 job apps, 4 requests for dossiers, 3 MLA interviews

Fearsome Flo (Fiction, 2 books) MFA, 19 apps, 8 dossier requests, 6 MLA interviews

What happened to the happy Fiction ABD with no book and 6 MLA interviews? A: 3 Comp/Rhet + 3 Lit (Phone interviews were fiction post-docs. I have since posted the MLA interviews on appropriate wikis.) Thanks for the clarification!

FICTION/NONFICTION:

Middlin Marge: (Fiction/non, PhD, no books): 24 applications, 2 dossier requests in fiction, 1 MLA interview, 1 phone interview possible still.

Seafarin' Sammy (Fiction/non, PhD-ABD, 1 book accepted for publication): 20 applications, 4 dossier requests, 1 phone interview, 2 MLA interviews.

Popular Pete (Fiction/Nonfiction: 1 book, MFA) circa 20 applications; 8 requests for more info, 0 phone interviews (thank God), 1 in-person interview, 5 MLA interviews.

Some Other Guy (Fiction/Nonfiction) : 1 book under contract, PhD): 45 applications, 9 dossier requests, 1 phone interview (nonfiction), 6 MLA interviews (3 fiction, 2 nonfiction, 1 open genre). (C: Hey, play the game!) (He has 7 interviews; he doesn't have to play.)

PurpleProse (NF/2 books fiction/MFA & PhD): 16 apps, 1 dossier request, zip phone interview, zip MLA interview, waiting on Yaweh

Half-Hearted Hannah (NF / 2 books / MFA) 11 apps, 2 doss requests, 3 phone interviews, 1 reject, 6 song-of-silence

POETRY:

Upset Ursula (Poet: 2 books, MFA, PhD-ABD): 23 apps, 0 requests for more info, 1 phone interview, 1 MLA interview

Never-again Nelly (poet, one book) MFA and PhD, 12 applications. 0 requests and 0 interviews

Woebegone Wanda (Poet: 1 book):  24 applications, 5 requests for more info, 1 phone interview, 0 MLA interviews.

So-So Sam (Poet: 2 books) 24 applications, 2 MLA interviews, 1 phone interview, 1 "finalist" status.

Sad Stewart (Poet: 2 books - poetry & nonfiction, MFA, PhD): 23 applications, 5 requests for "more info," 0 phone interviews, 1 MLA interview.

Eager Eddie (Poet: 2 books) Ph.D. 24 apps. 2 phone interviews. 0 MLA interviews.

Hopeful Hilda (poet, 1 book) PhD (candidate) and MFA, 17 apps. 1 dossier request, 0 phone interviews, 2 MLA interviews.

Zillch Zelda (Poet: 1 book, Ph.D) 8 aps. , 2 dossier requests, ZED interviews.

Panicked Pamela (Poet/1 book/mere MFA): 12 apps, 3 dossier requests, zilch interviews

Disgruntled Doug (Poet/3 books/PhD and MFA): 15 apps, nada anything at all.

Belchin' Billy Collins (2 poetry books) MFA, ABD, 13 apps, 4 dossier requests, 2 finalist, 1 MLA interview, 1 campus visit/interview, waiting on 2 schools.

Selective Sylvia (Poet/1 book, 2 under contract/MFA & PhD ABD): 9 apps, 2 dossier requests, 1 phone interview, 1 MLA interview (declined), waiting on 5 schools

  C: Care to say why you declined your interview offer? Whoopee Willy: (Poet: 1 book; 1 book forthcoming; MFA; PhD): 32 apps, 4 dossier requests, 3 phone interviews, 6 MLA interviews, waiting on 3 schools.

Frankly Phil (Poet: 1 book); MFA; 12 apps, 2 dossier requests; 3 phone interviews; 1 MLA interview, 1 campus visit.


POETRY/NONFICTION:

Career Change Cat (Poet, NF, Tech Writing, Editing, Publishing, New Media/8 books, 2 under contract/MFA): 15 apps, 1 request, nada.

Celeste the MFA (Poet/NF) 2books: 25 apps, five dossier requests, six MLA interviews, waiting (perhaps under delusion) to hear from eight other schools.

Tenure-Track Tony (Nonfiction/Poetry) MFA, 4 books, 7 apps, 1 request, 0 phone, 0 MLA

Dierdre Don't-Eva-Wanna-Do-This-Again (Poetry/NF, 2 books) MFA/PhD, 22 apps, 2 requests, 2 phone interviews, 5 MLA

Departments Requesting More Documents Edit

[NOTE: Please list in chronological rather than alphabetical order. This wiki has always used chronological order.]

PLEASE include method of contact.

Poetry Edit

U. Nevada-Reno - 2 (10/2), 2 (10/19), 2(10/20), 4 (10/28), 2 (11/6), 3 (11/12) writing sample & dossier (See below about interview.)

George Mason-- 1 (11/5) campus visit scheduled for November

Houston - 2 (11/5) writing sample & dossier.

TCU - 5 (11/6) writing sample & dossier.

UNCG -- 4 (11/16), 3 (12/1) writing sample & dossier. (email)

Fiction Edit

Western Michigan conducted a preliminary round of interviews in late Sept./ early Oct. w/ campus visits taking place this week (10/22) (Note that this position starts in January 2010) (first round of interviews were via skype; 2 finalists were invited to campus for interviews; expected to make offer in early november) Q: Is this search over? Has offer been extended? A: an offer has been extended. negotiations ensue. Q: Who did they offer the job? A: Thisbe Nissen - offered and accepted. Job will begin Fall 2010.

Rhodes C - 4 (10/28) writing sample;  1 (11/4) writing sample; 1 (11/5) writing sample

Kansas SU - 5 (11/4) writing sample & dossier;  3 (11/12) writing sample & dossier

U. Nevada-Las Vegas - (10/28) copy of book (email); 1 (11/6) copy of book (email)

Texas Tech University- (11/9) writing sample, letters of reference; 1 (11/10) writing sample, letters of reference

Columbia University (Lectureship) - (11/11) copy of book, syllabi, resub of cover ltr & CV (email)

Shippensburg University (11/15) writing sample and 3 letters (5)

Ithaca C - (11/16, email) writing sample & teaching statement (4)

Hollins - (11/19, email) writing sample due before the 30th of November.

Willamette - 3 (11/20, email) writing sample; dossier incl. syllabi/evaluations, etc.

Denison - 6 (11/23, email) writing sample, dossier; said they would contact for MLA interview by 12/14

University of San Diego -  6 (11/24, email) 3 letters of rec. (email does not specify how many recs)

Butler (Tarkington Visiting Position) (3) 12/1 email; writing sample, 3 letters of rec, evidence of excellent teaching

St. Louis U - (12/2, email) dossier, incl. transcripts (8)

University of Alabama at Birmingham - (12/11 email) (2) ; letters and writing sample

Non-Fiction Edit

Dartmouth - writing sample and dossier (11/5) (3) 

USF - 5 (11/20, email) writing samples

University of Alabama at Birmingham - (12/15 email); letters and writing sample

Playwriting/Screenwriting Edit

Ursinus -3 (11/19-email) sample, transcripts and list of courses able to teach


Open Genre Edit

DePaul - 11 (11/19) writing sample, transcript, & dossier. (email)  Committee is meeting on 12/15 and deciding on MLA interviewees then

< Moved High Point conversation down below to the "Questions/Comments about Specific Job Listings" section, because, so far, they've only responded with a "receipt of application" general e-mail. >

North Central College - 9 (11/25) writing sample & dossier. (email) "three letters of recommendation, along with a sample of creative work" (email)

University of Dayton -- Herbert W. Martin Fellowship in Creative Writing and Diversity--  (12/2, by email) writing sample/ letters/syllabus & scheduled an interview. (2)



Rejections Edit

POETRY

George Mason 1 (letter 11/20). 1 (11/23). 1 (letter 12/1) polite generic rejection saying finalists already chosen, over 150 applicants

DePaul University 2 (letter 11/25), 2 (email Dec. 3)

University of Nevada - Reno: 4 (email Dec 15)

Brooklyn College 2 (letter 1/6, 1/7).

UMass - Lowell 2 (email 1/7)

UNC-Greensboro - 1 (letter 1/9)

Texas Christian University 1 (email after query 1/13)

Saint Mary's College (Visiting Poetry Position, Fall 2010 or Spring 2011) - 1 (letter 1/30)

University of Oregon 1 (letter, 3/17) Got to love it when your books are returned in perfect (read: unopened) condition.

Houston: Very nice email from Jay K. 2/ 4 /2010

City College of New York 1 (letter, 3/18)


FICTION

Pomona (letter 11/9/09) - they've winnowed 60+ applicants down to a "handful for interviews"

Univ. San Diego (12/2) - "We received an impressive number of applications ..." (email). 6 (letter 12/4). (letter 12/5) (2) (lettter 12/7) (7) (email 12/30) (email after MLA interview 12/30)

Cleveland State U (letter 12/7)

DePaul U (e-mail 11/17)

Willamette (2) (email 12/14) (1) (email 2/1)

Saint Louis U (e-mail 12/21)

Kansas State (e-mail 1/6) x2

Amherst (7) (email 1/29)

Denison (2/26)

Shepherd U (kind of sweet email 3/9)

Ithaca (email 3/9)


NON-FICTION

Dartmouth (letter 11/16) (3)

Ohio U (email 11/30) (3)

University of Alaska-Fairbanks (email 1/7)



OPEN GENRE

DePaul U (email 11/17) (17) (email 11/19) (3) (email 12/03).- generic email. Didn't mention "careful consideration," and I admire their restraint.... They also mentioned there were an "unprecedented number of inquiries." They received over 400 applications. (e-mail 1/15 after dossier request, but no MLA interview "you are not among the finalists...unprecedented number of applicants" etc.)

Ursinus Visiting Job -- email 11/23

Lebanon Valley College - email 1/19

High Point U 1 (email 1/25) (1/28 x2) "over 800 applications for 3 jobs"

Gettysburg (letter 3/9) "280 applicants)

Job Listings 2010-11 Edit

Note:  It might be helpful if folks put the location of where they found the listings next to the actual school names above (e.g. AWP, Chronicle, HR site, etc.)


Tenure-Track Positions Edit

Fiction: 28 Total

  • Arizona State University
  • Cal State - Fresno (HigherEd)
  • Carroll College (MT) (Chronicle)
  • Cleveland State University
  • Columbia University (Chronicle Higher Ed) (Undergraduate Writing) (AWP Joblist)
  • Columbia University (MFA Writing) (AWP Joblist)
  • Denison University
  • Hollins University (primary field = fiction, but also asking for strong pubs. in poetry)
  • Ithaca College (Higher Ed)
  • Kansas State University
  • Rhodes College (Deadline November 6th)
  • Saint Louis University (Review of Applications begins Nov. 18; open until filled)Link
  • Seton Hill (HighereEd) "genre novelist"
  • Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Stanford University (tenured Associate Professor)
  • Stephen F. Austin State University (HigherEdJobs) w/ strong secondary in nonfiction/poetry
  • Texas Tech
  • University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa (TT, review of apps begins Oct 15)
  • University of Alabama-Birmingham
  • University of Michigan-Flint (Higher Ed) Ad says: "Expertise in fiction or narrative forms preferred."
  • Minnesota State U - Mankato (HigherEdJobs)
  • University of Mississippi (MLA)
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (TT, open rank)
  • University of Northern Colorado (HigherEd)
  • University of San Diego
  • Warren Wilson College
  • Western Michigan University (Jan 2010)
  • Willamette University

Poetry: 19 Total

  • Brooklyn College (HR listing)
  • College of Charleston
  • Cornell University (MLA)
  • George Mason University (HR listing)
  • Kent State University Link
  • Mesa State College
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Penn State York
  • Saginaw Valley State University
  • Texas Christian University
  • University of Houston (AWP as of the October listings)
  • University of Massachusetts, Lowell  (JIL)
  • University of Nevada Reno (AWP)
  • University of North Carolina--Greensboro (AWP)
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Tampa (Chronicle Higher Ed)
  • University of Wisconsin--Green Bay
  • West Chester University (Chronicle Higher Ed)

Non-Fiction

  • Bemidji State University (HR listing)
  • Dartmouth College
  • Emerson College (MLA)
  • Fontbonne U (MLA) "professional writing, journalism, and composition"
  • Ohio University (again)
  • SUNY Oswego (Chronicle Higher Ed)
  • University of Alabama-Birmingham (again)
  • University of Alaska--Fairbanks (again) (HR listing)
  • University of San Francisco
  • USC link to listing please? also: which USC?
  • Western Illinois University (Higher Ed) -- email notification of search cancellation (budget) 12.9
  • Wheaton College


Playwriting/Screenwriting

  • RISD

Open Genre

  • Bath Spa University, UK (Chronicle) "environmental non-fiction and/or novels with environmental content"
  • Bennington College (2 positions) (Higher Ed)
  • City College, CUNY (MLA JIL)
  • Creighton U (NE) (MLA JIL)
  • Depaul U (MLA JIL) (NOTE: 3rd year of search)
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Flagler College SEARCH CANCELLED (by letter 12/21)
  • High Point University (MLA)
  • Lebanon Valley College
  • Malone University (Chronicle)
  • North Central College
  • Point Loma Nazarene University (fiction or non-fiction)
  • Pomona College (endowed Disney chair) source: http://www.pomona.edu/adwr/academicdean/facultyjobs.shtml
  • Rhode Island School of Design (play-writing and script-writing, but also fiction and/or hybrid forms)
  • Shepherd University
  • University of Dubuque (creative writing, TT)
  • University of Melbourne, Australia (lecturer) (Chronicle)--PHD in Creative Writing and scholarly pubs required.


Visiting Positions Edit

Poetry

  • Columbia College (Chicago) (JIL)
  • Missouri State University (Higher Ed jobs)
  • St. Lawrence University (one year)
  • University of Connecticut (Prof. in Residence) (1-3 years, 1 semester per year)
  • Saint Mary's College (Poet in Residence) (Fall 2010, Spring 2011)

Fiction

  • Amherst College
  • Butler University
  • Columbia (Lectureship in Discipline)
  • Murray State University (Visiting Professor in Residence: Fiction and/or Non-Fiction)
  • New College of Florida (Writer in Residence, Spring 2010 semester)  
  • Quinnipiac University (MLA JIL) ("specialization in creative writing, fiction writing preferred")
  • Reed College
  • University of Central Oklahoma (Edmund)

Non-Fiction

  • George Washington University -- Jenny McKean Moore
  • Norwich University (Higher Ed Jobs): "Creative nonfiction or advanced writing." -- One-year Appointment as Visiting Instructor/Assistant Professor of English. Possible renewal for a second year.
  • Whitworth University, Washington (Chronicle) "Special consideration will be given to those applicants who also have expertise in a second genre of creative writing and composition."

Playwriting/Screenwriting

  • Ursinus College

Open Genre

  • Gettysburg C (Higheredjobs)
  • Louisiana State University: "The Southern Review Resident Scholar" -- Two-year Appointment

Q: Where was this posted? I don't see it on their HR site or on the MLA site? A: Here - ([2])

Q: Anyone heard anything from LSU? A: they've scheduled phone interviews for 3/10 and 3/11; AWP interviews now scheduled (3/18)


Fellowships Edit

Post-Book:

  • Princeton University -- Hodder Fellowship
  • Radcliffe

Post-MFA, pre-book pre-job market:

  • University of Louisville, Axton Fellowship in Creative Writing (Fiction) (deadline Dec. 1st)
  • Williams College, Gaius Charles Bolin Dissertation and Post-MFA Fellowship
  • Wisconsin
  • University of Dayton -- Herbert W. Martin Fellowship in Creative Writing and Diversity
  • P-Town (deadline Dec. 1st)
  • Gettysburg (Deadline Jan. 29th, nine-month appointment, signif. mag. pubs etc--)
  • Seven Hills School (in Cincinnati, deadline Feb. 15)
  • Colorado College -- Daehler Fellow in Creative Writing (deadline March 31)
    • Does anyone know where the instructions for this are posted?
    • I had to email the department.
    • Has anyone heard from them yet? Have they chosen a candidate or has this fellowship been canceled?

Questions for the 2010-11 Season: Edit

Questions/Comments about Specific Job Listings Edit

Please post your new questions at the top.

Q. I was asked during a phone interview, "What's your salary range?" I answered about 15% higher than my real salary range. What is the right way to answer this question? Should I have answered honestly? A: I find that a very strange question to ask during an interview since the search committee is made up of (potentially) fellow faculty and the financial details are supposed to be the business of the administration and come up after an offer is made during negotioations.


Q. What's the best way to negotiate a higher salary when you don't have a second job offer? A: It's next to impossible. You can, however, try to negotiate for guaranteed travel/conference money for a certain number of years, one-time summer funding or start-up money, extra moving funds, or course releases/research leaves. Universities, in general, are much more likely to give you one-time lump sums in negotiations because that's money they often have access to in the current year's budget. But trying to get a raise without another offer is quite difficult unless you can make a legitimate case--e.g. their last new hire is making 2,000$ more than they offered you and you have higher qualifications.


A: I just want to note that last year I didn't have a second job offer, so I only negotiated for a couple thousand extra, which I got. Then, this year, I found out that they didn't think they would get me and that I could have easily negotiated for more. I wish I had. I also wish I'd worried about base salary--I negotiated for more with moving costs, and that helped during my first year, but now of course I wish I'd asked for salary increases. I have no idea if this is typical because it was my first time on the job market. But the advice I'd been given wasn't quite right. Also, there's an interesting Wiki page about gender and salary demands I read after I made my negotiations. From what I understand now, everything is game, and people don't get offended if you try to negotiate.



Q: How long do you usually sit tight after a campus visit? I was the last candidate for the position, and was told it would be 'quick' but apparently not?!

A: How long ago was your visit? "Quick" might mean different things to different people, but I think it would be fairly unusual to hear that you're NOT getting an offer inside of two weeks. An offer, however, could happen sooner. A lot depends on the hiring process at the particular institution, but once a candidate is selected and approved by the administration, and once they've put together an offer and contacted somebody, things can go into limbo for some time. They probably wouldn't contact other candidates until they've got a signed contract. I've seen offers come in anywhere from a few days to over a month after a campus visit, and those who say it's going be "quick" aren't the only ones driving the process.

A: Don't give up hope. Often negotiations fall apart, and committees move on to their next candidate. With my current job, it took a full month before I got the call (as the 2nd in line for the job, after the first candidate took another job after weeks of trying to negotiate a spousal hire). I was just on a search committee that went to their 4th candidate, after the first 3 sets of negotiations didn't work out, and those negotitations were glacial--about 2 to 3 weeks for each candidate.

C: Thanks for your response. It's been a couple of weeks. It's hard to stay motivated and apply for more jobs! And to forget about my phone! :)

POETRY Edit

Q: Interesting topic below. What is the feeling on Salt Publishing out of the UK? They have the Crashaw Prize now. They seem hugely established and high profile in the UK and Australia, but big name poets publish with them here too. Does UK prestige carry over to applying for jobs here? Do people think Salt (and Carcanet and Bloodaxe, the big UK poetry presses, etc.) carry weight in applying to US jobs?


It might be better to focus on this question with regard to job searches in poetry: Does publishing with any of the above presses make you a poet of national standing in the U.S.? This, after all, is the main boon of the Yale Younger, Whitman, NPS, and other top prizes. The UK presses you identify could potentially fall under this logic, since all three have excellent visibility on the US poetry scene. As do other U.S. presses and contests unconnected to the three "biggies." It's becoming clear this job season that the TT opportunities are going to poets who have achieved national standing by virtue of their publications, awards, and professional visibility.


Q: The person below mentioned "the Vassar Miller Prize or the Walt McDonald Prize or the Crab Orchard Series." Are these "second tier," too? Less respectable? What are people's opinions on these? Obviously it should be the work that counts, but it often seems to be not the case. I, too, noticed that most people getting jobs had NPS or Whitman. I not asking if people get jobs after publishing with these presses... obviously they do. I'm asking if people sense even a slight bias against them. Is it kind of like where you went to school? Or is it actually that all university presses and higher profile independent presses are legitimate and other factors determine whether you get the good profship?


A: I would consider those three (Vassar mIller, McDonald, and Crab Orchard) as second tier as well, with the understanding that some second tier prizes are going to be better regarded than others depending on the search committee's aesthetic leanings and departmental needs (which changes year by year!). If they are looking for someone to teach experimental work, for example, the Ahsahta prize will bode better than a Crab Orchard prize. Also, within the second tier, you have to consider how much distribution and publicity (and hence buzz and recognition) each book on a press gets--the AWP, Copper Canyon, and Pitt prizes are particulalry good in getting the word out, IMHO.

A. I'm not sure the actual contest matters so much anymore as the existence of a second book, whether that's published by the same press that did the contest book, or another one. The trouble with some contests is that, after doing your first book, you're back on the contest circuit trying to get a second MS accepted. This is a difficult path.


Q: For anyone who has been monitoring this site for some time: any idea as to whether one needs to have one's first book of poems published by a major press (and what these first tier prizes/presses are?) to be a serious candidate for a job that is not at an obscure rural state school... it seems like the people who got desirable jobs last year all had either the Whitman Prize or NPS. Is this a trend going on for years or have more to do with the economy? Do people with one book that won, say, the Vassar Miller Prize or the Walt McDonald Prize or the Crab Orchard Series (smaller university press prizes) ever land jobs in cities? C: I think any attempt to define a calculus for profesional success in the creative arts--especially poetry--is sure to end in tears. (Or "tiers.")

A: The bigger prizes help, and the Yale still more than any other; no sense in denying it. First tier=Yale, Whitman, and NPS. Second/third tier=Alice James, Sarabande, APR, Copper Canyon, Wisconsin, AWP, Georgia, Pitt, Colorado, Tupelo, Cave Canem, BOA, Pleiades, Ahsahta, etc. And people do get jobs with these presses, all the time, but it's easier if you have other factors, too: second book, Ph.D, prizes. But the Yale in particular is a recognizable name brand, recognized even by lit folk, who often started as writers, and the Yale would've been on their radar 20 or 30 years ago. So.

A: Most of these "first tier" book prize winners who you're seeing land the "good" jobs first spent a number of years adjuncting, teaching in obscure schools, chasing visiting gigs, or simply being unemployed--and all of this after the publication of their books. There are tons of Whitman/Yale/NPS/etc winners out there who can't find any teaching work, much less a great job in a great city, and there are tons of other factors enabling people with other prizes and presses to successfully compete with them. The "big prize" can be one factor in hiring, but only in conjunction with other things. It won't carry you over the top by itself.

A: After monitoring the poetry job market for about 8+ years, I feel the trend is this: You need at least one book with a second-tier prize to land a TT job at a liberal arts college or teaching-oriented university (teaching load 3/2 to 4/4) in the middle of nowhere. If you want a TT job in a desirable location or at a large research university with an MFA program (teaching load 2/2), you need either one book that has won the Yale, Whitman, or NPS or you need two books with respected presses/prizes and a relatively high profile. In either case, it is de riguer to have taught in a string of visiting positions or to have made a name for yourself as a literary editor before you get a TT offer; both types of places favor candidates with publications and post-grad teaching experience. I know you didn't ask about degrees, but I've also noticed this trend: An MFA from Iowa and/or a Ph.D. from a research institution will win you points with pretty much any hiring committee. Perhaps ironically, the Ph.D. is even more valued at a liberal arts intistution because the administration likes to cite "98% of our faculty hold Ph.D.s." Research institutions with MFA programs tend to hire according to the "superstar" model: what matters first and foremost with them is how high-profile your books are and with whom you are publishing. Prestige will help get you into a finalist position. After that, it's about how your personality, identity (gender, race, etc.), teaching interests, and writing style fit the search committee's penchants.


A: To quibble slightly, I do not think that the NPS is a "first tier" prize anywhere near the league of the Yale, Whitman, or for first book poets, even a couple of these being deemed "second tier" contests, in addition to a couple prizes which haven't even been mentioned here. There are five given a year, which in itself diminishes the attention any single winner receives and much of the prestige involved with winning it depends on which press you end up with. I don't want to slight any of these presses by name and you can look up them and then decide for yourself whether publishing an NPS book with one of them is going to place you in a higher category or get you more notice than the Copper Canyon, AWP, Pitt, etc winner. Who the judge is that picks your book is a major factor not being mentioned either, and being selected by a big-name poet for a smaller prize could take you farther than being selected by a lesser name poet for a "big prize." I still think that the so-called "big prizes" are much overhyped as a factor in getting jobs in today's job market, which isn't the same at all as was ten or even five years ago, and that there are just so many other factors and considerations in play, not the least of which is that people actually read the books and preferring one over another depends less on what's printed on the cover than what lies between the covers. Timothy Donnelly, Ilya Kaminsky, Brian Turner, those Dickman brothers, etc., and the list goes on, are not winners of these supposed "big contests" but have achieved very high name recognition while tons of the winners of those contests are likely adjuncting at a university near you.

A: I actually think that winners of very presitigous first book contests face certain complications in getting TT jobs, especially at the beginning, that others do not. I think this is especially true in a tight market. It's not easy to feel sorry for them though! A one book poet, no matter how great the contest that published them, will have a serious problem being seen as a credible candidate at top-flight research schools with MFA programs while there are so many others with multiple books/other kinds of prizes/solid reputations and teaching experience attempting to move laterally into those handful of jobs. At the same time, the smaller schools and programs which are oriented toward teaching and require larger course loads, the places where you can get hired with a so-called "second tier" publication, cant' help but worry that you'll start plotting your escape the minute they hang your name on an office door.


A: Would be interesting to look at the 150-ish MFA programs & see how many of them have NPS, Yale or Whitman winners on faculty.

1. Houston--Maurice Manning (Yale) & Ange Mlinko (Yale)

2. Denver--Eleni Sikelianos (NPS) & Bin Ramke (Yale)

3. Indiana--Maura Stanton (Yale)

4. SIUE--Adrian Matjeka (NPS)

5. SIUC--Brigit Kelly (NPS)

6. Amherst--James Tate (Yale)

7. Virgina Commonwealth--David Wojahn (Yale) & Talvi Ansel (Yale)

8. George Mason--Ben Doller (Whitman) & Eric Pankey (NPS)

9. Montana--Karen Volkman (NPS)

10. Iowa--Mark Levine (NPS) & Cole Swenson (NPS)

11. Alabama--Peter Streckfus (Yale)

12. Arizona--Laynie Browne (NPS)

13. Boulder--Noah Eli Gordon (NPS)

14. Carnegie Mellon--Terrence Hayes (NPS)

15. Mills--Juliana Spahr (NPS)

16. Florida State--Erin Belieu (NPS)

17. Emory--Kevin Young (NPS) 18. Oregon--Geri Doran (Whitman)






Q. In the JOB OFFERS section (above), does anyone think it would it be inappropriate to list the term "Inside Candidate" (when applicable) along with the name/degrees/number of books of the individual hired? I don't want to punish the people who've gotten jobs. I'd just like to know which jobs were not worth applying to.

A. I think it would be inappropriate. The poster elsewhere on this wiki who has been an inside candidate made it clear that the search process is complicated and full of variables--"inside candidate" does not always mean that the search was a sham, and without further knowledge of the search process it seems unfair to simply slap this label on someone merely because he or she has the good fortune of having gotten a job.

Q: It's my understanding that faculty salaries at state institutions are public information. Does anyone have any knowledge about/experience with getting ahold of this info? Preferably without making a show of it, even if you do have a right to see it? It seems to me that anybody with a job offer would benefit in negotiations from knowing what current members of the dept with comparable qualifications, etc., are being paid. At the same time, asking directly during a negotiation ("What is Professor X getting?") seems very tacky.

Q. This information is public (yes, for state institutions) and should be available via a newspaper or other publicly accessible data source. You might just try entering some search terms into an engine--you will probably get the information quickly that way. I would NOT recommend directly asking anyone at the institution about specific people's salaries...


A: If the info isn't online, it's most likely available in the library's reference section, should you have some free time during a campus visit.

A: Here are a few that come up immediately when you google 'public university salary database' that should at least give you a range for comparable salaries at comparable institutions, if your specific one isn't included here:

http://www.collegiatetimes.com/databases/salaries (this one has a ton of states: VA, CA, OH, NC, etc.)

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/data/story/94568.html (this one has NC)

http://wikifoia.pbworks.com/State%20Salary%20Database (this one has lots of links too)

A: The AAUP publishes an annual report on salaries at liberal arts and research schools averaged by rank published through The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/stats/aaup/ It is not specific by field, so you should expect jobs in the humanities to be making at least 3-5K less than these averages. AWP I think did a similar survey, though I'm not sure it's annual--it's in your best interest to get the most recent data you can.


Q: Still no ack. of app. from Warren Wilson. Is anyone else still waiting?

Still waiting. Fiction. As of 1.19.10 I'm also still waiting. Fiction. As of 1/20. Finally got some communication: a request for more information. 2 essays, three current letters of recommendation, evidence of teaching excellence, and graduate transcripts via email (2.12)


Rec. 1/19 - they said the process was very long and intensive - They are a unique school and acknowledge that their search method is slow.



Q: Oregon? Anyone know if they're done making phone interview offers?

A: Yes, they're done making those offers.

Q: Just saw that Reno offered at least one MLA interview today. Are there others who received a dossier request, have NOT received a rejection, but who have also NOT been offered an interview? Just trying to gauge whether I'm still in the running or not...

A: I received a call today for an MLA interview; so, 12/17 was not the only day. Perhaps you will receive, or have received, a call today.

A: They'll be calling, as far as I can tell, as late as Monday.

A: I DID end up getting one today (question-asker, here)...

A: Congrats!

Q: did those who got the rejection email from Reno receive a dossier request as well, making this, essentially, the second round of cuts?

A: For me, yep: I received a dossier request, and a rejection notice today.

A: Ditto, above.

A: I received a dossier request and haven't heard a peep. {that's what they call "good news" in waiting.}

A: I did not receive a dossier request, and became a reject today.


Q: Saginaw Valley, where you at??

Q: Cornell? Reno? Oregon? Anyone know if they are going to interview at MLA--or anything about where they are in the search process?

A: I know that 2 people at Oregon were looking at my webpage yesterday (12/13), so I assume they're in some kind of process of reviewing candidates.

A: I called the admin assistant at Oregon today (12/17) who said they were meeting this afternoon, but she had no idea if they were interviewing at MLA.  Frustrating.  Reno called today (12/17) with MLA interviews.  Cornell?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Q: What about Brooklyn College? Any news out there?

C: Oh, My dream job... It will just be the most impossible job to get! I'm sure it will be someone with far more of a name than most of us sweating it out on this Wiki, I'm afraid... I'll be curious to see who gets it.

C: True... It'll be amazing for whoever gets it.

-- A friend received a letter from Brooklyn College stating that s/he was not going to be interviewed at MLA, but that the search committee was keeping this particular candidate on their backup list.  It asked for the candidate to call or write the chair to affirm that s/he would like to stay on this backup list.  I suppose that this means they've made their calls for interviews, but that may not necessarily be the case.  The letter was received Thursday, December 10 via regular USPS mail.

C: The people who interview with Brooklyn probably are not checking sites like these. They already got a sweet job and just looking to move to New York City.

Wouldn't they have also sent rejections to those who didn't make the cut?

Q: Anybody heard anything about Northern Kentucky, West Chester, or Charleston? Their deadlines were relatively early, weren't they?

NKU requested secondary materials in late November.

I don't have first-hand knowledge, but I've heard that NKU has also scheduled phone interviews.

C: West Chester has another search going on (in Ethnic American Lit.) and on that field's wiki, contributors report MLA interviews scheduled on 12/7. Not sure how helpful this is, but at least it's nice to know that this department has searches going forward.

C: Yeah, I was wondering about College of Charleston. I got their HR I am/am not a white mail check-off card weeks ago, and just yesterday I received--a visitor's guide?!? If I'm visiting, I hope they intend to let me know! : ) Anyone heard anything concrete?

A: Charleston made interview offers on 12/14 (see above.)

Q:  Kent State:  Is there a more robust listing than the one that's linked to from this page?  I've looked everywhere and haven't been able to find one.  It's not clear what documents they want candidates to upload.  On the final application page it just says "cover letter," "other doc," "curriculum vitae," and "reference doc."  Anyone have more info?

A: Go to http://jobs.kent.edu and search for posting number 991014.



C:  This market is so different from last year's.  I feel like there was a lot more communication from departments last year, more dossier requests, more news by now.  The wait is killing me!

C: Last year most of my communication was "Job has been cancelled." So, I'm fine with not hearing yet.

Q:  For the St. Lawrence Visiting job, what is your current status if you don't mind sharing?


Q: For people asked for materials from Greensboro, would love to know how many books you have, if willing to share?

C: UNCG's deadline hasn't yet passed, right?  Wasn't postmark deadline 11/20?  They are quick, they are!

C: I don't mind sharing and am curious about the others--I got a UNCG dossier request and only have one published book.

C: In case it's also of use, I have one book and have NOT yet been asked for more materials.

C: I have one book and was asked for a dossier.

Q: Is there anyone with "special" insight on the UMass Lowell position in poetry?

A: Seems possible, given short posting time etc, that it is a position created with their visiting writer, who is the spouse of a fulltime Eng dept person, in mind?

Q: MLA This Year:  In the ads for Eastern Michigan, Reno, Brooklyn, Oregon, Houston, Cornell, and Greensboro, not one of them specified that they'd be interviewing at MLA.  Does anyone know what the deal is?  Will any of them be interviewing at MLA?  I'd love specifics if anyone knows....


Q:  If schools  are interviewing at MLA, how late might they be contacting people? I can't afford to go unless I'm interviewing, and am hoping not to get that last-minute call on xmas eve I've heard about...

A: Usually committee chairs call (or email) to set up MLA interviews between December 1st and Dec. 21st. I.e., now (Nov. 30th) would be early--on average--to get an interview invite. Last year, the latest call I heard about (for an MLA interview) was on the 19th or 20th of December, so....hold tight.

Q: Related the one above--Is it kosher to email the SC Chair and just ask whether they'll be interviewing at MLA?

A: I'd sit on my hands for the time being--there's no sense in pestering a SC Chair who probably has his or her hands full.

C: Actually, I think it's fine to write a brief email asking. There's no harm in it.

Q: Reno: Would the person who said no interviews have been scheduled yet please clarify the source of the info? I.e. is it someone in Reno's department who is setting the record straight? Or someone who definitely knows the score?

I posted about it because someone I know told me they had an interview. I thought it would be germane to the conversation.

Q: I'm sorry--I'm confused. Does the above reply mean that Reno HAS scheduled MLA interviews? It sounds like it...but earlier someone wrote to say that was misinformation--so--does your friend have an interview there, or not, or are you unable to verify either way? Or--since you use the past tense--as in "had" an interview--does this mean your friend had a campus or phone interview with them? I.e. I know George Mason is skipping MLA and going straight to campus visits--is that the case here?

A: I don't know anything about who posted the information, or refutation, of the Reno interview, but I would say it's not something to worry about either way. I know that, just the day before the post for the MLA interview went up, I got an e-mail from Reno asking for more material, so it's doubtful that they asked for more material from a candidate one day and then scheduled all of their MLA interviews the following day. It seems almost certain that 1) the post about the interview was misinfromation, or 2) Reno is scheduling interviews one at a time rather than all at once. Either way, if they requested more materials from you, I'd say it's very likely that you're still in the running for an interview.

C: In the future, contributors to this wiki should abide by the rather simple, unspoken (now spoken) rule--only post information that you received first-hand!  If need be, someone can add a "gossip" or "heard it through the grapevine" category below the "General Questions about the Job Market" section.

Q: Well, I don't mind reliable gossip--I just can't make heads or tails of the Reno gossip--did someone get an "off the record" interview with Reno, or not?

C: I can't speak to the Reno situtation (that wasn't me), but please note: a new "gossip"  category has been created. Please use this space to post any second-hand stuff/gossip. The whole point of the wiki is to share basic but accurate information and to give us job candidates one small peek at where a school is at in their job search process--something that's nice to know in this twisted, drawn-out, keep-you-in-the-dark job process.

A:  I have first-hand knowledge of this search.  No MLA interviews have yet been scheduled.

Q: Dear fellow poets, I fear that I'm reading the job announcements a bit too hard, for I'm finding it difficult to match my qualifications with exactly what's stated in the descriptions.  For instance, if an announcement states that the successful candidate will be asked to teach graduate students AND undergraduates, does that mean that you should already have experience doing that at a prior institution?  What if you've only taught undergraduates so far?  (I'm thinking that perhaps that piece of language is code for "We are searching for a senior faculty member--emerging writers need not worry about this one."

A: Yes, I'd say that you are reading job announcements too closely. If they say you will be asked to teach graduate students, that just means that you should be comfortable with that, and that you should be prepared to answer a question about teaching graduate students in your interview. In general, I'd say that you shouldn't worry about matching your qualifications "exactly" to what the ad asks for. If you have in the appropriate genre, have the degree, and a solid publication record, then apply.


Q: Is anyone /Has anyone been in the situation of having worked at a non-teaching job pending book publication, and now that the book has been released, searching for a teaching appointment?  Are there any tips to share about making this career leap?  

A: To clarify: I've been working in university admin since graduating from my MFA program.  I have some past teaching experience on my C.V. but it's not like I've been a member of a department.  

A: Try and get a few more years of teaching expereience, if at all possible: visiting gigs, Ph. D, adjuncting, etc. If you're making a real living, thus working f-t, even adjuncting one class a semester will strengthen your Vita. Very hard to be a competitive candidate w/ just an MFA, a book, and 1-3 years of T.A.-ing.

Q: Does anyone know if Houston's listing is for this year, or last year??  On their HR website the due date for app stuff is listed as Oct 1 2008, not 2009.  Anyone?

Q: How did you find this Houston listing originally? It's not on MLA or Chronicle.

A: It's in AWP

A: I sent my application in during August . . .

A: They just re-posted their listing on AWP this month to say apps accepted until November but they started reviewing materials Oct. 1

A: I know someone there. They're well into their search.

A: I can confirm that.

A. Houston is running two separate searches. The first set of campus visits will be over this week. And the second search is expected to resume once this one is over--i.e. before the year is up/and into the new semester.

A: [Just FYI: I sent my app in late (about 11/5) and received an email 11/17 that they would ask for more materials (if they wanted them) in mid(?)-November; hasn't happened. I wonder if the later position of the staggered two-position search is still in the offing, though?, as there seems to be very little activity on their side, given what's on the board here. (Frustrated sigh.)]

Q: Has Houston started their campus visits yet?

Q: Would the Houston candidate wh was called for an interview mind sharing with us how many books he or she has--for curiosities' sake?

A: I wasn't called for an interview, but got a dossier request.  I have three books.

Q: University of Oregon--wasn't this listed as awarded to Geri Doran in last year's wiki? Is this a whole new position?

A: I think Geri Doran got a visiting writer position.

A: No, Geri is on their permanent faculty.  This is a whole new position.

A: I thought she was their visiting writer for 2 years? The UO website has her bio listed as "visiting professor"- how do you know she's permanent?

A: The chair of the dept. at Oregon sent a letter soliciting applications for the job from select candidates, and in it she wrote, "Having hired poet Geri Doran last year, we are close to our goal of having three faculty members in each genre, with Garrett Hongo and Geri Doran in poetry and David Bradley, Laurie Lynn Drummond, and Ehud Havazelet in fiction."

Q: Does this (above answer) mean that Oregon is going to select their candidates from a shortlist of solicited poets?

A:  I think not.  It's pretty normal for competitive MFA programs to ask more senior writers at other institutions to recommend candidates who might be interested in the position listed, thus the letters.  It's meant to broaden and strengthen the application pool--not close it entirely in this case.  Plus these letters go out to far more folks than actually apply for the jobs in the end (at least in my experience, I've gotten a few and ignored them as I was not on the market at the time).

A: In my experience, most MFA programs will solicit applications (this year, for ex., Oregon, George Mason, Houston), and many of these applicants often make the MLA & campus shortlists; however, unsolicited apps may yet have a chance, because, among other things, universities are always attempting to appear fair and open.

Q: Are Green Bay and Nebraska on AWP? I see them on their home sites--but otherwise can't find them listed. Also--can't find St. Lawrence at all--the university employment page says there are no academic jobs in English--what's up with that?

A: Wisconsin-Green Bay and St. Lawrence job ads are posted on the JIL.  Nebraska Wesleyan on the Chronicle of Higher Education.


Q: What is does JIL stand for?

A:  The MLA Job Information List.  See here.  You'll need a password and username, which most schools supply for their graduate students.  If not, you'll have to join.  On a related note, does anyone think it's odd that this year many of the listings are hard to find, only cropping up on the JIL, etc.?  Normally everything appears on AWP and/or the Chronicle, and this year that's just not the case.  The listings seem haphazard, scattershot, HR sites don't exist or aren't updated, etc.

A: Yes. I think it's very odd since there's a sort of understood agreement among writers that AWP is the go-to listing. Do you think folks are cutting ad-costs due to the economic state of affairs? Or that folks avoiding AWP have inside candidates?


Q: Did anyone find it super-weird on the U of Nevada Reno online application that they asked you for "minimum salary desired"?  What did you put down?

A: 25K in poker chips.

A: It seems to me like western schools do this more than others.

A: Western state schools, in particular, as part of statewide hiring process; that is, one would be asked the question if applying for any state job in that state in any field.

A: Yes, I found it strange as well. I think I said $48,000. I actually called the department (anonymously) to ask whether the question was serious, and they said yes.

A: I said 60,000.


Q: George Mason--I heard they are interviewing before MLA this year. Has anyone heard anything back from them yet?

A:  Haven't heard back yet.  The ad itself said "Review of applications begins October 1, & selection to be made about December 1," which means they are indeed not interviewing at MLA.  Most of the ads this year haven't specified anything at all about MLA, which is unusual.  Most years nearly all the ads specify that they'll be interviewing there.  I think due to budget issues we'll see more phone interviewing this year.

A: Yeah--but GM is going to do a real campus interview as opposed to phone, I'm pretty sure, so I'm interested to know when calls are made...


[Moved the formerly above re. wild speculation to the Gossip/Speculation section below.]

Q: George Mason- someone noted above in the departmental requests section that campus visits have been scheduled for November.  Does that mean visiting candidates have already been notified, or just that the calendar dates for the visits have been determined?

A: They have contacted finalists and have begun arranging visits.

A: See above. Visits taking place this week & next.

Q: George Mason - did they do phone interviews, or just invite people?  I'd be curious to know if finalists are male or female, how many books, etc.

A: (see above)


Q: Green Bay's guidelines say that a Ph.D. or dual MA/MFA is required. Does this mean that those of us with only an MFA shouldn't apply?

A: Yes, they want a Ph.D. The ad says a dual MA/MFA "considered." They definitely want someone with additional literature credentials--an MFA alone isn't enough in their eyes. Sorry!

A: Hey, don't take the answer above as law. Some folks on here just want to get rid of any competition. You Should apply anyway!

A: Looking at Green Bay's faculty, all (except for one person, who seems as though she's been there for awhile) have a PhD.  Advisers/profs have always told me that you should only apply to the jobs that you are qualified for.  A search committee's first goal is to weed out applications. Because Green Bay's job ad wording is pretty specific, they will likely breeze right past someone who cannot even handle close reading. One less application (or one more application) is not going to make the competition any less tight--this current job market, with the carry-over of last year's budget cuts, hiring freezes and cancellations, is going to be brutal regardless. You're better off perfecting the job letters for the schools that you are qualified for; jobs that are open to either terminal degree (MFA or PhD).

A:  Forgive me, but the previous response seems pretty ridiculous to me (as do the previous respondent's old advisors).  What does it cost you to apply?  A few dollars in postage?  As the ad says, ya gotta be in it to win it.  Apply.  Let them "breeze right past" you or whatever; you never know -- they just might be intrigued enough to ask you to interview.  The only way you can be certain they won't is if you don't apply.

R: I concur -- just apply, apply, apply. Apply to all jobs -- just keep sending out as many letters as possible. Just keep throwing mud at a wall and see if anything sticks! And I would not even worry about polishing the letters for each particular job. Just get your letter there and they will probably be very intrigued. Despite the job listings' various particulars, schools likely have no idea what they want and you should just get your name out there and tell them who you are and why you are IT. Apply, apply, apply.

A: MFA-holding candidates--especially ones with actual publishing credits--should apply.  An MFA with publishing trumps a PhD with no publishing credits in many searches, especially at larger institutions or places with eyes on having a writing program themselves.

R: No, it does not, especially at larger institutions. No dean wants to hire someone with only a professional master's degree, when he/she can get someone with a doctoral degree. It is a dean, not a faculty member on the search committee, who authorizes a hire; that dean may not know or care anything about creative writing, much less about the delusion that the MFA is a terminal degree. To hire the holder of a Ph.D. is to strengthen the faculty in the eyes of university presidents, trustees, alumni and philanthropic donors, accreditors, foundations, and potential students (and their parents). Now, this doesn't mean that those holding only the MFA will never, ever get a tenure-eligible job -- it does happen sometimes -- or that holders of the MFA should not apply for such positions. But the idea that the MFA can "trump" a Ph.D. is patently ridiculous. As many have already noted here and elsewhere, the reverse is more often true: Ph.D.s with few publications do in fact often "trump" well-published MFAs. And for perfectly good reason: even the very best-published holders of the MFA-only still hold only a professional master's degree.

It does no good to fantasize about being the rare exception: there are structural realities at stake here, which will only be magnified by economic conditions over the next five to ten years. The fact is that the master's degree as a credential exchangeable for a living wage as a university professor is an artifact of two historical periods: (1) the long hiring boom in US education, which lasted roughly from 1945-1970; (2) the debt economy that took over afterward, which lasted roughly from 1970 to 2008, and which fueled the growth of quasi- and fully independent creative writing programs. Those days are probably gone forever.


Q: For those of you who got a request for more materials from Reno, how much of a time lag was there between when you sent your apps in and when you got the request?

A: I got my request a week later--but if it's been longer for you I would not sweat it--reviews of aps. seldom happen in a terribly organized fashion.

A: My request was also about a week later.

A: Ten days.

A: About a week.

A: I think it was a week.

Q: Folks who have served on search committees: Any idea of a typical number of aps. to weed down to for a) dossier requests and b) initial interviews?

A: One TT job with a 3/3 load, NE - 300 applications, 30 dossier requests, 6 interviews.

A: One TT job with 3/3 load: 200 applications, 10 MLA interviews, 3 campus visits.

A: One TT job with a 3/3 load, NE - 100 applications, 20 dossier requests, 8 phone interviews, 3 campus visits.

A: One TT job with a 2/2 load, Midwest - 100 applications, 15 MLA interviews, 3 campus visits

Q:  I know this has been asked above, but I really feel I need some help!! What are typical questions asked in Poetry interviews? See the list being created above.  Did you feel you needed a million quotes to hand? No. Did you have to discuss current scholarly research? Yes, but only when the job had a specific academic field attached to it, such as poetry and Postmodern Literature. Did you have to give examples of workshop exercises?  Yes, have some ready to discuss. Your influences? Occasionally they asked about influences and who you would teach in workshops. What was it like?  Most questions will focus on how you teach poetry. Use of concrete examples is helpful. Sometimes they ask about past teaching challenges and how you overcame them.  I have only interviewed for academic/scholar positions thus far. I would really appreciate knowing what to prepare for, I feel like I'm sitting around with piles of books everywhere, but not much direction other than to design syllabi. Thank you.  Do indeed write a sample syllabi in order to mentally prepare yourself. They will ask things like, "Describe a typical workshop." You will want to discuss how you interact with students, how you encourage students to interact, how much you critique during the workshop, and how much you let students critique.  Often your answer to this question will inspire them to ask numerous (seemingly) off-the-cuff questions that last the entire interview.

Q: Still have not received ack. of app. from Warren Wilson. Is there anyone else who still hasn't heard anything after applying?

A. I'm still patiently waiting too. (2)

A. See below for more info.


Q: Does anyone know what the teaching load at North Central is expected to be?

A: It's a trimester system, and so I think it's 3-2-2.


Q: Does anyone else recollect seeing the Ithaca fiction job advertised as a 2/2 courseload, or was I imagining things?

Q. For the sake of our collective sanity, can those of us who applied to Warren Wilson post when the ack of apps arrive via email?  Please post them below.

Q: I'm a little concerned that I haven't received an ack of app from Warren Wilson. I applied via email on Nov. 20. Is there anyone else who hasn't received an ack of app who applied before or around that date?

A: I know it's easier said, but I wouldn't sweat the non-acknowledgment from WW just yet. (I sent email app 12/5 and so far no ack, either.) They strike me as the sort of outfit that would handle the process... organically. Following their own unique timetable etc, and definitely not the kind of place to send an automated blast to multiple applicants. I worked in the writing dept office of a similar MFA program as a grad student, where the organnizational system seemed maddeningly chaotic and random on the surface but was ultimately thorough and conscientous, with a lot of personal attention. Anyway, I think that if you applied by email, and didn't get a bounceback or daemon message, it's safe to assume your app was received, and too that WW has their spam filters adjusted appropriately to prevent folks from falling through cracks, especially given that email was their stated preference for receiving apps. If that helps.

A: I applied Dec. 10, and haven't  heard anything either.

A. I applied Dec. 14 by email and haven't heard anything. My assumption is that the person opening emails may only be opening and printing (if they print them) ten emails a day. I believe that person started opening those emails on December 15th. So it may take two more weeks to get a reply if 150 people applied. This is just a guess, though...

To the above poster, are you thinking about emailing them to make sure it arrived? I'm considering it. A: Hmmmm, well, no one is there until January anyway, right? I just checked and I applied on Dec. 1.  Now you've got me nervous!

Q: Has anyone heard anything about or from Warren Wilson? Did anyone who applied via email get an ack of app?  

A. I applied via email and received an ack of app (I'm the same poster from below).

A. Applied via email 11/16, received an ack of app Jan 5.

Q: Has anyone heard anything from/about Texas Tech? I got an email request for more materials, then silence. And I don't see that anyone on the wiki has heard from them. Is their search canceled?

A: All but filled.

A: This is inaccurate. Texas Tech is awaiting approval for the position from a new provost. They expect to continue with the search, but are being somewhat delayed. That's it.


A: Filled: Cristina Garcia (1/21).

Q: Anyone know and/or hear anything about Stanford University's Asso Prof Fiction position? Thanks!

Q: Ok, I'm officially obsessed. Does anyone know if the following schools plan to do MLA interviews? What's the latest we think they'll call to schedule an interview?  Amherst, Arizona, Ole Miss, Stanford, Warren Wilson, Northern Colorado, Fresno.

A: Friday - some schools still have finals this week.

A. According to Warren Wilson's website, they do phone interviews after MLA and then schedule campus visits. Also, review of applications just began today.

Q. The Warren Wilson job is listed on this page as tenure track, but the job ad describes it as a full-time "continuous contract position". I'm assuming this is more of an instructorship, yes? Anyone have any additional info on this?

A. It's not an instructorship. The entire school abolished tenure. Instead of tenure, you get reviewed every three years. I'd say it's like a tenure-track job where you don't get to leap from assistant- to associate- to full-professor. Instead you get reviewed, get a raise, and a pat on the back. In a worst case scenario, you might get fired if you suck. More likely, they'll tell you where you need to improve. It does leave one feeling a little uneasy to not have the security of tenure. A big plus is that abolishing tenure keeps crazy people out of English departments. By the way, I think I found this info buried on the president's web page.

A. Warren Wilson sent an email ack of application (12/16) that explained their search process (which appears lengthy, so it may be a while before the applicants hear from them again).  

C. To the above poster, how long did it take to receive the ack of application? I haven't received an acknowledgment yet, and I'm getting nervous.

A. I applied around a month ago and got the ack yesterday, so I'm assuming they're simply contacting people in the order they received the apps.

A: Amherst is not doing MLA. They will contact finalists in February.

A: Northern Colorado is not going to MLA. They will do phone interviews with finalists in late January/early February.

Q: What does one do in happy (if unlikely) event that a job offer comes in before other schools have made decisions?

A: Call the school you are waiting to hear from and ask where you stand, Negotiate for time from offering school, and/or make a tough choice. Life's full of excitement.

Q. Has anyone heard from Alabama (the Tuscaloosa one) for the fiction position? 

A: I received an email from the search chair asking for a clarification about my application (12/10).

A: I received a Human Resources postcard asking where I learned about the position. That's it.  (12/14)

A: Same here, HR postcard (which I feared was a rejection letter) and nothing else.  Anyone know if they're interviewing at MLA? 

A: I scheduled an interview for Alabama's nonfiction position, and was told they have a suite to interview for both fiction and nonfiction positions, so yes it seems they are interviewing at MLA.

A: The Fiction and Nonfiction job searches have different committees and chairs so we can expect Fiction calls soon. Bite your nails now?

Q: Has anyone heard anything from Shippensburg U? The ad said they "may" interview at MLA.

A: See above. Interviews scheduled.


Q: Sort of a climate evaluation question for the folks who scored interview and/or doc requests from Rhodes, if you don't mind sharing.. Are you MFA or PhD? (Sorry, I know that sounds a bit like "human or Cylon," not meant as such.)

A: I have an interview and am an MFA.

A: I received a request for more docs but not an interview and have both an MFA and a PhD (almost).

A: I received a request for more docs but not an interview and I have a PhD.

A: I have an interview and (will) have a PhD.

C: Thanks. I had a feeling they would skew toward PhD, glad to know they aren't totally shunning the MFAs.

Q: Does anyone know anything about Arizona State? Like, a) will this search actually happen this year, and/or b) are they interviewing at MLA?

Q: Is this [Columbia Lectureship] an MLA interview?

A: It is not. They apparently realized that it would not make sense to interview an NYC resident in Philadelphia. I wonder if they are not streamlining their process to avoid an avalanche of applications and expenses. They have their pick of the billion terrific underemployed writers in New York, so why should they send an entire committee to MLA and then pay someone's moving expenses if they can get a ton of qualified local candidates? But that's just a theory. They do have 3 positions to fill; they could easily fill them with any number of people who are already adjuncts there. I mean, look at this list: http://wwwapp.cc.columbia.edu/art/app/arts/writing/faculty.jsp?facStatus=2 I don't think all of those people are active (Zadie Smith and Jonathan Lethem are both full prof's at NYU now!) but that's quite a bullpen they've got in terms of overqualified, talented adjuncts.

C: All adjuncts do not want to be full professors and there are adjuncts and there are adjuncts.

A: I was only suggesting that they're not at a loss for great candidates, nothing about the intentions of those particular people.

C: Are they doing the interviews over the phone or on campus? And is it after New Years? They are also hiring a tenure-track fiction writer - so will they do those interviews in New York, too?

A: On campus, but it doesn't sound like a "campus interview" in the classic sense. I have no idea what they're doing with the TT jobs.


Q. Did anyone receive anything other than a rejection from Pomona? The original job posting only asked for a CV. No one has mentioned that they received a request for a dossier or writing sample.

A: I imagine that's because Pomona's going to hire a superstar, and the susperstars aren't on the wiki board stressing out like the rest of us. I mean, they're replacing DFW!

C: Yeah, we should be handicapping that particular job, not applying for it. Let's see your wagers.

Q: The Alabama-Birmingham job was posted as "pending approval" and is as of 12/3 not posted on the school's HR site. Anyone know whether it's been approved or not?

I believe it has been approved. The "pending approval" jargon appears in most of UAB's job ads.

Q: Does anyone know if either of the Alabama jobs are interviewing at MLA?

Alabama-Birmingham generally interviews 10-12 people at MLA. Only VAPs do phone interviews.

A: Alabama-Birmingham's dossier request email advised they would not attend MLA, but instead conduct late January phone interviews and February campus visits.

Q. Did UAB happen to mention how many applications they received? Also, would those who received the dossier requests mind sharing how many books they have published? 

A: One book out, one book under contract

Q: Rhodes college asks for "Letter, C.V. and dossier containing three professional references." Does that mean the NAMES of three references or the actual letters of recommendation?

A:  If they're asking for a dossier, that means actual letters.

A:  Definitely letters.

Q: Anyone know where I can find info about applying for the Reed Writer-in-residence position?  I couldn't find it at the Reed site. 

A: It's up on the JIL

Q: Anyone know the teaching load of the Ithaca job?

A: According to Ithaca's HR department, a typical load is 3-4.

A. Yes. It's 3-4.

Q: What is up with North Central College posting its listing on AWP on 11/9 and saying that applications must be postmarked by 11/13? Does that mean inside candidate?

A: An inside candidate is always possible, but that ad was posted somewhere else (can't find it now--Higheredjobs, Chronicle, or MLA) in September. They might just be trying to get more applications. Not sure.

A: North Central C has been on the MLA JIL since week one, I think.

Q: I applied to Columbia's listing for a lecturer, and now want to apply for the new listing for an Asst. Prof. Any reason why I can't send in the same letter? I don't know how to revise it otherwise.

A: Perhaps the only reason would be that the person they are looking for to take the Assist Prof position would be rather over qualified for a Lecturer position.

NON-FICTION Edit

Reed College Discussion moved from above:

nbsp; Also, from their email, it seems they plan to interview 15 (!) people at MLA) Q: has anyone received a time slot for their interview yet? And from experience, can any say if the number of slots available for MLA interviews equals the number of people interviewed? I can't imagine they'd really interview 15 writers.  Why is that so number so surprising? Some schools in the past have interviewed up to 20 writers. (Those were the available slots. That doesn't mean they plan to fill them all!) A: 12/14 -- have an interview but haven't been assigned a slot yet. Q: If you've already given them a list of available times, but had to schedule other schools at those times, because they've taken forever, what is the protocol for revising available times? A: I nudged department's secretary politely yesterday 12/14. I assume when/if they get back to me I say that I'm no longer available at those times, and here are 3 times I AM available. C: Thank you for the "polite nudge" interview times are finally scheduled.


Q: Dartmouth College - IS THIS LISTING LEFT OVER FROM LAST YEAR? NOT ON CHRON OR DARTMOUTH SITE.

A:  Dartmouth search is new--see AWP listings.  They canceled a fiction search last year due to budget, but reinstated a search this year for CNF.


Q: USC -- IS THIS LISTING LEFT OVER FROM LAST YEAR? NOT ON CHRON OR USC SITE?


Q: Where is that RISD job listed? A: JIL/ADE

Q:  Where is the Alabama-Tuscaloosa job listed?  (I only managed to track down a listing at the school website after I saw it listed here; they posted it 9/30 and say review begins 10/15?  Sounds like they have an inside candidate and are just going through the motions.) (Oh, wait -- there it is, on AWP.  Posted 10/13 with a 10/15 deadline!  What do you make of that?)

A: I agree - sounds like a legal requirement/ghost job.

A: Probably just late budget approval. They lost their two most recent junior colleagues (both women).


Q: Really? Who were they? Where did they go?

Q/A: Are you asking about the Birmingham or the Tuscaloosa job? I don't know anything about Birmingham, and re Tuscaloosa I know that their fiction position opened when Kate Bernheimer got the Lafayette Louisiana writer-in-residence job that was vacated by Rikki Ducornet. Don't know who they lost in nonfiction.

A: The Tuscaloosa job had a very short lead which is why it is possible they have a candidate in mind. The Birmingham job has a much more standard lead time between announcement and application due date. Also, Bernheimer is both writer-in-residence and associate professor, in other words, they combined two roles to save money.

A. That is not true that a position being called Writer in Residence and Associate Professor means two jobs were combined to save money. One title indicates role, the other level of hire. From what I heard it is a terrific position.

A: Tuscaloosa does not have a candidate in mind, and last time I talked to them they had not received many apps for the nonfiction position. The fiction position is to replace Bernheimer who is at ULL. The nonfiction position is new. The other junior colleague they lost, Joyelle McSweeney, was replaced by Peter Streckfus a couple years ago.

Q: George Washington Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington: How competitive is this position (guesses welcome)...?

A: In this job market - very.

Q: Has anyone heard anything about the GW position?

Q:  For the folks who got rejection emails from Ohio U:  Did any of you apply last year?  Anyone score an MLA interview with them last year before the search was canceled?  (Word is they extended interview invites last December but had to shut down their search just a few days later!)

Q:  Did anyone on here actually score an interview with Ohio U?  I find it strange that no one has reported as much yet, given how many CNF writers there are on here.  What is Ohio up to?

A. Ohio is interviewing ten folks at MLA.

Q: Those nonfiction writers who got a request for more materials from USF, do you mind sharing how many books you have or what your second genre is (I believe they expressed preference for candidates who could teach in two)? I was hoping to at least get as far as a materials request, but, alas, no, and I'm curious about what they're looking for. (To be fair and share: I have two books plus one more under contract, 12 years teaching experience, MFA. But my 2nd genre after nonfiction is poetry and they already have a ton of poets on faculty. I'm beginning to be very discouraged about ever landing a tt job!)

A:  Two books, second genre Fiction.

A: one book out, one book under contract (both NF). second genre: translation of poetry and fiction

Q: To the candidate who got an interview at Dartmouth, do you mind sharing your credentials, and also what your "adjacent area of research" is?

A. Two books, two under contract.

Q:  Just curious:  How does one have two books under contract simultaneously?  Are these both with academic presses?  And is there an "adjacent area of research"?

A. Your curiosity suggests you're up for this job, too, I think? I'd rather not say adjacent; we should keep this anonymous, right? But as for having two books under contract, there's no puzzle there. It's quite common. A lot of publishers like to lock in a writer with whom they work well for as many books as possible -- sometimes because they think the writer is a sure seller, other times because multi-book deals are the only way an editor can squeeze a living wage for her writers out of her bosses.  Other times, one's interests are split between publishers. An editor pal of mine has on her list a prominent writer she says is four books in hock.

C:  Ah, so a multi-book contract with one publisher.  Don't know why I didn't think of that; I was trying to imagine one-book contracts with two separate publishers.  Still, multi-book contracts are pretty rare in non-fiction; you're much more likely to get a contract, say, for one novel and one collection of short stories.  As for the "adjacent," I'm really not sure how revealing that information would unmask you, unless the area is one you have, somehow, monopolized.  In which case I very much doubt you'd be teaching.

Q:  How about your teaching experience?  Can you share that, please?

A. Tell us more about yourself, Curious George.

C: Well, I'm a Taurus, kinda shy until I get to know you, I like puppies, long walks on the beach, bananas, and guys in big yellow hats.


Q:  Ditto for Alabama and USF.

Q:  In a request for a dossier via e-mail the chair of the search said the committee is "very interested" in my candidacy. I see from these boards that this university has requested interviews and I have yet to be contacted. My question is -- is it possible that the school is no longer "interested" or the committee is slow to send out interview requests? I ask because how could my candidacy go from being a "very" interesting prospect to a possible rejection based on my transcripts (all As PhD) and letters? I mean the CV and writing sample had them at "very interesting," but my transcripts and letters did me in? Are my letters bad? Did the search suddenly get flooded with triple-book publishing PhDers? What gives? I have books published, multiple journal publications, awards, international presentations, seven years of teaching experience in the field, an MFA and a PhD. I'm a little stumped...

A.  It is most likely that the school is no longer interested. Sorry. But don't fret. It's unlikely your letters or transcripts did you in. The original dossier request was a form letter. They probably sent out 20 or more dossier requests and reduced MLA interviews down to 8 to 12 individuals, so "Yes" they were very interested. But this is a very tough market. You are indeed competing against other individuals with more teaching experience, more books, more awards, and perhaps better credentials or better letters. They may have evaluated your transcripts and decided you hadn't taken the kind of courses they were looking for. If you have any Bs, then they may have considered that a red flag. If you are worried about your letters, have them sent to a trusted mentor for evaluation. That way the letters will remain confidential, and your mentor can make recommendations from there.

OPEN GENRE Edit

Q: For those of you who got interviews at DePaul, what's your primary genre?

A: fiction


Q: Any news about Eastern Illinois University and North Central College? Both plan to be at the MLA. NCC has already made requests for more documents.

A: Eastern Illinois started offering interview slots on December 17th.

A: NCC's deadline to receive those docs was Friday the 14th, I believe. So they may not have even started to read the samples. It seems like they're making it very last minute.

C: Oh, boy! I'm impressed. As promised, NCC is sending out MLA requests by email a mere four days after their supporting documents deadline!

Q: Did anyone on here apply for the Managing Editor position at The Missouri Review, and, if so, have you heard anything?

A. I applied! I wrote them about four weeks ago. They said they were still reviewing applications and would be contacting people shortly. Haven't heard from them since. I've totally given up on it. It's unclear if it was an MLA interview or phone interview or campus visit. It seemed like a job that had an inside hire, since the due date for the applications was two weeks after the job had been posted.

A. This position has been filled.


C: High Point Info from the Comp Job Board - "The department chair told me that they received over 300 applications for this job and that "applications are still coming in." He said they are hiring for 2 other positions, and that the department has received over 800 applications total for the 3 positions."

Q: For those who received an interview request from Shepherd, what is your primary genre?

A: Fiction. A: Nonfiction.

More High Point Discussion moved from above.

C: I want to second this "where's the info" comment. Person who posted about the phone interviews: please be specific--where is "see below" and where is this information coming from? Info based on speculation or info that is vague is not helpful, and it adds to everyone's stress!'--I know for a fact that they scheduled a phone interview with a friend of mine around 12/2 or 12/3.

A: (To above two comments): My apologies! There is a category below that says "open genre" and has HP dossier requests--I read it quickly and thought it was interview requests--that's why I wrote "see below"--because I did not want to list the info. twice. So here is the deal: The info. comes from a friend--who does indeed have a phone interview--they were asked 12/3--just as the friend listed above was, too. So it looks like HP has scheduled 2 interviews up to this point--unless of course we are talking about the same friend. Now--someone below asks that we (me and above respondent) not provide second hand info--perhaps I should have put the info under "gossip" instead--but the source is legit and so the info. seemed useful--I know I'd want to know the facts as long as they were indeed facts--regardless of where they came from. I do know of another school not let listed as having called someone for an interview--but as I stand corrected I'll wait for them to put that info. down when they feel like it. I.E. point taken;)

C:  I'd like to know reliable information.  Not everyone is posting.

Q: Things are still a little fuzzy here and would love to get this figured out: HPU asked for a CV and cover letter as the initial documents, and no one has reported any requests for "additional materials."  The reports about HPU that have been posted here have all been concerning "acknowledgment of application"--unless that data is wrong. If so, let's please fix it. And, for the poster above: please ask your friend to start posting contributions to the wiki their self. First-hand information is the goal of this wiki--a goal which was hashed out and established with the earlier Reno interview confusion. Thanks!

C: I've had a couple situations before where the universities, interviewed me, brought in for a campus interview, and then asked to see my writing once they were deciding between the final three candidates. It's not unheard of to do interviews without seeing more documents.

Q: Does anyone have any special knowledge of High Point job, or heard anything back from them?

High Point University 2 (11/19), 1 (11/20), 1 (11/23) ack. of app. (email), 12/11 ack. of app

C: Acknowledgment of application does not constitute a request for more documents---that's probably why someone removed the post.

C: Right. Acknowledgment of application is not a request for more documents.

Q: So...some received the email acknowledgement, and some received a request for more documents? Does anyone happen to know how many people have been asked to send more materials? 

A: My understanding is that the numbers/dates listed above for High Point are purely an "acknowledgment of application received" and NONE of these are a request for additional materials. Correct the  data, if I'm wrong!  What is confusing is the comment, "To be clear about this..." which makes it sound like some people are reporting additional document requests.


Q: Does anyone know the teaching load for the DePaul job?

A:  Pretty sure it's 3/3.

A: It's on a quarter system. The load is 2/2/2.

Q: Does anyone know how to compute an equivalent load between semesters and quarters?

A: 3+3=6 or 2+2+2=6

Q: So a 2/2 semester load would be the equivalent of a 2/1/1 or a 2/2/0, even though you'd have one or two light quarters?

A: It would be somewhat dependent on how many preps you have and the size of classes, but very generally, yes.

A: Seems to me the equivalent of a 2/2 is 2/2/2. Two semesters = 30 weeks, roughly, of instruction; three quarters = 30 weeks of instruction. You're carrying two courses for the same amount of time.

A: 2/2/2 is approximately equivalent to a 2/3 load. It's more than 2/2 because of the increased number of preps and the three grading cycles. (Most instructors assign the same amount of writing in a quarter as in a semester.)

A: I'm teaching for the first time on the quarter system, and it is NOT EVEN CLOSE to the same as teaching on a semester system. Two quarter-long classes completely exhaust me, whereas two semester-long classes are relatively easy. The extra grading cycle can't be overlooked. And two weeks for winter break in the middle of a quarter hurts more than it helps. I'm on an excelerated quarter system (4-credit-hour classes), so that makes a negative difference. Quarters can be really hard for humanities classes and heavy-grading classes (though the sciences apparently love quarters). And my students are exhausted too, which makes things less fun for all of us.


Q:  The number of rejections tallied yesterday (9!) seems to indicate that DePaul really did get an unprecedented number of applications.  Do you think that's because the market is so bad otherwise, or because they didn't specify a preferred genre, or both?  Also, would any of the aforementioned 9 care to share their genres, so we can see if there was some kind of pattern at work here?

A: Poetry: 1

A: DePaul is not looking for a poet, those were basically rejected immediately. They are looking for a prose writer.

C: This is not true. At least two poets (using this wiki) were asked for additional materials.

Q: O.K., I didn't get a rejection email from DePaul yesterday, and I didn't get a request for more materials today. What do you suppose that could mean? (I did apply last year, so maybe they're just recycling my letters/writing samples and not telling me?)

A: Same here. I guess it means it takes the DePaul folks time to weed through the assured 300+ applications they got for an open-genre position in a big-city school. Patience. I'm trying to have patience.

A: I'm also in limbo, here. Limbo people, be sure to tell me if you get out of limbo--k?

C: (Moved down from above, concerning DePaul's request for more materials):

Q: My god, how many of these (dossier requests) did they send out? 30?

C: 7 seven dossier requests is nothing. 30 requests total is very possible. Remember: this year, school's have the pick of the litter, especially when there are  400+ applications (as someone else noted)!

A: 400 applications could easily lead to 50-60 dossier requests. In English lit positions, 60+ dossier requests is not at all unusual.

Q: Any info on Eastern Michigan? Anyone heard anything? Are they interviewing at MLA? How many people applied to this one?

A: I called the English Dept. The secretary said the will indeed be interviewing at MLA and should be emailing interviewees soon (if that helps anyone). Please Post if/when contacted. Thanks. A: As noted above, I received an interview request by email today, 12/7. They are interviewing at MLA on 12/28-29.

Q: For the North Central College folks who were asked for more materials, would it be possible to know what genres you are working in? Poetry - Fiction/Non

Q: Gettysburg asks for a young writer with significant magazine pubs. What about a young writer with a book under contract but not a full-time teaching position yet? Definitely apply.

C: For the Shepherd University interviewees: Please subtly inquire about how often you will be teaching in your area of expertise. I interviewed with them several years ago and lost interest in the job when the interviewer announced that he hadn't taught in his area of expertise for fifteen years. He went on to say that he'd been teaching a lot of composition. If you get the job, try to get them to state how often you will teach in your area of expertise in your contract.




General Questions about Job Market Preparedness and Job Materials Edit

Should campus visit thank you notes say anything in addition to 'thank you'? I feel like i expressed everything i needed to say during the interview process.

A: Sure, say a bit more than "thank you." Toot the university's horn. Give yourself one last brief pitch ("This is a college where I'd love to be"). If you can recall anything specific from a conversation with the person you're sending the note to, then include that (i.e., "I enjoyed discussing Moby Dick with you").

How old is too old for a recommendation letter? Should you approach your recommenders every year, every two years, every six months? I use a dossier service to send my materials out, in no small part because I hate bugging my letter writers about this stuff. But I don't want to send ancient letters out, either.

A: 5 years might be the accepted shelf life of a rec. letter. Always kindly ask your recommenders to update your letter each year (though, of course, give them the choice whether they want to or not; if they don't want to, then that's fine--a 2 or 3 year old letter is no big deal). But, work to have your letters updated especially if some big news has happened for you (a prize, a book publication).


How, aside from the use of this Wiki, can we protect ourselves from sham searches and inside candidates? Imagine getting three interviews and shelling out however much money to go to MLA only to discover much later, if ever, that all three were more or less promised to someone else? I know the process isn't big on fairness, but this possibility makes me angry.


C: You might scroll down to the "Plights and Gripes" section where folks have already been discussing this.

C: Or check out http://academicjobs.wikia.com/wiki/The_venting_page

I (the original asker of the question) am coming to the sad, cynical conclusion that the only way to protect yourself from sham searches and inside candidates is to be the inside candidate.


A: I disagree. I've been an inside candidate. It sucks. Sometimes it is a "sham" as you say, but in my case, the search was 100% genuine. They needed to open it all up to a TT line, advertise it widely, and see if somebody would better fit the bill. As such, the chair of my dept. told me explicitly to go back on the market as well. I had no partner situation already in the dept I was in. I was ready to leave. They were ready to re-hire whomever they thought would be the best person. It was no sham. Yes, they ended up hiring me for it--after doing MLA interviews, and the whole spiel--but it's not about "protecting" yourself from the insider. The insider may be as vulnerable as you, especially because there might be people in her/his dept. rooting against them.


My answer is just to educate yourself on who's in the department. Many schools have insiders, but many don't end up getting the job. Last year there was evidence for both. The great irony last year was that--since I had to go back on the market 100%--3 of the 4 positions I interviewed for eventually went to the insiders. My guess is that they applied for my position too. It's shakier than you think, if you think it's a conspiracy of insiders. Sometimes the department knows; sometimes they really genuinely don't. And sometimes--this happened last year--an insider is told they are the #1, and the job goes to some other hack with half the credentials and books, etc.


Now I agree, when you see that there is a partner in the dept, and they want six million things from you (depts, please just ask for a cv and letter!), then I would give that serious pause.


And I have no shame about getting the TT line I was an insider for. I interviewed at MLA twice for the same job; I did two campus interviews; two job talks; and did the meet-and-greet with everybody in my department and beyond not once but twice. It was brutal. All the while I was trying as hard as I could to get something else so it wouldn't end with me part-timing at the place I got a full time gig at, with some new colleague hired to teach all the classes I'd been hired to teach.


With all my friends saying, "isn't that your job?" "Should I apply for that?"

I told them: yes. Because I'm back on the market and who knows what they want, so you might as well. Hard as that was.

The shittiest thing, perhaps, is when your "friends" interview (and come to campus!) and don't drop you a line. Another whole layer of stress there. Yet another test of who your friends are. It's awkward to say the least.


Further: stop picking on the insiders like they're the golden children whose jobs have been rolled out for them like so much red carpet. I went to MLA and interviewed for a bloody lectureship and I got it after a friend turned it down. I was the #2 for a 1 year gig! For a full year, while that thing was approved to become a tenure track position, it was like I was on an interview. Try to settle into a dept. when you and everybody around you knows that your job is clicking away with the clock.


My other advice: TAKE a visiting gig. Apply to everything. You don't know if a visiting gig could turn into a TT line. Then you'll be what you despise, but at least you'll have a good shot at a job. And if it doesn't turn into a TT line, then you'll have more experience doing a broader range of things. But my friends who can't get jobs and have all the right things are too picky. You can't be that picky in a buyer's market. Unless you like adjuncting wherever you are. But don't complain about all the "insiders" like they're cut from different cloth--unless they're partnered to high powered folks in a dept.


With all that said, I do think there are actual sham searches: usually they involve a partner, they are advertised sparingly, and they list out the credentials of the partner in question in the job ad like the job is built for them and them alone. In effect, it is. Do your homework. Study the department pages. Know that it's possibly a sham going in; and if that's your only MLA interview, turn it down. If you have others, then you might as well do it--if for nothing less than experience.


A: I just want to say thank you for offering such a detailed, enlightening explanation of what that process can actually mean. Thanks for taking the time to do that!


Q: I'm preparing for my first campus interview (yey me!) and I have no idea what to expect other than a grueling couple of days talking to everyone on campus from the dean to the custodial staff. What questions should I ask the search committee chair that will help me prepare? How should I prepare? Any questions/situations I should anticipate? Other than the typical: don't drink, don't allude to ex-boyfriends, try not to pick nose during interviews...

A:' It's always a good bet to ask about students--where does the school draw its students from (you can get more specific if you already asked in the first interview), how many students in the major, what do graduates go on to study/accomplish, is it residential.

Also, it's good to develop syllabi for courses you haven't taught yet but would like to teach for this school--I retooled ones I'd already taught (so they would match course descriptions and numbering for school where I was interviewing), and then created ones for courses I'm qualified to teach and would like to teach for this school (but I made it clear which ones I had taught previously and which were proposals).

Are you teaching a class or giving a reading or lecture? In either situation, ask as many questions as you can. For a class, how many students, what type of room, is it in progress (and if so, can you see the syllabus) or is it put together just for your demo, will there be faculty (and how many), can you send readings ahead of time, etc. For a reading and/or lecture, ask how long they want you to speak (and stick to the time limit!), clarify if they want just a straight reading or if they also want a craft talk/lecture, who will be in attendance, and if there will be a Q&A.

If they don't have you meeting with students already, ask to do this--it will show your interest in their students.

FU: Thank you so much. I appreciate the thorough answer. If anyone else has any additional thoughts, I'm all ears.





Q: This is a question that friends and I were debating recently. Where, in your job materials, should you cite media coverage about you and your publication(s)? Some colleagues have a separate page in the CV just for blurbs and excerpts from reviews. Is this appropriate or does that come off as self-congratulatory? I guess this argues in favor of having your own website where links to reviews could be posted. But is that the only option (I mean, besides sending clippings home to Mom for the family scrapbook)?

A. I have served on a committee in the past and never saw that sort of thing. My guess is that you might excerpt a few choice words from a quote by noted famous reviewer in your cover letter as opposed to giving your committee one more thing to look at beyond what they've expressly requested. Q. OK, but are the "choice words" located in your CV or as a separate document that is included in the larger dossier? I agree that you should not provide SCs with more materials than requested. But I'm wondering if there is a natural or expected location for a review to be cited. Otherwise, what is (or should be) the professional value of a book review? A. As I stated, I think the place for it is your cover letter, preferably in the paragraph where you describe your book project. Something like, "so-and-so says xxx" about my book... If you could get it down to a line from the most well-known reviewer. I also think a website is a great place to refer committees. These are just my thoughts. I'm curious about how others would weigh in...



I would say that, unless you have a truly stellar review you want to include (NY Times, NYer, NY Review of Books), you might consider letting the work speak for itself. If you have a stellar review in a huge newspaper, just xerox it and include with the work sample. I would think blurbs or mentions would not warrant extra pages on the CV. If you end up an LA Times Best Book or something, put it on the CV.


'Q:  'Another question about thank-you letters, this time for after campus visits.  Do you usually send typed letters, or an email to the search chair?

A. I moved this question to a more prominent position so people can see it.  I think the tradition is to send a handwritten thank-you note on some kind of personal stationary (like a card-stock note with matching envelope) to the search chair.  You can e-mail anyone else you met on campus and with whom you had sustained contact during your visit.  What do other people say?


Q.  I'm not sure what section to put this question, so please feel free to move it.  I had a campus visit about a month ago, but I haven't heard a word since.  When, if ever, would it be appropriate for me to contact the hiring committee to ask about the status of the search? Any advice?

Try to sit tight and watch the wiki for information before you write the SC. Only write the SC, not the entire committee. I don't think there's a timeline for contacting the SC. It might be okay to politely ask about their timeline right now. However, I'd give it a few more weeks. It's prudent to watch and wait.



Hm. A month sounds like plenty of time to query! I would send a note and say that you were so engaged in the process, you forgot to ask about a timeline for a decision. That's what I would do. (And I have a tenure-track job. I have had two. The first took a day to get the offer. The second took a month.)


Q: So...how long does it take to hear back after MLA interviews?  Not that I'm waiting by the phone or anything...  I'm also aware that (like many a first date that will not be followed by a second) I may not receive any additional communication from the SC.  Thus, when is it time to say, "They're just not that into me?"

A. Answers will vary on this one. You should hear back for campus visits between now and February. Campus visits are usually in Jan and Feb. Most (but not all) SCs will send out rejection letters once the new hire has signed a contract and submitted it to the department. This means you may not hear of your rejection until March or later. On a positive note, a search may be extended if the department decides to bring more candidates to campus. This might happen if the first round of candidates declined job offers or didn't impress the department. Thus, on rare occasions, you may indeed get a late campus-visit call in mid-Feb or March. When should you give up? When you receive the rejection letter or once the job offer has been confirmed on this website. Keep applying to jobs in the mean time.

A. It seems like this is what the wiki is all about. If campus visits are noted above, I  would assume that in a very very rare case I would still be called in later, otherwise, it's time to think of other prospects.

A. Indeed, in rare cases you may get called in for a campus visit as a 4th candidate (if they initially brought three candidates to campus). I've seen this happen, though it doesn't bode well for the department. It may mean something happened--some in-fighting occurred--that forced a 4th candidate to come to campus.

A. To the above wise souls: thanks.  This information is very helpful.  I can't help feeling incredibly crestfallen all the same, though.  I felt that my interview for this one place went really well--my intuition was all green lights (I have had interviews where I knew it hadn't gone well, and I left those rooms feeling the complete opposite of how I felt after this one).  Plus, I really LIKED the members of the search committee and was excited to learn about the department.  I'm left with a sense of loss.  What to do?      

A. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up or spend a month second guessing yourself. This is such a tough market that it's quite likely your interview did indeed go well. But so did every other candidate's interview. We are all highly experienced and (quite frankly) overqualified for most of the positions we've applied to. The only thing you can do is keep applying to jobs, research alternative jobs, and call your PhD or MFA program to see if there are online teaching gigs that you can pick up. Keep your CV active--full of new publications, new teaching, conference presentations, and so on. Set goals for what you want next year's CV to look like and strive to meet those goals.

A. Also, remember,  you never know what constraints the department or the administration has put on the SC, if there's an inside candidate, politics, expectations of a hire of a certain race or gender, a professor looked at his 401K and decided it wasn't time to retire yet, etc.... In short-- it's most likely them, not you! You are totally date-able. Get yourself a new pair of Manolos to cheer yourself up.

A. Six years ago a mentor told me that you need at least five MLA interviews to get a job. In this market, few of us had five interviews. Put another way, each job had approximately 10 MLA interviewees. Only one person will get the job. So if you had two MLA interviews, then 20 people were interviewed for those two jobs, and only two people will actually get the jobs. That means 18 of us are *#&% out of luck. Some of the 18 will have one or two interviews elsewhere. So maybe two or three of them will get jobs. So I suspect that 2/3 of us will not get a job from MLA. There are still jobs that interview after MLA. I feel less miserable when I look at things this way. I'm a statistic, not a failure.



Q: I'm not sure this question belongs, but it seems like what I need is a PhD, not an MFA. Should I look for a PhD? Or stick with my plain MFA? For those who say PhD, how long would it take? If my MFA is in dramatic writing, should I get a fiction PhD? Where should I try for this, etc ... thanks...

I think you need to provide more info on yourself before this set of questions can be answered. For instance, if you have two books published, then you don't necessarily need a PhD. If you have no books, then the PhD buys you time to publish a book or two. In this market, everyone who got an MLA interview--barring one person on this wiki--had one or more books published or forthcoming. As for PhDs, most PhDs take about five years. And as for "dramatic writing," I'm not sure if that means your expertise is in drama or if your MFA program has an odd name for fiction writing. If you have a drama background, don't kid yourself into thinking you can leap to fiction. Stick with drama and develop your expertise.

A: To completely contradict the above - I had several MLA interviews, no books published and work in both drama and fiction which is a huge selling point in this job climate. I don't think you should work on a PhD as a job training program however. The job market for PhD's sucks. As many people have commented lately, unless you have family resources to make up for the costs of earning a PhD and the lost years of working, you'd do better to skip it. If you want to teach, look into teaching jobs that appreciate teaching without a PhD; if you want to write, look for jobs that give you the free time to write. Just my two cents.

Thanks for your answers, guys. I have to say, the idea that writers need a PhD worries me. Even the **close reading** argument doesn't work for me. I think MFAs know how to read, that they read well, and that they read as writers which is separate kind of discipline. To answer your question, I'm published and produced. Dramatic writing means just that, writing drama or comedy for stage or screen. But I also write fiction. Anyway, thanks for the advice. It's really helpful to know people's sentiments.

A. Okay...original answerer here. Now that I know your expertise is definitely drama, I'll retract the book pub requirement and agree with the second answerer. I was directing my answer toward the fiction market. A word of clarification on the PhD: Dual expetise is extremely wise in this market. When I cautioned against making the leap to fiction, I was speaking to how difficult it will be to get into a PhD program when you are competing against dozens upon dozens of highly skilled fiction MFAs who have been honing their skills. The field of drama may be less competitive than the fiction market, which has about 200 applicants per fiction job this year.

Yes, this is what makes sense to me as well. Thanks for the additional comment. Good luck everyone.

A. Only pursue a PhD if you want to develop your skills in scholarly writing, critical theory, and research. Even in creatively-focused PhD programs, those three items are on the menu. If you are mostly interested in increasing your own personal multipliers for the job market, then you need to think about whether you want to do that by developing a critical/scholarly area of expertise OR by branching out into another genre of creative writing. These seem to be the two possible paths. Administration is a third.

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Q: During a few MLA interviews, I got the impression that committees found me impressive for my age. I feel that those on either end of the spectrum in regard to age are slightly disadvantaged. But I'm wondering, what can I really do to prove my competence other than discuss my service, teaching, and writing?


C. I don't want to be the only person who answers the above question. Others please join in. I'm the original questioner from below. Age is indeed an issue. In one MLA interview, a questioner began a question with, "You look too young to be..." I'm forty! I also look forty. Suddenly I had to repress my anger and defend my experience and age. The questioner violated MLA rules, and I almost said as much. Anyway, frustration aside, being young can/will eventually be a plus because you are young and accomplished. Keep your experience close to the surface of conversations. During campus visits, ask about service and then discuss your service experience. In the interview where age was referenced, I talked about my fifteen years of teaching experience. What else could I say?

C: I think people at the older age of the spectrum are at a much greater disadvantage.  Younger candidates can talk about their experience and willingness to learn; what can older candidates do?  Promise not to die soon?  To work into our 80s?

C. Yes, but experience counts for something. If I were hiring someone, I'd hire the best instructor/writer, no matter the age. But that's me. Now, onto a slightly different subject: I must admit, at my first TT job I was young and "green" because I was not yet angry, cynical, or suspicious. I definitely conveyed a bit of suspicion during one of my MLA interviews, which (oddly) went over well during the interview. It makes me wonder if being a bit shrewd and reading between lines during interviews is not a bad thing but a healthy, wise/experienced stance.

C. I got the impression that in spite of my experience and talents, committees were just a bit reluctant to ask a mid-twenties candidate to run their creative writing program. In such a case, I think the older candidate would fare better...

C. To the above poster: They shouldn't have interviewed you at MLA if this is the case. All they had to do was look at your CV and experience. They must have really liked something about you to bring you to MLA. Perhaps they still do.

C. The more I think about this, the stranger the question becomes.  What are we coming to when a candidate who has completed a terminal degree in their field and achieved publication is still not accepted as being "fully professionalized?"  Would someone fresh out of their PhD also have to face this question?  It seems that one becomes "fully professionalized" when they get yonder job contract, no? 


Q. During MLA interviews, did anyone else get a question on how their MFA program prepared them for their first job and how the new hire should be "fully professionalized"? This question was hard to answer. I'm curious to hear what other questions were hard to respond to.

A. Didn't get this question, but I'll take a crack at it. Your MFA program should have exposed you to a wide variety of peer-generated text materials, sharpened your literacy in terms of existing texts (i.e., the "canon") and trained you in ways to think and speak cogently in a class setting. This would be your primary function as a faculty member in a creative writing department--to support the production of new works of literature by contributing your expertise as an established practitioner of the art. May sound like a curveball, but when you think about it--yes, you should have an answer to this question. What sounds weird to me is the bit about being "fully professionalized." Are they making a swipe at you because you're young, maybe, and they want you to prove/explain that your grad program did, indeed, prepare you to play with the big dogs?

C/Q: I also got a question like this about my PhD program. This question and a few other oddities at the end of the interview give me the impression that my age was a major issue in the decision-making. For the sake of this issue coming up again during campus interviews, what can I actually do about my age? (I will post this above, too.) Q. Has anyone had to give a creative writing job talk where you"talk" about our approaches to creative writing for 20 minutes. If you have, please share your thoughts on how to conduct such a job talk.


C: Was this posted by the same genius who said that only women and writers of color would be considered for George Mason (when they interviewed three white men, and hired a white man), and that it'd go to someone from Wash U (when no one from Washington University would ever get an interview w/ GM?) If so, keep it coming--we're all happy to see them self-select out of this process by merely opening their mouth, no?

Do share more of your wisdom about "gals": 

"A. Everyone is wearing the exact same uniform--the black-gray-navy-brown suit. If that's formal, then "yes," it's formal. Sometimes women over 50 can pull off a skirt, blouse, and scarf ensemble, especially if they are overweight (sorry to be so blunt about it). Now and then a gal will wear a black skirt instead of slacks, but even most of the women wear slacks. If you are relatively thin, then a suit is best. If you are not thin, there's a little bit of  leeway. Still, a suit is best, no matter what weight you are."

Q: I'm a New York secular Jew interviewing at 2 Christian Colleges/Universities (one Catholic, the other Jesuit). My work is often has Jewish themes and is full of graphic sex, so I'm assuming they are looking to add diversity to their roster (or they didn't read my writing sample). I want to know if I'll feel comfortable there as a "non-believer" (as our President would call me). Is it appropriate to ask, and if so, how should I phrase the question?

A: Well, there is a difference between a "Christian" and a "Catholic" school, but it sounds like you are interviewing at "Catholic" schools. I wouldn't bring it up in any formal setting, especially the initial interview. Generally those schools, though not all certainly, are rather "secular" and hire a diverse faculty. If a school has had issues with such things, you can usually discover that with a quick Google search. When you get to the campus visit stage, perhaps you can ask someone on the side or at dinner if you have real concerns. I'd think you could feel that out in your visit though. You may want to do a little more investigation of various school missions though - your question shows a lack of familiarity the traditions of the colleges (i.e. Jesuits are Catholics).

A: I am a secular Jew and have taught at three different Jesuit universities as an adjunct fiction lecturer. Each time, when being interviewed, I asked, "Are there any literary themes or genres that the university wants its instructors to avoid?" and each time I was told I had absolute freedom to teach just as I'd teach in a secular school. And in all cases, that turned out to be true. My sense, without knowing the specifics of the traditions, is that Jesuit education explicitly aspires to inclusivity and challenging received belief systems, i.e. that it is very close to a liberal arts ideal. It's worth asking the question in an interview - and I'd say if you get reassurance that it's not an issue, you can trust that.

Q. Here's an awkward situation: If you are interviewing at MLA with a university you interviewed with three years ago and many of the same profs will be present at the new MLA interview, should you announce you've met and interviewed with them before?

A. Good question, one I'm facing as well. I say by all means remind them ONLY if you've got three years more stuff to sell yourself with. How are you different and better and more ready for the job now?

A. Okay...what if you definitely remember two of the interviewers, but you aren't sure about the third person who was there last time. This was five years ago, not three. Last time there were three women. This time there are four women. So that third interviewer may indeed be the same third interviewer from before, but you just aren't sure.

A: I always go with "Nice to see you," which may mean, "Nice to see you again," or "Nice to meet you."

Q: Related to the campus interview question a few spots down--what is an example of a "curveball question" that people have been asked during interviews?  (Yes, I realize the definition of a curveball is that it's unexpected, but still.  I want examples).  Related to this: What are some strategies for hitting a curveball out of the park?

A. The dean may quiz you on your knowledge of the school, especially if it's a small private school. So be prepared for any questions that pertain to the school's value system. Many a dean will ask, "Why do you want to work here?" or "Why do you want to work at a liberal arts college?" Your response should fit the school's ethos. Most deans will ask what questions you have. Have some questions ready.  Proving that you've researched every aspect of the school, including obscure policies and the school's history, will win the dean over. If you fumble and sound like you're uncertain about the school's value system or how the school perceives itself, then you won't impress the dean. Others out there, please join in with your dean experiences. In some cases, the dean does all the talking. In other cases, the dean makes YOU do all the talking, which is awkward. In the case where the dean makes you do the talking, it's hard to know what you are supposed to say.

A. "How would you defend the teaching of creative writing to administrators or other departments that feel it doesn't belong in the university?"

Q: I don't have a business suit and there's no time to purchase one.  Can I wear slacks and a nice cardigan to my interview (I'm female)?  Any colors to avoid?

A. Do whatever you can to buy a suit. The search committee at MLA will DEFINITELY remark on your clothes if you wear a cardigan. You will look ill-prepared for the job market. Almost everyone at MLA wears black. If you have to wear slacks and a blazer, then buy a black or black-gray ensemble of some kind. Honestly, you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage without the suit. There will be department stores in downtown Phillie. You might have to get something there.

A: I was just about to ask the same question. IMHO, I think slacks and a sweater are fine. Others?

A: If you're the job candidate, then you have to dress like a job candidate. Suit. If not a suit, then a jacket/blazer.  Better to be overdressed or to be dressed nicer than the people who are interviewing you.

A: Yikes (original questioner here).  I'm not saying I'd roll up in a cosby sweater and jeans.  But seriously, long trousers, good shoes, and a decent blouse/cardigan are not good?  Thanks for the advice--this is my first visit to MLA.  Is it ultra-formal? 

A. Everyone is wearing the exact same uniform--the black-gray-navy-brown suit. If that's formal, then "yes," it's formal. Sometimes women over 50 can pull off a skirt, blouse, and scarf ensemble, especially if they are overweight (sorry to be so blunt about it). Now and then a gal will wear a black skirt instead of slacks, but even most of the women wear slacks. If you are relatively thin, then a suit is best. If you are not thin, there's a little bit of  leeway. Still, a suit is best, no matter what weight you are.

A: I second the above. This is my second year interviewing at MLA and every interviewee wears a suit, men and women. In fact, you can pick us out because we are the only people in suits. Slacks and a sweater would be very out of place and pretty much scream "grad student." You need to consider that you are investing in a lifelong job, so take an hour and go buy one.

A. Think of it as an interview with the CIA. You wouldn't wear a cardigan. Oh, and one more thing: You need a professional-looking black wool coat, or some other coat that is extremely professional looking. And has anyone mentioned a briefcase. You need a briefcase that looks professional. Again, black is preferred. If you wear make-up, keep your make-up understated.

A: As someone who has actually served on several search committees, I think all of this conformist formality is ridiculous -- ESPECIALLY in a creative field.  We have hired people who dressed neat but did not wear suits, or all black, or carry leather briefcases.  I can't necessarily give a cardigan-and-slacks combo the thumbs-up without seeing it (and the person wearing it), but we have hired men who came in wearing blazers, turtlenecks and corduroy slacks, women who interviewed in blazers, silk blouses and wool slacks, etc.  As long as you look neat and professional, we're only going to be paying attention to what you have to say.  Seriously.  Fomenting fashion hysteria, as above, is ludicrous and, frankly, shameful. 

A. The above comments were not meant to foment hysteria. The black suit, black coat, black briefcase advice is merely advice from the professors at the R1 school I attended.  I, for one, will be one of the conformist drones. Conformity got me my last job. Conformity will get me the next. My fear is that any other wardrobe might invite raised eyebrows and snide remarks.

C:  Black suit + black coat + black briefcase = undertaker.  Does that strategy -- doing exactly what everyone else does -- help you get published, too, conformo?  I rather doubt it.

A: In the ongoing wardrobe situation, I did a little straw poll. Nearly everyone said to wear a suit, but when I made a friend come over to help me try on clothes, she picked the slacks/cashmere sweater/knee high boots/jacket combo as being sophisticated and just artsy enough.

A: I think the key is to feel formal/professional, but still like you.  Seriously--this is not a business or a law interview.  I think allowing your clothing choices to reflect your personality a bit is just fine, within reason. They're looking for a writer, a colleague, and a dynamic teacher, not a droid.  Keep in mind these are *real people* on the search committees.  I personally wear a skirt suit that's not black or navy.  I feel like myself in it, rather than an MBA grad.

A: I think women in general have more leeway.  I've been horrified by men interviewing at MLA with sandals and socks on, old sweaters, dirty pants, unkempt hair.  I've never spotted a woman at MLA dressed horrifyingly for an interview (the only thing to watch for would be too much visible cleavage, I'd imagine, or too short of a skirt).  I've gotten 2 jobs (one visiting, one TT) with a black pantsuit (I usually wear black as an east coaster) and funky accessories (cool heels, red bag/briefcase).  There's no reason why a woman couldn't wear nice slacks, heels and a cute black cardigan with a funky necklace, scarf, or brooch.  Knee-high boots are definitely worn at MLA, but I also think they can look a little dominatrix for the more conservative (or southern) schools if they have heels.  Better to be more conservative than less, generally, unless you're sure the school is uber-casual.  You can get cheap nice pants/skirt suits at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc. for ~60$ on sale.  If you invest in one, see if you can get one with skirt and pants to the same suit.

C:  Report from the battlefield:  Most of the people loitering around in hotel lobbies while awaiting interviews are NOT wearing black suits; the black-suited minority DEFINITELY look much more anxious.

A: I wore a nice sweater and trousers to interviews a few years ago and got hired. I often wear a nice sweater and trousers to teach. I sometimes wear a skirt or dress. I never, ever wear a suit. As a member of a search committee, I can say that what you are wearing makes little difference-- unless it stands out as being weird, clearly inappropriate, or otherwise strange. Good taste in clothes can't hurt, but it doesn't really matter to me in the least if you have a black coat or briefcase! Wear what you'd wear to teach. Be comfortable, but not excessively casual. Look neat and professional above all. Personally, since faculty never wear suits where I teach, I find that suits (for both men and women) look too formal (but I don't mind if you wear a suit, unless it makes you stiff and formal too.) Same advice as above for campus visits.

A: I was on the market last year and wore black, but a pretty funky black jacket with a black-and-white striped silk shirt and also-black (but not same-suit) pants. Academic black, but with personality. I was talking to a member of the search committee (who has since become a good friend--I got the job), and she says she got very tired of black--that everyone was wearing black. When I told her I was also wearing black, she had definitely not noticed. Also, she said she looked for good and interesting shoes. Well I had really stupid, bad, grad-student shoes on. She didn't notice. I think what I'm trying to say is I looked like I had a personality, but I wasn't flamboyant about it. I have since heard stories from the search committee about people in tweed with actual pipes. Just don't do that. I have a teacher who swears by his brass glasses--says they got him his job. I just think you should find something that looks like you because people can detect not-you from a mile away. Something you think you look good in--something that feels like the best you. Nothing wild and crazy, but definitely something with a spark of personality.


Q:  Any tips for setting up a campus interview?  Questions to ask, etc.?

A. Study the school, the program, and the department, and ask questions that arise from your research. Be prepared for the weirdness of the visit with the dean. The dean may ask curveball questions, and you will need to impress him/her with how well you can hit his/her curveballs out of the ballpark while throwing some well-informed curveballs of your own. With the chair of the department, your questions will be pragmatic and focused on the department, your role in the department, the future of the department, etc.

A. Ask about the town/city/area--don't be afraid to ask basic questions about what it's like to live there. Remember that at this stage you're auditioning each other, so let them sell you on the whole package, so to speak. This also gives you a chance to talk about non-school-related things, which I think can be nice for everyone. If you get the job, some of these people are likely to be part of your social life, so try to strike a balance: don't be overly familiar, but as much as possible try to relate to them like colleagues.   


'Q. 'To nonfiction writers, how would you finesse the following situation: After doing a lot of research about a particular school, you suspect that they are teaching creative nonfiction as if it's merely feature writing or expository writing: A little research peppered into a personal narrative and viola!--creative nonfiction. This might become CNF some of the time but not all of the time. Artfulness and universality seem to be absent from course descriptions. Craft and skill are also absent from course descriptions. Likewise, the high standards of poetry and fiction are absent from course descriptions. Instead, non-English-majors are encouraged to write what they "call" creative nonfiction. When the "How do you teach creative nonfiction" question surfaces, you know there may be a conflict between how they are teaching it and how you teach and define CNF. How do you respond to "How do you teach creative nonfiction" when you suspect they've mis-defined the genre as something much simpler than it really is?

C: I wouldn't worry about what they are doing now--since they are planning to hire an expert in the field. Sounds like you have the opportunity to Wow them with some of your ideas--I'd tell them what you do that works. Also--personal experience has taught me that catering to what I think folks want to hear doesn't work as well for me as being honest--I received a post at a place that is essentially formal institution by talking about my emphasis on free verse--probably because I provided diversity--and a different way of teaching from what was already in place. There is something to be said for standing out as a wren among swans, or vice versa.


Q: On bringing a sample syllabus--I have one, but the way I taught the class back then is not the way I'd do it now.  Do I bring the syllabus as originally taught, or change it to reflect how I'd teach it today?  Alternatively: Can/should one bring a syllabus for a class they have not yet had the opportunity to teach?

A. Bring a syllabus that reflects your current teaching. Also, it can't hurt to bring a syllabus for a class you'd like to teach, particularly if the original job ad listed the class as something the department wanted; in such a scenario, however, it would be best to talk about the class in detail if/when they ask about it during the interview. Don't offer them the syllabus unless they ask for it at the end of the interview.

A: I disagree. Offer the syllabus. I'd change it to reflect how you'd teach the course today, but label it clearly as such.

Q: A search committee asked me to bring supporting documents to the interview but didn't specify what they wanted - any suggestions?

A. Everyone out there, please add to the following list. Bring (1) syllabi in your area of expertise, (2) exercises you use in class, (3) a few writing samples, just in case they ask for them, (4) student evaluations

Q: Has anyone out there made the jump from teaching secondary school to teaching at the university level? Or perhaps sat on a committee that included a person trying to move up, so to speak? How would I go about this? I have one MLA interview scheduled (I've applied for two jobs), and I'm starting to sweat. Lest I get dismissed out of hand, I do hold an MFA, have won a significant award, and have published gobs of work (I'm a playwright with 9 full-length plays, 21 one-acts, and 3 collections of 10 minute plays published). I have eight years of teaching experience in my field, but not at the university level.

A:  Be prepared to talk about what experience you have (teaching, writing) that can translate to the uni classroom, but don't necessarily expect this to come up.  How would you adapt (so and so) for a graduate seminar?  etc.  Most likely, the questions will anticipate that you're ready and able to teach in a uni--and for a preliminary interview, this stuff won't necessarily come up.  One interview with only two applications is great odds:  be confident.  The committee has already seen something they like, so don't worry about how they'd talk themselves out of your candidacy at this point. 

A: I've been in this situation.  Having taught secondary school means that you have a rich background--and field experience--in teaching methodologies.  Don't know what your formal education may have been, but if you have an MAT or even if you just took a few grad-level courses for pub school certification, you will have studied and practiced how to teach reading and writing.  Talk about which teaching practices have been most effective for you in the classroom and how you might apply some of them at this new post.  The SC already knows that you've been teaching outside the uni environment, so don't freak out so much about that fact.  For the past 8 years, you've been providing students with the tools to think and write critically within a field of humanistic inquiry.  And you've been writing and publishing your own work, too, which proves that you can definitely balance work/writing responsibilities.  Damn, now I'm getting envious!        

Q: This year, more than ever, potential employers are requesting that cover letters and CVs, etc., be submitted online. At the college I am teaching at, the secretary told me that they had no letterhead available, for instance, in Word, so I made what I think is a crucial mistake and submitted my online cover letters this year without letterhead. Of course, in my cover letters, I state almost right away where I am teaching, BUT -- I've just realized I should have probably scanned each and every application so that I could have sent the applications on letterhead. Would any of you agree with this? Disagree?

A. For what it's worth, I don't think they expect letterhead for the online subs. Your address at the top of the letter should show where you teach. If you omitted this address because you usually use letterhead, well, that's bad but may not be that big of a deal. Also, state in your cover letter where your current teaching gig is. I could be wrong about this, but I don't think so. Others please chime in.

A: Hold up (wait a minute): Why would you apply for a new job on letterhead from an institution that you're looking to leave?  It seems like you would only use letterhead if you were writing in an official capacity as a faculty member from your school, i.e., on official business on behalf of the institution.  A job search doesn't really fit into that logic.  But am I off base?  I've never used letterhead for any of my searches.

A. When I was a grad student, I was told to use the English Dept. letterhead by the professors in the department. Maybe we are over-thinking this. Last time I was on a search committee, I don't recall looking at the letterhead at all.

A. I asked the question and now I realize I've been confusing things further. Yes, I was also told to use the English dep't letter head when I was a grad student -- and now that I've got a VAP, I simply thought to use their letterhead. But I see the possible lack of logic here. Is it best, then, to simply have your address at the top? And if so, I've always used my home address -- is that right? Thanks, all, for guidance!

A: I currently have a TT job and have, when I've been affiliated with an institution (even as a VAP or graduate student), sent out my cover letters on their letterhead.  It does seem counter-intuitive, but I do think letters on letterhead look snazzier, from the search committee perspective (I've sat on one before).  It makes the candidate 'feel' more official, affiliated, slightly less desperate somehow, etc.  This could just be me, I realize.  Most schools have a template you can download, or at least a seal you can download to make your own letterhead if the dept won't give you actual paper.  With the electronic uploads though, I wouldn't worry about it.  Most of the programs spit the letters into some other format anyway, so unless you upload a pdf, the formatting/header with the school seal and other stuff gets lost anyway.  I actually like that part of electronic apps--it levels the playing field aesthetically.

A: You should use company letterhead only when you're writing on company business. Applying for a job at another company is NOT company business. I have a TT job, and would not dream of using university letterhead for a job application at another institution. (The search committee can easily check I'm on the faculty, as claimed, via my current university's web site.) Write a letter with your home address at the top. And make sure it's not hotel paper stolen from a place you stayed last summer!


Q: Can the person a a couple spots down who talked about "receiving grooming in the area of cover letters" please elaborate?  What was problematic about your old letter, and what did you change/improve in the new version?  Any other cover letter-related thoughts also welcome. 

A: Check all dead authors' names for spelling again even after you, your office mate, and the job advisor have proofed the letter. I'm still ashamed.

A. The above comment is from someone else. As for the "problematic old letter," there was no "old letter." I'd never written an academic cover letter before. I was in a PhD program where three Associate Professors taught us how to write cover letters, how to interview, and how to write teaching philosophies. As for the cover letters, here's some advice cobbled from the profs, from being on search committees, and from experience at MLA. I apologize in advance if this advice is old news for many people: (1) Your letter should not exceed two pages, single-spaced. If it exceeds two pages, you are doing something wrong; (2)  You should write a paragraph for every significant thing listed in the job ad. If the job is looking for someone to teach fiction workshops, comp, and literature, then write a paragraph for each; and (3) Describe your teaching of fiction/poetry/creative nonfiction as specifically and as coherently as possible; rewrite this paragraph until it's perfect. This last point is extremely important. Many writers describe their teaching poorly. That is, they say the same old thing everyone else says: I teach in a workshop format; I encourage students to participate. If you can effectively describe how you teach, why it's effective, and how it's different from other workshop instructors, then you'll get brownie points.  Sorry, my advice doesn't seem very helpful. If I could workshop a cover letter--which we did for several weeks with the profs--then I could illuminate problems much more clearly. The real grooming occurred in those cover-letter workshops, which can't be replicated here.

C: I'm not the person who asked the question--but this is actually a very concrete and helpful response. Thank you!

Q: Thank you notes or no? (I did mean after MLA.)

A: Yes, after any interview (in-person MLA and phone interviews).

Q. Really? You should send thank you notes after MLA interviews? A few years this wasn't the case, but things may have changed. Definitely send them after campus visits. Please clarify if notes should be sent after MLA interviews. 

A: Yes--after MLA send thank you emails, since many folks won't return to campus for weeks during break.  You can just email the committee chair and ask them to relay your thanks to everyone else, send a group TY email, or send individual emails.  With MLA there are often last minute substitutions as to who's actually in the room with you, so usually I'll just send an email to the chair.  After a campus visit, I do emails and handwritten notes.  Also, after sitting on my first search committee a few years ago I discovered a key to phone interviews (which are happening a lot this year, and tend to be particularly awkward):  a few of the candidates who got a bit tongue-tied during the actual interview or didn't get to elaborate on something they said sent us (the search committee) follow-up emails elaborating on some of their answers.  This was actually great and really strengthened their candidacies.  I highly recommend this tactic if you feel like you need to follow up a bit on a less than excellent phone interview.  Keep in mind too, that at some schools (like ours) we were required to ask all the candidates (in the interest of fairness) exactly the same questions, so if the questions sound canned at either an MLA interview or phone interview, it doesn't mean the committee isn't interested in you--only that they're working under certain constraints.

C. Thanks! That clarification helped a lot.

Q: This question was asked above in one of the poetry sections. Could I ask it again for fiction or open genre committee members? As follows: Folks who have served on search committees: Any idea of a typical number of aps. to weed down to for a) dossier requests and b) initial interviews?

A. Every year the batch of applicants is so different that the numbers will be different. For instance, four years ago I was on a fiction search committee that received 60 applications for a 3/3 TT position at the level of associate professor. Only 11 applicants were truly qualified. All of the qualified applicants had at least one book and at least six years of teaching experience. All 11 received dossier requests. This year, however, many search committees may dump any candidate who doesn't have two books, particularly for a 2/2 job.  So there may be 150 applicants and only 25 with two books and teaching experience. Those 25 will get dossier requests. In my experience, committees over-value books over individual publications. They'll pass up a great candidate with no book but excellent writing samples and numerous journal publications and, instead, interview the mediocre writer with two mediocre books.

C: And God help you if what you write/create doesn't lend itself to or result in book publication.

C: Take nothing for granted. While I generally agree with the posts above and below about books trumping degrees etc, I have three books out- two with major NYC house, one with a respectable minor- and a new one forthcoming in 2010. So far, no interview or doc requests. On the other hand, I have an MFA, not a PhD, and only 3.5 years teaching exp. at relatively weird and/or obscure schools.

C. To the above poster with 3 books, you should have several interview requests with your credentials. For what it's worth, here's what may be going wrong: (1) You haven't applied to enough jobs. With three books you should get interviews from 25% of the jobs you apply to, but in this market your odds may be lower, especially if your CV is thin on teaching and awards; (2) You may not be writing an academic cover letter. I received grooming in the area of cover letters, and it helped immensely. I had 15 interviews the last time I was at MLA, and I attribute those interviews to my cover letter; (3) Your teaching experience may be in something other the creative writing. I don't think you have much of a shot if your three years of teaching are in, say, composition. Too many of us have several years of creative writing teaching under out belts; and (4) Your books are genre novels. Your books should be literary fiction, commercial fiction with a literary influence, or highly praised commercial fiction. If your books are nonfiction, they should have literary merit. That said, I hope you get an interview. With three books, you certainly deserve it.

C: Why does the above poster "deserve" anything? Isn't the person applying to be a professor not an author? Perhaps they are a terrible teacher or incompetent at academic service? Publications of books is not the only thing that college or universities consider when hiring, nor should it be. Some of my best teachers have been rarely published and certainly the worst professor I had was the most widely published and famous.

C. Agreed. Delete "deserved" and change to some other encouraging word. Yes, teaching may be an issue. Service, however, is rarely discussed in cover letters or interviews, though it may get mentioned in reference letters, which brings me to one more point: (5) The above poster may have a toxic reference letter in his/her dossier.

A: Sorry, I neglected to include some useful info above in interest of keeping it brief. I have a fair idea as to what my CV negatives are, some of them, but had hoped my plus column would tip the balance. I'd be glad to hear what folks on the board think, though. My teaching experience is solid: mostly MFA and undergrad fiction workshops but also two undergrad contemporary Lit classes, a film studies class, and two comp classes. Student evals are good, my classes are always full. All three schools have been off the beaten path, comparable to W. Wilson and New College; current position is non-TT at unnamed art school one tier below RISD, teaching mix of c.w. and Lit. My books have done well but not spectacularly so. I've won a couple of minor awards. None of my books are out of print, at least, and have so far pub'd in seven languages. However. They are generally classified as Literary Noir- ding ding ding- pub speak for mid-list crime fiction not written by a butcher. Red flag number one, right? Most bookstores stock them in general fiction, but I've seen them segregated into the Mystery area more than once. I know some committees balk at the least whiff of genre, but come on.. how bad is it? Do I stink, people? I mean, it's not like I'm churning out soft-core sci-fi here. My books have strong reviews, jackets carry nice blurbs from superstar names, dossier has non-toxic even glowing letters from refs who are not my mom, not even former professors but actual writers currently publishing and holding tenured jobs. Potential red flag number two is bad math, not sure how bad it is. My degree is ten years old but I have only three years teaching experience, or 3.5, somewhat scattered apart. I had two one-semester VAP jobs at opposite ends of the country, soon after first book and fresh out of grad school. This was 2000-'01 or so. Common wisdom at the time held that tenure system was on the way out. I wasn't fond of migrating every nine months, so I went to work as a newspaper editor. Published two more books and a dozen short stories on the side, got tired of trying not to piss off advertisers and went back to teaching in '07.. at an art school. So.. what's the prognosis? How bad are those red flags? Am I crazy, or is my plus column strong enough? In this market, I'm treating that art school job very gently, as if it were a tiny blue robin's egg I found on the sidewalk. The contract is renewable, at least, and I'm teaching in my area of specialty. Sorry for the overly long post. Killed some time, anyway. I haven't checked my email in almost an hour. Thanks for the responses and support, by the way. Much appreciated.

A. I suspected you were a genre writer when you said you had three books and no interviews. Once you've been labeled as "noir," then a search committee will say, "Well this person should be teaching genre fiction, not our workshops." They can be pretty snooty that way. Your best shot is at jobs that have a genre fiction component. You are a long shot for any other job teaching fiction UNLESS they want a genre writer and just haven't listed it. If, however, your writing samples are strong and have literary merit, then you might get a "pass" from a few search committees, particularly a committee with a noir-lover on it. (There are many noir-lovers in English departments). The skimpy teaching and the long time away from teaching aren't great, but they are not deadly. I think if you had ten years of teaching, you'd be in much better shape right now; you'd have at least one interview, maybe more. That said, here's what you should do: (1) In your cover letters, start highlighting how you teach fiction with an emphasis on how you teach "literary" forms of fiction.Drop the names of the short-story authors you teach. Prove that you can teach literary fiction in the workshop. Remove any content from your letter than mentions "noir" unless a job asks for a genre writer; (2) Get the three writers of your letters of reference to highlight the literary merits of your writing and play down (or not even mention) the genre aspects of your writing. Get several of them to observe your teaching so they can comment on how well you teach. Letters from writers are worthless if they don't mention your teaching and personality. In fact, a letter that exclusively praises your writing is a red flag because committees will think something must be wrong with your personality (i.e., you're crazy) or teaching if these aren't mentioned; (3) Start publishing in literary journals! I think a genre writer can indeed get a TT job if you have numerous journal publications that prove you can do more than write noir. (4) Get a gig with a low-residency program if you don't already have such a gig. This way you can continue teaching, cultivate relationships, meet more people, and prove to snooty search  committees that you can teach. By the way, the "off the beaten path" schools don't matter. No one will look at a brilliant CV and excellent writing samples and say, "Awe shucks, he has ten years of teaching at New College. Guess we can't hire him." What's more important is getting experience teaching graduate students so that you can list it on your CV and cover letter. Hence, get a gig with a low-res program to prove you can teach grad students. Good luck! Don't give up. The last job I left wanted someone to teach genre writing, and I think the market for genre writers is growing.

C: You might want to repost your question under the appropriate subject in the Chronicle Forum. The answers from very experienced chairs and search committee members have been very helpful and straightforward.

A: Thanks for the insight and suggestions. I had downplayed the noir problem in my head, and was sure that the time away from teaching was the worst of my sins. I think my letters of rec are good, at least. The one good thing about being ten years removed from grad school, two of my recommenders are former classmates, the other is a former student. So they have all seen me in a classroom, and have firsthand knowledge of my personality, strengths etc. In my cover letter and CV, I instinctively avoided the word noir, partly because I suspected it would be a flag, partly because I don't think of myself that way. Kind of the way friends of mine who have been tagged as feminist writers or language poets don't always identify as such. Not that I think I can keep it secret for long. A google search of my name brings back the word noir in the top 20 results. But my teaching statement would likely benefit from a stiffer academic tone, and I'm sure I failed to directly address my ability to teach "literary fiction," though I find myself mildly disgusted that I should have to do so. Does anyone honestly think George Pelecanos could look at a student's flawed "literary short story," or poorly written poem, for that matter, and NOT be able to tell you what's wrong with it?

A. Sorry to say this, but I feel much better about a fiction workshop in the hands of a literary fiction writer than a genre writer. Also, I would trust a genre workshop in the hands of a genre writer. I may be alone in such snobbery, but I don't think I am.

A: I also think those letters of recommendation may not be doing you much good. Former classmates and students don't have with a committee the clout or merit that colleagues and mentors do. I.e. tenured faculty. People on search committees want, after all, to find future colleagues. Maybe try to get some faculty members or your department chair to sit in on your classes to get an idea of how well you teach, and then to cover this and other professional accolades in recommendation letters. Also: they'll probably have served on job committees before, and will recall the letters that best served the candidates who were offered the position.

C. I concur with the above letter of recommendation comments. Any deviation from the norm when it comes to references letters is a red flag. Former classmates and students--definitely a deviation from the norm. Get letters from current colleagues in creative writing, preferably colleagues with national reputations. The best reference letters I've ever seen were written by fairly famous poets. Sadly, those letters were lovely lies, but nice letters nonetheless.

C: Thanks for the comments. To clarify, my former classmates are tenured faculty at respected writing programs; each has three or more books published and they are both fairly well known within the academic literary crowd. Surely they qualify as respectable colleagues. Meanwhile, my former student is a TT assistant prof at a good school with two books pub'd; wouldn't his letter be of more use than generic student evals? I coud have supplied letters from famous authors who know my work but but barely know me personally (perfect examples of the lovely lies type letters) but I tend to think most SCs are not suckered by these.

C. Yes, committees love to be suckered. If they see a big name and a glowing letter, they get starry eyed. They don't stop to reflect that the author of the letter is a professional writer by trade. None of this matters, however. Back to your letters. With your clarification about the letter authors, I think your letters will be "okay" but not "great." Your letters still aren't from colleagues who have worked alongside you when you were a VAP. You need more letters from current colleagues. A combo of personal references and colleague references would be much stronger than what you currently have.

C. One more thing (Boris, I presume): You OWN this job: Seton Hill (HighereEd) "genre novelist." Should be a perfect fit.  

A: Only my wife calls me Boris. But thanks, that Seton Hill posting had slipped my radar. Their job description does call for an MFA with strong pubs specializing in crime fiction. Deadline hasn't passed yet and job starts in June '10. I guess it's not too late for one more app, after all.

C. Good! Good! Go for it!


Q: Just a curiosity question - as a fiction writer, it is certainly difficult to get a book contract, but there seem to be a million opportunities for poetry chapbook publications. Do poetry chapbooks "count" the same way as "books"? Or is there some other kind of math going on?

A:  The math is books from nationally recognized presses count for more than chapbooks.  If you're a performance poet, the criteria is different. 

A: Nothing counts as much as a book from a major NY press with strong reviews and blurbs. Many poetry chapbooks indicate nothing more than that this person wrote ten poems. A lot of 'chapbooks' committees see are basically five sheets of folded paper with a heavier stock cover, and the name of some ad-hoc press; i.e., they're not different than self-publishing.

A: If you are silly enough to let a super small / unknown publisher print a chapbook of poems, and perhaps esp without an ISBN, then you are in trouble. However, countless profs tell me two reputable chap pubs = 1 reputable full length po pub. And FYI a chap, in most people's minds, is about 20-30 pages, which means about 15-25 poems. Chaps are also NOT easy to get published--it is not like going down to Kinkos and saddle stapling away the evening, i.e. there is an editorial process. Good grief! Plenty of reputable chap presses out there publishing real, oh, mini books of poems (and they are books, not "poems I wrote last month and slopped together like I did in highschool." However, it's also fair to say that if you have 2+ chaps and no book, someone might wonder why you don't have a book. Still, chaps seem perfectly viable to me, esp given the publishing climate for poetry. What happens when chaps go online, like many journals? Double doom for some of you? It might happen.

Q: Not sure if this should go in the 'no more white boys' conversation below. Pretty sure it doesn't qualify as a req for more documents. Just wondering if anyone else received a request from Rhodes to fill out an ethnicity/gender disclosure postcard? Of course this sort of thing is part of standard drill with online app systems, so all in all the card was not so strange, but I was surprised to see a box asking for the applicant's age- not sure that's exactly legal.

C: Asking age is definitely not legal. But, age discrimination laws only work in favor for older individuals. If Rhodes wants a more advanced person for this position, then they might use age to weed out applicants who are "too young."

C: The Rhodes form is for statistical purposes and it clearly states that your name and the information collected is not revealed to the search committee. I don't know if this makes a difference for the legality of it all. But it is worth noting that the search committee is not supposed to see the forms about your race, ehtnicity and veteran status either.

Q: This is a very general question about job searches. Do you personally submit an application to place that you feel is basically never going to hire you, assuming that the job announcement does not explicitly exclude you or is rather vague? (For example, the Bennington job.)

A: You're going to get a lot of different responses to this. Most people will say (as they have here on this wiki)--apply to everything. I do not apply to positions where the department is looking for a specific someone who is definitely not me (for example, jobs that ask for a specialization in some fancy new genre, such as "digital arts"--as the Eastern Michigan job ad asks for). But, positions with "vague" job ads--you should certainly apply to.

A: Even if the job is a long shot, at best, you might get an MLA interview, and then you get some interview practice.

A: Do it. I applied to a large city job last year that I knew I wouldn't get and they sent me a letter saying they'd hang onto my CV in case anything came up. I thought that letters like that were always BS, but they actually asked me to pick up a creative writing class this coming semester. I happen to live in the same city, though, which apparently was a requirement for their informal search.

A: I'll apply for such jobs (impossible ones) only if doing so costs me nothing but postage and if it's relatively easy to just adapt my standard cover letter to echo their requirements. I won't send them books, transcripts, rec letters, etc in the first round.

Q: University of Mississippi asks for student evaluations. Does anyone know what form those should take?  A list of pertinent quotes? Copies of a certain number of the complete evaluations (filled out on the last day of class by students anxious to go to lunch)?

A: I typed up a breakdown of average scores for various criteria (part of my department's evaluation method), followed by a list of pertinent quotes.

A: I've been given two different responses: one was to send all of the evaluations from a class or two (at my school, on the cover page it states how many evaluations are in the packet, so the committee would know you are sending all of them); the other was to send ten individual student evals from a variety of classes, all positive, but with lots of specific language about your teaching (in other words, pick the evals that are detailed and positive). I was a grad representative for a CNF hiring committee recently and the top candidate had sent evals from all of the students in two or three particular courses with specific lines (detailed and positive) highlighted.

Q: (Follow up) My evals are all very good, but tend to be of the "circle the number" kind rather than the "write pithy lines that will get your professor hired in the future" kind. I also have a set from a workshop I taught outside of academia ( Grub Street) which are more articulate, but not necessarily representative of the population I'd be hired to teach. Thoughts? 

A: Send both kinds of evals--the standardized evals will give one kind of info and the handwritten evals will give another. Maybe one class-ful of each?


Q: I got a request for a dossier and I'm fretting about what all that entails, since they don't specify. I've heard wildly conflicting opinions.

A: If they don't specify that they want a sample syllabus, teaching philosophy, transcripts, etc. then I just have the dossier service send letters.

Q: Isn't that a little bare-bones?  I had understood that when asked for a dossier, you should submit all of the above, plus copies of student evaluations.  What is the protocol here?   

A: No. Generally speaking, when they ask for a dossier, they mean letters and perhaps transcripts. If they want things like syllabi, teaching philosophy and evaluations, they ask for them.

A: Never send evals, syllabi, sample lessons, reviews & essays, teaching statement until specifically asked. "Dossier" means recs &/or transcripts. It's the rare school that wants to see all these things from all 300-ish applicants, and over-zealous sending can get a person ruled out immediately; it smacks of a) poor instruction reading & b) desperation. Would that AWP would regularize the process so we weren't all left muddling through. Somebody create a panel!

A: You can always ask the person who requested the dossier what he or she would like included in it, just to be sure.

Q: I already submitted a 10 pg. writing sample electronically as part of an application, but now they want additional materials from me, including a 25 pg. writing sample. So should I submit the same work but add to it, or should I submit something else entirely, or...?

A: I'd send your best work. Period.

A:  Agreed, but remember:  Published always trumps non-published.  If you have 25 pages of published work, send that.  Only send not-yet published work as a last-last resort.


Q: When a writing sample is requested, is it a good or bad idea to submit a sample of poems photocopied from the magazines in which they appear?

A: Since photocopied work tends to look sloppy (tough to line it up on the page)--I'd suggest a clean set of poems. Also--they have your CV so they should be able to tell what's published where without the reminder. That's just a common sense answer--perhaps folks who have actually served on committees might disagree?

A: I've been told by a few people that it's better to send (photo)copies of the published work. If you can scan the magazine page to PDF it can often end up crisper, and that way you'll have electronic versions you can readily email/upload.

A: For what it's worth, I usually send a clean set of poems, and if they've appeared in magazines I've indicated the info in the footer, as I don't expect committee members to start trying to match it to my CV.  So many journals are so oddly shaped that I think it would be quite difficult to make it look neat--esp. if you have work in tabloid journals like APR, or larger sized journals like The Southern Review or Ninth Letter.  If they're from your book though, that would be easy to photocopy neatly (and you could include a color front and back cover and acknowledgments page--I've done that before too).

A: This may be a case where the protocol is genred. For poets, it's often considered tacky to photocopy from magazines. Make the majority of your writing sample recently published material, and trust that they can match the poems to the top of your Vita's pub list.



Q: I have a chapbook with multiple stories coming out. How do I present this on my CV? It isn't a book obviously, but it isn't a journal either. Make a new category? (Every bit helps, right?)

A: Do you have your CV divided into types of publication? Mine just has "publications" as a general category--I include both books and individual poems in journals. (And I got a TT job, if that makes any difference...)

Q: I've heard that it's better to find out who's chairing the search committee, and address the cover letter to that person (instead of "To The Search Committee.") What's the best way to find out who is the chair? Or is this even necessary? And if not, what's the best version of "To The Search Committee" to use? Does any of this matter?

A: I'm sure that it's a good idea to find the SC chair's name, but I think "To the Search Committee" is a perfectly reasonable way to begin a letter, and in the long run this particular detail is not going to make a difference in how the committee evaluates your application.

A:  It seems to me that if they don't list a specific "send to" name in the posting, then they don't want you to know who the SC Chair is, and thus wouldn't want you to address your letter to said person, even if you could suss out who it was.

A:  Having served on search committees in fiction I can assure you that you should not use the chair's name if the listing states to send your letter & materials to "Search Committee." This is not what you were asked to do; why not do as asked in this case? The idea of asking for things to be addressed to the committee generally is to communicate to you that this letter will be screened by a committee of equals. The search chair is usually acting primarily as the moderator of the other committee members and, even more so, as a liaison to the rest of the department and with candidates, and generally has no more voting power. Not even always seniority. You do not know the relationship of the search chair to the other committee members and listing her/his name on the letter might alienate someone else on the committee who has a lot invested in the search, someone who, say, doesn't like the search chair (seriously). All committee members are screening your letter. (At a later time, when you are contacted, or if you feel like contacting the search chair independently of your letter, sure, use her or his name.)


Q: Since the search committee usually involves English Department people who aren't creative writers, do any experienced people have suggestions for how applicants should frame themselves in their application letter? In my own case, I'm someone who will be pursuing creative and scholarly projects both (I have both a creative MFA and a lit crit PhD) -- should I emphasize this in the letter, or would this be repellent in some way?

A:  Tread carefully with this.  The more you can find out about a school's listing, program, and search committee, the better off you'll be.  You shouldn't hide your accomplishments--definitely let people know about both--but if you're applying to teach, say, in an MFA program where it's mostly MFA writers, emphasize your creative training and accomplishments in the bulk of the letter.  If you're applying to teach in a CW PhD program you might emphasize both equally (CW and lit crit); ditto for an undergrad program where you'll be expected to wear many hats and teach lit.  That being said, you'd ostensibly want to be somewhere anyway where you can do both (right?), so if they're put off by your lit crit training, would you really want to work there long-term?


Q: Does anyone know if any of these non-fiction openings would be congenial to applicants whose major emphasis is a different genre, but who also have non-fiction publications?

A:  It totally depends on the school and the situation for the particular job.  I say apply and let them turn you down.  Don't eliminate yourself as a candidate for them.  I currently have a TT-job and the listing was for someone working in two genres.  I only work in one.  I got the job anyway, and it turns out the Dean had tried to make the department squish two searches into one position.  The thing I learned from this (and the last job search committee that I sat on) was that often the program/department/faculty have less say over how the ad is worded then they might like (which might not be the case in this situation, but who knows what the committee will be amenable to; anecdotally, schools seem to have a tough time finding CNF hires, so why not toss your hat in the ring if you have some solid pubs in CNF?).

A:  While I agree that you might as well apply -- it doesn't cost you anything -- I can say, having served on several search committees at a couple of different institutions, that if someone is advertising for a nonfiction job, they want a nonfiction writer, not a fiction writer with a few nonfiction publications.  Conversely, if they're advertising for a fiction job, they don't want someone whose primary emphasis is nonfiction but who might have a few fiction pubs.  So yes, you can apply for such a job, and you might as well if you can spare the postage, but rest assured, you will not get it -- especially not in this market.  I have no idea what this "anecdotal" evidence is, but I can tell you that the last time we ran a nonfiction search, we literally received hundreds of applications.  (Haven't you noticed that there are far fewer nonfiction openings these days than fiction or poetry?)  Almost all of them were from people who primarily wrote nonfiction; the few exceptions quickly found their way to the "no" pile.  Sorry, but that's the way it is.  


Q: This is really my first full-year on the market.I half-heartedly tried last year but all eight positions I applied to were canceled due to budget cuts.I graduated from an MFA program in 2007 with a focus on creative nonfiction.I’ve built some lit journal publications, including a book scheduled to come out next summer from a major national press.Though I was a TA in grad school and a managing editor on the program's magazine, the market was so bad that I had to take a 9-5 office job that’s only loosely tied to education.  I’m worried that the gap and my time out of the classroom will hurt.And I’m seriously wondering if a PhD is the way to go, which my heart isn't into—a creative writing doctorate even though I have a book?A lit doctorate heavy on theory?Perhaps I should look for a visiting gig?I’ve always been told the work overshadows the degree in creative writing, but a good number of openings are asking for PhDs now.I’m careful not to get my hopes up, and I’m realistic about all that’s involved with a teaching position and of course how competitive things are, but despite all that, I really love the classroom and academia.Again, I'm young and inexperienced in this.I guess I don’t have a true question, but any advice for someone in my position, or the many others like us?

A:  I think, if you're mobile, visiting gigs are perfect for someone in your position.  I got a fancy year-long visiting gig at a place that (at the time) would never have hired me TT, and it meant that the next year, I got way more interviews since I had the 'fancy' school on my c.v. and an extra year of teaching.  I'm convinced that this also helped me get my current (TT) job.  Also, any other teaching experience you can get in the meantime will help you.  Can you teach a local workshop once a week in the evenings at a non-profit center or as an adjunct?  I'd be reluctant, if I were on a hiring committee, to hire someone who hadn't logged at least some hours in the classroom as the instructor of record, with good student reviews.  Also, what about post-MFA fellowships--have you looked into these (like the GWU, Colgate, UNC Chapel Hill, and Louisville situations)?  These switch genres and do rotate through CNF).  Congrats on the book!!  Addendum:  Poster #3 makes excellent points too!

A: Try to avoid investing more time in a PhD at all costs. The market can't sustain those already graduated and you will spend 5-8 years spending money, working on material you don't care much about, and not increasing your real skills. If you can't live without teaching, look for other outlets. Humanities PhD's are a vestigal organ, and very few of us will ever make a living off the years we could have spent writing instead. (But I'm not cynical at all.)

A: The first answer here, seems to me spot-on. But I'm not so jaded on the Ph.D.. Here's why: 1) It couldl double your possibilities on the market (many schools still will not look at MFAs) 2)  If you choose a top-five program then you may very well be in a place where you are one of several writers who had books published with good presses before applying. 3) It would give you time to write a second book (and 2 books seems scarily the norm for the current competition) 4) I've known plenty of folks to breeze through in 1 1/2 to 3 years (hell, but possible). 4) You may have the opportunity to teach a better variety of courses in your field in a Ph.D. program (particularly if you already have a book). 5) It can't make your writing or teaching worse to read a lot of great literature in a craft-oriented program. 6) Theory? What's that? Ph.D.s in top writing-programs pretty much scorn theory. Al of which is to say--I view my own Ph.D. experience as invaluable--not the drudgery alluded to at all--and I culled infinite wisdom (and network connections!) from the Pulitzer and National Book Award writers I studied with. All that said, though: If your heart's not in it then--well ;that's the key, isn't it. Hard to be happy doing something you don't want to do--regardless of benefits.

A: Bottom line: if you look at AWP's annual report on the job market, there's a spike in 04? 05? of around 160ish T-T CW jobs. Those days will likely either a) never come again, or b) not come again for a long, long time. Schools can essentially ask for whatever they want and receive a wealth of applicants who have that and more, so that even if the minimum requirements are an MFA and one book, one is up against 2- & 3- & 4- book poets with Ph.Ds and many years' experience in teaching. If serious about teaching, then fellowships, visiting gigs, and especially Ph.Ds will be useful, if not essential. Whether the MFA should be a terminal degree is, alas, an utterly different question than whether or not it IS. (Of course, other things can and do trump uber-qualification--a splashy debut book, an inside candidacy, a spousal hire, an early major prize--)

A:  The schools that are expressing a preference for Ph.D.s are doing so because they are smaller, with smaller English departments and higher teaching loads, and they need people to teach lit classes as well as writing classes (and probably comp classes, too).  In my humble opinion, that makes these jobs far less desirable; the more desirable jobs -- with lower teaching loads, and a requirement to teach only creative writing (and, frankly, at more prestigious schools/programs) -- care much more about your publishing record than your degree.  In many cases, they hire well-published faculty who have nothing higher than a BA.

C: This previous comment about hiring "well-published faculty who have nothing higher than a B.A." is completely naive. Bottom line: you want to teach in an M.F.A. program, then you better have, at the very least, an M.F.A. of your own, along with a record of  "teaching excellence." The 2/2 job is not some magical position where you're granted all the time in the world to write and publish--you are joining an English Department, where you will be expected to participate in the everyday administrative and committee tasks within the Department (and sometimes within the larger Humanitites or Arts & Sciences school division) in addition to teaching and mentoring both graduate and undergraduates. Being well-published (unless you are a Toni Morrison) does not give you a free pass or lighten your potential workload.

A:  I don't think the commenter is naive at all; there are, indeed, people on faculty at MFA programs who only have B.A.s.  Then again, they tend to be superstars -- winners of Pulitzers and/or National Book Awards, authors of runaway bestsellers (you think anyone would have turned away Frank McCourt?), etc.  There are plenty of well-published writers teaching with MFA's or terminal MA's -- many more, I would bet, than Ph.D.'s.  Ph.D.'s, after all, tend to publish less, and what they do publish tends to be with academic, not mainstream/commercial, presses.  What is important is that you publish -- well, frequently, with highly-regarded presses and to good reviews.  As for this business about the 2/2 job not requiring any work:  Who said that?  I read and re-read all the comments, and no one even hinted at that.  What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?

A: Perhaps this previous conversation should turn into a good old M.F.A. v. Ph.D. debate (that's always a fun one). Answers #3 and 4 (up above) seem pretty credible and practical. To claim that Ph.D.'s publish less seems grossly mistaken (publishing with an academic/university press is not any less notable than a mainstream/commerical press; though, maybe we're talking the differences between a poet and a fiction/non-fiction writer).

A:  As someone wrote here, it seems poets inhabit their own universe with its own rules, but in the world of creative/literary prose, publishing with an academic/university press is, unfortunately, less "notable" than publishing with a mainstream/commercial press.  To think otherwise would be, as someone else (?) wrote, "completely naive."

A/Q: I'm a CW PhD who does not scorn theory, and there are many of us out here. I'm curious though, which do people consider the "top" (5, let's say) CW PhD progs? I'd say Denver, Houston and Utah are definitely in there. Others that would make your list? I don't find any official rankings online; does anyone know if/where they exist?

A: Atlantic Monthly had an article some years back with their rankings--very thorough breakdown, US New World Report did them farther back--10 plus years? Then there was the infamous, recent, PW rankings--all sets were inflammatory for schools that did not make it to the top--legitimately so. Nevertheless those rankings--whether just or not--do tend to stick in the pool of consciousness--Iowa, UVA, Houston, Brown. Johns Hopkins, Utah, FSU--all these stick in my memory from differennt reports--wondering what this question has to do with theory? Hmm. Anyway--I imagine the top five shifts around quite a bit--and depends entirely upon individualized perceptions of students who attended the programs.

A: Yes, I was just responding to two different comments above in the same breath, as it were. I was asking about PhD rankings, however, not MFA rankings, which is what you've given. I do see the Atlantic Monthly article. I wonder what criteria they used for those rankings. Anyway, I'm as interested in people's individual perceptions of CW PhD programs (and it can be a fun momentary distraction to compile these lists). I certainly don't take these rankings as gospel, though.

A: Utah, FSU, Houston, and Iowa all have Ph.D. programs, right? Misouri's program used to be hot--don't know how it fares since some big names left. If you search the Atlantic Monthly "Best of the Best" it's got a long discussion of the criteria used to rank programs--ditto U.S. News WR--I have not read the PW article but I bet it's ranking-rationale is discussed, too. ..

'A: Iowa's creative writing program doesn't offer a Ph.D. (Iowa's English Department, however, does have a creative-dissertation option), but Houston, Florida State, Utah, Denver, and Missouri have strong CW Ph.D. programs, and the University of Georgia and the University of Southern Mississippi (home of the Mississippi Review and the Barthelme brothers) also come to mind.

A: It should be noted that the English PhD at Iowa has absolutely no affiliation with the MFA program (Iowa Writer's Workshop). The two programs aren't even in the same building. Also, Missouri is a good program, though it takes a full 4 to 6 years to complete. I've heard of people who finished in 3 years, though not without a lot of difficulty. Also, Missouri waives tuition, so there's no need to go into debt. Teaching (being a graduate instructor for about $14,000) will cover the rent ($400/mo) and other living expenses. 

A: Surprised no one's mentioned U of Southern California in the top PhD-granting programs. Agreed re: FSU, Houston, Utah. Denver's strong in poetry, but not so much in fiction. U of Ohio claims to have been the first PhD-granting CW program in the country, and is pretty strong in nonfiction. Nebraska, too, is if not in the top five then certainly the top ten— with Prairie Schooner, the summer writers' conference, and the NU Press.

Q: Is it a general expectation that the writing sample be from one's published work, or are committees open to newer work as well? I have a couple of books published, but like everyone else, I'm sure, I'm most excited about my manuscripts in progress (one is under contract, one is not), and would prefer to lead with that material. Have people found any reason to not just go with what you feel is your own strongest material, regardless of publication status?

A: You sound like a prose writer, yes?  I think for poets, it's pretty easy to stick a few poems from each collection into a 10 or 20 page sample.  That being said, it's easy for me to be infatuated with my new work, but it often takes a while for me to figure out if it's really good.  With the published stuff, I know it's at least passed muster with others.  Is there a way you might include both?  Or include a sample of published work, but a 1-page description of the new project with it?  You can always read new new work at a job talk too.  But if the new work is somehow stylistically super-different than your earlier work (and again, this seems to happen more with poets) and is indicative of the type of stuff you see yourself writing for a while, you might send that if it's a better match with what the faculty at an institution produce (e.g. if you're a narrative poet that's gone experimental/language-esque and are applying for a job at Buffalo).

A: This might be too touchy-feely, but when I sent in writing samples (for the TT job I eventually got), I sent in the work that I felt was my truest--meaning it best represented the kind of poet I think I am--and that included both published and unpublished work. Another poet in my department later told me that the piece she liked best was the one I've had the most trouble getting published. It was definitely the "riskiest" work I sent. This is all just to say that no, I don't see a reason not to go with what you think is your strongest material, and publication status might be somewhat secondary. To people who have served on search committees: If you are really impressed with a candidate's writing sample, does its publication status influence your assessment of it?

A: I can't speak for poets -- it sounds like they have their own universe with its own rules -- but as far as fiction and nonfiction are concerned, you absolutely should NOT send anything that hasn't been published.  No one -- especially in this market -- will read an unpublished manuscript.  Whoever and wherever they are, they are getting hundreds of applications, the vast majority of which will contain writing samples that have been published.  You're much better off sending a "weaker" work that has been published than a "stronger" work that hasn't.  If you must, you can talk about your as-yet-unpublished work in your cover letter, but don't dwell on it too much; you might inadvertently start to raise questions about why it hasn't been published yet.

Q: Along the lines of the above question--how do people with multiple works negotiate writing about them in that one paragraph (if you abide by that standard, and if you don't, can  you say why)?  Do you focus evenly on each book or more on one if it seems to relate to the style of institution you're applying to, etc.? 

A: I have multiple books (more than 2), so I have two paragraphs on my work that deal with the issues and themes my work tackles, and how these have evolved (along with my style) over the course of my projects (including my most recent).  At a certain point sticking to the 'one-paragraph on your work' format becomes unrealistic--especially based on the stats listed above for those of us on the list with both writerly and academic interests, rich employment histories, and multiple book publications.

A:  Two paragraphs is too many.  No matter how much you've published, you shouldn't devote more than a paragraph to it.  Really.  If it's been published, they'll read it (assuming you send it along), and your work will speak for itself; if it hasn't, they're not going to want to read more than a couple of sentences about it.  Use the space to talk about teaching, and let your work speak for itself.

A: A bit late to talk about covers--but I've always had 2 paragraphs to discuss books--have had lots of interview requests and have a job now--so I'd not say it's off-limits strategy.


Q: Is it appropriate, if committees ask for more information (dossier, writing sample, etc.) to email to ask them if the application is complete or to make sure the materials arrived? 

A: It's not advisable--folks are terribly busy--but if you must then email the secretary and not the search chair. Secretaries tend to be very sweet about complying. Another strategy: Send a SASE in the form of the post card with your materials (you may need to have these placed with your dossier service)--that way all folks have to do is put your postcard in the mail to acknowledge receipt.

A: I've always gone by 'no'; if you are worried about the arrival, ask for a signature upon request when mailing, or tracking. I know it's stressful feeling like it's out of your hands, but it's normal to NOT hear back from a department after a dossier request until they schedule interviews.

Q: When committees call for a "writing sample" but don't specify how many poems/pages, should you send a copy of your published book?

A: Yes

A;  This is not a simple yes or no question, and the answer will vary by genre, too.  For poetry, if you have individual poems published in very prestigious magazines or journals, you'll definitely do better to send photocopies of your work with the publication name displayed prominently at the top or bottom of the page.  If you do send a book, just be prepared to not get it back, or to get it back smudged/dog-eared, etc.

A: Really? I had both prestigious pubs and a book--got the current job after sending the book--and got back all books in mint condition.

A: I've gotten books back in all kinds of condition -- everything from mint (and probably unopened) to smudged/dog-eared (and even marked!).

"I Heard It Through the Grapevine," or "Plights & Gripes as Bad as Achilles"Edit

Re: Houston -

Offer made to Maurice Manning. (MFA-Alabama) 3 collections, Yale Younger Poets Award. I heard Manning has declined. (I heard the same thing).




For those of you who were here last year, does this forum seem more competitive in tone than last year?

A: Actually, I think it's very supportive and helpful. My non-academic friends are incredulous when I explain the wiki.  "You mean, you help each other when you're both competing for the same job?"  I'm glad I can meet others in the same situation.

A: The comment about overweight women having the "leeway" to wear a skirt & scarf was pretty patronizing. (Yes, but it can be dismissed as sad and stupid.)

A. I appreciate everyone's honesty and helpfulness, so thanks everyone.

C: I hop between job search wikis, and this one has the most info and more interesting (and often supportive) discussions. Has anyone noticed that the organization of it leans toward a chronological narrative? This is obviously the creative writing wiki. :)  I would note, though, for the lucky person who sets the formatting for next year that you may want to use the traditional listing by school with all actions and questions pertaining to it bulleted beneath. It's much easier to find info about particular positions.

With stats like this, I'm glad I can't do math: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/education/18professor.html?ref=us

I love this Wiki. It has saved me months of agony. For me it's like the happy government camp in The Grapes of Wrath, where the powerless and poor come together to help one another through an impossible situation. I wish I could give everyone here the living wage they deserve.

Greensboro:

Q: I see they made an MLA interview request on 12/10.  It's 12/15 and I haven't gotten a call, past a request for a dossier.  Has the ship sailed?

A: Yes. I'm crying right there with you.

The market this year:

Q: At this point, it's becoming very clear that I won't receive an MLA interview this year. Last year, my first year on the market, I was lucky enough to receive 10 requests in fiction/nonfiction and in some cases these positions had some first year writing attached. While there may very well be a variety of reasons, of course, I'm still trying to figure out to some extent what is happening. Is the market simply incredibly more competitive this year? In your estimations, are there about half as many jobs this year? Any comments from those with experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.  

C: Don't give up on interviews at MLA or interviews in general. Some schools will still call through next week. Certainly it is more competitive because of the lack of jobs last year and the economy this year (my state has cut another 6% from state schools after 11% last year), but there are still jobs that aren't interviewing at MLA and there will be some jobs that come later as well. Keep writing. (Almost all jobs will have composition attached - we all need to accept that is part of college teaching.)

C: I agree with the comments above--Don't give up just yet. However, keep in mind that the economy collapsed in October last year, causing many people to sit tight if they already had jobs. So, yes, there may be more people on the market than last year. Also, there may be fewer fiction/nonfiction jobs than last year. Next year may be a better year for your fiction/nonfiction emphasis.

Thanks so much to you both -- these comments are really helpful -- and encouraging on a bad day! 

C: From the poetry perspective, most of the TT jobs, it seems, are *not* interviewing at MLA and have later deadlines than usual.  Instead more places are scheduling phone interviews, or setting materials due dates for much later than usual (usual being mid-November), indicating that people won't see much action until post-MLA.  What's not clear to me is whether or not these later searches are in danger of being canceled altogether.  Many state schools that were in severe budget crises got some relief through 2011 via government stimulus money.  I'd imagine they'd try to fill positions more quickly so they don't lost the lines, but that doesn't seem to be the case in poetry.  As a 7-year veteran of the market with a TT job now, this seems like a strange/somewhat inexplicable year to me.

C: I feel your frustration. Last time I had applications out, in 2006, I got eight MLA interviews. In the intervening time I've gotten great teaching experience, published several short stories, been anthologized, finished and sold my second book (a novel) to a major publisher for Summer 2010. And this year I got one MLA interview. The market certainly feels crazy compared to my past experiences with it. It started strange, with the way simply finding job notices this year seemed like an easter egg hunt, when it the past all I'd really used was the AWP list. Anyway, don't give up. This year's weirdness is something a lot of people are commenting on.

Q: Is anyone else losing their mid here? Alternating between checking Wiki, AWP, the cell phone, the email, for new info. every hour on the hour--when they should be grading? Hounding friends for gossip? Asking and answering questions here that have already been asked and answered? Imagining scenarios of homelessness, dreaming they've turned into a massive pool of blood that simultaneously soaks the floor of two apartments--and of their dead father's looking at the mess, holding a feeble mop?

A: Yes--I imagine most of us are having similar feelings. Can't be 'cool as a cucumber' when news should be coming in, interviews scheduled (any second now!). But, trust me: last year was ten times worse!  Take big breaths, go for a long walk, clean the house.

Q: I must not be the only one who's noticed that most of the on-line applications are run through the same software program. Can't there be a way to create a profile on the system, and therefore not have to fill out the same set of questions every time (address, demographic info, education,etc.)? Then we could have writing samples and CVs and recommendations stored there and just upload cover letters  to individual schools!

A: This software is not like Interfolio, where it's a hub that takes and distributes information; it's a server side software that the schools buy and run. This means that it functions more like Microsoft word than it does Interfolio. However, it would be really nice if we could create a profile because it's time consuming. My browser remembers information so I usually only have to type the first letter of an answer and then hit return.


Q:  Is this it? Are more jobs to come?

A: Barring any sudden deaths, yeah, this is probably it. B: Sudden deaths nothing. Pomona still waited until the following academic year to replace David Foster Wallace.

A: There might be a few more listings in November pre-MLA, and then there are the spring listings (which tend to be more adjunct/visiting positions).  It's a weird year though and lots of places seem to be shunning MLA, and places might get late approval for new lines if the economy lifts, so who knows...

A:  In this market, anything can happen.  I personally know of schools and departments that have not yet had positions approved, but are likely to get them in the next few weeks.  At this point, though, there will be very few of those -- at least until spring, when the visiting posts come out.

A: There are always a trickle of jobs, and as of November 5 we're not near the end yet. Real t-t jobs will still come out between now and MLA, and there are always an early Spring flurry before the AWP conference. It is true that post-February lots of things come out as VAPs.

Inside Candidates: General

--A: I think it's true, with very few exceptions, that all candidates hired this year—both inside candidates, and others—will be vastly overqualified to do the work of teaching creative writing, no matter which "chain gang" they're from. One search from last year is a case in point: though the hire (at a non-flashy 3/3 state school in a dumpy location) was from the same chain gang (not Iowa) as the chair of the search committee, the hire had 2 books of poetry, 1 of critical work, 5+ years as a visiting lecturer. I myself am from the Iowa c.g., have a lovely book + other exciting credits, but found it hard to be too vexed about the "insideness" of that hire. There're a lot of dues to be paid in most cases, and most inside hires will have paid them.

--A note on chain gangs, as mentioned below: the number of CW programs which offer serious funding has increased dramatically over the last 15 years; I think the hiring patterns tend to reflect this diversity somewhat (the existence of a "Wash U" chain gang being proof of this?)

--A note on white boys, of which I am one: the homogeneity of some English departments I've sent materials to astonishes me, and I'm not sure this cadre of lumberjacks & fly fishermen needs young white me in its retinue—

The lack of thoughtlessness of what constitutes "diversity" amazes me. To hire someone based on superficialities of skin tone reflects a simple-mindedness that also explains why a department would hire someone for a "non-flashy 3/3 state school in a dumpy location" who is so "overqualified." The university does not exists to subsidize poets. Some of us are excited and happy to teach multiple classes and teach students who don't come prepackaged to succeed, even at "dumpy" state schools. How frustrating that qualified and passionate teachers are overlooked for indifferent individuals from the same homogeneous programs.

--I think a "lack of thoughtlessness" is entirely necessary. As for the diversity thing...um...no one is hired primarily on the basis on their race. In a market where there are at least 300 applicants for 20 positions, a committee can choose among DOZENS of very good, qualified candidates. As for the "indifferent individuals" you mention, I have to say that I haven't met many people teaching poetry who could care less about it—most often, those who get published are zealots, at least about their own aesthetic, and quite often about poetry in general. Anyway, enough.


George Mason poet search thread:

A: Doesn't that mean it puts their top candidate in the catbird seat? She/he could still go to MLA--but from a position of power for having a job in the bag. Say the candidate gets a better offer--what's to keep her/him from breaking GMs contract? Then too--consider this: how many better offers are there to get this year? Folks vying for 2/2 jobs have all of--what--3 schools to choose from?

C: My guess is that that's precisely WHY George Mason did such a speedy search. "The school that runs AWP" knows exactly what it's doing: would you want to wait until MLA (or all the way til the AWP conference) to try and snag the candidate(s) of your choice? If you have the resources, why not fly them both out WAY before all of that, make your offer(s), and seal the deal before other schools even finish digging through their apps. Makes perfect sense. Do you really suppose somebody's gonna sign a contract with GM and then bother to go to Philly for an interview (or, worse, Denver) in the hopes of something better? No way. Signed, sealed, delivered. I wish more schools would go after the folks they wanted, and save us all the misery of the conference lobby fretting.

A: It will certainly be someone from the Iowa or Wash U chain gang. And if it's a male I'll eat my shorts. Other jobs which white boys need not apply for (cue protest here) are definitely Greensboro and probably Houston too. Big question is if Cornell is an inside candidate set-up.

C: Have you eaten your shorts yet? Houston made an offer to a white male, which was accepted. And then the said white male turned down the offer, and a follow-up offer was made to yet another white male.

C: Person above: are you saying that you think Greensboro and Houston have inside candidates in certain demographic categories, or are you making a general observation about the literary scene?  Because the Poets & Writers rankings would seem to contradict you on several fronts.  I don't want to over-determine the significance of that particular ranking (or, for that matter, the Whiting Awards list, which only included two women) but to imply that men are at a disadvantage this year is, well, c'mon.    

A: No. I meant simply what I wrote.'  Greensboro is definitely going to hire a woman, Mason almost definitely, and Houston I'm less sure about but suspect will do the same. Who knows what the general trends are. Certainly not Poets & Writer's. Don't waste your time with that; you might as well read tenny mags or Pregant Gourmet Bride and Stream or Guns & Ammo. Or real literature. And awards are a completely different thing. Personally, I think there's plenty of gender and racial skewing to go around. And guess what: it works all different ways. But it still exists. Anyone who has been on a search committee or on this job market knows that. Love Ya, Doofus.


A: Yes! I am wild!!! And I am speculative!!! I wildly speculate. Especially at bootayyy! But one does in fact have inside knowledge. As I said before, profiling works in all different directions, to the detriment and or benefit of all groups, at different times. You're right that academia is still old school prejudicial. But it's also old school early nineties-ish pc at times. And it would be hard to imagine a worse, more frightening way of hiring than matching judgment of aesthetic or pedagogical merit with nation-wide demographics. Anyhoo. Just you wait, dear, and see this year's hire. The doofus knows the inside doof. And the Doofus will have a doppio macchiato.

C: Ahh, poets....

C: All right out with it. Who got GM? Surely we're subversive enough to enviously bat around one teensy real name...

C: Last year final hires were posted on the job board. Since this is public information, don't see what it would be a big deal.

C: I am pretty sure it was a young-ish white guy, and that all three finalists were young-ish white guys, and that the "doofus [who] knows the inside doof" a couple of spots up has about as much inside information, and is as well-informed, as his semi-hysterical blatherings suggest.

Q:  "Ahh, poets," indeed.  Who knew there were that many of them out there?  I certainly wouldn't have guessed that there would be more poets on the market than writers of prose, and yet the former seem to have taken over this wiki, at least.  Why are there so many poets and yet so few poetry jobs?  Isn't it irresponsible for graduate programs to keep churning out more and more degreed poets while the market for such poets continues to shrink and shrink?  (It's not as if there's all that much for poets to do with such a degree beyond teach and write poetry, after all.)  And what's with all the poets who also write (or at least dabble in) creative non-fiction?  I would have guessed that the natural crossovers would be non-fiction/fiction and fiction/poetry; poetry and non-fiction don't seem all that compatible, at least not to me.  What's up with that?

C: Can we keep this to job info and job-related gossip, not asinine musings?

C: Wow. Agressive response. Can we also keep keep our dialogue friendly and supportive?

C: Speaking as someone who did graduate work in poetry and has subsequently decided to shift to nonfiction, it's not unusual at all. Think of all the poets who've published memoirs and personal essays; the two forms seem to be highly compatible. Perhaps I am just lucky, but it was much easier (and cheaper) for me to land a contract for a nonfiction book than it was to send my poetry ms to a zillion contests.

C: I did a double dissertation, poetry collection and memoir. A cnf prof in my masters program said, point blank to the class that had several poets in it, that poets make better essayists because of their trained ears and sense of rhythm / sound. I'm not saying anything here either way, but I agree with the above person--my essays are getting, generally, taken up much faster than my poems; and this might be because there aren't enough strong essays out around 5,000 words. One more thing, too, that everyone is surely conscious of--if you can write in two genres pretty well, and have the pubs and awards to show for it, I think you have a leg up. Am I wrong?

A: Whatever you do, don't switch to History and Theory of Architecture, where there's like, one job every two years.

C: Texas Christian University (beware: potential inside candidate)

A: Yes, sadly I must concur. Their ad. reads verbatim their visitor's impressive credentials. I sincerely wish schools would not entertain such hocus pocus. Very unimpressive and a waste of everyone's time. I mentioned this one job and the inside candidate to my chair as I think schools must consider how horribly unethical it is to advertise a job that for all intents and purposes is a done deal. TCU needs to have its feet held to the fire on this one!

A: But don't these decisions to publicize jobs come from on high?

A: Yes, as in the federal regulations on high. C: But this happens at many places (the inside candidate).  I've been to a few on-campus interviews where I've only found out when I got there that there was an inside candidate (pre job-wiki).  It's a well-known phenomenon.  Also, on occasion, someone bests the inside candidate for the job--it's been known to happen.  It's definitely a cruddy practice, but TCU isn't nearly the only school that does this, and they're legally required to list the job.

C: There's nothing on either TCU's English Department or Creative Writing web pages that indicates a potential inside candidate. What's this based on? Somewhere else here, someone mentioned taking a few seconds to figure this out via a Google search, but that approach hasn't yielded anything yet.

A: You are not looking close enough. On the TCU English faculty webpage, one creative writer has the title "Lecturer" not "Professor."

C: "Lecturer" may not necessarily mean the faculty member is a visitor. At most universities, the title of "lecturer" is often given to faculty who do not hold a PhD. This was the case for me until I earned my PhD. I was a lecturer, though I was full-time and not a visiting professor.

A: This regards this thread, and another. First, as frustrating as it is when an inside candidate gets hired somewhere, schools, departments and committees are doing nothing wrong by interviewing even when the inside candidate is the clear favorite for the job. Even if it weren't, as the person aboilve claims, a national law, it certainly comes from higher up in the administration, and for good reason. Not only do schools want to make sure as many qualified candidates as possible are being looked at, but they also need to gaurd against the real possibility that their inside candidate could take a job elsewhere. Secondly, I think it is very uncool to post a link to a specific person on this website. I think the spirit of the website is to help each other find jobs, and by posting a link to someone as an "inside candidate" could create resentment towards the person, or even harm that person's job search. I very much wish that whoever posted it would take it down.

C: Ok, I posted it. I took it down. Maybe even building a link is not cool either. I suppose if google can locate an insider in .04 seconds, it doesn't need to be here also. Apologies if anybody's feelings were hurt. I agree about the inside candidate stuff. It's easy to scoff at from the outside (I know people who interviewed for three of those jobs that are mentioned above from last year), but being an insider is hard too, since you've been hired at some capacity and are trying to prove yourself and stay on for a TT line while they're ferrying people onto campus and you're biting your nails. I feel worst for the folks sent to campus only to find out that there is an insider already there. And you're right (above) that the insider is back on the market too (out of necessity since their job is up) and they might leave so it's all legal and necessary and above board--and yet harrowing for all.

C: I agree that for the inside candidate whose job is honestly (and in the case, I must question the school's intent!) up for grabs, his or her life is a hell. However, many schools simply go through the motions of a search, when the truth is universities are free -- as are all employers -- to simply hire who they like. Visitors are very often just offered the job. This is not illegal.


Cornell:

Well, Cornell has expressed interest to at least one female candidate--suggesting they may not deem a whopping three TT gals as an inordinate amount consider having on faculty. Female queried was definitely an outside--and not an inside--candidate.

Oh, boy--I stand corrected on the inside candidate bit! Thanks (above respondent--GM thread)) for providing the link to the visiting prof.--if she doesn't get it I'll eat my hat.

I don't think it's cool to put folks' names on here, but links: why not? Also: maybe she won't get it since she earned her MFA there, and schools tend (right?) not to like hiring their own as it can appear too insular. Any other thoughts on that? Anybody out there get at TT job from where they got one of their degrees?

C: Inside candidates are tricky business--last year, 5 out of 6 schools hired insiders (Oregon, Case Western, Loyola U. Chicago, Washington College, Ohio State-Lima). UC-Denver could have hired a insider, but the possible insider got a job at Boulder, where he knew people anyway. But, at least, none of these people had degrees from the hiring institution.

C: "Maybe she won't get it since she earned her MFA there" (above): Not to name names, but the "lead poet" there also holds a degree from Cornell....right? (I'm not comp. savvy enough to get the link in here--but then again we all know who the lead poet at Cornell is, right?).

C: People I've been talking to have said that inside candidates are not a good sign. According to some, if the person a) is at least five years out of the degree, or b) has earned a degree elsewhere, then often schools do not see a problem with hiring an alum.


DePaul:

Q: Someone noted above that this is the "3rd year of a search" to fill this position. Is that a concern? Is there something dysfunctional about this department? Or, do they just keep losing their top candidates to other schools?

A: As someone who has been on a search committee, I bet it's fairly likely funding got pulled in the search process. Ours was pulled after a month and once we were ready to set up 8 MLA interviews. No funding for our position this year, but they say next, so who really knows. In this economy it's just freaking crazy and a miracle any committee makes it all the way through (wasting their weekends in campus file rooms...).

A: Is that a bad sign? A sign of financial instability at the school?

A: "3rd year of search" is not true. DePaul hired last year in non-fiction and in previous years advertised visiting professor positions, not tenure-track.

Helpful Interviewing Wiki-ggestionsEdit

As a way to help us all, how about offering up typical CW interview questions one might hear at an MLA/AWP/Phone or even campus interview?

1. How does your background in (poetry * fiction * nonfiction) help you in the first year writing classroom?

2. What class would you most like to teach, and how would you organize it?

3. How do you teach introductory poetry (or fiction or nonfiction)?

4. How would you teach a [fill in the blank] survey course?

5. Tell us about your current creative writing project.

6. How does your academic background influence your creative writing?

7. How will you make time to write with a 3/3 [4/4] course load?

8. Your primary field is (thus), but we teach all genres in intro to CW. How do you teach (thus)?

9. Describe a typical workshop.

10. How do you handle a student who thinks a creative writing course is an easy 'A'?

11. How do you work issues around diversity (race, class, gender, etc) into your workshop?

12. Recite a poem from memory (Pepperdine notoriously asked this one year--can't imagine it happening twice, but fun trivia.)

13. What texts would you use in a [fill in the blank] course? (I have been asked to name specific texts more than once.)

14. Please take us through the first day of your creative writing workshop.

15. How do you work with a student whose writing project you have no interest in?

16, Is teaching your calling?

17. How do your workshops differ from traditional, typical writing workshops?

18. What is the role of literature in the creative writing classroom?

19. What are the principal differences between an introductory CW class and an upper level (or grad) one?

20. How would you grade a creative writing piece?

21. Why do you want to teach here? OR Have you ever been to ______ (city where the job is)?

22. What are your strengths as a teacher?

23. What was the most challenging aspect of teaching?

24. We run/want you to help run a reading series. Who would you invite?

25. We have many interdisciplinary students that might take your class.  How would you speak to those students?

26. What's a problem you're still trying to figure out in your teaching/writing?

How about some questions that candidates might want to ask during that awkward moment toward the end of the interview (aside from the ones you can't ask, like "How much are you going to pay me?" and "Who hates who in your department")?

A:  Questions of that sort are not appropriate at this time.

1. What are the students like?

2. Have you considered a grad program/lo-res program (if there isn't one)?

3. Could a professor plan a study abroad program to __?

4. When is the current poet/fiction writer going to retire?!?!?

Fer reals:

1. How do you see the department growing and changing?

2. How does the School of Humanities or the university as a whole see creative writing?

3. Would there be an opportunity for me to ________?

4. What is the decision-making time-frame for your search?

5. How many students are in your undergraduate creative writing major? How many cw students are in your graduate program?

6. Do you cw workshops always make?


A: Remember that your questions are typically at the end of the interview and, thus, are what you'll be leaving the committee with. So be wary of questions that can potentially end your conversation on a down note. Like the above, "How does the university as a whole see creative writing?" Or: "What's the relationship between creative writing and literary studies in the department?" Maybe there's some bad blood or long history that one or more of your interviewers is sore about---and now you've poured salt on a wound.


Can we add some questions concerning etiquette during interviews/campus visits here? For instance:

Q: Which is the preferred address during interviews and campus visits, Dr so and so or first name?

C: I'm wondering about this too.... Anyone have tips?  Also, what if you have committee members who are Dr.'s and members who are not?

C: Call everyone 'Professor Muckity-Muck' until they indicate otherwise. Anyone can be a doctor, but only the privileged few are 'Professors." In one interview everyone introduced themselves with just their first name, so that's what I used from that point forward. (I'd been sent a list of full names and research areas earlier, so I assume they assumed I'd read it.)

Q/C: Can't you still be Professor with an MFA? Not just anyone can have a PhD... I also wonder if addressing the members of the committee as "Professor so and so..." would make you appear more like a student than a colleague... I would agree to follow the cue of the committee.

A: During a campus visit, I think it's fine to address most people (except for the dean) by first names. There will be exceptions--very senior faculty members, or anyone who seems very formal. But I was encouraged to call everyone by their first name during my campus visit. Q. Is it bad etiquette to ask if a university in a very expensive city offers some kind of housing subsidy or perhaps housing for professors?

A: I don't think MLA is the time to ask that--you should wait till you have a job offer and/or are entering into negotiations. 

C: You can discuss this with the dept chair during your campus interview, should you get one. Usually you'll have a half hour to talk about things like salary, housing, moving expenses, and to ask general questions like that--questions that you'd do well to refrain from asking in the MLA interview.

C: Agreed with above posters--there's also usually a confidential visit with the HR folks as part of any campus visit, where you can ask about maternity leave, benefits, etc. 

Q. What are some good conversation starters for those potentially awkward lunches and dinners during campus visits? Specifically, what "hot topics" would make for good-yet-safe banter? What blogs are full of up-to-date writerly issues? What journal articles are "must reads"?

A. Here is the advice one of my mentors gave me before a campus visit (it's rather general, but I found it quite helpful): "You basically need to convey in a positive way what it would be like for you to be a colleague working with people at [XYZ university] on a day-to-day basis. Be professional without being aggressive or boring. Make concrete (informed) statements about projects you might want to initiate while you also convey your sense of what the unit/program in question is already doing. Do your homework on colleagues and their teaching/research. Let them know by the nature of your interactions during the interview what they might count on you to do to maintain (and expand) their programs and related activities. Ask questions that show your interest in what is going on already and what you see possible in the next three, five, and ten years. If it seems appropriate, ask about relations among other (cognate) units." C: I don't know if anyone reads the often scandalous and profane Rate Your Students. But one of their postings today[3] might be of use to Interviewees!

C. The article is extremely useful. Thanks!

Weather, Travel and the MLA!Edit

The view from MLA: What's it like & how are you feeling?  

Happy: 3 ("It's an honor just to be nominated!" Ha ha ha.)

Proud/Excited: 1 (Anyone else surprised at how nice and flattering it is to talk with people curious about your work? I was expecting dread and anxiety, but found none.)

Suicidal: 1

In Between: 1

Confident: 1

Confused: 1 (The interviews went so well that I have to assume ALL of their interviews went well. So my "good" feelings may not be merited.) Update: one rejection is in.

Just got back to NYC, and boy am I tired. The interviews ranged from horrific to sublime (well, ok, not THAT extreme) but the air was collegial and the coffee was mostly free. And you'll all be happy to hear that my wardrobe choice seemed to be appropriate. Now it's time to wait, wait, wait.

How are you getting there?

1: Automobile from Northeast Ohio Region (441 miles).

2: Aeroplane from the Louisiana Territory.

3: Train from NYC. Trying to decide whether to shell out extra bucks for comfort of Amtrak, or brave the NJT/SEPTA system.

C: If you actually want to get there, I strongly recommend NJT/SEPTA.
C: Take the Chinatown bus! (Indeed. It will bring you down, baby. It will bring you down to Chinatown.)
C: Please explain! You've had some problems with Amtrak, I guess? And every time I take the Chinatown bus, I swear I will never again take the Chinatown bus.
C: Whenever I've taken Amtrak anywhere, it is late. Amtrak has to yield to freight trains, so arrival times seem to be sort of a best guess scenario.
C: Amtrak is EXTREMELY unreliable, especially in the Northeast Corridor.  You'd be better off riding a donkey.

4: Driving from NYC. (Hey driver, want a gas buddy? When are you going? I am going Monday morning, early. I have to be there by 10:20). A: I went Sunday. Sorry.

5: Flying SF to NYC on the 27th—arriving 4:30 pm—then wondering how to get from JFK to Philly. Any advice?

A: Yes. Budget: Take the AIR TRAIN (terminal train) to the E train to the city. EITHER: Chinatown Bus: http://www.chinatown-bus.org/ or go to Penn Station and take Amtrak (see above discussion 1.5 hours to Philly, $44-$150) or New Jersey Transit (http://www.njtransit.com) to Septa (Penna commuter rail, $12.50) (2.5 hours).

I've heard that the "Bolt Bus" is great and has WiFi and is only $20. So if you're going back to NYC... http://www.boltbus.com/

[So, there are only 4 people going to MLA this year? Fantastic. Shouldn't have to wait for the elevators.]


Right, I forgot: LEAVE EXTRA TIME FOR CROWDED ELEVATORS.

Any suggestions for good ethnic, vegan, or vegetarian food within walking distance of convention hotels?

This place, Vietnam, was good a few years ago: http://www.eatatvietnam.com/welcome.php

No.  This is Philadelphia; set your ethics aside for a couple of days and head to Pat's Steaks.  Then at least you can die happy.

  • Perfect description of meat-eating logic: happiness = no ethics.

C: Happy travels, and good luck to everyone at MLA.


Good luck out there!

Wiki Word CountEdit

12/20, 2:23 pm EST: 25,256 (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydet: 25289)

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