I've met the faculty at my dream SLAC, and they've invited me to talk. They have my application materials. Deadline is mid December. Question: I have a family friend who is an influential donor to the school. He's offered to put in a good word with the president. My concern is that if he does, it might backfire. Who wants the presidents office telling your search committee what to do? On the other hand, maybe that's wrong thinking. Opinions? Thanks.
Date: 06 Nov 2013 04:29
Number of posts: 4
RSS: New posts
I say no. Even if you get the job, very likely you will, because of your competency, people in your department will look down on you forever. So I don't see any advantages at all.
It seems like there must be a way to finesse this. It does seem like it might be a lost opportunity considering this is your #1 school/dream job. I disagree that people would be likely to judge you harshly because of a valuable connection. It is often a problem that psychology departments get insufficient (or no) attention from development offices. Having someone who is liked by a donor might help put the department on the development map. I do not think that such a connection would "get you the job" but I also can see that it wouldn't hurt. One possibility would be to just tell the donor, "feel free, whatever you feel comfortable doing but of course you should know that the decision will be based on credentials and accomplishments" and just let it stand there. I do not think that a college president would be so dumb as to try to ram you through! :) It sounds like the school already likes you so to me this might be considered icing on an already fantastic cake.
It seems to me that at a prior institution we had various folks "put in a good word" for various candidates. We never allowed such good words to influence the final evaluation of who to bring in to interview and no one ever pressured us or forced an interview with someone we didn't want to interview. On the other hand, there was a sense of "hmmm. it couldn't hurt…"
Thank you both for your comments…I will mull this over. I think a lot depends on how it's done, and I can't control the donor's behavior. At the same time, the donor is an accomplished business person who has far more people skills than most academics, so I trust him to be appropriate with his words. Hmm.