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Universities to fear

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This page is for applicants to warn others of institutions/departments with less than reputable practices. This way we can all avoid the bad ones!

Back to Academic Jobs Wiki

  • If you wish to post NICE COMMENTS or REBUTTALS, they go on the Universities to love page. This in particular goes for people who delete posts or post insults about other posters. Everyone reading this site knows that the context of many posts are fueled by disgruntled faculty who leave or get let go. That is why we have both a place for good comments (Universities to Love) and bad comments (Universities to Hate). If a place is really good, then they will discredit comments on here during their visits. Deleting comments or insulting others only reflects poorly on the school in question.

Formatting for the tables

  • Please add responses using bullet points.

Is there a way to fix the line wrapping? The text is stretching out to infinity such that I have to scroll sideways several times to read a sentence. Fixed, please do not add extra paragraph breaks in the entries, this will mess up the table. 

Well, somebody messed the line wrapping up again... I still don't see how people finish PhDs, and still can't figure out to press Preview. Fixed it.

How to add a school

May we please have instructions on how to add a school? I second this. The table is so complicated, I am afraid, no one is going to post.

A: Hit edit and then right click in the table and use "insert row" to add a new blank entry. SCROLL down this page until you see the other universities/tabls/spread sheet first, and then right click....

Some formatting etiquette. Before you add your entry, please read this:

1) Please do not use the PRE button to format your entry.

2) DON'T use hard returns before your entry, as tempting as it might be. This will throw the table formatting off and give everyone a headache.

[I just spent another 3 hours today cleaning up the formatting problems caused by people not reading the directions-April 21]

4) DO NOT REFER TO ANYONE BY NAME

5) Please make sure ALL information is factually correct BEFORE posting.

6) Please DATE your entries! And put them in alphabetical order in the appropriate sections.

Thank you!

All Entries still present, now divided into Current, Chronic, and Old Tables. I am struck that there are no recent complaints about lack of contact, lack of reimbursement, rudeness, etc. While the market may have gotten worse, there seems to be a rising level of humanity / accountability promoting good behavior.

  • I wish it were that. I think it's that candidates are stark raving terrified. Check out the person on the venting page who was offered a job, given 2 days to answer, and then had the offer rescinded. He/she hasn't posted the details here!
  • I have now!
  • The reason the complaints are dropping is because people don't know about this page, and when they post on the regular one it gets deleted or moved here, doubtless by wiki admins with the best of intentions.

UPDATE (Sept. 2012): Added new section for current issues (problems arising during 2012-13 searches).

Current Issues: Specific Problems with Searches, Departments and/or University/College Administrations Occurring in This Year's Search Cycle (2012-2013)

?

School

Department

Issue and Date

Eckerd College Entire School The climate of bullying junior faculty and misleading job candidates is well known. Senior faculty, many of whom have done little or no scholarship for years, demand that junior faculty commit unreasonable amounts of time to petty administrative matters. Classes are dumbed down to achieve "retention" based on the institution's theory that their students will not stay unless they get an easy pass and faculty members who question or challenge these assumptions are punished. Their tenure process is utterly without merit, denying tenure to candidates who have stellar records and who have met all of the academic and professional stanards, but who do not respond to bullying and granting tenure to faculty members who are not good teachers, produce little or no scholarship, but respond well to bullying. This school will eat your career, tax your time, underpay you and leave you miserable. I've watched it happen here for years and have suffered the professional and emotional consequences. Do not bother. [posted Nov. 2012]:*Makes me glad that they didn't even bother to acknowledge my application for the 2011-2012 cycle.
  • I have a friend on the faculty and, from what I hear, the OP is right on. I also went on campus there several years ago. I didn't sense that anything was amiss, but then I was young and inexperienced. At the time I was keenly disappointed to not have received an offer, but I now consider this a major disaster averted.
Florida A&M University Communications I was shortlisted for a TT job at this school and had arranged to participate in a telephone interview. On the day of the interview, I called the designated number as was requested, but was unable to have the interview "because of emergency staff meetings" or something along those lines that threw off the search committee's schedule. No problem because things happen, right? So we arranged to have the phone interview at a later date. On the day of the rescheduled interview, I called the designated number and the committee member apologized AGAIN and said they couldn't go through with the interview on this day because not all the committee members were on campus. Really? Was this department serious? Anyway, the committee member told me that he'd get back to me later with a rescheduing date. About 15 minutes later, I received a call from the same committee member asking if I could do the interview on the spot. I told him I could since I had already been prepared to do the interview on this date. So we began the conference call. However, I was told that two of the four people who would interview me were NOT even on the search committee! So half of the SC might not have even seen my CV and yet they were interviewing me?! After the interview finished, the primary SC told me that "I'd be hearing from him soon" and that "he was impressed" before hanging up. Well, it's been about five months and I have not heard back from this school since. That's okay because I wouldn't take this job even if offered, but I'm surprised at how disorganized this department was. (Oct 2012)

Recent Issues: Specific Problems with Departments or Searches that Occurred During the Last Two Search Cycles (2010-2011 & 2011-12)

School

Department

Issue and Date

Angelo State University

Communication

Interviewed there in 2010. Got a really bad vibe from this school, and the Comm dept. in particular. For starters, the entire interview was highly disorganized-first, I sat in a conference room while the SC wandered in and out over the course of an hour, asking me questions. Everyone seemed stressed, bored and annoyed during the interview, and at one point one SC member was loudly texting in the conference room while another was interviewing me. SC committee chair seemed irritated that I was not familiar with ASU's point-based tenure system, even though this information was nowhere to be found on the website, and I was not aware that I was expected to know it prior to the interview. Then, I was informed that my teaching presentation would actually be 15 minutes shorter that I was originally told to plan for, and I was given less than 5 minutes to set up. To make matters worse, I had to deliver the presentation in the middle of a class, and rush through it so that the instructor (who sat in the audiene fidgeting and looking impatient the entire time) could resume her lesson. At the dinner, this same SC member rudely took jabs at me for being from the midwest, and kept trying to get me to admit that I thought San Angelo was a boring and undesirable place to be, which was awkward. Later that night, I had plans to meet a friend for drinks, and SC chair invited himself along, and proceeded to ask me inappropriate, probing questions about my marital status. This guy, duing the course of the interview, constantly made self-depricating remarks about the school and department, implying that no one at NCA respected them, etc. He also made disparaging comments about the outgoing faculty member to me, which was extremely uncomfortable. This sense of self-loathing and animosity seemed to be echoed by everyone in this department, who at different times complained about the workload, admin, how busy they all were, unsupportive colleagues, etc. Took me awhile to detox from this one!

Ashland University Arts & Sciences Strange place, located in the middle of nowhere in Ohio in a town with nothing in it but a Walmart. Dept. chair didn't respond to email and phone messages before the visit so I never had any idea where or when to meet at the start of the day; he later claimed he was too busy but it was obvious he was unorganized and lacked leadership. Of five search committee members only three were present during my visit (one was out of town, one showed up for 20 minutes and left the meeting early never to be seen again). I was asked weird questions that had nothing to do with my field and was told that my field wasn't considered very academic! At one point was asked what year I graduated high school--age discrimination??? The HR person asked a lot of personal questions and wondered why I'd want to move there. I was never taken on a campus tour and only shown a few rooms in the building the department is housed in. And I never met a student in my field--they had me talk to a class that had four students in it, none of whom were majors. It seemed very in-bred with a number of alumni working there, which is never a good sign. I was told I'd hear back within a week either way and of course never heard anything. Strange place that I'd recommend people avoid. [posted March 2012]

Asian University for Women

All

I taught there during 2009-2010 academic year with a great team of administrators and faculty and wonderful students. The academic leadership completely turned over while I was there. The new provost, who was fired from her previous job, laid off a number of the original faculty and instructional staff, mostly while they were on vacation abroad. Several of them had to go through rounds of communication with the board that oversees the AUW Support Foundation in order to get their belongings returned to them, and not all of them were returned. The provost and founder/Acting VC declared there would be no Academic Senate. The students live in crowded conditions with no mental health professionals, despite the fact that many of them come from conflict zones and one of the programs their publicity materials boast of - a conflict resolution program between SInhalese and Tamil students from Sri Lanka - was carried out by the counselor they have since let go. The campus has suffered from two outbreaks of dengue fever. The closest quality medical care is at an American hospital several hours from the city, and that facility has limited resources for handling emergencies. The location in Chittagong is difficult to get to and requires adding an extra day coming and going for international travel. If you are considering working here, be sure to search blogs and Facebook for more information, and ask about the retirement plan.

  • I appreciate the above post. I interviewed with them earlier this year and had a strange feeling about them, partly because they seemed to be rushing the search process so much. I spoke on separate occasions with an assistant professor in the dept. I would have been hired in (she sounded nice) and this provost. The provost didn't ask me many questions and seemed anxious to convince me that there was a viable creative-writing scene in the school and the city (I'm a creative writer, and the job was for a writing generalist). They made an unofficial job offer to me in early January and asked me to consider when I would like them to fly me there for a campus visit. I worried about them spending so much money to fly me there while I would still be interviewing for jobs in my specialty and might end up turning them down. When I told them I needed some time to think about the unofficial offer (and also noted how early in the hiring season the offer was coming), the interviewing professor emailed me back that it was clear I was only considering them as a "last resort" and that they were therefore rescinding the offer. The whole thing left a slightly bad taste in my mouth, so I'm quite glad to see the perspective being offered above. It confirms my suspicion that I did the right thing. I felt as if they were just trying to pressure the first reasonably qualified person they met into the job.
  • This university has a serious crisis in management. To give a sense of how serious, here is an actual email sent by the acting provost to a faculty member who tried to address inadequacies in the current writing program. "Dear [REDACTED], I have been following your series of mails crossing here and there. I will appreciate you that you compelled me to break my patience and write this e-mail, and more importantly for educating me to improve my knowledge to read your mind. Your e-mails establish to believe that you are a classic example of a masterpiece who mislead the people with brutality and vindictive attitude for the sake of her own personal interest and gain. I wonder how do you claim to be a faculty of liberal art, whereas your actions, writing with false information contradict hugely characteristics of a liberal art product! I welcome you to join me and my team sometime to go to the heaven of the Great Himalaya especially in winter time when everything is covered with white marble of truth and spirituality for retrospecting and rejuvenating yourself with the true liberal art! By using derogatory remarks, abusive language and, false and fabricated information, you want to damage my reputation and credibility. You are blaming me for something which I can not even think of even in the most angry situation, and on the contrary you are claiming that I have done so. But, you have forgotten one basic thing that truth never let a person down and god helps such a person against all sinister designs of evil forces which you are radiating from your own writing. You should not understimate the strength of pen of other person. You may make whim and fancy stories of false information and your evil imagination, and can write wonderful and inspiring and provocative script to mobilise faculty against me, but you can not defeat the people who gain strength from the truth and honesty and pure conscience. Your actions and writing do compel me to believe that you write inspirational and philosophical words/sentences for AUW academics just for gimmicks, whereas you never believe and inculcate that in your own life/action. If you would have honestly put the same energy and sentiments in true sense in action, perhaps you would have become great. But I feel sad to see your state of mind and become further sad when I read that [REDACTED] thinks of you as a role model for young writers! Let me give you some very recent facts that become relevant especially when you start writing in this unethical, unprofessional, vindictive manner with ulterior motive and evil designs". [posted Mar 2012]
  • This university is now running a recruitment drive for what it calls teaching "interns" and "fellows". What they mean is they want to hire fresh-out-of-school undergraduates with no teaching experience to move to Bangladesh and teach courses at very little pay. The teachers slated for replacement by the interns/fellows are extremely qualified but will be laid off if enough interns and fellows come in - all in the name of cost-cutting. Even if you have a contract, you can still be fired, maybe even one day before you fly out to Bangladesh. (It actually happened to an American staff member last fall.) [posted Mar 2012]
  • Just before the beginning of the 2011-12 academic year, the provost was dismissed by having her visa revoked while out of the country. A handful of administrators and teachers resigned in protest. Then another foreign staff member had her visa revoked, preventing her from returning to Bangladesh, and she was dismissed from her job. The new interim leadership for 2011-12 has been inept in many matters pertaining to administration, including student registration. Because of the new leadership's inability to handle student registration in fall 2011, classes started one day late; in spring 2012, the leadership again mishandled registration by failing to enforce course caps, and instruction for most courses started one week late. In addition, some instructors have been forced to teach classes with double the number of expected students, and students have had to bear class sizes much larger than normal. In dealing with these problems and other administrative matters, the university's leadership has acted very unprofessionally. The acting vice chancellor/founder and the acting provost publicly insulted a faculty member in mass e-mails circulated to other faculty. The leadership rescinded a verbal job offer made to a candidate for a high administrative position. The leadership pressured instructors to teach different classes than the ones agreed upon with the previous leadership. The leadership is said to be making plans to seek interns rather than to hire paid instructors to teach in the Access Academy for 2012-2013 in order to save money. There is a clause in most contracts that specifies that the contract will be invalid if the employee is unable to secure a Bangladesh visa. This alone may not be unusual, but the leadership seems to have a history of using this clause to dismiss people while they are out of the country by pulling the strings to get the visas revoked. There is an atmosphere of fear and resentment among faculty. Most undergraduate faculty members stay no more than one or two years. Many of AUW's best students are hoping to leave the school. Working with AUW's students is extremely rewarding, but a decision to teach here should be made with full knowledge of the deeply troubled administrative history of AUW.
For other considerations, see:
www.newagebd.com/detail.php?date=2012-03-18&nid=4352
www.newagebd.com/detail.php?date=2012-03-19&nid=4440
www.htmlgiant.com/random/how-i-turned-my-life-upside-down-to-move-to-bangladesh-and-became-embroiled-in-an-international-fiasco/
[posted Mar 2012]
Austin Peay State University All

School pays much less than comparable positions elsewhere. Teaching loads are extraordinarily high (15+ contact hours per term) and the expectation for research keeps growing, with no relief from the teaching loads. Used to be a liberal arts curriculum but is now getting more technical. The quality is really going downhill. Changed tenure criteria in my 4th year to be more rigourous without having the infrastructure to support the research that would lead to passing the new tenure review. Heard similar issues in humanities, sciences, etc... [Posted Mar 2012]

-I can second the above and add that Austin Peay not only pays low (even relative to the rest of Tennessee) and has high teaching demands but is also just a very unhappy environment for faculty, particularly women and minorities.

(posted March 2012)

Baker U

Humanities

Committee chair committed to pay to bring me in for an interview and two nights in hotel, asked me to prepare a talk. Over Christmas I spent hours working on the talk, then four days before the interview got frantic call from department chair claiming I couldn't come since the dean wouldn't be in town. She said the interview process was being "suspended" but when I questioned her she said the other interviews had been conducted and mine was the only one being suspended. A couple weeks later someone in the department emailed the truth--they liked one of the other candidates they had already interviewed so much that they decided to hire him and reneg on commitment to bring me to campus. Tacky, classless and even dishonest. This school claims to be all about teaching "integrity" yet they failed--how could anyone who applies at this school trust them? [posted Jan. 2012]

Barry University Social Work

June 2011.  I was offered a PHONE interview for a full time faculty position that doubled as the program director at one of their off-campus locations.  The person calling me offered me a date and time for an interview.  I accepted the interview, but let her know that I would be out of the country and asked if it would be any trouble for them to conduct the interview via an international call, and that I could provide the exact number where I could be reached in the U.K. The person fumbled and stammered on the phone and said, "Well, I don't think we can do that."  I then asked if I could try interviewing from the U.S on a different day.  The person said, "I don't know.  The Dean wants this done on that day."  I actually offered to initiate the international call on the original date and time that was suggested, to alleviate any stress or problems on their behalf.  The person setting the appointment seemed upset that I was trying to find alternative solutions, but scheduled the date and time of the interview anyway, and asked me to call her 48 hours before the interview just to make sure that it would be all right to conduct this interview over an international call.  Mind you, this is all over a PHONE interview, not a face-to-face meeting. 

Well, I did as she asked.  I called her two days before the interview and I was sent to her voice mail.  I called her again the next day.  I emailed her, and then I finally called from the U.K. on the exact day and time that I was scheduled to interview.  Each time I called, I went straight to voice mail and none of my calls were ever returned.  My email never received a response, either.  About a month later, the position was re-posted.

A year later, I met a colleague who used to adjunct in that same department and she failed a student for plagiarism.  The student complained to the Dean and the Dean changed the student's grade.  My colleague promptly quit and now adjuncts somewhere else.  Although her story is unrelated to mine, I felt her experience only verified the unprofessionalism I experienced with the phone interview, and pretty much told me all I needed to know regarding what would have happened if I had been hired.

Berea College A Search in Division IV Unclear search criteria! I was never really sure what they were looking for. Completely, tragically disorganized. Routinely did not respond to emails or phone calls after they had previously contacted me for more information. Wasted an enormous amount of candidate time with requests for writing samples based on the college's "committments." Openly hostile Dean of the Faculty during the campus interview. Ignored repeated requests to provide a complete campus visit itinerary while I was visiting the campus. Committee chair forgetting conversations (or possibly forgetting who I was and why I was there). Poor scheduling by both the Dean's office and the department. No establishment of a timeline while faculty admitted that the search was not a priority. Last-minute scheduling on their part necessitated extremely expensive airline tickets. Over a month past the interview and reimbursement has not been processed. Pithy rejection notice from departmental secretary after over a month of complete silence. They hide behind "busyness," but in reality there was a serious lack of professional respect and courtesy here. [posted May 2012]

Cal State U, Northridge

English

When I arrived at the MLA interview, I was informed that the department does not conduct campus visits. Learning this right after walking in the door made the stakes that much higher, and I might have prepared different questions to ask the committee had I known. It was a bit unnerving, honestly, trying to figure out how to react to this information on the spot-- weird kind of a test. The interview was cordial and the questions were fair, so I have no complaints there. The department held a social mixer at MLA, which I felt cordially compelled to attend (job interview, round 2!) since there was no campus visit to be. The social mixer was pleasant, if a bit awkward at times (hello, fellow job candidates!). My real gripe: after I sent a thank-you email to the department and got a cordial reply, I heard nothing for two and a half months. And then I got a rejection letter in the mail, not a phone call. The letter had a hand-written correction of a typo.

  • I would like to agree with the above. The worst part about the MLA after-party / mixer (interview round 2), was that the party was held in an extremely cramped hotel room and so it was hard to chat with everybody. Plus, the temp from all those bodies smashed into a small space was BLAZING, and the noise level was through the roof (it was so freaking hard to carry on any kind of conversation given the noise level). I thought the last was a bit funny given that Cal State Northridge also has a world-famous center for the deaf -- i was forced to lip read a LOT!
Chowan University All

I am intentionally leaving the subject area blank as I quite literally FEAR this institution. There's a more than negligible chance they would come after me in a litigious manner assuming they could prove I wrote this.

I was hired tenure track as an Asst Prof. The first year went pretty good. I got excellent teaching evaluations and had several publications. The bad side was that there was quite a difference of opinion when it came to how I spent my time outside of committees, research, advising, and teaching (you know, the normal things professors do). There was constant pressure to go to every football and basketball game. There was constant pressure to have an on campus presence 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. They wanted your soul.

It seems this difference of opinion was more serious than I thought as I was fired during the following year. There was no explanation, just a 30 second meeting where I was told my contract wasn't being renewed. I just found out that one of the head coaches was also fired without cause and he has a 5 year contract! He had just bought a house with his poor wife and kid and this one stoplight town. They'll likely have to foreclose.

Bottom line: there is zero job security here. I really think the only way you are somewhat protected is if you subscribe to the Baptist cult and understand your subservient role. [posted April 2012]

Colorado State University

Communication

For the second year in a row, this school requires a huge amount of evidence of teaching excellence that goes well beyond any other Communication Department -- even those more teaching oriented. "Submit letter of application that outlines your teaching experience, including experience teaching international students; statement of interest in and qualifications for teaching popular culture; detailed résumé or c.v.; recent supporting materials that indicate teaching quality in each of four categories: written reports of classroom observations, student evaluations, syllabi, AND three graded student papers and/or student performance projects/evaluations—one graded A, one B, and one C of the same assignment. Please also include the names of three references who can speak to your teaching." [[1]]

3 graded papers? Classroom observations? This is ridiculous.

Eastern Kentucky University

Communication

Sloppy department and committee members picked me up with their cars. First one was a two-seat tiny sportscar, completely cramped. Second was the guy with tons of large white dog hairs everywhere that got all over my suit before my presentation. The search chair bragged non-stop about himself and in a two-day period drove me past the broadcast facility three times but wouldn't let me see it--he told me I wouldn't come there if I saw it so they wouldn't show it to me! When it came time to meet the dean his secretary said they had failed to set up an appointment and the dean wasn't free! They wanted me to teach a five-class per semester load at $20,000 less than I now make! And it's in a pretty depressing small town--there is certainly nothing to brag about at EKU! (Feb. 2012)

Eckerd

Languages

Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Economics (Pretty much Behavioral Sciences in general.)

Offer rescinded/Dec. 2010

Okay, so here is what happened. I'm still in shock so forgive me in advance if my account of the experience is a bit incoherent. I have been on three search committees myself and have never heard of anything like this happening...Last Wednesday, December 15th I had a job offer from Eckerd College, in Florida. I thought it strange to get an offer before many other schools had even called to schedule interviews, but I planned to accept the offer: I loved the school and the faculty--who were genuinely lovely to me during my three day campus visit. The Dean of Faculty (whom I had NOT met) who called on Wednesday with the offer gave me 2 days to accept or decline it--she wanted a response by Friday the 17th. Thursday was completely lost when the dean emailed her response to my request to negotiate a higher salary to the wrong address. On day 2, Friday, the dean made it clear (via email) that salary was non-negotiable. But when I asked (again via email because she wanted an answer immediately but was tied up in meetings and could not speak on the phone) about other considerations to offset what would have been a 10% paycut from my present salary, the dean rescinded the offer. By email. And then refused to take my calls. This is exactly what she wrote: "After having read your stated requests, specifically the number of years to tenure and the MWF teaching schedule, I am sorry to say that we are not able to sustain our job offer to you. At this time I am rescinding the job offer." I am still reeling.

  • As an Eckerd faculty member, I would say that it's worth noting that we have a new Dean of Faculty.

STAY AWAY! This college is poison. There are a number of alumni who sit in positions of power and influence and who treat the institution like their private club. Either you do as you are told or you are ostracized and excluded. Many excellent faculty members have been denied tenure (despite stellar tenure files) on the whim of a few senior faculty. The present acting dean, who more than likely will become the dean next year, is part of this cabal. She is notorious for falsifying letters in tenure files, backbiting junior faculty who do not cater to her whims, and rumor mongering about her staff. The Chair of behavioral sciences has been in her position for decades and has actively driven out anyone in her collegium who crosses her. The school nearly went bankrupt in 2000 when their former president got caught using the college endowment to make failed real estate investments and while he was fired, his legacy appears to live on in the senior faculty. A new president in 2000 has righted the financial ship somewhat, but is absolutely powerless against the internal cabal who runs the school. If you desire an academic career, this is not the place for you. If you liked high school and enjoy being peer-pressured into hanging out with the popular crowd and doing their bidding, you'll love it. Faculty 'meetings' are often run by the Dean of Admissions as marketing meetings and the classes taught are generally very low quality, as the school preys on families whose children have not succeeded and who are willing to buy a degree. Anyone with integrity leaves. Many good people are stuck in golden handcuffs having played the game and gotten tenure, but having sacrificed their academic career in the process. Do not trust anything they say or anything they write about their hiring or tenure process. This institution is a dangerous joke. I have also heard they are soon to be censured by AAUP. [posted Nov. 2012]

Endicott College

Recent interview was atrocious. There is no organization with this school. Believes in scholarship, and ask for it during internviews, but has nothing to show. 4/4 lecture or 3/4 studio load. "Apply" for sabbatical and faculty funds, no set funds, even if minimal. Advisee load too high. Class ratio too high. Huge turn over in some departments.... not much of a "union", or rather association, with no real weight. Not even the courtesy of a letter on status of application. Had to find out about not getting it through adjunct and student. Dean was full of himself, and insecure at teh same time. Chair of similar ineptness. Wiley World to some..... NO follow up on interview.... met other candidates who had same issues. Beware. A joke all around.[posted Feb. 2012]

Florida International University Communication

They were really, really disorganized. I called, emailed, and called some more to get details about the interview ahead of time, but couldn't get any concrete answers from the search chair (who was surprised that I had questions) or the department head.

They sent me a schedule 4 days in advance, and then changed the schedule a lot on the fly. The department head changed the start time from 8:30 to 6 am -- the night before the interview, by email at 9 pm. The initial interview schedule included a 2-hour "research and teaching talk" and no one could tell me who (or how many people) would be attending it, whether I would have access to any technology, or what was typical for the department. The 2-hour talk was changed to a 50-minute teaching demonstration FIVE minutes before it started. They told me I wouldn't have tech, then told that morning that I would and they expected a presentation (which I luckily had as a backup!), and then the tech wouldn't work. The IT people took 10 minutes of the 50 minutes before they gave up. I had to ask for bathroom breaks.

The head of this department does not hold a Ph.D. and made several remarks about how offended she was by candidates withdrawing when they learned this. I received a form letter rejection, not even a personalized letter, let alone a call.

This department might improve over the next few years as they hire new people, but for the 2011-2012 search, they were really disorganized and unprofessional. [posted July 2012]

Florida State College- Jacksonville

Arts and Sciences

The people I met were nice enough and everyone was friendly and interested in my teaching experience. However, after I was brought back for a final interview I received an offer from a college which they are competative with. I accidentally let it slip that I was interviewing at this other college and was met with a really uncomfortable discussion of why I liked this school. When I emailed to let them know that I had been offered a position (without mentioning where as to avoid more awkwardness) and inquired where they were in their search I was told that they could not consider hiring me until I notifed my references of their interest in me and got my references to call them. Further, everything about their process was slow. Slow to figure out when my final interview was going to be, slow to check references (it took almost a month after my final interview to inform me that it was my job to get a hold of my references for them) and slow to reimburse me for my expenses. It has been well over two months since I sent in my receipts. I sent an email asking when I could see a check and was told that they had yet to send my receipts to the proper department, that I should hold tight and wait a few more weeks. Is it just me or is it insane that so many of us have issues with places paying for our travel? You invited me! (posted May 2011)

George Mason

Humanities/SocialSciences

Interviewed in 2012. In a process that dragged out for months with lapsed communication after each step, when I finally did the on-campus the search committee members spent the whole time telling me how terrible it was to work there, how unhappy they were, how there was no money to do anything, and how badly they wished they could leave. No one could be bothered to give me a tour of the campus. The university was hiring like crazy and everyone was just too busy. Meanwhile, the graduate students were overworked and underprepared for their own searches on the market, and seemed deeply unhappy. People talked smack about the other candidates, which seemed unprofessional. I took a different offer, which also happened to pay more than 50% higher than GMU was offering.

Georgetown University

English

I received the "Confidential Applicant Form" via email today. Not only is a name and email reply required, not optional, to submit the form, the form was sent to over 100 applicants on the email list. How hard it is to bcc? Give me a break.

Kutztown University Speech Communication and Theatre I interviewed there in the spring of 2012. The search committee chair showed me around campus, bragging incessantly about his faculty rank and making sure to point out the places where "they" (i.e., minority students) hang out. The dean showed no interest in me during our conversation in his office, as was evident from the moment he began the conversation by shaking my hand, sitting on one side of his office, flipping though my CV (likely for the first time), dropping it on the table between us, and asking me to summarize the 20-page document. I immediately feared that this was a "Rooney Rule" situation gone awry -- that the school would not consider hiring me but that my scholarly record, relative to those of the other applicants, would make it hard for the department to justify not interviewing me to the Institutional Equity office. (For what it's worth, other faculty members later apologized for the dean's approach.) I eventually received an offer from the school's president - at 18K/year below my current salary. When I replied via a letter in which I requested a salary more appropriate for someone with my academic record, I received an email from the president, withdrawing the original offer (although I know that other faculty there used the same strategy to negotiate their starting salaries).

Mississippi State University

History

Interviewed at the AHA in Boston, 2011: easily the worst interview experience I've ever had. It was just me and one faculty member, who, while seemingly pleasant and "down-to-earth" (which was I think the vibe s/he was going for), asked me almost no questions at all ...in a 90 minute interview! When I did try to talk about my research or teaching, I was either told "I don't want to hear about that;" "teaching doesn't matter;" or given some uninformed question about my dissertation. At one point, the faculty member called me "naive" and when I asked if s/he had any questions about the 100+ pages of material that I had submitted earlier (at their request), s/he told me "no. I read it. I understood it. I have no questions." From what I gather from other wiki postings, my experience was not unusual. I wonder if the rest of the history department at MSU is aware that the first-round interviews are being conducted in this manner.

  • I second this. I was asked 2 questions during the hour interview (in a bar), one of which was what do you know about my university. I heard mostly anecdotes about race in the Deep South and how the professor is right 99% of the time on matters concerning students and his faculty. We were asked to submit in advance of the interview a teaching dossier (I made syllabi from scratch based on the job announcement), 2 dissertation chapters, and an article. I was not once asked about this material. Ideas that I proposed were shot down. I'm not at all bitter that I didn't get a campus invite (in fact, I'm thankful!). I just wish that the university would be made aware of this situation as it reflects really poorly on the institution. To add to my comments: from the moment I sat down I felt like I was being psychologized and infantilized. While I wasn't interested in continuing with this search, I didn't like the procedure as it was explained to me: the department would meet (there was no committee, just those who were interested in reading the 1000+ pages we sent in--the interviewer/dept chair clearly stated that s/he could make unilateral hiring decisions) and talk about our work and then s/he would give the impressions s/he gathered from interviewing us. There was no academic basis for this since I was never able to get in about my work or teaching. This isn't right...
  • My experience was almost identical to that of the posters above. A 90+ minute interview. It began inauspiciously (again, in a bar, with a single interviewer). The first thing that I was told was that "teaching doesn't matter" at MSU--my job was to "become famous" in order to "make the department famous." My interviewer seemed not to have actually read my writing samples (which consisted of 100+ pages, including chapters, syllabi, and articles) and had no questions for me whatsoever other than "What do you know about Mississippi State?" and "Have you read Foucault?" Again: no talk of my teaching or research record (and, for the record, ALL OF US HAVE READ FOUCAULT!). S/he had little understanding of the contemporary historiography in the field of French History. I too heard much in the way of the sociology of race relations in the Deep South, and catergories like the "black race" and the "white underclass" were bandied about. When asked if I had any reservations about teaching in Mississippi, I answered (quite honestly) that I did not. I was then asked if I would be similarly enthusiastic about "taking a job teaching in Hell." No joke. Disclaimer: I did not receive a campus invite. I am ashamed to admit that this disappointed me. After all, a wo/man needs to eat.
  • French Hist job at MSU was also advertised a few years ago -- it's my impression that the search failed that time, although it's possible that the funding for the position was pulled. They were weird then too.
  • AHA 2012. Had read this page before, so knew what I might be up against. I walked away shell shocked nevertheless. My 20 to 30 minute "conversation" stretched to over two hours, roughly ten minutes of which consisted of material that pertained to teaching, research, or the culture of the department. The remainder echoed what others have posted.

Oceania University of Medicine

Basic Sciences

Taught there for almost a full year. This is an online medical school out of Samoa. After being complimented on my performance for the entire time, they suddenly let me go 1 week after I was hired by a permanent university. Then, they failed to pay me $20,000 that I was owed. Run from it like the Plague.

Ohio University

Communication

The Lancaster campus. I was not allowed to meet the division head of the division I would be working for. They would not allow me to meet any students! And the teaching demonstration was made to three search committee members in an otherwise empty classroom. Then I did some searching online and discovered they had an internal candidate all along--who was teaching a class of students who should have been in the teaching demonstration! I was told then that the committee was split between me and the internal candidate but went with me since they knew if I turned them down they'd have a backup. The state contract system is odd and was not revealed before the offer was made. I was told I'd be given an initial "three year contract" (which I confirmed via email) and when I got it it was a one-year contract that was renewable up to three years after I passed annual review with the division head I had never met based on evaluations from students I never met. Obviously I didn't take this position. (Feb. 2012)

  • Was this for the 2011-2012 dean's position? Or was this for a job in 2008-2009?

Penn State Brandywine

English

I went to this institution for a campus visit. At dinner, the search committee made small talk amongst themselves and discussed random students and institutional politics. When I asked for water without ice (due to a sore throat), one SC member helpfully suggested that I had "probably grown up without the concept of ice" since I am scholar from the global South! The irony is that I think this member was trying to make polite conversation. The next day was disastrous. I was rushed from one meeting to another on an adhoc basis. At the end of the day, I was standing in the department lobby all alone with a suitcase waiting for my ride to the airport. I think that schools should practice common courtesy even when there is a chance that they might never see a particular individual again. This is one of my worst memories of the campus visit: standing alone in the lobby of a strange and unwelcoming institution and being yelled at by their cranky secretary (who did not budge from her room but preferred to yell from her seat) that my car had arrived.

I was told that they would let me know of their decision in two weeks. As I had another job offer by then and had promised to get in touch with them if I had any news, I contacted them at the end of that time period to receive a very short email brusquely informing me that they would let me know by the middle of the following week. Nothing of the sort happened. I emailed again at the end of that week just for closure as I had learned from wikijobs that they had made an offer to another candidate the very day I had sent them that initial email and that it had been accepted. I am still waiting to hear from them. I'm assuming that I will get a short impersonal email informing me that the position has been filled. Actually, I will be super impressed if this institution gets its act together to send me any information at all!

I met these people; I ate two meals with them. They did not strike me as evil fiends. Despite the slightly self-conscious muttering, they struck me as generally a good lot. What happens at the institutional level that all interpersonal interaction leads to this phenomenal boorishness? [posted March 2012]

Quinnipiac University Mathematics and Computer Science Conducted phone interviews without the full search committee, so very limited opportunity to ask questions. The questions that they ask were so open ended, but you were told to provide a brief response, so there was no real sense of what kind of information they were really looking for. After the phone interview there was absolutely no follow-up until nine weeks later, at which point you receive a generic email (not even addressed to you but instead addressed to "Dear applicant" to inform you that "all of their available positions have been filled". If that is truly the way they create a collegial environment then I am thankful I have accepted a position elsewhere. [posted April 2012]
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville Theatre

Once the other candidate was hired, I was denied part of the travel reimbursement that was promised prior to the campus interview. On the other hand, my principle liaison at the department was delightful, communicative, and respectful. The problem was with the bureaucrats. [posted July 2012]

UPDATE: Just received a reimbursement check (despite an e-mail denial of funds). Maybe they read this Wiki?!

Stephen F Austin

History

Three junior faculty departed in the summer. Two left with very hard feelings. One left to be closer to family. SFA has the second lowest pay in Texas universities. Older department had very little turn over. Junior faculty very divided. A very small town that is extremely remote. Teaching load is heavy. One adjunct fired in the spring for a personal conflict with another member of the junior faculty and one member of the senior faculty. [posted Oct. 2011 ... note several more entries for other depts. at this school in "Older Issues" section.]

  • The third person who left was just too nice to say that internal department conflicts was the main reason; relative proximity to family provided a smoother exit. Internal divisions are partly personal and partly over disagreements within the discipline.
  • To back up the last point of the last poster, those faculty with active research agendas that reflect current trends in the discipline are marginalized and even openly mocked. Plenty of good, kind people here (in history and in other departments), but sadly but the bad apples run the show. (November 2011)

Texas A&M University-Texarkana

All

To make a long story short, they just got investigated by the state for corruption. The report will remain sealed so you cannot read it. Reported in Texarkana Gazette. Former faculty filed whistle blower reports. This is a very very bad place to work.

(revised 8-2011) Probe by state was rapidly followed by the resignation of the president. Rumor other admin will follow. Unsure how this will affect working there, but good to know if applying that the admin is in turmoil! see Article in Chronicle of Higher Ed, link here!!

Texas A&M

Commerce

Humanities Stiffed me for travel expenses, no notification of conclusion of search-even for finalists.

University of Chicago

Society of Fellows

Interviewed for the Society of Fellows in the Humanities in March 2011 (was offered the position but turned it down for a TT positione elsewhere). I was flying internationally and the ticket was very expense. I was told on multiple occasions that I would be reimbursed in full. As of December, 2011, the administrative director of the Society of Fellows has refused to reimburse my airfare. I contacted the scholarly director of the program (who only oversees finanical matters from a distance). He has promised that he will advocate for me and that I will be fully reimbursed. However, as of 12/2011, the reimbursement has not come. I am sure that my situation was not typical in that I was flying from far away, but I do regard the handling of the reimbursement so far as unethical and unprofessional, and fundamentally misleading in that full reimbursement was guaranteed. The administrative director of this program appears to not recognize U of Chicago's ethical responsibility to reimburse prospective candidates and has arbitrarily determined that the ticket is too expensive to reimburse. If I am ever reimbursed, I will post an update.

University of Mary Washington Music I don't know what's going on with this department, but I've heard things from multiple sources that make it sound like an absolute nightmare of a workplace. Here's my own experience: recently, I was adjuncting at a different school and was tipped off by my chair that UMW would likely have an adjunct position opening for the next year. I sent a polite email inquiring about the possibility, and several hours later, received a hostile and borderline aggressive email from the chair of the department who was apparently angry that I had the gall to ask whether or not a position might be opening. The chair followed that email up by sending a series of equally angry and increasingly unhinged-sounding emails to MY chair, timestamped from between midnight and five AM (there were three or four emails in total). The adjunct position was indeed later publicly advertised; needless to say, I did not apply for it.
University of Montevallo Had the weirdest interview ever for a TT position. No questions were asked, the interviewer kept on talking about the school and it felt like some sort of an orientation session rather than an interview!! It was a full virtual tour of the campus and the department and the staff, and it felt like they wanted me to listen to their eulogy to the school--they were definitely not interested in testing the potential of the candidates!! I kept on nodding while they went on speaking and speaking and speaking!. Finally, I almost butted into their monologue, panicking that I did not get a chance to sell myself. Sadly that didn't help and seems I paid the price for interrupting the interviewer's sweet monologue! [posted April 2012]

University of Newcastle, Australia

If you have integrity you will not survive at the University of Newcastle. See our website for details: stop-b-uon.blogspot.com There are so many horrific stories.

University of South Carolina

College of Arts and Sciences

Interviewed in department, had wonderful experience--I love this program, they are wonderful, so I am not specifying the Department--was quickly offered job by chair with no indication or expectation of problems, constructed packet, start up package (fri), had Dean reject packet (mon) and retract offer. Was notified that my packet had been rejected (tue), regrets from Chair, asked to not discuss again....feel utterly and completely heartbroken. I'm staff at University currently, so watching the end of the process--"my job" being slowly given to someone else--is utterly devastating.

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

History

An extremely dysfunctional department where people of color or of Asin ehtnicity are denied tenure. In a tight job market, it can look attractive but it is highly toxic. Job advertised this year in American history but search committee chaired by modern Germanist. One of the Americanists on the committee does not believe that Atlantic World specialists are true "Americanists". You can apply but know that a report compiled by the Provost's office documented bullying and harrassment by senior faculty against junior facutly (though only one member of the search committee was involved). Future positions in medieval Chinese and Arab history will open up next year. Pay is not great but area is cheap. Apply at your own risk. If invited to a campus visit, ask about recent tenure cases and department culture. Trust your instincts if you feel a weird vibe. [posted Dec. 2011 - see also "Chronic Issues" below]

West Virginia Institute (Montgomery, WV)

English/HR, 2010-11

Unclear job call. Emailed Human Resources, received no clarification. Emailed again and CCed department contact. Received a sarcastic email from HR to the tune of, "Well, if it's so hard to apply, why are you applying?" (And very informally written, as if they were texting me.) Applied anyway. Made the shortlist. Notified by email with a CC of the other applicants. (Not a BCC, but a CC from the SC, so I could see all the other applicants' names.) To WVU-I's credit, the SC was upfront with how little the job pays (in the second line of the email, no less: "You've made the shortlist. This job pays low $30,000s.). Politely declined a phone interview, via email, and received no response. Received a second request for a phone interview last week. My feeling is that they don't have their act together, and this chaos spreads to the department. What little contact I have had with them has been unpleasant.

West Virginia University

College of Arts and Science

Underpaid, overworked, underresourced - December 2010

The salaries WVU offers new tenure-track faculty are 20,000 below the national average as recorded in the Chronicle for Higher Education (think mid 40K, little start-up $, no time off or course reduction before tenure, and little or no library resources, a major airport with real flights that is 1.5-2 hours away, no raises or promise of raises in the future, no family leave policies whatsoever, and very poor and expensive state run health insurance). Impossible to get research done with all the hidden labor around teaching, advising, and service. Think twice before applying here.

Western Kentucky University

Psychology

9/2012 - Not necessarily a "jeer" - Just an odd situation.

A grad school friend of mine was interviewed for a clinical position in spring of 2012. He said he loved the town and department, and that the clinical faculty strongly hinted that he would be offered the job, though that did not happen. He asked someone there about what weaknesses the department mentioned while making their decision, and he was told that his publication record was not strong enough.

This is all potentially fairly normal, but as I talked to him I began to wonder: what kind of department spends the money for a search but only invites a single candidate for a position (leaving no backup choice), gives a huge hint that he or she will get the job, then leaves the position unfilled because of weaknesses that were obvious in the CV they'd had for weeks? They could have saved a lot of money and hassle by just not interviewing the person in the first place.

Having been in academia a little longer, I told him I could imagine a few possibilities to explain what had happened:

  1. The majority of the department members didn't bother to look at his CV until the day they voted on whether to give him an offer
  2. Something about him that was only apparent in the interview process was the real reason he wasn't given an offer, despite what they told him afterward
  3. The non-clinical faculty members used their majority to prevent the clinical faculty from getting the hire
  4. The department invited him, knowing he looked adequate on paper, but also knowing they could plausibly fail to hire him, as well, in order to keep the line without having to fill it (for reasons of their own).

My best guesses are #1 and #2, of course; heaven knows we don't always read documents beforehand; and there are a hundred reasons not to prefer a candidate after you've met them in person, many of which aren't things we want to honestly tell that person. However, I also think it's remotely possible that something politically weird going on that could affect future candidates.

Yonsei University

Underwood International College

  • Original post deleted Oct 2012
  • I applied for this position. When I saw it, I did about 10 minutes of research on Wikipedia and its link to Underwood to find out that Incheon isn't Seoul, and what a new Assistant Prof. could expect at Yonsei's Underwood IC. I discovered exactly what the above poster says, both good and not so good. I don't see how the poster's buyer's remorse warrants a "university to fear" characterization. All things considered, it looks like one of the better positions of its kind, and the poster bears out that there's no hidden weirdness to be concerned about regarding this overseas position, that no one misrepresented the position's costs and benefits before the poster took the job.
  • I applied for this position and received no acknowledgment of any kind, not confirmation of receipt nor an official rejection, which I found to be more than a little dismissive and discourteous on their part.

I applied here and MLA interviewed in 2006/7 season. The interview was fine-- long-ish and not the usual even though the 2 dept interviwers were one white guy and one asian-american. They pretty much said by the end they wouldnt hire me-- I was too specialzied or theoretical or something like that-- they wanted a very old school great books person to teach western civ. No complaints though. However anyone applying to work randomly in Asia and not least Korea should LOOK OUT and look before you leap. It will NOT be like an American or Western gig, even if they say so. This post above is a great example as to how/why. I've never take such a job if you knew the real working conditions-- but if you do know them (ta;k to someone there!!) then go for it if you feel like it.

Chronic Issues: Schools or Departments with Problems Extending Well Beyond a Single Search

?

School

Department

Issue and Date

All

All

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) keeps a Censure List of schools that do not follow "generally recognized principles of academic freedom and tenure". It can be found here: http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/about/censuredadmins/

Antioch University

The entire system but especially the Los Angeles campus

I taught for two years at the AULA campus and on the whole had very great colleagues and some amazing students, but the administration rivals what one would find in a totalitarian regime. The faculty has zero power and Antioch might as well be producing widgets for all the attention the university gives to student learning. The classrooms at AULA are antiquated (I've worked in high schools with vastly superior resources) and the only incentive at this institution is to make money - lots and lots of it. It was easily the strangest place I have ever worked. Antioch University bears no resemblance to the now defunct but once great liberal arts college of the same name. AAUP recenlty sanctioned Antioch for its lack of transparency in dealing with the closure of the college and the dismissal of tenured faculty. For the record: I was an interim appointment who did not get the full-time position (they gave it to a very talented woman whose credentials were more in line with the program I was running). Rather than being bitter about this experience (which one might be), I'm so incredibly grateful to not have to work at this place anymore. Being unemployed feels better than having a job at Antioch.

  • I am particularly interested in this entry, as they just posted this job today (12/7): http://www.higheredjobs.com/details.cfm?JobCode=175582769 I know we have to have a measure of confidentiality, but I wonder how much this place has changed since they reopened earlier this term. Any insight any of you can give would be much appreciated. I'm so thankful for this wiki, but am conflicted about whether to proceed and apply.
  • Just a note on the above question: Antioch College now as no affiliation whatsoever with Antioch University. The story here is quite long and boring, but there was long, messy divorce that resulted in the closure of the small residential college, which is now re-opening. So whatever is wrong with AU, and whatever may be wrong with AC, they're not related and probably don't belong in the same entry. (I casually know a few people involved in the reopening of the college, and they're pretty excited about the project and have nothing but good things to say about it. That said, that job should be considered less secure than the average TT position for the sole reason that the college might not make it. Financially, they're not yet solid.)

Arkansas Tech

All

This is a great place if you are not progressive, have no aspirations, are lazy, can function in a rigid good ole boy hierarchy, and are perfectly comfortable with mediocrity.If, on the other hand, that is not you, be prepared to be vilified and left jobless after working much harder than any of your colleagues.

  • This statement is obviously written by someone who was disgruntled with Arkansas Tech because he/she could not work well with colleagues and wants to blame others for his/her faults and lack of social skills.
  • No, the statement was not "obviously written by someone [. . .] who could not work well with colleagues [etc]." From an objective standpoint, from someone who has never even heard of Arkansas Tech before I saw this Wiki page, the snarky response seems as telling as the original post, and not necessarily in a good way.
  • After working in Arkansas for the last 10 years I can attest to the statements in the OP. It seems as the description for Tech also applies to all of Arkansas' state school/ccs. This is the nature of the state. They do not like new ideas and if you weren't born and raised in the back woods of Arkansas, then they just don't get you.
  • Can say from experience this is not true of all state schools in Arkansas. Try to avoid speaking in terms of "all", or "natures", and the sinister "they", sounds like old-fashioned stereotyping.
  • I agree we should not stereotype, but I have also been teaching in Arkansas for the last 10 years and frankly if you are not from this part of the country, find the good ole boy thing difficult to deal with, and are not a compliant woman, stay away...taking a job here has been my greatest mistake..and don't tell me to leave because I am stuck her fror personal reasons...at least at the moment.
    • "taking a job here has been my greatest mistake": "here" as in Arkansas or "here" as in Arkansas Tech?
    • Here in Arkansas.
    • Speaking as an urban woman (Boston, New York, Atlanta) who has spent long periods of time in the deep south, I have to disagree to some extent with the Arkansas poster. Arkansas shares in that very conservative, agriculturally-based, Southern Baptist culture that makes up a lot of our country. It can indeed be frustrating. However, every one of these states has their own "crunchy" post-60's art-culture haven. For Arkansas, try Fayetteville, Eureka Springs, and a bit of Little Rock. There might be more. Either way, and this is the part that really bugs me, there is a long and strong tradition of non-compliant women and men in this culture. Life can be tough in a poor state, and you will find some impressive and amazingly resilient people in unexpected places. Don't close yourself off and you'll find that the "new south" and the "old south" have plenty to give one another.
    • After working at "Tech" on the tt for several years, all I can think about is getting the f***out of here!! And I've lived in the South my entire life. This is a whole other world. The place is a nightmare--it will suck your soul up and spit it out, where it will just blend in with the other horrors, both institutional and regional, of the place, and no one will notice that you've become one of the walking dead that inhabit the campus. There is absolutely no intellectual climate and not even a pretense at one, which is almost as depressing. Do not come here if you can avoid it. And yeah, Little Rock and Fayetteville (always held out as oases, even though, in the end, they would just be normal cities in other Southern states) will not save you. This place is a joke.
      • This sounds exactly like Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC). NWACC rules via the good ol boy netweork by fear and intimidation and is riddled with "academic mobbing", bullying, supression of freedom of speech, sexual harassment, cyberstalking, wrongful expulsion of students, and the list goes on and on. NWACC is toxic and I recommend staying as far away for there as possible. I wouldn't work there, nor would I be a student there. Have a look at the NWACC Corruption blog: http://nwacccorruption.blogspot.com

Bard C

English

FYI: By all means apply, but I recommend taking a job at Bard only as a completely LAST resort...(REBUTTAL APPEARS IN DISCUSSION, ACCESS ABOVE BY PRESSING THE DISCUSSION BUTTON NEAR THE EDIT PAGE BUTTON) [Note: this refers to what is now called "TALK" in the new wiki format: see Talk:Universities to fear for more extended discussion of this school]

  • (I don't see a rebuttal anywhere--perhaps it didn't make in the transfer to scratchpad, but I am going to add my own cautionary tale about Bard in the discussion.)

Bard C

All

Bard is a troubled institution. There are many reasons for this: an unusually powerful and unstable administration, including the president and the Dean of the College, a complete lack of faculty governance and resulting infantilization of the faculty, and a culture of fealty, fear, and lies. The college has a disturbing history of firing/not retaining faculty of color and gay men in particular, although all probationary faculty are at risk, the college's own tenure and promotion guidelines are regularly violated during third-year and tenure reviews, and the college has a peculiarly strong sense of itself (fit) grounded in the whims of its well-known and long-tenured president that works to enforce narrow senses of faculty roles and placement (i.e., racism and homophobia). It's relationship to curriculum programming is parochial; many of its older, tenured faculty are remarkably conservative in a disciplinary sense, and do not nor want to understand contemporary training of graduate students; searches are regularly voided by the president, and search committees themselves often engage in blatant and openly discriminatory hiring practices (for instance, not considering any applications from women of color, in the example of one search); and the differences between those empowered and those disempowered is based not in performance, teaching, or research, but in one's proximity to the president and his acolytes, in particular the current Dean. The Dean's Office regularly lies to faculty, does not follow established college procedures, and engages in patently illegal personal decisions. The college has such a troubled litigation history that there is an academic labor lawyer in New York City that *specializes* in Bard cases. Confidentiality agreements usually contain this disturbing trend (none is being broached here, btw). Use caution when applying and/or considering an offer from the college, especially for interdisciplinary-based applicants, applicants who are gay men or of color, and anyone who desires a healthy working atmosphere.

    • I interviewed for Bard (German) a few years ago and heard lots of troubling stories about arbitrary decision-making by the administration there. I didn't get an offer and probably wouldn't have gone there anyway, so I can't confirm this out of experience. But I can say that it was one of the worst interview experiences I've ever had. Did not bode well for collegiality.

The most toxic environment imaginable. President and dean consistently intimidate and manipulate faculty in the worst imaginable ways. Several faculty members simply play into their hands and contribute to the hostility. My best advice: STAY AWAY.

Barnard C

All

Because of its relationship with Columbia, Barnard has in effect no ability to govern itself. It cannot and/or will not support its own faculty. Its faculty go through two tenure processes, the first at Barnard, the second at Columbia. Columbia gets the final say. This means that even if Barnard votes to grant a beloved faculty member tenure, Columbia can still turn the person down, and the person will be fired. There have been a number of shocking well-publicized cases of this kind, and also of the type where the Barnard tenure committee will deny a faculty member tenure in anticipation or fear of a rejection by Columbia. This points to the pervasive, utterly depressing inferiority complex and Columbia-loathing (which has nothing to do with Columbia and everything to do with Barnard) which characterizes the Barnard faculty and administration as a whole. Barnard faculty have to meet Columbia's standards for tenure, yet Barnard faculty are paid less, teach more, and do not have access to benefits including housing and access to the school for faculty children. Finally, the crowning insult: Barnard tenures fewer women than Columbia--more evidence of the institution's crippling self-loathing complex. It doesn't help that the place is stacked with "spousal hires," the less-qualified wives of Columbia profs. A nice place to teach for a few years, but don't go anywhere near the tenure process, and don't expect any kind of collegiality.

Brigham Young University

History

Routinely hires TT faculty in Asian history who never make tenure. Last BYU Asian historian to get tenure and stay was over 40 years ago! Three have been fired/denied tenure in the five years, all with multiple pubs including books with very good presses. Problems at both department and college levels.

California State University, Channel Islands

All

Campus visit involves faculty "cohorts" (2/07 and ongoing) -- The entire campus is involved in two-day cattle calls of 30-40 applicants forming a "cohort." It's very much a beauty/popularity contest, and unfortunately, many of those in the cohort were inside candidates and/or spousal hires. My cohort included several pairs of candidates for the same position, and one member of the hiring committee didn't even show up the second day. Also, after the campus visit, referees were contacted and asked to fill out lengthy forms that included questions including whether the potential hire has a neat appearance and uses proper hygiene!?!?!?! Needless to say, my referees were horrified, and glad I didn't end up there...

  • Monstrous, and yet I'd drop everything for a job there!

Centenary College, New Jersey

All

Lowest paid faculty in a very expensive state. No tenure and endless evaluation of faculty. The college is up to its eyeballs in debt. The culture is incestuous and poisonous, with all administrative hires coming from the inside. Research is actively discouraged. The library is something a junior high school would be ashamed of. Some good students, but many more who are remedial and unprepared for college. It's only fifty miles away from NYC, but you would never know it.

Central Michigan University

English

I came across a posting for a new tenure-track position and did a little research (assisted by a friend in the department). Scads of bad news.

The new president of the university and the new provost are bean counters, which has made the environment toxic (the faculty union even struck for the first time in its history). It's hard tell if the new searches will really run. Even before that there were red flags in English. They disguise spousal hires as real searches; right now there are at least five t-t couples. Despite (or because?) that there's a high attrition rate. In a news article in the student paper one member of the department mentions that they've lost half of their new hires since 2000. They haven't been able to keep any new hire of color. Per my friend, some of their fulls and associates would leave if they could. They've got a new dean and a new department head too, so there's no guessing how things will go. Pay is low for the state, and Michigan is trying to follow Wisconsin's lead. (September 2011)

City College of San Francisco

English

Some great faculty, but pay sucks for the area. So many students and faculty that you'll be treated like a number. I'd advise working there if you're in a somewhat small department. Watch out for bureuacratic nonsense.

WARNING! HR department will reject your application just because they feel like it! Extremely rude! I was told I was rejected because I didn't meet the minimum qualifications - a B.A. in english and experience. I called because not only do I have a BA and a MA and Ph.D. in English, but I've been teaching for 10 years. "You don't have a B.A. in English. You have a B.A. in Creative Writing," I was informed. Um, lady, I think I know what my degree is! It was infuriating. I instructed her to look at my transcript, but she said she didn't have it. then I told her to look at my CV and she got all pissy and said, "Well, it says 'creative writing emphasis.'" What kind of lousy HR does this place have if they can't tell the difference between a degree and an emphasis? She was incredibly rude to me. BEWARE!

  • For the record, pay is not so terribly bad. CCSF pay ranks around 6th of the top ten cc's in the Bay Area (around 60K/yr for starting). Bureaucratic nonsense? Well, welcome to public education. In ANTHROPOLOGY they were lookomh top hire a full time high course load phd for $35,000. NOOOOOOOOO! Strange. Legally, they can't do it--there's a contract in place for full time faculty, and the starting pay for Ph.D. in hand is well above $35K.
  • Pay does suck when you consider the cost of living there. Lots of bureaucratic nonsense. HUGE campus. Prepared to be treated like a number. They are notorious for NOT hiring their own adjuncts. I worked there 5 years and applied every year. Not even an interview. Other college hired me after I gave there. I finally *did* get an interview after being away 2 years; not surprisingly they did not hire me. What a shock. They abuse their faculty badly. A tenured instructor in his 60's was told to teach 7-10pm and then 8am the next day. No one has any power there--which is odd because it's littered with cliques. SF is a great town, but I recommend hiring on anywhere else. Consider Skyline in San Bruno or College of Marin. Really. Take my word.

Columbia College (of Missouri)

Any

A nightmarish institution to be sure. The College is run by a President who is rarely around and is only sticking around until he gets a science building started. The Academic Dean is laughable. At least three lawsuits have mentioned sexual harassment and/or discrimination. Extreme favoritism is shown to all of the male faculty to the point that rules are blatantly broken in their favor. The 'diversity' of the faculty is laughable-- 3 Asian faculty in a sea of white professors. College is run by the AHE segment of administration that governs evening, online, and military base 'campuses.' No genuine academic leadership, but lots of bottom line business model stuff. A College that thrives on nepotism. If you've got a family member that works at CC, you've got a job. Likewise, if you're average and just not very good at your job-- CC is the place for you. Offices like Alumni Affairs, PR, and 90% of AHE is full of inept individuals. Students for the most part are Business or Criminal Justice, so your mind can wander with all of the open-minded, critical thinking students you'll have in your class. Technology is a joke at the school, yet there's a bunch of it filling the classrooms. It's a shame it rarely works when needed. The town itself doesn't even recognize the school, instead choosing to focus on the University of Missouri and the nearly bankrupt Stephens College. Please do not come here. If you can't get another job anywhere else, then come. You'll fit right in.

Davidson College

English

The English department at Davidson is a genuinely poisonous environment. Relations between established members are such a minefield that you’re guaranteed to lose a limb or two now and then. The salary is good, though, so there will be takers for their jobs. Here’s the advice I can offer. No one will tell you anything straight when you visit for your on campus interview. You’re pretty much certain to have to field questions about whether you have a spouse who’ll be asking for work at Davidson. However you handle those questions, you should understand that they will not hire your spouse to any ongoing academic position. Don’t be fooled by any equivocations you hear, nor by the spousal pairs already at Davidson; they got in under a different administration. The current president and dean won’t allow spousal hires. You’ll have to teach a class on your campus visit and to impress you pretty much have to entertain more than actually instruct. Don’t pitch your class low (Davidson believes its students are celestial geniuses), but don’t get lost in theoretical abstraction either. Be guarded. Take special care to fend off anyone who wants to act conspiratorial or draw you into some kind of alliance (that advice applies both to the campus visit and your subsequent career at Davidson). If after all that you get the offer and decide you’re willing to take it, gird yourself. You won’t be made to feel welcome by senior faculty in the department. There are some younger faculty you can trust. You’ll have to work out who they are. For the old guard, just don’t believe a word they say. Listen very carefully to the gossip they float and try not to contribute to it yourself. As I noted already, resist being drawn into alliances. But stay chipper too. Cheer for the hothouse liberal arts college party line — hey, maybe you actually believe in that kind of education. Be very pliable too. They want junior faculty who won’t make trouble. They don’t love serious research profiles. Most (not all) of the department is low-range plodders whose research ambitions died before they got started, and there’s a lot of tolerance for stupidity and chest-thumping instead of quality scholarship. Basically, no one has a good time before tenure, and if you make tenure, you may also turn into one of the trolls who live there. There’s a lot of misery – try not to get infected by it. I should note that these observations do not apply to other departments. Plenty of people have a fine experience working at Davidson. Make friends with folks in other departments. They’ll be sympathetic. The upper administration is very conservative and dopey, but they generally stay out of your way, as long as you’re not a trouble-maker.---This poster seems to have a problem with liberal arts institutions in general which seems to be clouding his/her judgment of the school. Davidson is not an R1 and so you shouldn't be upset when big time scholarship doesn't come out of it.

  • Sorry, but the poster only said something very brief about the scholarship thing. 95% of his or her post had nothing to do with scholarship.
  • For what it's worth, I interviewed with another Davidson Dept. in 12/09, and it was a really lovely, dynamic interview with thoughtful questions--definitely my most enjoyable interview. They seem very organized and efficient.
  • The comments above refer to the English Department only. There may be other disfunctional departments at Davidson, but there are many very good departments where one could find a warm welcome and receive excellent treatment. English may also put on a pretty good show for interviewees, but be very wary if you end up with a job in that department.
Davidson College (05/12) My department is too small to be identified here but I can assure you that there are severe issues in departments other than English. While it may be true that not all departments are bad, the underlying review process at this school is potentially problematic for anyone if they happened to have a difficult department chair at the time. This is due to the fact the department chair has an extrordinary amount of power in the decision and the process is not transparent. Meaning your chair can write whatever they like in their letter with no accountability. Yes, it can be completely untrue, but you are never allowed to see the accusations made or defend yourself or even make your own case for yourself. The criteria for renewal are basically the same as tenure: Excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. In that order with scholarship a close second to teaching. Nowhere is "excellence" defined in anyway nor are the criteria defined in anyway. The term "excellence" is completely open to interpretation. For example, you can have course evaluations that demonstrate excellence in teaching yet your department chair can explain them in a way to the Dean in their letter that turns them into a weakness. (Particularly if your dept. chair is an alpha character who feels threatened by students liking you more than them) What they will not tell you when you interview but are known facts among faculty is that the college has a history of not renewing at the 4th year, this is so they can get rid of someone without the due process of going up for tenure when they would have to have everything documented appropriately including an external review. At the 4th year they can get rid of anyone without having to tell you anything at all. They like to say that this is a favor to the candidate for whom tenure is not looking good, rather than being denied tenure it gets them a chance to move on more quickly. This is unfair to the candidate who might hope to have until tenure to "prove" themselves. This college also has a demonstrated history of denying tenure (or getting rid of early) minorities and women who "are not up to par." Davidson likes to think of themselves as the "Yale of the South", a little pretentious would probably be an understatement, you're either in the club or you're not. You do not even get an opportunity to make a case for yourself when you go up for renewal, you are entirely at the mercy of what your chair and colleagues in the department write about you in their private letters that you will never get to see and they may not understand your field of expertise at all which makes it that much more difficult. If you are denied renewal, they will hide behind lawyers and not be willing to give feedback because they feel it opens themselves up to arguement from your side. Don't confuse kindness on the part of your collegues with actual support. It means nothing. They can be quite skilled at pretending to support you too, yet stabbing you in the back and you're left in the dark. Yes, even colleagues you became close with and ate dinners at each others houses frequently. One would hope they would give you some advice/guidence as a decent human being might but don't count on it. Even though the handbook dictates so, they will not necessairly give you feedback or help you or guide you to be successful they will just judge what they think about you without regard of the evidence. There are some great faculty who work here and in every other way it looks like a wonderful place to be but I wish I had listened to the nagging voice when I was hired that said "If it looks to good to be true, it probably is" Some people will have no problems at all, but if you are one of the unlucky ones, there is absolutely nothing to protect you to ensure you have a fair review process, which is a big gamble to take. If you have nothing to lose like leaving another job then it's not such a gamble, and you can go in prepared to ask plenty of questions. I found out after the fact that this is all too common here, I wish I had been warned.
Denison University

Any

Communication: The media studies track has been a nightmare as far as tenure and promotion. While it looks like they may have found a solid tenurable set of personnel now, in the past decade more than seven different media studies professors have rotated out of this department. This has NOT been a problem with scholars of rhetoric, where the department has seen much better success in tenure and promotion. The problem seems to be lack of responsible mentoring, fit with a student culture who sees media studies as an "easy A" but are flustered when they earn a "B-" and then take it out on the professor (note, despite professing otherwise, tenure is largely based on "positive" student evals), and a curriculum that does not lead to any kind of media studies focus. People who have been pushed out the university are talented and have found themselves leading programs at both national and international levels. If you are a media studies scholar, be advised that this department has structural problems that they need to correct before you can be assured that they know what they are doing with these lines.

History: Got an on-campus here two years ago. Full-day interview during which about half of the folks I was scheduled to talk with didn't even bother to show up; no access to food or liquids (no lie, I spent the 5 minutes I was given to prep before my job talk drinking water out of my palm in the women's bathroom); faculty member who was supposed to take me to the airport stopped off to go shopping and so I missed my flight (bright spot: at least I had time to eat at the airport, which i wouldn't have had otherwise-- that would've been a long freakin' 18 hours); never bothered to notify me I didn't get picked, found out from the wiki. Worst job interview experience EVER.

DePaul University

All

  • 2009: The tenure climate at DePaul has become increasingly problematic over the past few years. The university tenure board has started a trend of overturning unanimous department and college decisions without justification. This growing number of unjustified reversals has affected multiple programs across the university. The university didn’t even have a tenure appeal process until a few years ago. Since then the number of appeals has continued to rise, but the president has refused to overturn controversial denials even when independent appeal boards have recommended that he do so. Further, the provost has interfered in the process by trying to coerce appeal boards into siding with the administration. The Faculty Governance Council (FGC) of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has issued two separate reports, in 2007 and 2009, criticizing the university’s inconsistency and lack of transparency in its tenure practices. Yet, the president and provost are giving no ground, and change in the near future seems unlikely. Within this context of fear and uncertainty, all untenured faculty are at risk. Here are some links to materials related to these recent tenure issues.:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-depaul-tenure_grossmannov01,0,648862.story
http://chronicle.com/blogPost/Denied-Tenure-Female-Faculty/8671/
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/11/02/qt/women_contest_tenure_denials_at_depaul

Edward Waters College

ANY

Worst graduation rate in the nation. Controlling administration who have contempt for students and faculty. Will fire faculty members without warning because they disagree with administration. Misuse of grant funds. Will tell you that their average student is at about a junior in high school level, but in honesty most students read at a 5th grade level. Located in the most violent part of Florida (statistically). Drive by shootings feet away from faculty offices....I wish we were making this up.

Elon University

All

grade inflation: 35 percent of all undergraduate grades are A or A-. Note: as of last year, the figure hit 40 percent. It's fun asking about this during phone interviews.--The independent research grades at Elon are not pass/fail. They are graded on a letter scale and averaged in with regular class grades. A typical faculty member averages 2-4 research students. Most faculty take on only the brightest students for research. Including independent research grades with regular class grades artificially inflates the number of As.

  • Feel free to ask. We talk about this all the time. After a significant rise in the academic level of our students this past decade, we're working to adjust our grading strategies. We're not alone in this, of course. Of course.

Empire State Coll., SUNY

most of lib arts fields

School is in massive transition (since 2006 or so), mostly in good ways, but has deeply pervasive ideology that weighs everything and everyone down. It feels like a religion or cult, and several newer folks feel this. I am TT jr faculty here; most people I know, old & new, are miserable and either eager for retirement, or on the market trying to leave, or successfully have left, or just resignedly doing time. Nontrad school with many pluses, such as motivated nontrad students, but minuses far outweigh the pluses. Depending which branch you're in, you might never or very rarely see any students in person; no regular classroom classes--teaching is done online or indep. study or in groups that meet very infrequently (like twice/month max). You are expected to give A's to everyone; this is part of old ideology that is changing, but that gives you an idea. Anything resembling an academic standard, outcome, or deadline is considered reprehensible. Ideology also claims that traditional schools are fascistic and useless. School seems to have a lot of integrity in more professional or vocational fields (business, social work, etc.), but in lib arts, not so much. Also, it's a 12-mo contract with 5 overlapping semesters: no summers, no holiday breaks. You get vacation days like in corporate jobs, but there is never any time to take them with the 5 overlapping terms: you're always running 2 or 3 at once.

  • I see the note above about Elon Univ's grade inflation, meaning 35-40% get A's or A minuses. At Empire SC, it is as bad or even much worse. You're expected to give everyone A's all the time, no matter what, simply b/c they are adults, and supposedly this means you are "respecting" them. A committee is trying now to come up with a system of student honors, since the students keep begging for one; they're stymied b/c most honor societies are GPA-based, which would mean, e.g., you'd have 80+% of the students as "honor" students, which is obviously preposterous.
  • interviewed me by phone but never followed up-- no email, no letter, nothing.

Georgia Tech

Biology

Ongoing...poorly managed departmental teaching assignments increasingly made out of the scarcity and panic that follow laissez-faire denial.

  • Courses envisioned to be team-taught. Instead, there is little collaboration.
  • I had three different co-instructors assigned for the same upper-division course in four semesters. One rocked, and the other two rarely showed up (one figuratively, one literally.) No action taken to support teaching, learning, instruction, etc.
  • Promises for courses to be taught, duties, assignments frequently broken.
  • Although all faculty have PhDs and most had postdoctoral experience, there was unspoken and very clear discrimination between TT and non-TT faculty.
  • Non-TT faculty not allowed to supervise undergrad research, against BoR policy.
  • No allowances to teaching load for curriculum development.
  • Some TT faculty have not taught in several semesters, leaving non-TT faculty to pick up the load.
  • Accrued vacation pay delayed for a month when the head admin did not submit it to payroll after my departure.

The department is growing, but teaching personnel and support are not. Person currently responsible for teaching assignments does a terrible job managing this responsibility. Look for chronic mismanagement to continue.

Hendrix College

Foreign Languages

Beware! Toxic department that does not operate in a cooperative way. Faculty across campus describe this department as "crazy" and "backstabbing." Highly territorial, with no fostering of mutual success - very much the "I've got mine and screw you" mentality. Several hateful tenured members have willfully torpedoed the efforts of more than one junior colleague. The dominant language can sway the vote on any issue - including tenure decisions. Conflicts arise out of the competing interests between the modern and classical languages, which are housed together in this department. Very heavy reliance on adjunct and NTT instructors for such an expensive private school. Good school academically, but terrible department. Stay away!

  • As a junior member of another department, I understand where this perspective is coming from; I think it does accurately portray the history of this department. There may partly be a structural issue to overcome, in that a department of "Foreign Languages" does not necessary create a sense of unity (i.e., faculty generally won't be sharing students or majors across different languages, reading the same literature, contributing to the same study abroad programs, etc.) And there have been some very strong personalities in place, some of whom became fairly embittered and harbored grudges for one reason or another over many years. Fortunately, I am seeing some improvement in the current climate. One important retirement has just been announced, another is imminent, and there are definitely some moderate voices amidst the current cadre, beginning with the current chair. While people naturally have their passions and priorities, I think the department is navicable, and there are other collegial folks around campus to socialize with. A number of searches are ongoing and I think there's a good opportunity for a cultural change to occur if good people take these positions.------------op sounds like a disgruntled faculty member who left or got let go! i am a tenured faculty member in another department, and i can tell you that faculty members in a department have no say over other faculty members' tenure, so i don't know what that's about. is there a cohesion issue in this department? yes. is it the result of competing interests? no, it's the natural result of divergent interests in a department that really ought to be three or four departments. the chair is not so much a moderate voice as a genuinely, sadly, clueless and confused one. new leadership, some new hires, and the important retirements to come will all be helpful.
Hong Kong University Comparative Literature really just a film department with a bad reputation for hiring its own people: former students, personal friends, old co-authors. very Hong Kong.

Loyola Marymount University

English

Be very cautious before you accept a part-time job in the Freshman English Program. Pay is low, and misrepresentations abound. Administrators will tell you multiple times that they are hiring you for the school year, then rescind the offer for Spring semester teaching mid-December. You will be lectured by priests about the necessity of educating the whole person. Said priests fail to recognize that paying something close to minimum wage and not offering health benefits does not exactly constitute employing the whole person. FEP administrators will also tell you that students' parents are paying something like $350 per class session, essentially warning you that you are on campus in a customer service role. The entire campus is set up to mystify the distinction between full- and part-time faculty so that parents don't complain.

Morehead State University, KY

Any

"High school with ashtrays" is the general nickname for Morehead, according to alum Chris Offutt (from his book "No Heroes: A Memoir of Coming Home"). Then there's the story of the academic job applicants, who, driving into Morehead and seeing the falling-apart small town (blocks of empty, shuttered and decaying buildings along Main Street), just hang a u-turn and head back to Lexington. The town itself seems stuck in about 1932, and the helpless, self-pitying, and sometimes nasty attitude of the natives is reflected in that of the administration and many of the faculty at MSU, who try with mounting desperation to make the classes as easy as possible for students who enter not only with weak academic skills, but who quite often are here only for the financial aid (MSU has very generous support programs). Because of the wretched state of employment for professors in the U.S., MSU has attracted many well-educated instructors who find themselves marooned miles from anything like civilization and surrounded by a population that not so secretly finds them too uppity because they like books. The school seemingly has reason to be afraid, very afraid: about ten years ago the school was almost closed due to poor enrollment, and the threat is still alive. Oh, and if this all is not enough, here's the comment I got from the first Morehead native I encountered: "You better be nice to everyone 'cause just about everybody here walks around armed."

  • I interviewed at Morehead State University in 2006. The first sign of real trouble was when faculty members began reading magazines during my job talk. The chair left my teaching demonstration and research demonstration without explanation and some members of the faculty were very confrontational, even hostile, during my interview. There are some good people there, but the entire campus seems to be covered with a pall. After the interview, I received very confusing correspondence from the search committee ("We are undecided...we wish you all the best..."). Maybe they are still trying to make their decision? To make matters worse, it took three or four months to receive my reimbursement check for travel expenses. Fortunately, I received another job offer that spring. I dodged a bullet!
  • I interviewed at MSU in 2007, was told they would give me an answer one way or another in two weeks. After a month I called them back to be told they had interviewed a last minute candidate, and it would be two more weeks. A month later, I called to let them know I had other offers and wanted to know what the status of the Morehead job was. I was told they still didn't know and would get back to me. I took another job, and six months into that job I got a rejection letter forwarded from my old address saying the job was filled. All in all, it took them 8 months to turn me down! And I really wasn't that impressed to begin with....

Northeastern (MA)

Jewish Studies,

History

They were interviewing for a two-year fellowship this year and their interview process was the most unprofessional I'd ever seen. The first time I was interviewed it was with the department chair's 10-year-old CHILD in the room, playing on his gameboy. And, then, in my second interview, I was treated to a display of crazy rudeness by another prof in the department, who cut me off every time I spoke. I wondered if others had experienced such things during their interviews. I've heard it's not a healthy place to work.

  • Yes, I heard it was a place "going downhill." I applied to a job and heard that the search folded for lack of funds; next year, the same job was advertised. Stop jerking us around!
  • Northeastern (Boston) has been a joke for decades for its low academic qualities and fixation on the buck.
  • May I ask which Northeastern this is? Illinois or Boston? [NOTE: there is no "Northeastern U." in Illinois ... don't confuse the school in Boston with Northwestern in Evanston, IL ...]
  • Agreed - Northeastern (Boston) was about the strangest place I have ever been to. The Dean was even rude and self-serving (Engineering). Seems like the University has an inferiority complex since MIT and Harvard are the big kids on the block. Many faculty seem to have a chip on their shoulder.
  • The rude person in JS was a VP. Also, I beg to differ that Northeastern is a joke. Obviously, it depends on the department and school.
  • No idea about JS, but it is ridiculous and ignorant to say Northeastern (Boston) is a joke. The Univ has been growing rapidly in the last decade or so, is now quite selective, has a handfull of very good grad programs, and extremely productive faculty in terms of research and publications. Not all that different than the earlier transformations of Boston University or NYU from expensive commuter or party schools into world class universities (this is not to say Northeastern will necessarily get to that point). Obviously departments are uneven across the university. Further, anyone who has an inkling about the Boston academic scene knows well that *every* big university in the area is subject to an inferiority complex via a vis Harvard and MIT.
  • [posted Oct. 2011]: History department has really gone down hill. 2 junior facuty have left in 2 years- first one was denied tenure and second left due to terrible work environment. Many faculty have retired with no replacement due to University budgets - seems to be all about money. Academic work coming out of the department is not exciting at all. Rumor is most junior faculty are on the market themselves. The environment is really unpleasant.
  • there is alot of turnover, particularly because there is really no community there. Many of the people who are there are very nice, but some want to be somewhere else. In the last seven years alot of the new faculty has left. The new chair is a nightmare. She is heartless and rumor has it that she was hired by the provost against the wishes of the faculty. She only cares about money and budgets. AVOID DEALING WITH HER. She is an ice queen. The department is very small now and there seems to be alot of misery there. The faculty that remains is actually rarely there.

NYU

General Studies

no response EVER...06/2007.....One wonders whether they received your application? My school's dossier services provider just sent my colleague's dossier to a school in the Midwest...when she applied to a school in Florida, with a completely different name. You might check to make sure your application was properly sent before black-listing a school?

  • Dream on; I dropped it off in person. A measly email or formal rejection letter might have been nice.
  • I've been blatantly ignored by NYU two times, so I doubt it's the fault of a dossier service or applicant.
  • Ditto. No response whatsoever regarding American Studies application. Some mightly unprofessional folks there, one would presume. How long can their dubious uber-hipness insulate them from ordinary professionalism or common courtesy? Get with it, people, cause everybody knows.
  • They only contact you if they decide to interview you. Otherwise, .... Had a campus interview (2008). Faculty was pleasant enough, but came out that many of them viewed their students as stupid. One faculty member actually said it, and no one disagreed. The acting dean was passive-aggressive during the interview. He didn't ask a question the whole time. The program is basically a community college in NYU, except all positions are contract ones. Tenure is never a possibility, and they just take advantage of the fact that they're in NYC so that they can get away with it.
  • Are these references to the NYU-Gallatin School of Individualized study or some other program within NYU?
  • NYU has a TERRIBLE record of exploiting non-tenure faculty!! Beware "Master Teachers," "Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow" and "Adjunct" positions in which you will teach a full (or more) course load and be treated like you were a drop-out from a community college by your tenured and tenure-track colleagues. Master Teachers (General Studies) teach 3/3 load.
  • If you expect to get any research/writing done, don't! In terms of tenure and pay, they disproportionately undervalue and pass over women and women of color. This is common knowledge about NYU but thought I'd share anyway.

Roger Williams University, RI

Any

2012: Very strange, very hostile phone interview with the American Studies/history dept. There seemed to be about four to seven people involved, though maybe some never spoke. The conference phone device kept getting moved, which caused a lot of static and noise on the line. I tried to joke about it a little but it fell flat. It was all very awkward and quite cold. Their first question was, "Why do you want to work for American studies at Roger Williams?" Answered that. Then, a very blunt very hostile creative writer said she didn't see a lot of history courses on my grad transcript, and would I feel comfortable teaching history courses there? Actually, there ARE a lot of history courses on my transcript, but they were a secondary focus. Kind of like a minor. Also, I tried to explain the role of history in my teaching, but there was only blank silence on the end of the line, I wondered why they were calling me if essentially they had already decided I wasn' qualified. And WTF does a creative writer know about that kind of judgment call?! There were NO questions about my background, my research, how I pull history into my work, NOTHING. Only, basically, "Can you teach our courses?" So obviously, I got called as a formality. The person in the visiting position now that seems to correspond most with this position is a publication powerhouse who also has obviously been heavily mentored by the chair. I don't know if she was an internal candidate, or if she flew the coop and there was some acrimony there, But bad bad vibes all the way. Any incoming poor bastard who gets that job should beware: it seems like a VERY exploitative situation.

  • I was a finalist for a job in the American Studies / History department. The search committee obviously favored the inside candidate whom they ultimately hired. The chair of the search committee was hostile to me during the group interview. He also expressed his lack of interest during the scheduled one-on-one interview when he barely talked to me and instead organized his desk and school bag. He made his feelings about my candidacy apparent when he did not bother to show up to my teaching presentation, research presentation or any of the scheduled meals. In fact, for the first half hour of my research presentation, only one committee member (a member of a different department) bothered to show up. I had to restart my presentation three times as two other individuals wandered in and out. At the time of my campus visit, it felt like the outcome had already been decided. The result of the search confirms my suspicions. [posted March 2012]

Whatever you do, NEVER accept a visiting position at this university unless you are sure you can get out after the first year. You will be hired on a 3-year non-renewable contract, given a 4/4 teaching load and expected to participate in full administrative and advising duties. You will have no time to do research or publish, and they will toss you out at the end of the three years. Under the current administration visitings are never converted to tenure track. They have instituted an abominable 5-course Core Curriculum that is taught at the 8th grade level - many of the best students transfer after their freshman year. As a Visiting, you will be teaching 2 sections of one of these core courses every semester til you leave. (ex. Core 105 - the history of art, architecture, music, theater, ballet, and opera in 14 weeks). If you don't mind working your rear off and are not that interested in research and publishing, a tt job is not so bad - the faculty is unionized, and the benefit package is EXTREMELY generous (and inexpensive), including $2000 a year in professional development money (as of 2007-8) (So much money to spend on books that you have no time to read). Architecture school is the best school on campus, should you be applying. Just don't get hooked into the visiting positions - they will ruin your academic career. And, if you want some fun reading, google Ralph J. Papitto to see how the Board of Trustees behaves.

  • Applied for Biology job (2007). Didn't hear anything back, however, I saw one (!) interview scheduled, so I sent an e-mail to the chair of the SC. Got a response back, asking if I was still interested (seems that the one person that they interviewed turned them down), and scheduled a phone interview. Evidently, the main criterion for my phone interview was the e-mail inquiry about my application. Had the phone interview, and never heard from them again. Discovered later that the position had been filled. Seems very disorganized.
  • The National Education Association warned people last year that the tenure process is so repeatedly and flagrantly violated here that almost every prof trying to move up has had to sue (7! 4 granted tenure after mediation, 3 after court cases) with clear findings of violation of procedure, Dean overruling dept heads, etc. Who wants a tenure-track job where you'll have to hire a lawyer when it comes time for your tenure review? Beware, beware...
  • New faculty contract this year - salary and benefits for new hires have been substantially reduced, with all the money going to senior professors. Ditto the above mentioned problems with tenuring. The students are children of wealthy parents (tuition is $23,000 a year) who are too lazy or too stupid to get into a better school. Prepare to spend the entire last week of classes each semester documenting plagiarism cases. Severe alcohol culture among students, as campus is isolated from the nearby city, and there is nothing to do in the evening (God forbid that they would do their homework).
  • The History Department has searched for a Latin American Historian for the past three years. The interview is absurd. It was a telephone interview with seven faculty. Much of the interview (again, for a Latin America position) was dedicated to a discussion of "Core" readings on democracy that only included works from West Europe and the United States (such as Hobbes, Locke, and George W. Bush).
  • It sounds like you need to take a break from teaching. Teaching is certainly not for everybody--one needs to see the potential in their students despite their weaknesses.
    • Well, if that's the case, 70% of the faculty at RWU needs a break. Actually, the real issue is the Core Curriculum, which is organized in a way that it encourages students to perform at their lowest possible capability (there is a fixation on retention at RWU). Were the administration to eliminate it, many of the problems at RWU could be resolved, and many of the lowest performing students, who have no business studying in a liberal arts institution, would leave to find a more appropriate venue for their education, giving the faculty the opportunity to develop more competitive programs.
  • Check on line for how the students lost the right to use a capital "R" in their Republican club after dressing up as giant penises and attacking people in line to see the Vagina Monologues. Not that there's not a rather funny side to that mental image...
SUNY Potsdam

English & Communication

A toxic and hostile department where no good deed goes unpunished. Zero leadership, mentorship, or support for junior faculty. Senior faculty are checked out and uninterested. Personnel issues handled as popularity contests. Stay far, far away!

Texas A&M University Texarkana

Institution-wide

The school is being investigated for the very reasons posted in the next post. See link:http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/2012/02/22/university-system-probes-local-campus-128343.php

That should pretty much tell you what to expect. [posted Feb. 2012]

Texas A&M University-Texarkana

All

(Moved from above) The spirit of academia runs through the veins of every skilled and dedicated professor. At Texas A&M University-Texarkana (TAMUT), this spirit is routinely undermined by a top heavy and under qualified administration. A series of poor decisions, which seem to stream endlessly from the President (hired from a community college), and Provost (hired from a high school), continue to drown the academic spirit, integrity, and livelihood of many of TAMUT’s finest professors. And though many professors are able to find ways to live with this loss, the individuals that lose the most are students.

It took just a few weeks for me to recognize how much professors are abused at this institution. During my new hire orientation, the head of HR told a group of new professors that “students who attend the university are no different than customers at McDonalds. It doesn’t matter what we feed them, as long as we get more customers to buy our product we will be successful as an institution.”

Shortly after this event, both new and veteran professors were required to attend a meeting arranged by administrators on recruiting new students. The charge by the President was that professors were “to spend up to 3/4ths of their time recruiting new students to the university.” Excel spreadsheets containing hundreds of phone numbers of prospective students were sent to professors, who were required to make unsolicited “cold calls.” Groups of 5-6 professors could be seen piling into a van and traveling several hours to various towns to find new students, instead of spending time advising existing students. This bizarre transition, from teaching to telemarketing (and then “traveling salesperson”) took professors by such great surprise that they did not know how to react! Sadly, a Stockholm Syndrome could be observed in many of my colleagues, who accepted this backwards, corporate ethos as normal and even endearing.

Professors at TAMUT frequently work late into the evening to catch up with their 4/4 course loads (neglected during “Sales Hours”). It’s no wonder that both new and veteran employees are leaving this institution in waves. I hope that some day TAMUT will wake up, and provide its professors with the tools and resources needed to regain academic integrity. While I’m not very confident that this will happen anytime soon, I continue to keep these professors (especially those who do not realize how much they have lost) in my prayers.

  • I interviewed here in the past and was going to be offered the job, but the funding was pulled at the last minute--dodged a bullet there! I agree that the faculty are great, but the administration verged on the unethical during my interview.
  • Note: much, much more about TAMUT below in "Old Issues" section.

It is worth reading both the current and old issues of what is happening at Texas A&M-Texarkana and consider your move carefully. Definitely agree that many of the faculty are excellent and dedicated professionals who do not deserve to be entrapped in such a place. With the downward expansion in 2010, many older faculty retired. Others who were the greatest assets to the school either fled or were let go. Departments such as adult education, math, biology, nursing, mass communications, instructional technology among others all lost crucial faculty. This group of exiting professors included an Ivy League graduate, a Fulbright scholar, and an editor of a well-respected academic publication. It will take a long while for TAMUT to regain the caliber of teaching excellence after this exodus and it certainly won’t happen under the current regime. (I wish them all Godspeed on their careers AWAY from TAMUT). The workload is relentless. With the push by administration to attract students, professors are not only teaching students but recruiting/retaining them as well. That means that there are some stellar students who are sitting next to kids who clearly didn’t even deserve their junior high school diploma, much less a college one. Then there are the uncomfortable moments when we have to call students who earned a D or F the previous semester to cajole them to return to TAMUT to keep up the enrollment numbers. Failing students who absolutely are not doing even the bare minimum for college-level work other than paying for their classes? Greatly looked down on, by the way, and the dean may go in and amend the earned grades if the student complains. Hurts the enrollment numbers to give grades the students don’t want. In addition to teaching and recruiting, professors are also required to serve on countless committees. That is fine in other schools, but it is all a thankless, meaningless task at TAMUT as administration is dictatorial. Clinical faculty are treated with the lowest regard by tenured faculty and administration. Avoid like the plague if you are offered such a position. You may find yourself colleagues with freshly graduated undergrads who had lackluster grades in college, but are friends of someone and magically now are in teaching positions. Yes, the students noticed and are discouraged and outraged as well. “Friends of” and “family to” are operative words in the hiring scheme at TAMUT. Foreign faculty are treated abominably, with bait and switch for their visas and green card sponsorship. Foreign students also complain of their treatment, by the way. Minorities in the faculty? No American-born African Americans, Hispanics or Asians, although there are naturalized citizens and foreign professors who work there. Friends of people in administration tend to get jobs – including the most lucrative ones, whether they are qualified for them or not. School has become administration top-heavy and that tier is grossly overpaid in relation to the workload of administration versus faculty. Students complain when trucks delivering beer and wine show up on the loading docks for administration parties and other functions and wonder if their tuition dollars are paying for this type of frivolity when the university can’t hire people in financial aid to process their applications in a timely manner. As another professor mentioned, the president, provost and most deans have no university-level administration experience and that lack is greatly felt. School is inordinately connected to (Republican) politics and (Baptist) religion. Yes, graduation is held in the local Baptist church where most upwardly mobile administration and wannabes are members. The religiosity of the graduation ceremony for a state-funded school is galling. If you are non-Republican, non-Baptist, non-American, a minority of any kind or clinical faculty, you will likely to find the work environment to be suffocating. I realize this entry corroborates what has been said by others, but all the other responses were spot-on. Avoid, avoid, avoid. [posted Feb. 2012]

University of Guelph (Canada) Psychology (Applied Social) The University of Guelph has a long history of extremely strong ideological bias in the applied social area, and this leads to good candidates getting screwed in the search process. The problem isn't the department, but just the area. They stack search committees with passive-aggressive people who have clear conflicts of interest (like an advisor and their own graduate student) to get their desired outcome. They ignore feedback from the rest of their department and others in their own area who don't agree with their methods. They take absolutely forever to inform candidates of search outcomes, and administration refuses to answer any questions they're emailed. Avoid if you don't want to get involved in destructive area politics!

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

I have no direct experience, but this blog post freaked me out: "It was a culture organized around ego, self-importance, defensiveness, and pretension. Nobody trusted each other. There were no alliances."

University of Massachusetts Boston English The current administration is so oppressive and the department so disorganized that we're losing people. We now rely on a 2/3 non-tenure-track faculty to teach our undergraduate program. But for the occasional gesture, we treat them as an invisible, inferior servant class who should keep quiet and know their place. I've seen it. This is, structurally, increasingly an apartheid-like situation, and I am morally appalled. The official administrative line is always a sunny "Let's move forward," but the cliche is true: doing things the same way and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. [posted March 2012]

[moved from "Old Issues"]: Nice people, but had they never run a search before? Seemed disorganized. The audience for my job talk was composed only of the members of the search committee. Administrators repeatedly emphasized that it is a time of "growth" for the university to the point that it set off alarm bells in my head.

[Feb 2012] May I say that, as a faculty member observing the most recent English searches, I was terribly embarrassed at the conditions in which the finalists for the searches had to speak. During one candidate's visit, construction was causing large metal objects to fall right outside the window next to which the candidate was speaking. Another candidate was continuously serenaded by jackhammers and power drills throughout his talk. And, no, that construction is not the sign of university "growth," but of a desperate attempt to repair a building that was constructed with substandard concrete (the graft involved sent state legislators to jail) and whose roof has blown off more than once, and whose ceilings flood with regularity.

Univ. of Northern Colorado

English

Where to start? A third of faculty have left in the past 2 years. Mean and/or deadwood colleagues, horrible college president, low salaries, and an unattractive location.

  • I'm a tenured prof. in a different discipline who's worked at UNC for a very long time. While I like my job a lot and find the location to be totally liveable, I can also testify that this first poster's assessment is, unfortunately, quite accurate. There are several duplicitous, mean-spirited and down-right crazy faculty members in this department--in fact, they are infamous for it across campus. There are also many lovely people in the program; unfortunately, a vistor or a new hire will find it very difficult to distinguish between the two at first. So whether a visitor or the successful candidate, watch your back.
  • I'm also in another program/department and just discovered this wiki after it came up in conversation as I discussed our own job search with colleagues. Let's just say I'm not surprised to see the above comments about the English Department. It's known for in-fighting and contentiousness--and the problems will almost certainly be more severe if you're female. As the PP said, the department's lack of collegiality, both internal and external, is widely known across campus. If you're a visiting candidate, see if you can't have a candid conversation with female junior faculty members to see how they feel about the program--though I imagine they'd be very reticent to speak frankly to an outsider.
  • (REBUTTAL APPEARS IN DISCUSSION, ACCESS ABOVE BY PRESSING THE DISCUSSION BUTTON NEAR THE EDIT PAGE BUTTON)
  • I removed the comments I put here 4 years ago
  • Very poor at communicating with candidates; almost disinterested.
  • 2 April 2012—Looking back over the distance of some years, now, the four most distinctive things about the UNC English Dept. that made it extraordinary were: (1) The threats from some of the senior faculty used against newer faculty members; one newer faculty member actually used the words “lords of the department” to describe those in charge at a gathering of the faculty. (2) The coercion of votes against tenure for very well qualified people (i.e. vote rigging). (3) A lot of “bullying.” One senior colleague from another department very helpfully showed me an article about academic bullying (Chronicle of Higher Ed featured this), and it did describe the activities of some of the senior UNC English Dept. faculty quite well. I saw personally a new faculty member reduced to tears by a senior faculty member, and I was threatened personally by that same faculty member to get "in line" or there would be bad consequences. I also believe that I recognize who is being described above as the “crazy” faculty member, and there was one senior faculty member who was famous for regularly "bullying" other faculty and students, and this person once yelled threats of physical violence at me in a shared office space with people around. And (4) The most appalling things were when some of the senior faculty would go out of their ways to do grave harm to the careers of (mostly) newer colleagues and/or to create hardships through various administrative and/or other manipulations that could appear like business as usual. The really terrible things were so appalling there that I would not want any one I know to have to work there, ever. There were good reasons why many, many good people—even with tenure—left en masse in the midst of a terrible job market.
  • July 2012. Three of the comments above have been posted since February 2012, so this entire section (about UNC) should be moved to the 'chronic issues' table (I would do it if I knew how! [EDIT 09/2012: section moved per request]). Anyway, everything above is unfortunately true; though the bullies and the crazy constitute a small group, they have managed to have a disproportionate impact on departmental life. UNC has a lot going for it - great students, a decent workload, okay salaries (and the administration is aware finally that salaries need to be improved), and a decent town (not great, it is true) relatively close to urban amenities and outdoor pursuits. And no wildfires! But the bullying and harassment are a real problem, and many members of the department are powerless to stop it.

University of Notre Dame Australia

I know multiple people who have been bullied by this institution to the point where they either quit or were fired on suprious grounds. They are now being paid to keep quiet about it. (If you don't take the money, the institution will make a serious effort to ensure you never get another job in Australia.) I am commenting here because job candidates should know how horrible this institution is, and because I am not being paid to shut up. If you take a job there and perform competently, you'll make everybody else look bad, so prepare to suffer.

University of the Pacific

Biology

This department has a very high turnover rate among junior faculty.

Univ of Southern Mississippi

History

Interviewed with them at the AHA convention at Atlanta in Jan. 2006 - The SC informed me that they would be in contact by the end of January, but of course I haven't heard a thing from them(12/3/2007)

  • Interviewed in a history search a few years ago. Department collegial enough, but (per administration) no flexibility in salary scale, was told no increase for experience possible, only raise would be for promotion to associate. Dept. is in a bad position, this is not their rule, but it makes it hard to attract/retain faculty as many literally can't afford this salary despite lower cost of living. (posted 2011)
    • The previous post is accurate. There are horrible problems with salary compression and inversion in this department, and those problems are made worse by the financial condition of the University. Starting salaries are very low (at least $20,000 below the national average) and the prospects for meaningful raises are dim. (12/5/2011)

University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Music

I taught in this university for three years. I will remember them as the worst time of my life. The university is situated in South-East Queensland, a region renowned for its racism and corruption. The music department routinely alters the grades of its students based on religious and racial factors. Any academic to challenge these practices is ostracized, at best, and fired on a pretext at worst. The Dean of the faculty and the vice-chancellor of the university are aware of the levels of corruption in this and many other departments of USQ but are unable or unwilling to address the problem. During my employment three close colleagues had nervous breakdowns, two of them are now permanently unable to return to work. The academic quality of the department is barely highschool standard and the administrative load consumes around 80% of faculty members' work hours. Research is actively discouraged - being labelled as 'selfish' and a 'reward which should be earned'. The university maintains links with white supremist organisations in the surrounding area and has been investigated for various shady financial dealings. I would warn any potential employees to seriously reconsider applying for any position at USQ. Accepting a job there was the worst decision of my entire life. It took me 12 months of professional counselling to recover from the psychological damage done to me there. I almost walked away from academia altogether and it was only the caring support I received from subsequent colleagues that pulled me through. I have seen careers utterly decimated at USQ - give the place a very wide berth!!

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

College of Arts and Sciences

The College itself has been a nightmare for minority junior faculty. See: www.wbir.com/pdf/georgewhite2.pdf and http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=47895    The mindset is medieval. See: http://www.leavingacademia.com/on-being-postacademic/ Given the bullying and manipulation of key administrators within the College of Arts and Sciences (http://www.artsci.utk.edu/administration.asp), it's a surprise that anyone stays here. The corruption extends all the way up to the Provost of the University (http://provost.utk.edu/bio/martin_bio.shtml). See: http://www.counterpunch.org/price08102009.html and http://sfaanet.ning.com/profiles/blogs/inquisition-in-knoxville-the

  • As someone currently on the faculty and committed to a diverse faculty body, I can report that the University is making an effort at rectifying the problem. The College of Arts & Sciences has recently devoted four bonus tenure lines a year to diversifying the faculty. Last year saw the hiring of four Africanist (dually-appointed) professors, three of whom are black. http://web.utk.edu/~africana/Directory.htm While the University could definitely be more diverse, the situation is not nearly as 'medieval' as telegraphed here.
    • Hmmm.. the hiring of a bunch of African and African-African ASSISTANT professors within Africana Studies is viewed as "making an effort at rectifying the problem"? There is actually a net deficit in terms of RETAINING faculty of color within the College of Arts and Sciences over the last five years. The rationales that were offered to justify the departures of Wornie Reed and several other Af-Am faculty in COAS departments under the Bursten Regime (and yes it was a regime) were a result of the "medieval mindset" described by the first poster. However, one can make a handsome career at UTK by becoming an apologist for bigotry, as the second poster apparently intends to do.
    • 11/17/11: I would like to point out that Bursten, who was a key problem, is no longer in administration. In fact, if you look at the White memo linked above--that whole situation was a travesty of justice--none of the administrators (Holub, Bursten, and Diacon) are still administrating. As for the Mostern article linked above, he appears to have left the university about a decade ago. It may be premature to move this entry to "old," but it's not exactly current, either.

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

History

12/2/11 People of color and ehtnicity are routinely denied tenure. No attempt is made to recruit graduate students of color. This southern university has ONE unhappy TT black historian who is so alienated that s/he holds office hours away from the dept and has never been in her/his office. The UTK way is to say the right things about diversity but do nothing about it. No domestic partner benefits or university-wide policy on maternity leave. Also women are paid less than men for doing the same job.

Wake Forest University

English

Seems to have a problem with retention: a lot of TT faculty have left in the past 3 or 4 years.

    • Ditto on the junior faculty retention problem.
  • Have friends who have taught there in the past (mostly as VAPs); They say the dept. is out of touch & divided. Be careful!
  • Weird interview experience (2009)
  • Yes, I would look for more TT faculty to leave WFU English in the next year (2010). Some of the TT faculty departures will be voluntary. Several will not. Beyond the department, the administration is sending confusing message about WFU's research agenda. A wealthy school for wealthy kids, but the worthiness of it all is questionable.
  • It's true. At least 2 more junior faculty did not return for the 2010-2011 year. The retention issues seem to extend beyond this one dept.

Wake Forest University

History

Had an AHA interview with them. 2 interviewers, a male and a female. The female was telegraphing...no, screaming...that she had absolutely 0 interest in me and was bored by having to sit through the interview. The male's idea of an "interview" was just to challenge in a d!ckish way. [This comment is on the history department].

(NB This is from 2011 but clearly relates to longer-term problems.) Slightly different experience: perfectly normal, even friendly AHA interview but easily the least professional and most unpleasant campus visit I've ever experienced. One senior faculty member refused to talk to me or even make eye contact (including at one of the dinners, when she seated herself opposite me, apparently so that she could avoid conversation more pointedly). After the interview I wrote the chair about this and was told I should be grateful that the faculty member in question had bothered to show up at all -- and that if her behavior bothered me I should get in touch directly to find out if anything was going on in her life that might explain it. Words cannot capture how poorly this place is run. Oh, and the tour included a stop at an outdoor shelter recently built "so that the students can get drunk on campus." I second the predictions above about retention.

Wesleyan University

History

I had the worst campus visit imaginable here. It started when the chair told me he would meet me in front of a building at a set time, and he was 25 minutes late. It was literally 15 degrees, and I stood outside waiting for him, calling his office, and fuming. The schedule they set for me bordered on the inane. I had two interviews followed by a 45 minute break, another two, 45 minute break, and this went on and on for two days. I kept thinking that if they condensed some of the breaks, we might actually be able to condense the whole visit into one day. I was to have lunch with students-- only one showed up and she had to leave early-- and then my talk was attended by all of six people (it was also held in a room that was stifling hot). They clearly didn't get the memo about treating candidates warmly and respectfully. Indeed, they made me feel like I was burdening them just by being there.A completely disfunctional department. I had a *very* bad experience at Wesleyan. They were fine up to the time I left campus. There was a little hostility during my interviews with faculty, but I won't blame the department for that. The department chair was supposed to call me regarding the deparment's decision but never did. And that was last October. They came after me, for God's sake, then they treat me like a pariah. Never got a letter or e-mail telling me that they had decided to hire someone else. All I'm asking for and expecting is a little respect, especially since they brought me to campus. After I left, several faculty members wrote to *apologize* for how I was treated, which leaves me with the impression that their poor treatment was a matter of general knowledge. Another former faculty member at Wesleyan told me that I'm probably better off without the job, given the History Department's reputation across the campus for its dysfunction and for driving away some of it's most talented and imaginative faculty. Also, he/she asked me why it is that a school with Wesleyan's overall reputation had no one in it's history department I had ever heard of before?

  • Ditto. A former faculty member at the university (from another department) also told me ahead of time that the History department had a reputation for being (1) dysfucntional, (2) rude and ill-mannered to job candidates; and (3) being full of mediocrities. I suggested that's because the school is focused on teaching undergrads, not research. Hell, my book received glowing reviews, and I'm now recognized as one of the leaders in my field. I would wager that the person they hired doesn't have a record to match mine. Not that I would know this because Wesleyan didn't notify me, either, that they hired someone else. I've got a job, so I'm not angry about that, but I think that a simple display of respect and manners would speak well of the department. They're obviously not concerned with treating their candidates with respect. Makes me wonder, somewhat, how they treat their faculty. But I got that answer from faculty members who told me their own horror stories about being driven out of history. I expected better from Wesleyan. The place that hired me treated me (with that word that keeps repeating here) respect. .
  • Ditto again! My job visit there was a nightmare. Disrepsectful behavior and no notification from anyone -- the department chair or the chair of the Search Committee (who I won't name here) that they awarded the job to someone else. Repeated e-mails concerning their decision were ignored. All I got was a group e-mail sent to people who DIDN'T have an AHA interview: Talk about insulting. I had an on-campus interview! So I think, after showing up on campus and jumping through all of their hoops like a trained monkey, that I deserved much more than I got in return. And if anyone from that school reads this and gets pissed off, they only have themselves to blame, because I havent' read a thing posted here by the other candidates that doesn't ring true for my visit, including their ignoring me afterward. My advice, fix your system, otherwise don't complain or get hostile at us when people here tell the truth about you and why no one with any sense would want to work there!
  • I've been hesitant to talk about my experience with Wesleyan because I repsected the school so much. Sorry to hear that others shared my experience w/Wesleyan, but at least it comforts me to know I wasn't the only one. Also had reservations about taking the job after the initial interview, and I wasn't even selected to be a finalist. Here's a school, and a department, that needs to serisously review its hiring process, otherwise they're going to lose out on some great people (and it sounds like they have already).
  • Several years ago I was a visitor at Wesleyan and a candidate for a position. Let me be a little vague about the details to protect my identity but let me say I have a ph.d. from a top 15 institution, had one book done and another under contract, and before and after taught at several peer institutions. WORST PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. The students are great, probably the one redeeming thing about the place. The atmosphere is poisonous but even on an individual level many are jerks. One of the few decent people there Claire Potter has little power in the department. I was notified I did not get the job by a form letter in the mail. The search chair (whose office was two doors from mine) came to me a couple of days later to ask me if I got the letter and then inform me that he had been to busy to find time to tell me personally. He didn't even offer the perfunctory platitudes about how the committee liked my work or how it was a tough choice or any niceties. Just did you get the letter. After that no one talked to me (not that anyone really talked to me before). Compared the other places I've taught (none of which were perfect for sure), this was the absolute worst. Many people will be tempted to come because of the name, the light teaching load, and seemingly good location. But you will be sorely disappointed. My experience there was so bad it caused to seriously consider leaving academia altogether. I wish I could go into more detail at the incredibly unbelievable things I personally saw there but if I did it would betray my identity. Suffice to say the Blair Witch of academic jobs. I've shared war stories with other former TT and VAP in a range of humanities departments (history, AA, english seem to be the worst) and found I wasn't alone.
  • I had a campus visit this year (2010, did not get the job) and it was just fine. Everyone was very respectful and considerate, and my presentations were well attended. I am not questioning the experiences of those who have posted above, but I just want to note for others who may be invited to campus by this department in the future that a pleasant campus visit there is possible. The search committee I was involved with made a very clear effort to treat us well, which I appreciated.
  • I just wanted to second what the above poster said. I had a perfectly delightful interview experience here this year that was well-organized and welcoming. Several people on campus also mentioned that there has been a large number of new hires over the last two years. In other words: there's reason to believe this place is changing for the better.

Old Issues: Specific Problems with Searches or Departments from Dates Prior to the Most Recent Search Cycles (and any undated material)

?

School

Department

Issue and Date

American

English

The rudeness, perhaps even outright hostility, at conference interview was breathtaking. Not how to impress potential colleagues with your collegiality, folks!

  • Fortunately, I didn't experience hostility from them, but I do see how it might have gone that way...I definitely got the sense that the approach to interviewing candidates was to challenge them...I suppose I can see the purpose of doing this a little bit, but a little bit goes a long way. For me, it went a bit too far--I found it to be a turn off.
  • They weren't hostile to me, but it was a bit irritating to be grilled based on the research paragraph in my job letter rather than have them at least skim a writing sample in advance of the meeting. For a 2/2 school they ought to have looked at candidates' writing. Glad they found what they wanted, though.
  • They were late for my conf interview (2007 search). I didn't need a major obeisance, but candidates have enough to stress over--a simple apology would have been nice. Instead, they somehow managed to make me feel like it was my fault we started late.
  • One of the interviewers insulted my entire field in a completely outrageous manner.

American

all

Bring your own water, and expect to have to pay for everything (coffee, lunch). They don't get the idea that if you're there for 10 hours, teaching classes, giving job talks, and meeting with faculty members, that perhaps a glass of water or a cup o joe might be a necessity at some point in the day. When I asked for a glass of water 5 minutes before the job talk, I was sent to walk down a block to a vending machine to buy my own bottle of water. Expect no one to attend your job talk except for a couple of students that are asleep before you even begin. Also bring a campus map (they won't have one handy for you). I was abandoned at random places on campus a couple times when the faculty members decided to wander off for no particular reason (I think they forgot they were giving a job talk). Which is symptomatic of a broader problem: they don't care at all whether they hire you, someone else, or no one. (comparatively minor issues: no response to any emails post-interview, no contact after visit.

  • One SC member made inappropriate comments and touched a candidate a few times without excusing himself. The search was run by a few old boy network types, who might well cover up each other's dirt. Overall a sick place with sick people.

Appalachian State

Communication Studies

Did not reimburse candidate for hotel or travel expenses although this was promised. Faculty did not go to interview meals with candidate. No time built into schedule for lunch or time to prepare for teaching demo or job talk. Faculty member monopolized question time in class so there was little opportunity to interact with students in the classroom.

Bowling Green University

Art History

Scheduled my conference interview for 7:30 PM. They had been interviewing nonstop since 9:00 AM. They did not know the interviewing room closed at 7:30, so instead of decamping to a hotel room they took me to the lounge outside the crowded hotel bar and grilled me for 45 minutes in the middle of the confusion (talk about lack of privacy). Questions like "Our students don't like to read. What texts would you use in your courses?" The position was for Renaissance, Baroque and 19th C. - they asked if I could also teach American, Pre-Columbian and a Non-Western field. At 8:00 PM they decided they were hungry, sent one committee member off to buy wraps and proceeded to eat them in front of me during the interview. I have never endured such lack of professionalism in my life - and the head of the committee was a fellow student in my Ph.D. program. I have also heard from colleagues that it's just as bad once you get the job. (2/2005)

Buffalo State University

Fine Arts

I can understand not having the money to front up for a plane ticket, but when I told them I would be driving to the campus visit (900 miles round trip) I was told to save my gas receipts! Dept. chair corrected that while I was there ($.50/mile), but they couldn't affort to take me to dinner, and when we got ready for lunch, the chair picked out 4 committee members, stating that they only had enought money for those four, and "if we go over budget, I'll have to take up a collection". This while I am standing there listening to them! Associate dean gave me a pep talk about all the money to governor was planning to pump into the SUNY system, but could not (or would not) tell me about the salary range, the benefits, or the tenuring process. I left in the middle of a snow storm knowing no more about the job than when I arrived. Six WEEKS after the interview, I wrote asking for an update, and was told in a five-word e-mail that the job had already been offered. Pity the person who accepted it. It will be interesting to see if I ever get my reimbursement.

Butler University

English

The search committee treated the MLA interview like an oral prelims exam. After about five minutes they'd convinced me I'd never want to work with them--I got the impression they didn't really like their jobs, their students, or their school.

California State University, Long Beach

Chicano and Latino Studies

Job offer withdrawn after I asked if they would allow me _unpaid_ leave in the event of receiving research funding (and revealed I was pregnant). Never reimbursed for expenses submitted following campus visit.

California State University, Los Angeles

English

One SC member asked (during campus visit) if I was married...I wore my wedding ring, so I didn't get that question, but I was asked if I had kids. Ridiculous.

Cal State Northridge

Child Development

This department is not functional as an academic department. There is widespread favoritism and non compliance with approved ethics in hiring and departmental administration.

Cardinal Stritch Univ. (Milwaukee)

English

invites more candidates for MLA interviews than the SC have time to interview. Double books interview appointments and bumps whichever interviewee confirms his/her appointment last. There's no indication that there's anything tentative about your appointment until they write to tell you've they've dumped you for someone else.

Central Connecticut State University

Theatre

on-campus visit for TT, was never contacted again in any way, ever.....4/2007

Coker College

English

A department to definitely be wary of. They wrote inviting me for a phone interview and then apparently rescinded the offer. I received an email in late November 2008 informing me that I was selected for a phone interview to be conducted in early January 2009. By the third week of January I had received no further communications about setting up the details for the interview and so I wrote an inquiry email to the chair of the search committee. I received a prompt response that the committee was behind schedule and was just finishing up compiling their short list of candidates. So what exactly was the point of the original invitation for an interview if they were just going to whittle the list down further? After another month went by I wrote again and have never heard back from them as of yet. April 2009.

Colby

History

Utterly disorganized campus visit. Confusing schedule, where I found myself wandering around trying to figure out where I was supposed to be. Some members of the search committee didn't seem to particularly care about me one way or another. Told I didn't get the position via email. I had 3 campus visits, and I was treated with much greater respect by these other institutions.......2008 be sure to check out the wiki from this year's History search experience, too. tragic.

College of Mount St. Vincent

Department?

Never reimbursed for some travel expenses after interview. Also, SC members were disorganzied and indifferent....Date?

College of New Jersey

All

set up a specific time and date for a phone interview. Waited patiently by the phone. Was emailed later that they tried and there was no response.Explained that there must be some sort of miscommunication becuase I was waiting by an open phone the entire time. Emailed another member of the search committee explaining the problem and relating my interest. Was emailed back that the interview process has already begun becasue they are under tight time constraints.

    • What department? (asked 12/29/08)
  • I had a campus visit and was well treated while there. I thought the interview went well--although I did think that I might not be exactly what the department was looking for. The Dean said I would be contacted in two or three weeks either way. It is now three months later and I still haven't had the courtesy of a rejection phone call or even a rejection letter or email. Now, I'm not saying I'd necessarily turn down the position if by some miracle it was offered--the students were decent and the campus itself was nice and this year the job market is pretty grim--but I'd have to really think about it given the administration and department's seeming lack of professionalism in handling this part of the search.
    • These complaints are useless to other job searchers, and to the misbehaving people, unless a department is named.

College of Staten Island

Sociology

Provost was rude and superior during interview (mid-90s)

College of Staten Island

English

bad all around; head of search committee was rude and abrasive; nobody on the committee actually had experience in the area that they were hiring for; during MLA interview, they complained about the hotel room, then asked me to hurry up so that they could eat lunch (seriously); invited to campus interview, where I was left alone in an office for an hour, then left alone again for TWO HOURS, in another office, in an entirely different dept!; job talk was pushed back until 7pm; was supposed to get a ride back to my hotel, but instead was left in a dark parking lot to wait another hour for a cab; my rejection email was addressed "Dear Candidate"; after all that, they hired someone with two other different specialties, allowing them to save money.

  • Here, here! I received the rejection letter six months after the MLA interview. You figure they could have sent something out when they had campus interviews, huh!
  • I would like to second this rating for CSI. I did not go through what the writer above went through, but the entire process was a mess. After the campus interview, I never received a word from them until I wrote the chair to ask about the progress of the search. Even though the job was in my field, I'm glad I'm not at CSI.
  • Things might have improved this year (1-2010). They had trouble with CUNY's new online app system, but sent emails explaining and apologizing. I had a phone interview with SC Chair and two other faculty. The interview itself was bland - typical of phone interviews where the interviewers forget to give any verbal cues in response - however, the Chair was very professional, friendly, and considerate throughout the process and called those of us who did not make the cut the very next day to let us know personally. A good experience in general.

College of William and Mary

Philosophy Hispanic Studies in Mod. Langs

no contact of any kind after interview. Department also has terrible record of tenure denials to star junior candidates. (An recent chronicle article documents this, which may have culminated in the removal of the chair.)

  • I practically had to beg for them to reimburse me for the hotel expenses for over two months. The people were nice, but this part of my experience with them made me wonder.

Daytona State College

Psychology

Invited for a campus interview; I would never purposely work with these people, totally backwards-seeming and actually kind of rude during the interview. I hate to call anyone names, but the word 'hillbilly' comes to mind in describing several of the people I met including administration. I believe the job was recently reposted, and I'm not surprised after meeting them that no one has signed on to work with them.

Drexel

I-School

Hard to imagine how an SC could be more rude than this one. It's no suprise they are still putting out new ads (in March) for a position they have been unable to fill due to their basic dysfunctionality.

East Tennessee State University

English

Haven't reimbursed travel expenses two months after a campus visit. No word from them about the status of the search, either.

East Stroudsburg University

A Humanities Department

Completely unprofessional faculty and administration. Senior faculty openly lamented the state of the administration. The Provost asked how to change the culture among the campus faculty. Junior faculty were completely unwelcoming and unwilling to meet during the three evenings and two days spent on campus. Learned from DC and SC that junior faculty were "intimidated" by my academic experience. After being told by the SC that I should "expect the offer soon," I was encouraged to start looking for houses. No offer made.

Edinboro University of PA

English and Theatre Arts

It's hard to imagine a more dysfunctional operation. The department hires unqualified faculty and promotes a culture of apathy to protect the incompetence of the senior faculty, many of whom aren't even qualified to teach in their respective areas. Go to http://www.pa.gov/portal/server.pt/community/pa_gov/2966 and do a search for "Donald Sheehy"; "A cesspool of corruption" is perhaps the most adequate descriptor.

Emory University

History

Nightmarish AHA interview. Six department members, plus two graduate students attended. The department members took turns asking highly aggressive questions and openly denigrated my book topic. They acted supercilious. A case of Ivy envy. And it wasn't just me: Three friends had the same AHA interview experience.

  • Based on the above post, I would have responded to you similarly. It was clearly only your ivy credential that got you in the door, and not your ability or character.
  • you are right. let's attack the original poster for expecting to be asked fair questions in an interview rather than being attacked by the very people who invited her for the interview. that seems fair. btw, i interpreted 'ivy envy' to mean that emory interviewers were carrying on like it was harvard, not that they were somehow envious of the candidate's ph.d. from upenn.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Education (Quest)

Interviewed once, called me back, (once at 5PM, second time at 10PM) went back for second interview. Interviewed for over an hour. Never let me know that the job was taken. Even emailed search chair who wrote me that she would get back to me. Never heard another thing.

Fayetteville State University

Department?

Worked there. Was very painful. Students were aggressive and not willing to do any work.

Fayetteville State University

History

Beware, Beware, Beware! Search Committee has almost no voice--chair of department makes final decision on whom to hire. Was a finalist--my references were not called, scheduled meetings with administrators did not take place while I was at on-campus interview (or after), internal candidate with less qualifications was ultimately hired. Most of search committee did not bother to show up for my job talk--not surprising given that it was given in a class during FINALS WEEK! At least one faculty member pulled me aside to warn me to NOT come to FSU if I had any other options. I came to campus early spring, did not get rejection letter until late mid-July, long after I thankfully accepted elsewhere.

Did anyone notice that FSU's posting date was after they began to look at applications? I saw the listing in the last AHA Perspectives and it said the application review began in January. What a weird search--spend the money to send us your application even though we are already deciding about the job. I wonder if it is a VAP hire and the search is just a bogus formality!!!!

  • I interviewed with a different humanities dept., and let's just say, not getting the job is almost definitely a good thing.

Fayetteville State University

Math

2008- They were very unprofessional. Didn’t reimburse my travel completely, didn't invite me for dinner, etc. After the interview, never got any news, or even a rejection letter! The Chair didn't reply to my email when I asked about their decision time-line!! (Students were nice, very responsive in my teaching talk.)

Franklin and Marshall

Theatre

Changed teaching topics on me twice in the week leading up to the interview.I was left "on my own" for hours at a time in a two and a half day interview (with the amount of actual interviewing I did, it should have been one day). Members of the search committee openly read the newspaper while I was teaching my second sample class.

  • I never got a rejection from them; I had to e-mail the chair to find the results of the search.
  • The exact same scenario happened to a colleague of mine who applied for the position five years before me...
  • Its obvious the department settles upon a candidate before interviews and brings in other people to fulfill some college rule. As a final note, the position I applied for is now open again for the third time in as many years. With the amount of qualified theatre historians/generalists out there, I wonder what on earth they are looking for.
This seems to be the case: they have a history of hiring their VAPs. This is one school where I'd hesitate to apply if there's a VAP on staff.
  • Wow. I had a totally different experience interviewing with F&M, but it was with a different department, so this may be why. I listed them under "universities to love."
  • They claim to be a teaching/research college, but I know two historians, one with a book from Oxford, multiple articles, and grants, the other with the same kind of accomplisments, both good teachers, who were denied tenure. Both walked away and took jobs at better universities. F&M is lucky they decided not to sue because it was clear that they failed to get tenure for reasons clearly not legal. Beware if you take a job at this very conservative (read sexist, homophobic, racist) school.
  • See Universities to love for comments about a recent search in Theatre.

Florida State Univ.

Interdiscip. Hum.

Never heard from them. No receipt of application; no rejection letter (2006/07 search).

Gettysburg U

English

Was interviewed at MLA; was not contacted again. Learned I was rejected from further consideration by seeing on Wiki that an offer had been made. Not the most cordial behavior (Spring 2007).

Georgia Southwestern State University

English

Avoid at all costs. Adjunct if you must.  Q: Can anyone say more about the English department? What is wrong? (Jan 12 2010)

  • The entire state of GA is having furloughs and budget issues so morale is a little low but that is likely the case at a lot of state schools right now. On the GA regents site there is an MA in digital literature proposal so there seems to be some growth.
    • I interviewed here in 2008 for a TT job in English. The position was advertised as Generalist, but it actually was more Rhet/Comp. And that was fine, except as the day wore on I heard talk of going to a 4 day school week, that they wanted me to set up a computer lab full of gifted computer equipment so that I could set up a Communication across Curriculum type of deal while teaching a full load and all the other research rigamarole, and that the salary may not be as high as they originally thought. These were red flags. Add to that I was supposed to meet students at lunch, but none showed up; my teaching demo was attended by 1 faculty member (the SC chair), and that during the faculty Q&A session, only three (plus the SC) were there. Everyone was very friendly, the town is really cute, and the students seemed engaged; but I couldn't get past the three red flags. (9/2010)

Goucher College

Jewish Studies

Complained to me about how tiresome interviewing is - completely blew off and interrupted my talk in order to adjust the speakerphone for member in France - Can you believe that they NEVER REIMBURSED me for my flight? A complete waste of time.

Grambling State University

French

Ad in the JIL does not correspond to their own website's ad. Application submitted and then informed via email that several documents (university HR forms, writing sample, syallabi) are missing even though the writing sample and syllabi were never requested at all, and the HR documents were not listed in the JIL ad. Documents quickly sent off for consideration to postal address to which all application materials were to be sent.  Received a call two days later telling to send the documents.  Attempts to return the call were never answered so I just emailed the documents to the department chair. These, apparently, were never received because the department chair emailed two weeks later demanding (in bold, all caps, oversized font) that I email him the documents. Unprofessional is a kind way to describe these folks.

Harvard

History

Typically only hires its own Ph.D students.

Maybe 50 years ago, but as of now this statement is completely false.

  • You're right. In the past five years they've only hired three of their own PhDs as Assistant Professors, plus one who was a Harvard undergrad and whose parents both teach at Harvard. That's progress!!

Heartland Community College

English

The Ph.D.s in Lit have completely taken over the composition curriculum, rewriting so that classes all have to do lit (which the students deeply resent). Very, very fractured department with long-standing issues. Also never hires its own adjuncts! (This one was glad, actually.)

Nothing wrong with some lit. in the curriculum!!

  • Ridiculous statement above. Of course there's nothing wrong with "some lit," but there is something very wrong about having an entire department taught by folks who not only do not have terminal degrees in the subject field, but in fact have terminal degrees (or not!) in something else entirely. If comp were being taught by history folk, would you shrug and say, "Nothing wrong with some history in the curriculum"?! And Heartland is notorious for never hiring the most qualified candidate--people on the search committees hire their buddies and/or partners. Explain how else a candidate who hasn't even completed an M.A. (in lit) is hired for a t-t rhet/comp position over a rhet/comp ABD.
  • Nothing wrong with some history in the curriculum. [shrugs shoulders] I do, however, understand the comment about qualifications and some cc hiring..

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Religion

Interviewed with HWS at AAR in 2007 and I never heard from them again. How unprofessional!

Hsiuping Institute of Technology/Presently University of Technology

Sleazy practice of grade inflation as customer service at Hsiuping.

While I was there, and I doubt things have changed, the "students"/customers are under the tacit understanding that after they pay their tuition money, all they have to do to get an inflated grade is be present for attendance roll call, and are not expected to do anything to earn credits. The administration actually does nothing to alleviate the situation. Personally, I protested, but was only repeated bullied and ridiculed about not fitting into the culture of this so-called school before being fired altogether for refusing to play along.

Illinois Central College

all

Worst medical coverage I've ever experienced. "Self" insured. College and management firm reject everything; employees end up paying most of their own healthcare costs. Their self-insured PPO's list of reasonable and customary charges is a laugh riot. College and management firm reject every claim, regardless. Otherwise an okay place to work (as long as you don't mind being in the middle of nowhere.)

  • YES to everything above. Most medical claims rejected. Administration is spotty. Bad VP moved to another college, some good Associate Deans, a few bad ones. Some great staff in disciplines, but really incompetent HR staff have made grievous errors in paychecks for nearly everyone on campus. Now hiring only p/t for staff, faculty, maint, janitorial, security which is resulting in a demoralized attitude. Administration has tried to cover up several violent incidents on campus, including recent riot/shooting at Woodview Commons. Take a job here only after seriously considering all your options. Consider whether you want to be somewhere 3 hours from a large city in the middle of nowhere. No social life and big town/gown split. I would say to move here only if you are bringing your spouse and/or have family in the area.

Indiana U - Bloomington

Social Sciences

Campus interviewed, never heard anything again. Obviously, can read writing between lines, but that is poor professional etiquette! Colleagues like to joke that I'll finally hear back 5 years from now.

Indiana U - Kokomo

English

Had conference interview, followed by phone interview. After that, the committee contacted my recommenders (unbeknownst to me) to verify they were who their letters said they were, and made them answer a bunch of questions their letters already addressed. Asked me for a bunch of syllabi but declined to be specific about what they wanted. Then never contacted again, until I got a form rejection from secretary. Just weird. 2007 Search.

Imperial College London

Luecocyte Biology, National Heart and Lung Institute

These people will misrepresent their facilities and research space (show you round when students are away) just to get you (as a principle investigator) to bring your reserach funds to their department. They are well versed at using your reserach funds for purposes they were not intended for (eg. to support favourite students who have run out of funds and make up other shortfalls). A favourite trick is where your line manager who is also named collaborator on your grant "asks" you to carry out research for his friends which is outside the remitt of funding provided by the grant awarding body. Complaints are met with " taking things further will ensure you are not re-employed at the end of your contract". The line-manager then puts it about that you are incompetent and not maintaining project progress (his intention anyway). He also lets it be known to more seniour people and hopefully those awarding grant that he should have been awarded the grant. Other permanent members (senoir, now head od departments) will encourgae you to write out grant proposal applications. Once you have put the idea down they will lose interest; you will hear no more or if you are lucky they will tell you thaey intend to use the proposal for somebody else in their team.When you fail to get another grant through (because you have not achieved all the set out goals thanks to the shortage of facilities etc) your entry cards will stop working after 2 weeks. And there are many more unprofessional practices - you are okay if you are permanently employed - but don't fall out of favour or they will work you out. (2006-2009)

Ithaca College

History

on-campus for a VAP, then no further contact at all. Ever........3-2005

Ithaca College

Biology

rejection letter sent out over 1 YEAR after application sent

Jackson State U

Biology

Never paid interview expenses 11-2007

James Madison U

English

Told me how tired they were at interview, asked very specific questions about vrey specific classes that were apparently part and parcel of the position in question, but were not even obliquely alluded to in the ad. Never contacted again after conference interview (2006 search; they ran the search again this year).

Quite possibly the strangest MLA interview experience (2007 search). At the beginning of the interview, the committee had a bottle of scotch, bottle of wine, and bottle of water on the table and asked which I would like to drink. This set the tone for the rest of a very awkward interview. Never contacted again after the conference -- quite a blessing, really.

James Madison College at Michigan State U

On-campus visit for a tt position. No communication thereafter even when I contacted them upon receiving another offer. Rejection letter never sent. Travel expenses never reimbursed.

John Jay College, CUNY

English

Very clueless seeming. After they scheduled their conference interviews, they emailed all the candidates. They did not BCC or anything like that. The email listed the NAMES of all the candidates. To make matters worse, this email, sent at the last minute before MLA, informed all candidates that each interview had now been moved 15 minutes later. No thought given to the fact (nor apology made for the fact) that the SC was inconveniencing candidates (and perhaps throwing their entire schedules). Then, when went to interview, hard time locating committee. The room number they said they were in was not correct. 2007.

I adjuncted here for several years while a doctoral student. There are some excellent faculty, and the English Department has grown considerably. I think they are putting out some very progressive work on literature and law and so forth. But the staff --and I'm not talking about upper level administration--simply staff (office staff, mailroom, library, copy staff, security) might as well be working on Riker's Island. Actually, they probably do report there. They will not exactly facilitate a climate of learning or research. The lack of professionalism will be apparent when you set foot in the English Department and are greeted without eye contact: "What do you want" or "Nobody in now." Be prepared for that and you're good to go.

I interviewed for a TT job at John Jay last year and was appalled by how disorganized (and even unprofessional) they were. The SC members did not seem interested in my teaching demo or my work, and had apparently already decided which candidate they intended to hire (not me) prior to my interview. Nothing was easy or convenient during my on-campus experience; apathy and a serious lack of communication pretty much sum up the SC's attitude toward job candidates best. They also asked fairly bizarre questions that were not in the job advertisement by any means. I would never apply to or interview at John Jay again and would advise other job seekers to think twice before wasting their time, money, and energy on this rather dysfunctional college.

Kingston University (London) Music The Department has had a long history since at least 2004 of bullying and staff being signed off work for long-term stress-related sick leave.


  • During the height of the problem between 2004-2006, at least five full-time staff out of fourteen were signed off. I personally witnessed a distinguished senior colleague having what can best be described as a "breakdown" during a staff meeting after being publicly berated by a Dean, and my wife witnessed a junior support staff member literally bawling her eyes out on the nearby lawn after being similarly berated by a senior manager. The Department Head who was in post when I was first hired in 2002, was shortly thereafter targeted by a number of colleagues for elimination through a collective grievance, and I was threatened with being the next target if I refused to join the complaining mob. Those who then supported me after I was, indeed, targeted and sacked in 2006, were themselves targeted.
  • In addition, the department has been found by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to have improperly pressured an External Examiner into changing her negative report to one that was positive. The impropriety and health problems go beyond the Department to include the Psychology Department, where two senior managers instructed students to falsify their responses to the National Student Survey, creating a public scandal that resulted in the Department being ejected from the University League Tables for a year. Moreover, a senior professor "committed suicide" in 2006, apparently, after attending a senior staff training session where said staff were allegedly instructed in methods of provoking "difficult" staff into acting out so they could be disciplined or into resigning with mental health difficulties. This latter tragedy appeared rather suspicious to a number of colleagues, given the timing of the aforementioned events, suggesting possibly nefarious circumstances.
  • Lastly, in order to "investigate" allegations of causing a 'breakdown in working relations' by a Jewish Music faculty member, the University hired a known corrupt former lawyer, who had been found guilty of registering non-existant "ghost voters" in a local election and forced out of his political party, after which point he became head of a local Citizen's Advice Bureau (provider of free legal assistance), which was closed down after 107 complaints were upheld against the bureau, and eventually, he became the Chair of Board of Governors of an Islamic primary school that was later revealed to be essentially a front for an extremist anti-Semitic organization, which then had its public funding withdrawn by the government.
  • The University's response to these and other similar revelations has been to send threatening letters to a family member, to lodge unsuccessful and expensive complaints with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and ultimately, unsuccessful criminal charges against me, which nonetheless cost me my life's savings to defend and has rendered me largely unable to work.
  • I can only suggest that anyone considering applying for a position at the University read the voluminous evidence and press reports contained on my website, http://www.sirpeterscott.com

Lehigh

Art and

Architecture

What a disappointment. Poisonous booth interview, one interviewer extremely hostile, 20 minutes of being lectured to without much of a chance to present myself. Admitted that they had made the job announcement as general as possible to attract applicants - then told me there were no caps on the classes and I could have as many as 250 students a semester with no TA's. Won't be making a decision until early May. Of the five interviews I had at CAA this year, this was the worst. (2008)

Lincoln University (MO)

Agriculture

This school is a nightmare, i escaped after one semester! 2003

LSU-Shreveport

Biology

The school is severely impoverished, Honored no hiring promises 1. recinded most of start up money, 2. no phone after 1 month, no phone number until the last week in fall semester, 3. no office after 2 weeks, 4. computer was 96K RAM, 5. 1 yr budget for 8 labs was $75, 6. student enrollment dropped through floor. 7. school was investigating exigency or joining with the medical school (also declaring exigency at the time), 8. older faculty were treated disrespectfully by administartion (the faculty in biology were great), 9. school glued tiles back up on the walls instead of replacing for pictures go to link http://www.studentsreview.com where a former student posted them, 10. Was told their were 20 students in the MS program although there were only 2, 11. told their research center was being flooded with money and that it should rival Savanna River (UGA) when it could not afford photocopy paper (it now rivals savanna river because savanna river has been disbanded!), 12. some faculty did not distrubute student evaluations instead filling them out themselves. 13. They were opening my mail, reading it and then putting it in my folder, 14. when I finally got my office it was filled with garbage and I had to clean it out, 15. the laboratory space I was given was a public hallway between classrooms, again filled with garbage (see former link to pics) that I had to clean out, 15. I was forcefully asked to spend research grant money on unrelated teaching supplies, 16. One retired prof stole some of my specimens and was continually monkeying around in other profs offices.......... 11-2005

Loyola Marymount U (L.A.)

English

Interviewed with them, never heard from them again after the interview. Not a huge deal, but not very professional either. 2006/07 Ditto-12/07.

Loyola Marymount U (L.A.)

History

Interviewed here in the recent past. The S.C. Chair was unprofessional--e.g. wanted to know the ethnic/racial background of my recommenders. He seemed conflicted about inviting me for a campus visit and told me so, and looking back I wish he hadn't. I should have turned them down.

  • I had an extremely unpleasant AHA interview with them, where they clearly planned out a good-cop/bad-cop strategy while the chair sat back and seemed to doze off. cannot speak to the rest of the department, but if the search committee was any indication this is a petty and poisonous department.
  • I have to agree with the above about the lack of professionalism of this department's interviews. One of the three committee members was professional, but gratuitously hostile. The others asked the most inane, pompous, confrontational gotcha questions I'd ever experienced in a job interview. These questions had absolutely nothing to do with the field they were advertising for, and in some cases had nothing to do with the field of history.

Loyola University New Orleans

Theatre

They changed their TT search last year in mid-stream, from one area of the discipline to another, without readvertising or notifying any of the candidates. The "committee" consisted of one individual, the chair. Scary. 2007

  • Ha! I was also a candidate during this seach, and had a ridiculous phone interview with said one individiual committee member/chair. Loyola should be embarassed by that search. It was entirely unprofessional and the chair/one person committee was a joke. I also was supposedly among the finalists but the chair/one person committee never took the time to write/email/call me to let me know I wasn't hired. Scary indeed.

Max Planck, Leipzig

Evolutionary Anthropology

The on-campus interview involved no actual interviews or scheduled events of any kind apart from a 20 minute job talk with a few questions after. Absoutely no interest expressed in the candidates whatsoever. They even seemed blatantly defensive when asked the most basic of questions about how the position would work as no information was provided upfront. If this experience was any reflection on how they approach science, organize the simplest tasks, or interact with each other or outsiders I would be very cautious about actually working there. They could not have done more to give a worse impression of the place. Future applicants good luck but beware!

McMaster University

English & Cultural Studies

Boorish department likely run by social introverts and misfits. Submitted application in October 2008; still "waiting" to hear from the distinguished knuckle-draggers in the SC. I wonder if it's the pollution from the steel mills in Hamilton that produces such inconsiderate behavior. Have since accepted TT position in a much better place, but thought I should warn any ingenue against expecting much from this laugh factory. It's a pattern I've seen in other southwestern Ontario universities, but we'll save those stories for another time.

  • McMaster's EC department follows a repeated pattern of hiring: they take on a Canadian citizen, who recently completed a PhD at an ivy league school. Generally, this person flees as soon as a book contract is signed, and relocates in less polluted pastures. McMaster then repeats the process again, hiring a similar individual, and on the cycle goes. Hundreds, of course, will apply.

Michigan State University

English

campus visit and never another peep from them, not even a form letter.

I had a vastly different experience, which I have noted on the Universities to love page.

  • Shame on you Dept and Search Committee chairs, both. Great interview, nice people all around, they promised to be in touch (during MLA interview) mid January, and then no word. Found out (via wiki) that campus interviews were scheduled, happened, and an offer made, and still no word/rejection from Chairs (SC or Dept.). Don't they realize that we're adults, we go to a significant expense and inconvenience to meet with them. Aren't our hours (and hours) of preparation and the fact that we flew across the country and such an inopportune time worthy of a simple email letting us know that we're out of the running? For those who are not invited to campus (but were invited to interview at MLA), let us *know* that we're out. If you need to keep your "back ups" as back ups (candidates who were invited to campus but not (yet) offered the job), surely you can let us lowly MLA-interviewees-who-weren't-invited-to-campus know our status? Didn't the time and money we invested to interview deem us worthy of a two line email? Come on.......Fall 2007
  • for better or worse, schools do tend to wait until someone has accepted the job before they send out rejections to the MLA folks. Given that it can take 2+ weeks for a candidate to accept a position, negotiations could still be underway at this point. I THINK IT'S SAGE ADVICE TO GO AHEAD AND COUNT ON not HEARING FROM ANY UNIVERSITY.
  • Agree with above poster--MSU isn't necessarily behaving badly; hiring committees often have a list of 5 potential campus visitees (at least, we did); since it's impossible to know whether the first or second candidate will accept the job, it is similarly impossible to reject the cohort of conference interviewees. A friend of mine, last year, was 4th in line at a great school (i.e. he wasn't even among the first 3 invited to campus); he ended up getting the job and is really happy there. Imagine if they had sent him a rejection, first! It's really important to remember that often, delayed responses aren't personal, and that, when you've made it to the conference-interview stage, until that rejection arrives, you're still a contender for the job. In another scenario I know of, a school (this year) had offered to two candidates, both of whom had to turn the offer down. The initial offer was posted on the Wiki, but not the second, so that it's been over a month since that first offer--and it's still perfectly possible that the school (a very, very good one) will have to invite another candidate to campus. And finally (for better or worse), I'm not sure many schools let candidates know their individual rankings. Again, thinking of that friend of mine...he eventually found out he was 4th, and although the committee assured him that he was as desirable as the others (a fact which I, now on a search committee, feel comfortable saying is likely true), he felt pretty miserable about it for a few weeks. So the decision not to let candidates know is sometimes, I think, governed by wanting to ensure high morale should someone later in line be offered--and accept--the job.
  • I interviewed fpor a global studies/yet somehow Film studies job in 06-07. Mla intvw was good== challenging questions but a real convo. Thought it went well and was collegial enough and yet NEVER had a word back even though they promised to follow up one way or another. No form letter even? MSU is not alone in that but it is shitty and rude behavior nonetheless. If you want to pretend to be a Research 1 place then walk the walk people!

Michigan State University

Forestry

tt interview, faculty was hostile, rude, and not on the same page about the search - though the search committee itself was OK. Ever been actually heckled at an interview seminar? Made up my mind before the second day of the interview I wanted no part of the place. Found myself in the hotel at the end of day #1 looking for a flight out, but couldn't find one. Also never heard from them afterward with further correspondence or rejection...................2007

Minnesota State University, Mankato

All, English

MSU Mankato is approaching the state-wide budget crisis by firing probationary (tenure track) faculty. In the English Department probationary faculty are being fired because of budget deficit in Literature and possibly Comp, but the CW and Tech Comm searches are moving forward. Hostile work environment.

  • Agree with the previous post--horrible work environment. The university is actually firing tenure-track faculty due to the budget crisis. A deeply divided English department where each area (CW, Tech Comm, etc.) looks out for themselves.
  • Disagree with the first post. Though it is possible that probationary faculty in English will be fired, it has NOT been decided whether there will be cuts to that department (as of 2/15/10). The University is seeking to shrink its faculty by circa 10%, and it is doing so through a combination of early retirement incentives, reorganization, and, yes, cuts. Whether any of those cuts come from English is yet to be determined. The uncertainty about cuts is bad enough; posting incorrect information about them is reckless and destructive. As to the work environment -- there are 25+ fulltime English faculty spread across many different fields, and pretty much by definition that's going to produce conflicts over scarce resources. Sometimes those conflicts have manifested in dismaying and unpleasant behavior against which I, too, have railed. Is this sometimes a department/university to complain about, and to feel exasperated by? Yes. But to fear? No.
  • Disagree with the above posting attempting to suggest that people will not be fired. Although not from English, I am one of the faculty who has received a letter from the President informing me that my services will no longer be required -- and I have tenure. The process that the administration used to make decisions on what programs will be closed and what programs will be reduced is claimed to be open, but it is a misrepresentation of "open." The metrics are flawed and attempts to correct blatant mistakes in the data used to calculate the metrics are ignored. Although the metrics are published, there is no sharing of information to explain how the metrics are then interpreted in order to make decisions relative to programs to be reduced or eliminated. Even now, with programs being cut, the university continues to not inform incoming students that their selected major will be eliminated. They wait until orientation when the student is beginning to register for fall classes to then mention that the program will be eliminated. The excuse is that there is still a possibility that the decisions will be reversed if the State should not cut the budget as much as expected. What a farce! And what an incredibly unethical way to treat incoming students.

Missouri S&T

Humanaties and social science departments

An engineering school in the middle of nowhere where the non-engineers feel horribly picked on and ignored at the same time. Severe town/gown problems. Huge state funding issues. History, English, Chemistry and Psychology are all dysfunctional departments.

Montclair State

Sociology

Immensely dysfunctional department; Never-ending application requirements; Never reimbursed for travel Expenses.............................Spring 2003

Murray State

History

Very troubled department re: professionalism in the promotion and tenure process. Tread lightly and carefully if you take a position. Fall 2008

  • Stay away from Murray History Department -- very, very troubled and unprofessional history -- will take years to sort out (and won't happen under current dean)

Murray State

English

Strange MLA Interview. Interviewers did not seem to like the school, the town, or their students. They began the interview by asking me to read a one-page write up by the search chair detailing that Murray is in a dry county and that there's an Applebee's in town, etc. I appreciated the effort to be real, but really, on the first date you don't tell people about the wart on your ass.

  • Murray is a very strange place, and drinking -- including drinking with students -- is a major part of the faculty culture. There are many good people on campus, but also many highly dysfunctional ones.

Murray State

Art History

Murray is def. in the middle of nowhere. The SC showed a positively unhealthy obsession with alcohol, which appears to be their only solace. The dept. chair only refunded (most of) my travel expenses when, after waiting weeks for a reply my inquiries, I began writing to other dept chairs politely asking if he'd met with some sort of nasty accident, or something.

NIA

?

Travel never reimbursed. They said they did but never received it. It seems they did not even check where they sent the money. Terrible administration.

Newman University

History

This university has such shaky finances that it regularly sheds tt faculty. Tenure means nothing and all non tenured faculty work on a year-to-year contract. Stay away from this place...it is a nightmare

New Mexico State University

Biology

One of the most disorganized searches I've ever known. First, all application materials had to be mailed to a specific e-mail address. However, the was no way to affirm that the application was received. Because I had a major change in my CV (two articles being published), I tried to contact that e-mail address and the department head, and did not get any reply. In fact, the very first time I heard from them was four months after the deadline, and a month after the short list had been established, and I was not on it. Was it a rejection? NO! It was an affirmative action form! What was better was that: (A) it was worded: "This form has no bearing on the selection process for the position for which you have applied". No truer words were ever written , since they had already rejected me, and (B) it was an attached PDF form that NMSU wanted me to print out and mail to them at my own expense! Of course, I never got any rejection email, nor any other communication from them aside from that tacky AA form. I heard that they finally invited some people to interview six months after the deadline. 2008-2009

Nevada State College

English

They made a job offer, gave the hiree less than a week to review the contract, and then retracted the offer. Unprofessional at best.

  • Also, travel is apparently not reimbursed if they offer the position and you do not accept the offer.
    • That is the norm for many colleges which have relatively small budgets for job searches. It saves money and helps discourage people that interview without any intention to accept the position (for example people who want leverage for tenure/promotion).
Nevada State College Humanities Invited for an on campus interview, took over a month to hear back from them about a potential date to fly out there. Said they would reimburse travel expenses then cancelled the interview outright a week before the on campus visit date. Had I already booked flights/hotels (which I was going to do later that day) I would be out over a thousand dollar with no possibility of a job offer and no recourse for reinbursement.

North Carolina A&T

Biology

Extensive line of questioning during on campus interview about race, marital status, and parental status. For several months after the on-campus interview, had to go through increasingly difficult and convoluted process to get reimbursed for airfare and hotel, and the reimbursement still has not been processed.

North Carolina Wesleyan College

English Run with all speed in the OTHER direction! Director of Writing is CRAZY and hates women! Rude and dismissive during interview; flirted with male colleagues. Passive-aggressive on a good day.


  • The faculty member in question is no longer Director of Writing and is close to retirement. This faculty member is not really a presence in the department anymore, which has dramatically improved the atmosphere of department.
    • Don't be fooled. As of summer 2011, nothing has changed here. They have a massive chip on their shoulder for not being able to keep up with the famous NC schools. They are unwilling to pay decent salaries and adjuncts have no leverage, even if the adjunct requests pay to stay in line with current market rate ($2K per 3hr. course). This school makes it very clear that what they say goes and if you want to make a living wage, they will, as they told me, "Get someone else to do it." Interestingly, they still havent. (12/7/2011)

North Georgia College and State University

Modern Languages

Interview process was relatively okay and I was offered the job. Apparently, however, they thought my request for a revised offer letter that included the new terms agreed upon throughout negotiation was demonstrative of a "lack of faith" which they seemed to take personally. They rescinded the offer and then blamed it on my need for this letter, and suggested that I be more careful in asking for this in future negotiations with other institutions (they claimed this advice was a show of "mentorship" on their part). I suspect there are larger administrative, financial, or other issues going on that they preferred not to admit. I wouldn't say that this place should be avoided altogether, because the interview process was pleasant - I was going to accept the job - but their behavior ultimately proved to be extremely unprofessional. I have never encountered a situation with a job offer in which an institution (or a corporation, for that matter) has flat out refused to provide a revised offer letter after the terms have changed. Again, not a bad institution inherently. Just be careful.

Northern Arizona

History

AHA interview conducted in aggressive, almost hostile manner. Interviewers had 15-20 or so pre-written questions, the bulk of which had to do with how one might teach/how one's work related to post-colonial, subaltern theory. This focus was not emphasized in the job advertisement, yet the interviewers became almost belligerent when this interviewee stumbled on providing crisp and detail-oriented answers to these type of questions. Admittedly, they have a theoretically oriented graduate program, as is evident on the department's website listing courses... but the snide and sarcastic reactions of interviewers were notable, nonetheless! by 5 minutes into the interview, i was wondering why they had bothered to interview me!?!?!

  • I couldn't agree more. This committee specialized in asking questions that weren't at all related to the job ad. And there was little attempt at collegiality - It felt more like an oral exam than an interview.
  • Whew! I thought it was just me. These questions were completely unlike those I was taught to expect, and which I did receive in other interviews. They also began the interview EARLY--I arrived 10 mins early in the AHA job register hall, and a member of the search committee grabbed me before I had a chance to sit down. (2007-08 search)
    • Wow, I was surprised to read this. I also interviewed with them at the AHA in January 08, and found them to be very pleasant and encouraging. They explained that they had a set list of interview questions, and they seemed pretty standard to me (How would you teach X? How do you deal with diversity? Where do you see your research going? etc etc). Sorry to hear others had a bad experience.

Northern Kentucky

Biology

Have heard on grapevine that they have cycled through at least 2 people for their cell biology position in the last few years because they did not meet supposed tenure requirements. One had a large NIH grant. You will not be teaching what they tell you will be teaching in the interview.

Notre Dame

Chemistry

wonderful interview experience, but then nothing. No rejection letter, no reply to a follow-up. Looking at their website suggested they never filled the position.

  • This department has longstanding problems, including high turnover of junior faculty. Not a healthy place.
  • Similar experience with the Biology department. I had to contact them about 4 months later to find out the position had been filled. At the very least, even receiving a one-sentence F.O.A.D. letter is satisfactory interview follow-up.

Nova

Information Technology

On-campus interview leading to the proverbial black hole. No offer, no rejection. Do SCs really not have the courage to tell people that they are not going to be hired? How hard is that?

NY Institute of Technology

Management

Incredible bullies. Senior faculty twist arms to be non-working co-authors. Only tenured faculty can vote on any issue. This is a campus that operates with the style of an organized crime family. For a long time, faculty only came to campus M-Th, blowing off Friday. Many, many faculty have complete other 40-hr a week jobs, and don't show up for their office hours. In management, the MA level faculty were insulting, nasty bullies to anyone with a PhD. A majority of the non-tenured faculty have PhDs; a majority of the tenured faculty have masters only. Most faculty have "published" weak, disgraceful stuff like articles consisting only of bullets points with no abstract, citations, or bibliography. Competent non-tenured faculty are run off if they don't become the complete slaves of tenured morons. Avoid. Not really a college.

Oberlin College

English

Had what I thought was a lovely interview at MLA and never received a rejection letter. Contacted SC chair after a month or so to express my continued interest in the position (sad, I know) and was informed they had been very busy with their search and hadn't gotten around to notifying those people they weren't bringing to campus. Was told I remained a "candidate of interest," and was asked to update them with information about my search. This I did, again highlighting my interest in their position. Never heard another word. (2008)

  • I was also interviewed in 2008 (for the Victorian position?) and never heard a word.

Oklahoma State U

Spanish

Friendly faculty. Dept. viewed as service department. Limited professionalization support. Never reimbursed.

Pacifica Graduate Institute

All Programs

Took a position here and regretted it immediately. No infrastructure, no support, no funding for faculty. Programs rely heavily on adjuncts who are paid the lowest rate I've heard of. Lots of talk about myth, spirit, psyche and "tending the soul of the world," but this is a deeply profit-driven institution with no integrity. 90% of hires are internal.

Prairie View A&M University

Sociology

Never tenure anyone, ever, regardless of quality. Equal opportunity. Black turned down as often as white. Tenure lines extended illegally rather than tenure person sometimes. Tenured sociology faculty cancel about half their classes. One faculty told students that she was cancelling because she had a beauty shop appointment. One tenured faculty used a non-tenured faculty as a runner to pay her bills.

Pratt Institute

Social Science & Cultural Studies

Profoundly disorganized. Applied for a few openings over the years. Only heard from them if I received an interview. Received no acknowledgment or rejection in the other cases. Had a campus interview, which required a teaching demonstration, but never received a syllabus for the course I was visiting, despite my many requests for one. Half-a-dozen disciplines packed into one department with a chair who, from what I could tell, had no expertise in any of them. The dean was no better. Good luck. From all appearances, the faculty hate the students, themselves, and each other.

Despite heavy application fee for grad program; absoultely no follow-up. No acceptance/rejection letter. Completely unacceptable.

  • I can back this one up. I also had a campus interview with this dept. They were indeed profoundly disorganised. Abandoned me for part of the visit, expected me to find my own way around. Seemed nice people, but the interview began with SC members bitching about the institution, and telling me how much it sucked to work there. I was stunned. No rejection letter either (only found out from the wiki they hired someone else).

Providence College

English

Initial job posting asked for complete dossier (cover letter, curriculum vitae, official graduate transcript(s), a writing sample, and three letters of recommendation); cost a bundle for postage and dossier delivery service fee. The school then sent a notice to me (and, according to this wiki, multiple other applicants) that my materials had not been received, and that I had to rush delivery of materials if I wanted to be considered for the position. I spent an additional $12 rushing materials, only to find out many others were in the same boat. It seems pretty obvious that they lost a bunch of applicants' materials, yet they made it sound like it was my fault. Way to make the destitute applicants pay for your mistake.

Queens College, CUNY

English

NO rejection letter at ALL after MLA interviews. Chair was abrasive. One SC member airy and snobbish. Could have at LEAST sent a rejection note.

  • I had a similar experience, particularly with the lead interviewer (not the Chair).

Reed College

Any

You will meet with the Dean of the Faculty. You will expect this to be an occasion to address logistics and practicalities. Instead you will be grilled skeptically and condescendingly about your work for 29 minutes and then asked if you have any questions. Otherwise, a wonderful place, but be prepared for this if you interview there.

  • I had the same experience, but was at least warned that that would be the case. Toughest on-campus interview segment I've ever had.
  • Also had this experience, and also was warned. Sounds to me like individual departments are taking steps about that problem.
  • has been famous for decades for its nasty and overly-competitive atmosphere. It is perhaps still recovering from the days when it was chiefly famous as the school students went to who didn't want to leave the West Coast but couldn't get into Stanford.
  • The Dean of Faculty to whom the above comments refer stepped down in February 2010. I've never interviewed at Reed, but I do know the incoming Dean of Faculty quite well through other contexts and value her for both her kindness and her professionalism. I know we're not supposed to remove comments, but this Wiki needs to find ways to flag outdated information. (written December 2010)

Reed College

English

Was a finalist, and was treated incredibly rudely by two members of the search committee who favored an inside candidate (ultimately hired). Both were rude; one refused to speak to me during a candidate dinner (2 hours, sitting next to me); the other declared "I guess you think we're pretty stupid here!" early in a private meeting. Three other members of the department contacted me and essentially admitted the bad behavior of certain colleagues, who go overboard to get what they want.

Reed College

Spanish

The person who called me for an interview mixed me up with someone else and called at the wrong time based on the time zone. Think, my appointment was for nine in the morning and came at six. And the person was rude to me about it! Once we established that it was an error in time zones, the person did not apologize and was really somewhat belligerant throughout. I was very glad not to hear from them after that interview, and when I read the two above ("any" and "English") I got a little flashback of that interview. Wow, nervy, that's all I can say...

Rocky Mountain College, MT

Allied Health and Any

They lost accreditation (under probation). Constant appeals and court cases. Very unstable and manipulative; humiliating. High turnover rate of staff/faculty (3 out of 10 left in several months). Some very nice people, but not the place to work. No care about your career. Be careful.

  • The interview is typically half day. You will see director, VP, HR, SC, giving a lecture and having lunch. Job description is not reflecting the real job. You and even the director will not know exact schedule until you start the job. The program is disorganized and disastrous. You will be involved in heavy teaching (similar to 4/4 but irregular), but they do not care you are comfortable with the subject. You will need a big nerve. The situation leaves almost no time for career advancement and scholar activity. Most instructors are local, part-time or guest lecturers. If you are to accept full time and moving from out of state, it may be difficult to find a colleague like you. Evaluation is more like a customer satisfaction from students but not quality of teaching. The program is narrowly focused on physician assistant and not ready to accept a new faculty.
  • Arts and science has reputation for its quality teaching. Professional program is weak. Overall procedure is vaguely defined by by-laws and is unacceptable. Student selection is discriminative. It seems to get more students, as fewer students will hit the budget. Tenure process lacks accuracy and fairness. It is deeply flawed.
  • Billings, MT, is a nice city. It is the largest in Montana but still small. It is very windy and sunny. Like other cities in Montana, the city is physically isolated and in the middle of nowhere. Additional information is available ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billings,_Montana). I noticed the city does not recycle. Facilities for children is poor. Less choice for food, goods, etc. If you have family with kids, you may have hard time finding a good day care and other facilities for children. People are nice. If you become sick and need a special treatment, you need to fly to another state. There is no medical school in Montana. It really needs medical education. The physician assistant (PA) program has been troubled for a very long time. A new director is also struggled; I could not find any evidence for the excellence in the director's performance. I was also suffered from his rude and misbehavior. The place needs a better person and a solid medical program. A slight improvement is noted, but it is probably because of the national trend in which quality of PA students becomes better(due to the need of health professions). I am not sure if I want to send kids to this school.
  • Rocky is not a place to advance an academic career. It is a small school focusing on undergraduate studies; while there have been pushes for research programs, they are generally met with uncaring from both faculty and students. The PA program has been pushing seriously for re-accreditation, but the school as a whole has never lost accreditation. Billings, MT is a small city, compared to any other metropolitan area. The health services (St. Vincent Healthcare and Deaconess Billings Clinic) continue to grow. Recycling is a continual issue in the community, but the fact is, any recyclables except newsprint must be shipped (at relative cost) to Denver or Minneapolis to be processed. In short, if you take a job at Rocky, it is to teach undergraduate students. not to pursue a career in research.
Saginaw Valley State University Chemistry

Worst interview ever.

  • Picked up for interview by an elderly man listening to "Baby Got Back" in his truck. The interview lunch was the "Christmas Faculty Potluck" for the university, only 1 member of the search committee was even there. Had trouble getting reimbursed for expenses and was harassed by the provost at the potluck about rental car fees.
  • Dean took my coat back to my hotel without telling me or anyone else. Had to go back to hotel without my coat, in December, in Michigan, in a snowstorm. Had to have campus security break into offices trying to find said coat to no avail.
  • Had the faculty ask me to get free coupons for the breakfast buffet at my hotel so they could eat for free.
  • Harassed by a professor and asked illegal questions about my marital status.

[Mar 2011, happened in Dec 2007]

Saint Francis University

History

On-campus interview in January, no further contact for 4 months, then a hand-written note saying 'gee, I bet you already got a job." ....1-2005

  • I have been on hiring committees in English for the past four years, and we have *never* treated a candidate like this! In fact, our candidates often remark upon the warm and collegial environment of our department. Each department is different. I don't doubt that you received this treatment from History, but each department prides itself on its divergent approach to the field and to its handling of interviewees.
    • The chair in question here has since been promoted to dean of the school. That should tell you something.

Saint Bonaventure University

English

Extremely congenial and pleasant on-campus interview last week of November for a January start date. Told before leaving campus I would hear from them the following week. No communication for weeks, not even in response to request for update on progress. Finally, on CHRISTMAS EVE I received an EMAIL REJECTION. Not the worst of nightmare stories, but not very considerate either. Posted 1/08

St. John Fisher English

Racist, dismissive, and hostile.

I was told before an on-campus teaching demonstration, "There won't usually be this many African-American students in your classes."

A very bitter and hostile English faculty member barely lets anyone else in the department get a word in. It's obvious who's running the show, because the rest of the faculty and even the chair at the time seemed afraid to confront this person or even react to her outright racist comments.

I hope they just brought me to campus as a placeholder because they already had someone in mind for the job. If this is how the department treats one of three candidates they selected for campus interviews (out of probably hundreds who applied), I hate to see how they treated the person who took the job. No wonder they're searching again so soon!

St. Joseph's University

science

Blatantly never reimbursed after several requests.

  • I also found the chairman of their Chemistry Department to be rather ill-mannered.

Saint Vincent College

English

Campus visit accomodations include a room in a monastery replete with Jesus decorations apparently made by mental patients in the 1960s. Fifty year old twin bed and linens confiscated from a convent. No TV or hair dryer, of course (tonsures dry quick on their own). Jim Touey, new president, a good buddy of W. who reschedules your interview with him 6 times, then announces that he doesn't understand how you can possibly be interested in gender studies and uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. On a good note: the bells from the Basilica will wake you up at 5 AM!

  • All the above was true when I was there as part of a reading series, but the students (at least the ones who attended the events) were sharp, protesting political bs, and into literature.
  • The OP is easily the best entry on this wiki. 100 internet points to you, good sir / madame.

San Jose State University

English

Entire department seemed pleasantly nutso, in a Stockholm Syndrome sort of way. Work load that would kill a mule. How is it, exactly, that the head of a MFA Program in Creative Writing does not have an actual book in his genre? Impending budget cuts should destroy any lingering morale.

  • I removed the comments in this posting that are incredibly inappropriate -- commenting on the chair's appearance is just mean. I've left the comments that are less colorful but perhaps ring true. BTW, to the person who posted this, it was easy to track back to your location. CYA

Sanford Brown College (Hazelwood campus, MO)

Adjunct anatomy in physical therapy assistant program

I taught A&P and after the first test, of 60+ students I only assigned 2 F's, albeit a lot of D's. The Dean told me I had too many F's in my class. It turns out that this for-profit college kicks you out of the program if you don't pass....and they don't let folks fail. My A&P lab had over 60 students in it and they were given a box with half a skeleton in it, a few extra skulls and then a few cats that were shared by over 10 students each. I quit in mid-semester due to ethical concerns.

Shepherd University

English

They see themselves as the “Ivy on the Potomac”. Recent university status. President has denied raises for faculty for 2 year even though there was funding to give raises. The English dept (where I interviewed) has several passive-aggressive personalities (esp. senior faculty). The head of English ed program is a real piece of work…beware! I passed.

  • How does any of this warrant a "university to fear" label? This list is supposed to be about bad hiring practices. This department is organized, hospitable, and efficient when it comes to searches. It seems to me that if the school was upfront about raises (a national trend, by the way) this is an unfair criticism, particularly for the department who has NO control over such issues. (For the record, neither does the president, who was more or less forbidden by the governor from giving the raises.) As for the remarks about "recent university status" and "Ivy on the Potomac," again, how does that address bad interviewing, etc.? So the university takes pride in itself and thinks it's a good place to work. What a crime!

Slippery Rock University

Geography

Very bad communication. SCC was exceptionally curt in emails. In face-to-face meeting at AAG, apparently were "confused" about search progress saying the apps had not been reviewed at all. Found out a few weeks later that apps had been reviewed and that candidates had been brought to campus to interview before AAG even happened! Posted 2009.

I applied for a one year Anthropology position in their "professional studies" program. After paying for undergraduate transcripts, wasting my time on a teaching statement tailored for such an odd little program, and paying to send the packet by snail mail, I receive an e-mail telling me (well after the closing date) that they no longer had money for the posted poistion.

    • Dear, I'm sorry that this happened to you, but if cancelled searches were worthy of "Universities to Fear," this page would be 8X as long.

Slippery Rock University

History

On-campus interview, but no further communication after that. Posted 12/07

  • After interview in this one-horse, one-light town, I couldn't run far enough, fas enough! sure Pittsburgh may be a few hours away, but I knew I couldn't bring my family to this ugly, bleak rural village. I thought I could "tough out" a few years on my way to bigger and better things, but now I know it is not workable at all. The interview went well but too many undercurrents of strife among those on the committee. I realize academe is the most dysfunctional milieu in which to work but really! These clods were barely civil to one another! what a distraction for me!
    • Nice post. Mostly irrelevant, and completely insulting. I take it you weren't offered the job? I especially like this comment: "I thought I could 'tough out' a few years on my way to bigger and better things...." What a wonderfully pompous statement. Holding out for Harvard, were we? It's sentiments like that which underscore the "dysfunctional milieu" of the academy.
    • Found the post very relevant; not sure too many are dreaming of someday making into "Slippery Rock". Sorry if its condescending, but there it is.
    • I agree: the post is very relevant. The reply, obviously from someone with a personal stake in Slippery Rock's reputation, only serves to underscore the initial statement that there is a milieu of dysfunction and incivility to be found there.

Southern illinois University-Edwardsville

Biology

Lost my application packet twice, after sending messages confirming receipt! 2004

Stephen F Austin

English

Awful, terrible place, from former employee .......................11-2007.... English dept. is troubled.... other depts. are excellent and very collegial (history, sociology, poli sci).

  • This may have changed. A colleague who started a job there in 2008 says that the hostile former chair had been ousted and the new chair in place is loads better. Reported a happy, relieved faculty situation.

Stephen F Austin

Forestry

Phone interview, then sent numerous emails and made several calls of inquiry w/othe decency of acknowledging my questions. Clearly, didn't hire me, but so rude on phone, I had already made my decision.

Sweet Briar College

?

Unwilling to schedule a phone interview in lieu of a conference interview, even though SC chair expected me to go to a conference I was not planning to attend with less than two weeks notice. Their initial response to the knowledge I was not attending the conference addressed me by my first name and was written in a tone worthy of scolding a petulant child. This email also made me feel that being ABD was some sort of disease and I should be grateful that I was being considered for the job at all since their other candidates were supposedly much more qualified. I wrote back to them explaining that my inability to attend the conference was due to my full-time job and all of my potential job substitutes were presenting at the conference in question, leaving me stuck at work or faced with losing my job for having to close the facility I work in to comply with their interview request-- which would compromise my professional integrity in a job directly related to my specialty field. Their second response was more formal and claimed to understand my situation, yet they refused to schedule a phone interview and told me they would contact me if other options arose. I never heard from them again. Apparently, some schools expect applicants to kowtow to their interview demands even when hotel rooms and plane tickets are nowhere to be found for the destination in question. Lesson learned: Plan on going to the conference in question until I get a job.

SUNY Institute of Technology

Health Services Management

Hired faculty under fraudulent circumstances. Chair of this department is apparently a "chair for life," unlike any other department in the management school. No elections ever. Twisted untenured faculty arms in at least two cases to be non-working co-author. One left; one non-renewed after 11 out of 12 good teaching evals, four articles and a book in press in two years. MBA and unpublished faculty make fun of PhD and productive faculty. History of corruption on campus generally. Ex-dean hired to give a yearly talk touting his investment business using $1,000 in union funds as honorarium. Many tenured management faculty have 40 hour off-campus jobs. This violates NY public officers law. Decent president run off by faculty and deans when he showed signs of reforming campus.

Sweet Briar College

Art History

Brought to SBC to interview for a three-year position I was met by the passive-aggressive professor and his ditsy wife, who, after a token campus tour, abandoned me for a day and a half in the wilderness that is SBC. Nothing to do, no place to eat after breakfast.I only hung on because the prof told me that he was going to see that I got on-campus housing. Turns out he'd been told weeks earlier (before I even had applied) by the Committee that no way would this position rate on-campus housing. I got the job (who else would do this?) but turned it down. It took them 2 years to find someone else.

Texas A&M University-Texarkana

all

the dead end of dead ends

Texas A&M University-Texarkana

doesn't matter

administration lost my tenure portfolio.

Texas A&M University--Texarkana

all

I have it on very good authority that the MANY previous negative comments here about the institution were summarily erased by members of the administration. I think this tells you everything you need to know.

  • In response to the above post, I went back through the wiki's history and got all of the erased comments. Here they are in all their glory.
  • All--AVOID IT! They treat the foreign faculty terribly bad. First, they give false verbal promises that they will sponsor you for permanent residency. Once you accept their offer and you are on campus, they will tell you that you must wait for two years before you can apply for PR. After that they will re-advertise the position and then who knows what’s next!
  • Engineering Fall 2006, I left because the student enrollment was declining and there was no support for research.
  • Political Science This school is a dead end. DO NOT TAKE A POSITION HERE! I was hired, taught a summer course. The students were poorly trained, the facilities were meager, the faculty were over-worked and completely unappreciated, the administration was dictatorial with no REAL faculty input. Unfortunately there are some very good faculty trapped in this school. I left after one summer with an offer for lower pay. Why are they accredited?
  • All--any Foreign students are treated poorly. They promise to cover visas then revoke promises. Faculty evaluations are arbitrary and unfair. Administration is bad. Revolving door. Graduation takes place in a baptist church. Faculty are responsible for recruiting students, and must show specific numbers of students they have recruited. All math faculty have quit within the last year. Young faculty from all departments are trying to leave.
  • biology 2009 I don't know if this is a to fear or not, it really depends on who you are and what you want out of an academic job. The formerly posted notes vary in their accuracy, but certainly, any one of them can be completely true or terribly false for any given professor. The school and the area are dominated by the Baptists, this is for sure and yes graduation does take place in the Baptist Church. There have been a number of foreign students who have felt dis-serviced, but others seem to be treated well. I am in biology for now, and have taught here for five years. I followed another professor who was let go. The biology program has potential, but it also has problems. There is no chemistry program. If you are used to having research lab space and equipment you will be disappointed. Five years ago there was a push for research that still remains. However, there is meager to no support. This is and always will be a community college atmosphere. The comments above about the various administrators' experience is true. Their experience is zilch, some do a good job, some don't . If you apply for a vacancy here, you will teach whatever the program director tells you to teach and he is not flexible unless you happen to see it his way. Watch out for the director. Although he adds a link to his church, he is not to be trusted. He is linked into all the local school districts and does a bit of work with them. This should be admired. Otherwise, he is exactly what he is, someone who graduated from his PHD 20 years ago and worked in community college for his whole career. According to his own account, he was the only applicant for the position. His resume is online at: http://www.tamut.edu/~allard/resume.html
  • The average student evals at this school are above 4.5, so you should be aware that if you don't hand out candy, pass out pizza.... Generally, most of the faculty are tolerable to wonderful. Many of them do not do research anymore because it was frowned upon in the past. Now, the school WANTS to become a 10,000 student university and be a research center....however, the talent, know how, direction, and resources are not there. A few hard-working faculty eek out a few papers here and there, but it by no means will be satisfying to anyone with a research agenda of any kind. The bottom line is that they speak out of both sides of their mouth. They want outstanding faculty, but they are not willing to invest in anyone, so the good folks usually leave unless, take history for example, the field is just so crowded that employment is a dream. I never planned to stay here for five years, but between the hurricane, and the economic changes, I have stayed here. I pulled off some good pubs despite the university. If you can publish minor papers on a regular basis, have no real aspiration of doing major research, and like to teach students you will probably like it here. If you are strongly tied to a bible belt religion, you will probably like it here. However, if you are athiest, agnostic, or catholic you will be miserable, looked down on, and downright persecuted. That is the cold hard truth I have lived with for five years.
  • all spring 2009, all (7 applicants)but one applicant was denied tenure, after the Dean recommended us to go up! Raise for promotion is about $1K.
  • all spring 2009, avoid with all your mind, soul and heart or you will have none of these left after a few years!
  • Education and Liberal Arts Fall 2009, This university has enrollment problems due to past and current mismanagement and lack of a mission that matches with the resources that are available. They tell applicants that they want to be a research university, however, in the sciences there are no research labs, no funds for start-up, annually competitively available research funds amounting to $500, $500 out of state travel awards, and most programs have fewer than 30 full-time students. The administration includes a president who was run out of Savannah Technical College under findings of impropriety, a VPAA whose previous experience working as superintendent of schools in San Antonio, and a Dean of Liberal Arts and Education who previously ran a life experience credit program in which they have given business credits for doing counter-work at a flower shop. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research was a career (20 yr) community college biologist who has not done research since his doctoral studies. The college of Education and Liberal Arts is dominated by Ed.D. faculty, mostly from the same school (TAMU-Commerce). This is an incredibly inbred school with most of the faculty and admin originating from the immediate area and bound to the same religion, friends and families. Graduations take place in a Church despite many alternative locations, simply because most of the admin go to that church! Most of the programs are not professionally accredited and the administration only pays lip service to getting Business, Engineering, and other programs any kind of accreditation. Most of the faculty are not engaged in research, and every summer 5-6 of the very small faculty who are escape, even for lower ranks and salaries! If potential employers call certain administrators, you will be labeled persona non grata and ultimately released or fired. There is at least on tenured professor who was fired six months after making tenure. If you don't go to the right church, you will be lucky to be a bad-fit in at this school, and may have your career destroyed. At this school, teaching, research, and service are not going to get you promoted.
  • Nursing summer 2009, I escaped and second the previous posts!
Texas Tech Univ. Natural Resources Mgmt. What a hick place. Good ole boys run the place. High teaching loads, lousy pay, and turnover like you would not believe. Church on every corner, cotton fields as far as you can see. Herbicide and cow poo smell everywhere.

Texas Tech U

English

Interviewed at MLA, but never contacted again. Rejection came in the form of a bizarre boilerplate email from "Human" resources. Just not courteous behavior. 2007 search.

  • I second the above post. Had a phone interview and a campus visit. The latter was completely unsubstantive--a lot of tours and meals and small talk--excepting the research presentation, during which one faculty member fell asleep at the back of the room. I was promised the search committee would get back to me quickly but I got a form email months later. 2007-8 search. Got a tenure-track job elsewhere the following year.
Texas Tech U Comm
  • Had phone interview with the department. Interrupted rudely by faculty member criticizing the fact that I had been talking about teaching and not research (the interview questions so far were all about teaching, and was about to talk about research before I was interrupted). Admitted the school was in the middle of nowhere. No word post-interview about rejection, but frankly I didn't really care either way after how that phone interview went.

Tulane U

English

  • For the second time, the poster of the original note is removing it, not without much internal debate. Apologies to all. (I took it down a week ago but it reappeared with the reformatting.)
  • In response to the above, my own first hand experience at Tulane contradicts nearly all of those assertions. The workload for full-time post-docs is quite reasonable, by almost any standard (3/3). I've had strong support with research and professional development from a number of different members in the department, and have been asked repeatedly for suggestions on how to improve the post-doc position. I can't speak to the Research I rumor, but I've been an adjunct, and this is definitely not an adjunct position....1/08.
  • Here, here on the positive experience at Tulane. Tenure-track faculty have both made efforts to include me socially and have given considerable amounts of feedback and encouragement on job letters, mock interviews, book proposals, and mock job talks. As far as the lack of distinction between adjunct and VAP/Postdoc status, that seems to be a much more widespread problem related to contractions in the higher ed market, labor surplus, and the erosion of the tenure system. Haven't heard anything about the RI classification, but considering that New Orleans is recovering from a major natural disaster, the University seems to have kept its footing surprisingly well.
  • On Tulane's PhD program: It was "suspended," not "lost." They are in the process of deciding whether to reinstate it or not. 1/06.
  • How can a poster have such an about face? First the dept. is mistreating VAPs and Adjuncts and losing its status, but now it's not worth mentioning?
  • Maybe the poster didn't have an about face. Perhaps someone got to him/her?

Trinity C, Hartf.

Lang & Culture Studies, Spanish

More than a place to fear, this one is a place to avoid, unless you are desperate.

Watch out. The Spanish section is highly dysfunctional. While the program is intellectually attractive (they support the teaching of gender, race, and other types of critical theories), expect to encounter sexism from colleagues. Men can get away with harassment--not referring to sexual harassment though. Expect to see laundry aired out via passive aggressive emails sent to the dept. members. This is as toxic as it can get, though I have heard of worse behavior (e.g., men peeing at female faculty office doors--at another university). In terms of pay, make sure you get things in writing because they may not deliver on promises. That goes without saying, but still, take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Do not expect much professionalism from some of them.

During my interview there, administators spoke derisively of the Spanish section and one faculty person who has been there a while referred to the department as a "nest of vipers." In sum, don't expect much leadership from those who are in those positions--men or women. Department meetings are announced at the last minute and men from other sections act like bullies toward women in all levels, from visiting to senior profs.

U of Alabama-Birmingham

English

They contacted me by email about a VAP position, wanting to set up a phone interview. I provided a phone number where I could be reached at one of only three hours they had available. Three days before the interview, they wrote to confirm date and time--they had the wrong phone number, so I again provided the one to use. I sit by the phone--no one calls. I go home, and they had left messages on my home number--never checked the two emails I sent, apparently, and just called any old number they found on my cv (including trying me at my departmental office--who's taking calls there?). I check my rage, and email them (this is now a weekend), politely reminding that I had waited patiently for their call, and asking if we could reschedule a time (while knowing perfectly well that some or all of the members would be pissed off at me, or the search chair for screwing up the number). On Monday, I receive an email telling me that they only had that time set aside, and have had to make their decision. THEN TRY TO PASS THE BLAME ON TO ME!! The chair never once acknowledged any fault or mistake and showed not one bit of common human decency in her reply. I sent a message to all of the committee members describing this and noting that their (her) behavior told me all I needed to know about working in that department. 2/08

U of Alabama-Birmingham

English

Dysfunctional department. There is a high turnover of junior faculty, especially in creative writing. The department is still recovering after three years of no real leadership. The new chair seems promising but is still in his honeymoon period. The faculty has not yet turned against him. In terms of sexism, this is a very sexist department, sadly.

U of Alaska Anchorage

?

I was hired as a Term Instructor and accepted the position. It's an open secret at this university that term instructors (who comprise 1/3 of the faculty) are bombarded with service obligations, nearly on par with tenure-track faculty, while they do not have the job security or rights of tenure-track members. My list of service obligations is growing, and I have very little in the way of stopping it. After a year, I can say that while it's possible to get some research done in my free time, I have really struggled to do this, and sometimes had so many service obligations that I had trouble keeping up with my teaching. Another issue: while I have been promised a renewal of my contract back in October, this still hasn't happened and will not happen until August. Do they really expect absolutely everyone who is hired (out of a national market, in many cases, and with Ph.D.s in hand for this kind of position) to sit in Alaska, not apply for jobs because they've been made a verbal promise, and wait anxiously for their contracts to be renewed / non-renewed? It's humiliating and unsettling not to know for sure if I have a job with them next year. There is also a slew of other issues for term instructors that they will not tell you about until you suddenly find yourself in a really messy situation. That said, I love my students, many of my colleagues are great people, and we have many talented, motivated ones up here. It's a joy to teach here, it pays really well (as well as a tenure-track job would), and Alaska is beautiful. I just wish I had more time to teach, and to do my own stuff.

  • The "pays really well" comment is likley not for anyone in the humanities. Union rep very helpful for negotiating a better offer for TT position. 

U of Alberta

Mod lang

Rude young colleagues, borderline hateful/psycho (they preferred another candidate, yet this is not the way to act in a professional setting). Unnecesary hostility. They hate their students, and older colleagues. Jan 2008.

U of Arkansas Little Rock

Modern Languages

Dysfunctional department. Chair is wonderful and supportive, but high turnover among junior faculty. Conflict between senior faculty and administration, between senior faculty and junior faculty in recent past.

Had an on-campus there for a TT position and never heard from anyone regarding the results. Main office had a disorganized appearance. I was a few weeks from my defense date, and they didn't even pretend to care about my research. No one asked about it, not once. I'm aware that they've since gone through a number of junior colleagues, one of whom abandoned ship mid-semester. I don't know what's going on there, but it's not good. I'd advise to stay away.

UC Berkeley

Humanities

Department chair scheduled a phone interview, but never called. It took months to schedule a campus visit and SC changed the format of job talk at the last minute. On campus: there was no meeting with the dean, some faculties were hostile and said they didn't want to hire anyone, one SC member cancelled dinner meeting while the other showed up 40 minutes early, department chair cancelled an interview at whim, program director failed to show up for his own interview, university librarian stood up the candidate and later explained that nobody made an appointment with him that day. One outside faculty warned that the department was trying hard to sabotage this job search and was too dysfunctional to do anything. Was asked inappropriately personal questions. No official rejection call or mail.

U of California-Irvine

Art History

What a low-class institution! I received this email rejection:"Dear applicants to the position in early modern art at UCI:Please pardon this group e-mail, but writing in this manner will get the word out to you all sooner than if we took the time to write individual letters.I want to let you know that the position is now filled. The pool this year was extraordinarily strong, and our faculty felt that a very large number of applicants would have been able to make a contribution to UCI. We are grateful to you all for the time you devoted to preparing your materials for our consideration. I wish you all the best in your future professional endeavors, Sincerely, ***** [Commitee Chair]"

  • "Took the time to write individual letters?" Wouldn't want you to have to do that... [Hey, it's better than NOTHING, which is what I've gotten from a lot of schools.
  • For what its worth, I actually wrote to ***** [Commitee Chair] after receiving my mass e-mail, explaining (gently) that such procedures were unprofessional and reflected badly on his department. (I also mentioned that I had spent time in the professional sector before going into academe). He sent me a very sincere apology, explaining that he thought he was doing us a favor by getting the information out quickly. He also said that if he had it to do again, he would never send out another mass e-mail.
  • I find the above post on UCI to be stupid and trite. Why is it so important to some people to get an individualized letter on bond paper with university letterhead delivered by postal mail with a message from the department saying that they are not interested? In an age of e-mail and California's terrible budget crisis, I would see no problem in saving time and money by sending out rejection messages via a group e-mail. I would rather know the results as soon as possible, regardless of the medium. This poster shows very little tact in mentioning the search committee member's name online. I would ask that this be removed.
  • I removed the committee member's name.

University of Central Arkansas

Biology

The department had some kind of strange weirdness about it. I interviewed with each faculty member individually and all had different and incompatible versions of what was required for tenure. A few faculty, whom I was familiar with, were very nice, but most turned me off. They have instructors that throw their weight around as if they have superior stature to other faculty, and to some extent appear to be treated superiorly. During my talk, one temporary/permanent instructor (not a professor)continually interrupted me with some of the more idiotic questions I had ever heard. Then, to top it off, no students and only a few faculty showed up in the evening social! When I came to the school, I was somewhat familiar with it. I brought my wife and told her to scope out the housing market because I would get the offer. I did get the offer. After the crazy interview process, I turned it down. I did like the campus and the region, but the department was the most bizarre places I ever visited. And, I've been around!

University of Chicago

Art History

I've seen this often enough I feel someone should comment. Beware of Chicago's annual pancosmic/panchronic, fake tenure-track searches that inevitably 'fail'. They have become a laughing stock or pariah for this (depending on if you have a job or not). Every to every other year they put out an absurdly wide call in three or more fields simultaneously. Some of these are lines still open from a faculty member expiring or retiring years past which they don't want to lose, but can't agree among themselves to fill. Approach it like buying a lottery ticket, but unless they contact you under the table, don't take it too seriously nor waste energy on it; (dates 2003-2009).

  • Yes, could not agree more--I have heard that this is a university-wide thing, actually.
  • Do you have any evidence for this? In almost every case I can think of over the past 8 years, the reason for casting a wide net was that the department does not think in narrow field-specific terms but seeks to find someone who can best contribute to the department, creating links across fields. It is true that sometimes an offer is made that's not accepted, or the dean turns the department's pitch down, hence no one is hired. But more often than not, a hire has been made.

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

Musicology

extremely dysfunctional department, full of bad politics and sniping; students regularly bad-mouth the dept at conferences and there is a high attrition rate. Standards for tenure are really low, so I guess if you want to slack and still get tenure, this is the place. 2005

  • Hostile faculty at interviews. 2007.

University of Guelph

Biology

Every candidate interviewed for the position had such a horribly negative experience that at a conference we got together for a beer to commiserate. One candidate was so angered by the experience that they contacted the chair of the dept (who was also the chair of the search committee) to complain, and was told that the interview process also involved role-playing to determine which candidate best performed in a hostile and confrontational work environment. If that was their criteria for hiring, I'd hate to see what a bunch of a-holes populate the department. One committee member did such a good job of being a class-A prick I was convinced it wasn't acting. To this day, because of him, I view anyone who researches small mammal ecology with contempt and disdain. Needless to say, the person who was offered the job accepted it but then spent the first year searching for another job elsewhere, and then got the hell out of there. Perhaps things are different with a new department chair and a departmental re-organization, but Dr. Prick is still there, so I'd be sure to double-check he's not on the hiring committee if you apply.--Since you don't give his name, how will we know if he is or not? And I hope you're joking about your own prejudice. If so, it ain't funny. Don't mistreat some hapless small mammal ecologist candidate someday because you had one bad experience.

University of Illinois

Black Studies

campus visit, then nary a word from them ever again.

Univ of Kentucky

Geography

A whole department of pompous assholes! Their reputation, which in human geography is good, is not even that well-deserved. I've never felt so uncomfortable or so unwelcome in all my life. At conferences since, these assholes don't even make eye contact. Posted 2009.

Univ of Kentucky

English/Rhet-Comp

These folks aren't really to be feared, but they should be taken to task for failure to build collegiality or confidence, esp. since both seem key to achieving all they want to achieve for RC. For starters, MLA interviews were conducted by only one person in the field. Bodes strange for a group that's bigger than that and eager to build. Also may be a sign that RC is doomed to follow the beck/call of lit and linguistics, the dominant areas in that department. Next, that one RC person seemed defensive about hir recent decisions and accomplishments, and s/he also seemed somewhat competitive with more than one candidate. Last, this is a group that needs to heed #12 on the Dear Search Committees page.

Univ. of Louisville

All

Except for some, faculty was ok. Some centers with ethics problems. Interview luch/dinner include family members of faculty (inappropriate use of the university funding). I was called to show up, but no faculty there; Promises not warranted; Disorganized; Questions not answered. Offers inconsistent among candidates. Before accepting an offer, better to check if faculty leaves recently. (Agree with what the above has to say, many times over. Had a professor tell me: "Why do you want to study public housing? They should just bulldoze it all." History department is full of old, white men, like the example I just gave. Sad, because the city itself seemed somewhat interesting.)

Univ. of Louisville

Gheens Center

Explained the job as a 5 year contract, but it was annual contract. The way how the center is handled is micromanipulative and self-centered. It is painful to see happy faces of faculties and postdocs are becoming gloomy. Good faculties left. Is it appropriate that a director at a medical school cannot secure a NIH grant for her lab? Much effort is not on good science. The director's attendance is poor; she is mostly at home, claiming full time. Unless collaborate with her, you will have hard time getting signature, using facility and equipment; or may be forced out for no reason (she is good at making up). Unhealthy center at any level.

U. of Maryland, College Park

Communication

Has plenty of good people, but it's been in a transition phase for the past several years and is prone to in-fighting and factionalism. Not necessarily a terrible place to end up, but not a model for a functional department either. UM's teaching and service requirements are overwhelming in comparison to peer institutions.

UMass-Boston

Performing Arts

For a position in musicology, the one musicologist in the department (a female) was excluded from the all-male search committee and then forcibly prevented from attending the question and answer session! What woman would accept a job there?! No else in the department even participated in the visit or observed.

University of Miami

Art History

In many schools, the combination of the Art and Art History departments is a bit uncomfortable. At UM the pairing is poisonous. The administration supposedly doesn't like art history and so have allowed the M.A. program (the only one in S. Florida) to die. Art historians who leave are not replaced. This all pleases most of the Studio Art people, especially the two co-chairs, for they believe that they will be able to pick up the "extra" positions and funds. There is no art history chair; major duties (planning courses, scheduling, picking faculty) are allowed to be carried out by the undereducated, untrained, and not very bright slide librarian. The 3 tenured faculty (it was 10 a few years ago) are paid a great deal more and teach many fewer courses than I did. My 2-year lecturer position, for which I was paid $30,000 per year, required teaching four courses of up to 40 students each semester. I got a raise in the second year only because one of the 2 senior faculty gave me his raise(!!) Of course, at least I had a fulltime job; most of the survey and some of the upper division courses are taught by M.A. adjuncts who survive by not assigning work and giving out lots of As--esp. to athletes. The one thing that makes this bearable is that most of the students are intelligent, cheerful, and willing to work. A clamorous minority are not; they will cheat in any way possible and the Art dept chairs do not support the professor who objects. There is no support for research or any sort of funding for the lecturer. You are pressured to take on extra work, such as Honors classes, but given no support or acknowledgment. What's bizarre is that art history classes are very popular: this could easily be a thriving department producing distinguished graduates. Go on welfare instead of working here.

  • I think this is a little misleading in one respect: this department has never had 10 art historians, unless you count part-timers and temps, and maybe not then. I think the most they've ever had as full-time permanent faculty was four. The other craziness doesn't surprise me; I had a friend who worked there (and did the MFA program) and the former dept. chair was an alcoholic. The replacement was some sort of crony who didn't last long. The department was a mess in general. It's no wonder the administration hates them. Completely disfunctional. Such a shame.
    • I'm sorry to hear about your experience, but I have to say it's not very surprising. I've been a graduate student here for several years (and have thankfully just finished), and I have to imagine that many of the departments would be run similarly. It's a shame, because while the school and southern Florida in general have a lot to offer, the University is run about as inefficiently and abusively as everything else in Miami. This is not generally a place you want to be.

Univ. of Michigan

History

Applied for a job, had a conference interview at the AHA. After that, nothing. The chair of the search committee wouldn't return my emails and, when I ran into her at a conference later in the spring, she refused to talk to me or make eye contact. Totally unprofessional.

  • Why were you emailing the search committee? Did you have significant news to report? (a major journal publication? a book contract? a job offer?) If not, you should NOT be contacting the SC.
  • That's ridiculous. If the SC does not respond in a timely fashion, you have every right to make an inquiry. The practice of keeping all applicants hanging until a candidate has accepted an offer in writing is unfortunately widespread, but is nevertheless rude and unprofessional. But remember, many in academia have poor social skills in general, and many departments have inflated views of their own worth. I've been on both sides of the table many times, and it is important to remember that candidates are colleagues, not supplicants. (I have no experience with U.Mich specifically).
  • Two questions -- more from a mixture of curiosity and indignation than anything. First, was the post so bad as to require boldface and caps? Second, unless the applicant did something insane -- or, at any rate, suggestive of disturbance -- what would give anyone the right not to make eye contact or say hello? A Ph.D. does not absolve someone of the common decency one can rightfully expect from five- and six-year-olds at the local elementary school. I find this passive-aggression tiresome.
  • Original poster here: I contacted the chair of the SC twice. Once, because I'd received other offers for campus visits, and the chair of SC had said that she'd be getting back to me within 2-3 weeks, and I wanted to know if it was definitely a no-go while I was trying to schedule other visits on top of a heavy teaching load. The second time I emailed her was to say that I'd accepted a job offer. Didn't hear back either time.

Univ. of Michigan Dearborn

Humanities

Twice I have applied for advertised adjunct positions. The first time I received no acknowledgment or rejection. The second time I applied, I contacted the department to confirm receipt of my application, to which they replied they would send a "formal letter" "soon." I never received a letter. Of course, this isn't the end of the world, but frustrating and indicative of a general lack of professionalism (or tendency to treat adjunct instructors as slightly sub-human) :) 2006 & 2007.

University of Nevada-Reno All I don't even know what to believe anymore. I was offered a tenure track job here. I had a signed contract. Before I took the job, I asked the provost point blank about the budget issue and he assured me that tenure track faculty would be the last to go and that the search wouldn't have been authorized if it was in danger. Two weeks after I accepted and turned down other interviews (at schools I was very interested in!) that same provost cut the whole department claiming "budget" and suddenly rendered me without a job. The chair was so sympathetic and nice, and then I discover he's been telling other people for months he thought the department might be toast. Many other job searches in a bunch of departments were suddenly pulled and candidates were told way after the fact. Even after this, I found myself embroiled in nasty politics amongst all these dysfunctional untrustworthy folks. I'm not going there. I don't know who amongst them was honest. I don't know how I could know. That provost is now president and the dean who also misled me is provost. And now all I know is STEER CLEAR. If nothing else, nobody wants to stay in a smoky casino with thin, thin walls. Yuck.

University of New Hampshire

Women's Studies and English

I would seriously caution anyone entertaining the possibility of going to UNH. I went through the interview process and was in talks with one of the committee members who was not only insulting and officious, but the offer was nearly 20k than what I am getting now as an ABD instructor who will defend in April. They did offer the caveat that I could adjunct to "make up" the difference to bring it to a still less than livable wage. We all understand that in this current economic environment hard choices are being made, but what you "live with" should be "livable." The head of the search committee, after asking me if the "salary" was a problem, felt it necessary to add "Well, some of the other candidates don't have a problem with the money." When I asked about supplementing the income, I was informed that other teaching could be offered. So... full load teaching, and still not making enough to pay rent, loans, etc? What concerns me most is the unabashed rudeness and complete disrespect for me and my work. After apparently interviewing successfully with them at MLA, I found that I was being reassessed by the "smaller committee" before being presented to the larger search committee of eight members. If you are going to apply for a "joint appointment" that means dealing with twice the personalities and dysfunction. Buyer beware. If my experience is an any indication of their "practices," think twice. 1/28

University of New Haven

Communication

Ad said opening was to start in spring or fall term, I applied in October, was brought to campus and offered the position--but only if I came in January. Current school wouldn't let me out of contract and the New Haven chair threw a fit even though they had misled, claiming I told him I could come in January (100% false--all I said I could do was ask to get out of my contract). So I waited months to get reimbursed for plane and rental car. Repeated emails and calls went unanswered. I finally mailed a bill to the business office--that got their attention! The guy threw a fit again, the dean's office called apologizing and eventually I got paid. Unstable department at an otherwise nice school. -- How recent was this?

University of North Texas

Biology

Never reimbursed for part of travel expenses ...................Spr 2007

University of the Pacific

Biology

Be very wary of the Biology Department at UOP. In 2009 they had phone interviews followed by campus interviews for five candidates and found NONE OF THEM SUITABLE. They video tape your teaching demo and then basically use that as ammunition for why they shouldn't hire you by picking apart the candidate's teaching. Then, someone from the search committee posted horribly negative comments on the Ecology wiki about the job candidates- telling the entire wiki they were horrible teachers and shouldn't have applied for a job at UOP because it is a teaching school. The search committee member then went on to diss previously hired faculty on the wiki by saying they wish they hadn't hired the person because they were now seeing what a bad teacher they were. The department is relatively small and appears extremely disfunctional and back-stabbing. Run for your lives!

University of South Florida

  1. Integrative Biology
  2. Education
  1. Multiple attempts to determine search progress via search chair (post-campus interview) were deflected to department head and never answered. Very disorganized and some (not all) faculty condescending. Three months post-interview short email saying post had been filled. Four 1/2 months post-interview, travel finally reimbursed.---2009
  2. Is this a faculty position? It doesn't sound like it. Retaliation for a FMLA approved medical condtion. My new boss decided to change my job duties, responsibilities, force me to take new training for my new lower duties, and virtually demote me from a management position to an office assistant position.
This new boss does not know what it is that I do and admited to it when I met with him. He has been listening to my co-workers whom don't like the fact that I'm out of the office all the time do to FMLA, thus they talked this clown into demoting me. If that was not bad enough when I went to USF HR to blow the whistle on this illegal behavior I was talked down to by the Employee Liason person in an attempt to intimidate me into falling in line, dropping my case and accepting the demotion.
He was not supposed to be in the meeting, but invited himself. I was supposed to meet with the USF FMLA rep, but that did not happen. Sure the FMLA rep attended the meeting, but she sat with her head down in the corner like a scolded puppy dog, and when I asked her a question she would not answer anything.
This has forced me to seek help from the Federal Dept. of Labor and to begin looking for a really good labor attorney.
Hopefully I can find a new job in another dept. or outside of USF before I have to go through the trouble of hiring an attorney. This incident has also upset me greatly, I have worked for USF for the past 9 years, and have done countless hours of unpaid volunteer work for the University over that time. To be treated like this when I'm on FMLA is as if USF spit in my face and kicked me while down.
If you are looking for a job in higher education steer clear of USF. The place is poorly organized and that is due to the fact that its very management heavy, and worst of all these managers don't know anything and have never worked outside of a State Agency.
They will also do anything they think they can get away with doing. Most of the employees are two faced snakes in the grass that would sell their own mother down the river if they could get a promotion or an extra sheckle a month.

Univ of Southern Alabama

Geography

Not sure why they interviewed me. They (by one faculty member's own admission) already knew who they were going to hire before they called me up! Too bad, the people seemed nice otherwise, despite their subtlely racist comments. Still, big waste of my time and a detriment to my opinion of the university and department. Posted 2009.

Univ of Southern Indiana

English/Lib Arts

Horrible place to work. Very stratified. Dept chair was recently canned. Comp chair and wife left for greener pastures. Unless they have family in the area, no one stays more than a year. Administration is overtly hostile to faculty. Don't work here!! (12/2008) - phone interview was the strangest thing I have ever experienced. There was NO chit-chat at all -- nothing to get a sense of who they were or who I was (to them). They asked questions directly from a script. Weird, weird, weird.

(2009) Terrible Campus Visit Experience. I was informed two days in advance of my arrival for the campus visit what texts I would be teaching for two different classes. I flew out on a Monday morning, and I got the e-mail late on the previous Friday. I didn't even know what translation / edition the students would be using, so I spent $150 at Kinkos (since my department copy room was closed over the weekend) in order to have some control over what passages we would be reading together in class. Then, I had less than 48 hours to prepare two different teaching demonstrations. After the campus visit, I heard nothing at all from them, until two months later when a generic rejection letter arrived by postal mail.

(2009) Similar experience to above: campus visit, e-mail about decision schedule, and then not a word from them until form rejection letter months later. Visit itself was rushed; too many activities and meetings for less than 24 hours (much more hectic than other finalist rounds I've been through). They were running four searches at once and appeared overextended; they had candidates for two different positions on campus the same day and very few faculty actually showed up for my events. Seem like pleasant enough people, but I'm not sorry I wound up elsewhere.

University of Tampa

English

Interviewed with them at the 2008 MLA in San Francisco. I think that the chair was badly hung over, or possibly even still drunk - she barely spoke, we were in her room, and the empty wine bottle was prominent. The other interviewer shuffled randomly through my papers, picking questions as she noticed particular lines. Also, we started late, they didn't apologize, and they didn't even, technically, introduce themselves. I was utterly embarrassed - for them.

Interviewed for a job described by the head of the dept in one way. The dean later flatly contradicted that description. Seems to be some antagonism between the dean and the dept. (Individual faculty, however, were very nice.)

University of Texas, El Paso

English

Had an interview several years ago, for which one member of the search committee wasn't present, the chair napped for several minutes (I'm not kidding), and the third person, a junior member, cringed in horror.

  • Q: Was this for a lit position?

University of Toronto

Cinema

Time wasters who keep posting and re-posting their job ads. Their sense of self-worth is not matched by their facilities and autonomy in the UT itself.

University of Toronto

Jackman Humanities Institute

This is for their postdoctoral fellowship. Their online application system is a total mess, leading to endless error messages and the inability to actually upload documents. On top of that, they posted a Dec. 2nd deadline on multiple pages of their website in the last few days leading up to the deadline (originally it had been Dec. 1), but then claimed it was a mistake and did not accept applications received on the 2nd. AND still refused to aknowledge that there were big problems with their application system. Clueless and arrogant.

  • I agree. The guys that run the JHI are utterly incompetent. Last year's description for PDFs was a joke: whom did they hire to write up the description?! I second the previous post about their application system - just another example of the mediocrity that infests the place.

University of Vermont

Art History

Well, it's been accepted by someone since the UVM Jobs machine just emailed it out. Wishing all the best to whoever took the job -- seems like you'll have some wonderful colleagues!

  • Are you serious or joking?
  • My interviewers were bored-to-tears, rude, and condescending. The worst of the bunch was literally slumped in the chair like a child forced to go to dinner with the parents. My sense was that they a.) are unhappy as a team or b.) already knew their pick. Waste of everyone's time. And you?
  • Wonderful colleagues?? Oh my - that is a serious stretch...I interviewed with them last year (when they had a failed search for this position) and they were all over the map; and I second the rude and condescending bit...One of their studio faculty on the committee had behavior that bordered on actionable.
  • I feel a bit better that it wasn't just me! When the attitude began (about 2 minutes into the interview), I had the thought of ending the interview right there because it was so awful and such a waste of time and money.
  • We won't even talk about not getting picked up at the airport, being told to keep receipts, and refusing to reimburse once they were supplied....They ARE unhappy and I would have refused the position if it were offered in favor of a fast-food gig instead.
  • I didn't get the job either, but at least I'm not being a baby about it. There was nothing wrong with the committee or the interview. This is an outrageous misuse of the wiki -- and if you're wondering why you're not getting jobs maybe it has something to do with your attitude displayed on these pages, and/or the fact that you apparently spend way too much time on these pages and not enough time getting your own work done. You guys need to grow up and get over it.
  • (new poster -- who also didn't get the job) while I don't agree with the tone of the previous poster s/he has a point -- there is a wiki set up for interview concerns and problems -- such venting should probably be posted on the Universities to Fear page.
  • Being told to keep receipts is outrageous?
  • The critiques above are funny; echoes of my experience with these people last year in a phone interview for a VAP replacement position. Rude, blasé, burnt-out cases. Big chip on their collective shoulder. Their group identity seemed to be presaged on their negativity about the job. They clearly thought my optimism regarding the profession was ridiculous and naive. My statement that I intended to assign a course reader met with group hilarity: Ha! She thinks our students would actually, like, bother to read it! Asked to describe the student body: "white, well-to-do, and extremely *recreationally* oriented." Uproarious laughter again. If they hate the job so much, I wondered, why don;t they do everyone else a favor and quit?
  • Edited to add: I disagree that posting criticisms here is inappropriate. In light of the way the deck is stacked against candidates, I think it is important to publicize institutions' treatment of candidates in places that people will notice. This has nothing to do with individuals' success in getting jobs, or lack thereof.
  • HaHaHa. I went to grad school with one of the committee members. Conduct described here is a most logical continuation of the temper tantrums (worthy of a 3-year-old) this person regularly threw in order to get its way.

University of Vermont

English
French

Asked me to wait outside for 15 minutes before MLA interview so that they could finish reading my materials, almost making me late for my next interview. First question was about how anyone "could possibly care" about the field in which they were hiring. Then launched abruptly into a disquisition proving the inferiority of my university town to Burlington. Got competitive about a prominent theorist who had lectured at UVM, claiming I couldn't possibly be right about this theorist because he had met him personally. Didn't end up hiring anyone for the position. Never received a rejection letter.

Lousy interview (on their part). They changed interview time on me twice before the date of interview, and then began my interview eleven minutes late.  Two junior faculty and the dept. chair were the committee--basically one junior faculty was trying to show up the other and show off for the dept. chair.  It was all totally childish.  The questions were absurd--I was asked to provide two sample syllabuses of courses I'd like to teach in their department to upper-division majors and minors; in the interview, they asked noted that they didn't know most of the texts on the syllabus, and therefore students wouldn't either, and asked me to explain how I would make these courses accessible to freshman and sophomores--what a joke.  They were also very rude and presumptious.  They think everyone envies their jobs.  UVM is falling apart (has been for years) and foreign languages is becoming laughable.

  • I was told by a member of the department that the hiring for this position was a very political hire in that human resources demanded they make Quebec Studies, shall we say, less traditionally French Canadian.  They were after something very specific and likely didn't feel the need to truly engage with candidates who didn't fit their narrow search parameters.

Univ of West Georgia

English

Total jerks during the interview, it was appalling. Their search ended up failing, too. No wonder. 2006/07.

  • (11/26) Yes, a failed search for 18th Cent last year. Apparently quite nasty and fractious departmental fracas. Dispute over inside candidate is what I heard.
  • maybe, i don't know, but they did make offers that were declined to 2 people in the search last year.
  • One of the department members asked me, quote unquote, during campus visit, what other schools I was interviewing with.
  • I couldn't disagree more with the above. Though there are a few eccentrics in that department, in my experience they were by and large totally professional and incredibly friendly.
  • The on-campus interview I had with them in January 2008 was extremely pleasant -- most everyone in the department went out of his or her way to show genuine interest. I was not their chosen candidate, but they earned my respect through thoughtful treatment of me.
  • I had a lovely campus visit with them six or so years ago. Everyone was wonderful, though the chair oversold the capabilities of the grad students. That said, a lot can change--both good and bad--in six years.

University of West Georgia

Foreign Languages

Run. . .do not walk. . .

  • can you explain please?
    • hahaha that is hilarious. They are ridiculous. They've been trying to hire in French for as long as I've been on the market. One year, they sent me a letter to reject my application because one of my recommendation letters was late, but promptly emailed me in the Spring semester to offer me a visiting position with a 4/4 load.
      • The visiting gig is getting worse as time goes on.  When it was offered to me last year it was a 4/5. Run indeed.

University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

English

This department is so bitterly divided, they have no sense of who they are or how they come off to others. During my interview, I got the distinct impression that they were hiding things from me -- especially the professors in the department who are unhappy here and there seem to be LOTS of them. When I took a job at another school, one of the search committee members tried to convince me that a 4/4 load really was less stressful than a 3/3 load. I didn't buy it.

  • Run, don't walk.

If you are happy with a huge teaching load, producing next-to-nothing in the way of scholarship, and sniping at colleagues behind their backs, then this is the department for you. The previous poster is right -- they don't have any idea how people on campus outside the department dislike them. (and they do dislike them). Unhappy place to work.

Vanderbilt

Education

No receipt of application, no communication at all, ignored my e-mails for more information, despite contacting the 'contact person' April, 2008

  • I had this EXACT same experience with the Communication Studies Department.

Villanova

Communication

Just witnessed their NCA party where they had invited prospective candidates to meet and greet with the faculty. The faculty made few attempts to circulate, were decidedly disinterested when they did speak to those people they had invited, and illustrated an overall contempt and disrespect for the entire process. Judging from this dysfunctional display, I would be wary when interviewing with them.

I could not disagree more with this post. I found the faculty at the NCA party engaging and personal. I met every one of them and they made sure to "hand me off" to other faculty members each time.

Virginia Commonwealth University

English & Women's Studies

[original post replaced] Where do I begin about my campus interview here? Years of therapy will only tell the tale. I have never encountered such open prejudice in an academic setting. There are some wonderful people in English there. I still think of them almost a year later. But, there are others who are "like no other." The prejudice runs the gamet, btw. One faculty member was not only openly racist and homophobic, but had "old school" comments to make about Irish people and the children of alcoholics! The minute I got there, faculty members started caling VCU, "Viet Cong University."This not only in reference to student protesters in the 70s, but because of the Vietnamese population in the area today! It goes on and on. Beware of the Commonwealth!

  • I have no affiliation with VCU nor with any field in humanities, but I think it's horrid that someone deleted something from this wiki. If you disagree, post a cogent reply, but censorship has no place here. You should be ashamed of yourself.
  • Agreed! I had a long campus visit there and was thanked, treated well and never contacted again...ever (for English Dept position 06)
  • Yes, the person who deleted material from this Wiki needs to stay off the Wiki if they can't abide by the rules of the Wiki. If you think something is "libelous," go ahead and sue. But don't delete!
  • The "libels" are still viewable if you click the "history" tab above and view a previous version of the page from, say, December 2007 or earlier. If someone feels really motivated, they could copy and re-post the original comments. p.s. Just found the date of the deletion: 16 January 2008, by . . . guess what? . . . someone at a VCU IP address.
  • Wow - just went back into the history and read the "libelous comments." VCU should be ashamed of themselves - how could anyone make comments like that during a campus visit and expect to be taken seriously?
  • Well, strictly speaking, we have no sure way of knowing whether the statements in question were true or not. It's really hard to imagine someone making up those kinds of details, and I'm not saying it's likely, but . . . grain of salt and all that. (And just to be clear, I in no way mean to support or defend the kind of behavior that was reported, nor do I think that the summary deletion of the wiki material by someone at VCU reflects well on that university.)
  • I see them. It's under the December 15 2007 entry, is that it? A: Yes, or any other entry before the January 16 deletion date.
  • For what it's worth, I interviewed with English this year (2009), and they were awesome across the board. My guess is, there was a bad apple at some point, which is what the alleged "libels" convey. I was on the lookout for anything like that, and caught NARY a whiff (to my great relief). My guess: bad apple was probably old, hence the "old school comments," and has retired (they told me they had many recent retirements).
    • By 2010, I've had similarly all good experiences. There were apparently a lot of retirements after admin told the dept that it would have to start teaching huge (200+) gen ed lit classes rather than a bunch of 30-40 student American & Brit lit surveys.

Virginia Wesleyan College

English

very unpleasant atmosphere, seems a divided department in many ways.

Wayne State

Education

was told "women never get tenure" also were really rude in general.............2-2005

Wellesley College

Music

In 2006, was asked point blank in a campus interview by two faculty members about my marriage.  They did this one-on-one, independently from one another.  In one case, I was asked whether the career of my husband, who is also an academic, would compromise my commitment to the institution if I were hired.

Western Illinois

History

Has a habit of not communicating with persons who have interviewed for positions (seconded 2004). More than one applicant has identified the department's practices as rude.

  • Ditto for English Department.
  • People in the department made some fairly racist remarks during my visit. (2008)

Western State College

Political Science

An old guy, supposedly the former department chair, who smelled of flatulence picked me up from the airport. He proceeded to give me a tour of the two-horse town, which included instructions on how to drive ("slow, slow, slow, like a snail"). The faculty were nice enough, though they kept asking me whether I skiied, snowboarded or bicycled. I humored them and said hat I did all of them, even though I didn't (and still don't). All they could talk about was how wonderful the area was for these recreational activities. It's like they didn't want a quality scholar or teacher but instead they wanted a workout partner. When I met with the students in private all they did was complain about how the department chair was trying to brainwash them with his "liberal nonsense" and how he took no prisoners when it came to embarrassing students who came to class late, even when they had a bonafide excuse. They ended up hiring the inside candidate, which was a relief to me. I got a PFO letter about 6 months later. When I told a fellow panelist at a conference that I had interviewed there, he shared this atrocious story about someone he knew who had taught on a temp contract in the same department, was eventually fired and harassed on the way out. I'm glad that I dodged that bullet!

West Virginia State University

Biology

Submitted copies of my official transcripts three times, the third time I asked for return receipt and they lost them again. 2005

West Virginia Wesleyan College

Most

Chronic financial problems (15+ years) means that the job you apply for may disappear or be re-classified as non-TT even after you interview. A formal review by the Dean concluded that turnover of tenured faculty was almost triple that of their peer group. Turnover of junior TT faculty is much higher. The local newspaper brags that about 1/3 of the faculty are alum; they don't just think that this is normal, they think this is better than normal.

Wiley College

General Education

Completely disorganized from top on down, everyone passes the buck for problems with the school rather than trying to correct things. Few to no resources to work (paper for printer, chalk, etc.). Lots of division within and among the departments. 11-2007

Wilkes University

Biology

No response to multiple inquiries about a job ad that instructed potential applicants to inquire about the job before applying.

Williams College

History

They have a strong predilection for hiring their own graduates. If you are up against a recent PhD or ABD who has a Williams BA, you can practically forget about getting the job, no matter how qualified you are. On an on-campus visit, they treated me superbly. I have no complaints about that.

I disagree. I am a Williams grad and applied for a position identical to the one I hold at another school, but I didn't even get an AHA interview. Meanwhile, a non-Williams colleague who has never taught what the position asked for had an on campus interview.

  • I second the disagreement. My friend is a Williams grad who interviewed for a position there (although not in history but another department) and did not get the job. The person who did was a non-Williams grad.
  • Yeah, only 3 of 20 tenure or tenure-track professors in history are Williams grads. Considering how highly the college regards itself and its graduates, I would have expected the number to be higher. To be fair to the person who started this thread, 3 alumni out of 20 faculty is a higher percentage than most schools have in their departments, and Williams did hire two alumnae of the college in a row during the years 2003-2006.

Winston-Salem State University

All

Great on-campus interview with faculty, a pleasure to meet and work with. Dean seemed a little kooky, but whatever, how much interaction does your average joe-schmoe faculty have with the dean on a regular basis? Faculty enthusiastically wanted to hire me, dean overrode the decision, apparently hired a friend. Bush league.

York College

History

Interviewed for an adjunct job. Drove down on my own expense. They told me the job was mine and asked for availability and how many classes I wanted to teach. They strung me along for three semesters promising me that they had work for me. Would have appreciated a straight answer from the beginning.

York U (Toronto)

English

Rude, rude, rude and painfully inept department. They also don't get/remember what it's like to be a visiting candidate on campus; also seemed to have a major (verbal) chip on their shoulder as a result of (1) not being in the US and (2) not being the U. of Toronto. Regarding #1, their "anti-American" hostility was so overt (and just plain boring) that even an Anti-American US citizen candidate (like me) was offended. Also, one committee member requested a particular paper (during campus visit) and then a different member of same committee said (to my face!) that "the paper topic was a poor choice."

They just don't get it and are really (really) full of themselves in a way that the only truly insecure are. Agree whole-heartedly with previous post. Had conference interview with them and they couldn't care less about talking to me (started with them complaining about how tired they were of interviewing candidates). They were unyielding in asking how my research agenda would change as a result of teaching at a Canadian school (without giving too much away, my research is pretty firmly rooted in American studies and it would be hard to imagine adding on a whole new Canadian element to my research interests). I answered the best I could but I really just wanted to ask them, "Why did you even want to interview me? Didn't you read my dissertation abstract? Or letter?"

  • Had a similar experience with them. After interviewing with a couple of southern Ontario schools, I wonder if it's regional. I was completely shocked by the aggressive and rude attitudes of department members at 2 out of the 3 schools in Ontario, York included. I also got tired of the American bashing even though I'm a Canadian living in the U.S. Enough of the "aren't you dying to return to Canada given the nightmarish state of American politics right now." I also found they seemed almost "hostile" in questioning my credentials, my approaches to teaching etc. I, too, found myself wondering "Why the hell did you invite me here?"
  • York University just went through a strike( grad instructors, TAs, contract employees) that was ended by the government legislating the strikers back to work. It has a history of poisonous work environment. Hopefully that will change.
  • York is indeed an un-collegial and hostile place to work. In addition to the previous post, it should be noted that several tenured faculty in the English department threatened adjunct teachers and graduate students during their strike, often compromising their right to bargain independently. I must, however, take issue with the department's supposed "anti-Americanism" (see earlier postings). In fact, the vast majority of faculty--and especially recent hires--are American-born and American-educated. Any anti-American sentiment is likely a gesture of self-loathing I'm afraid.
    • Yes, because everyone wants to be American. Jokers!

York U (Toronto)

Chemistry

I've applied twice in the past for Chemistry TT positions at York, most recently in 2006. They NEVER get back to the candidates - except for demanding to know your citizenship (which presumably gives them an alibi to flip the lever on a candidate they don't like). The head of the search committee was in a different building, and remote from the Chemistry Department. Maybe it was because of my nationality (US-American) that they were so unfriendly? Even though I was already living in Canada? Looking through the facultys' pedigree, it smelled like nepotism.

  • Sounds less like nepotism than Canadian Immigration policy which forces universities to prioritize qualified candidates who are Canadian citizens (just living in Canada doesn't count). An American whose qualifications shine over those of a competing Canadian can can still be hired (which is why there are plenty of U.S. citizens teaching in Canadian unis). This won't happen, though, if a) there's a stickler for rules or uber-nationalist in the hiring chain; b) a spate of recent U.S. hires forces the university to seek Canadians to avoid tracking the heat from CIC; or c) your qualifications are as good as, but not exceptionally above, a Canadian being interviewed for the job.

Warren Wilson College (NC)

History

  • Phone interview late January
  • On-campus early February - 2 long days during which one member of the 4-person department never showed up. At the end of the second day the committee said, "Oh, didn't you meet XYZ?" How do you fail to notice the total absence of 25% of your department? Also, at least 4 senior faculty/academic staff members trashed the college president during meetings.
  • Told that there would be 3 on-campus people, then a decision.
  • Learned from the wiki that two weeks later they called people they had never before contacted (ie, not phone interviewed) and told them that "they were just making their first cut."
  • Since it was obvious that the first round of on-campus people were out, requested reimbursement (which was promptly and politely provided by the VPAA's office). Immediately, an email arrived claiming that they were just deliberating and would make a decision soon.
  • Two days later, learned from the wiki that the job had been offered and accepted. Two weeks after that a rambling, 3-minute long message on the home answering machine cut the cord. Among other things, the message asked that I "keep them in mind" and said "maybe I shouldn't leave this on your answering machine."
  • The interview was fine, and often pleasant. It seemed like a really nice place. But then...everything got really weird. No idea what to think about all this, except that you shouldn't really dump a job candidate on the answering machine.

Westfield State College

Art

The visit itself was fine. The people were welcoming. What I found atrocious were the conditions under which I would have been hired. They were looking for an art historian to teach all introductory art history surveys all the time - with a 4/4 courseload and only two different courses to teach, this position will be a nightmare. To make it even more absurd, higher-level art history courses are taught exclusively by a woman with a doctorate in education, because she "was hired to teach seminars." Furthermore, every so often I could teach a mid-level survey or a course online, but then I would have to wait my turn in a rotation with adjunct faculty! This was over a month ago, and I have even already been offered a good job at a decent school, but I just had to vent!

Wright State University

Creative Writing

Very Bizarre MLA Interview where the interviewer did the following:

  • deliberately shook my hand with his left hand when he answered the door;
  • interviewed me in bare feet with his legs crossed so that he propped his ankle on his knee while one bare foot jutted toward me at my knee level;
  • acted as though he'd never seen my CV and made fake comments like, "Let's see. Where did you go to school? What is it that you write?";
  • asked a series of not very serious questions for the first half of the interview, then seemed to take me seriously in the second half of the interview;
  • said, as I departed, "Well...you did very well. I'm sure SOMEONE will hire you," placing a heavy emphasis on the word "someone" to imply that Wright State had no interest in hiring me.
  • There was a second interviewer present--also male--who asked serious questions and didn't seem to be partaking it in what was obviously a joke to the other male interviewer. I suspected they behaved this way because I was a woman and were forced to interview me by a third party not present at the interview.

Comments

Considering how many universities and colleges never follow up (rejection letter, etc.) on interviews or visits, has this become the standard? Is it even worth complaining about anymore?

  • Response #1: No. It's absurd to bitch about this. I cannot count the number of universities that never acknowledged receipt, post-conference interview, post-campus interview, etc. Are you really going to counsel colleagues to avoid applying to X university simply b/c you they sent a formulaic rejection letter or b/c they never sent out a rejection letter? Get over yourselves!
  • Response #2: Maybe it's absurd to get bent out of shape about form letters and such, but it seems fair to ask search committee members to remember that applicants are also colleagues, and those of us who are in this business for the long haul do well to keep that fact in mind, whichever side of the interview table we happen to be on. For more, see Advice to Search Committees, #12.
  • Respnse #3: I don't think it is hubris to be asked to be treated like a human being. Formulaic letters are one thing but deafening silence is demeaning. A tiny excuse is that chairs of search committees (I was one myself and have served as a member of several other search committees) are told never to notify candidates that have been short-listed for the AHA in case none of the campus candidates work out then you don't want the other AHA interviewed candidates to have already taken other jobs. However, I think this is a cruel and stupid rationale. When I chaired the search, I insisted on notifying candidates we interviewed at the AHA but did not invite to campus. I had to do it "unoffically" though by email. Beware those who use the "legal" excuse as cover for their own laziness. The candidates are people and must be treated with at least some modicum of decency.
  • Response #4: If you only submitted an application, it's not worth complaining about. Following a campus visit, sending a rejection when another candidate accepts the position is appropriate.

General Q: how is it possible that any department can get away with NOT reimbursing a visiting candidate for travel expenses? It's appalling. Surely MLA (and other organizations) could do something to monitor or even "motivate" departments who engage in this kind of conduct (e.g., not allowing them to list job postings on the Job Information List the following year). Grad students especially need to be protected from such things.

Q: Can we rename this page "Universities to loathe"? Or, "Universities to hate"? Either go better with "love" as a polar opposite. (I don't know about anyone else, but when I've a bad experience, I don't fear, I loathe).

Q: This is a fantastic resource, and thanks to whoever invented it! However, it seems like it ought to be encouraged to have people put at least rough dates on their postings below? I don't know how old some of these postings are, but we all know bad administrators can go away and problems be addressed, and it would be fairer to the schools represented if people knew that the complaint was a year out of date, for instance.

Q. Where do find comments from past years? I'm having trouble navigating this site. Please help! (Posted Oct 2012)

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