I surmise that the question in the thread title (or a variation of it) is one that will be commonly asked by search committees, especially those at SLAC. How would you provide a good (or adequate) response if such a situation never presented itself?
Date: 07 Jan 2015 17:59
Number of posts: 5
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Maybe say you've been lucky that it's never happened, but here are some of the things you do to avoid problems with students, etc. (e.g. expectations, syllabus, communication, etc.) You can say that you can speculate, but make sure you're humble about it.
Maybe prior to an interview, do a quick search on the school's website to see if they have a mediator (would probably be found somewhere on the HR pages) to deal with very serious student and colleague issues? At the very least it would show you had done your homework if you dropped in at the end "…and for a truly irreconcilable issue I would contact the office of [school's office] to work with [whatever officer/dean they have for that sort of thing]."
oh my gosh I HAD this one on a campus interview and it threw me for such a loop! I (in a very mumbly/ramble-y way) said that I quite literally had never been in that position with a colleague, but that it was likely because I am upfront and try to communicate with people immediately if I see a problem brewing. I also shifted the discussion towards issues with students (as suggested by asstprof above), mentioning that I like to be as transparent as possible with expectations, grading (using rubrics, etc), and communication, which has helped nip a lot of problems in the bud.
I wish I were lying when I say that I stared at a wall for what felt like an eternity just trying to think of some disagreement with a colleague, and I eventually just gave up. Not one of my more eloquent moments.
(They offered me the job anyhow. So take that for what it's worth).