So here's the situation: I am currently a visiting prof, and there is a search in my area going on at my institution. Campus interviews are currently being held, and I do not seem to have made the cut. Unfortunately I had to find this out by getting an email to announce the other candidates' talks in my classes. I am really surprised, as I know I was their first choice for the visiting position and I was somewhat enticed during my own interview last year with this permanent position becoming available. I've also been nothing but an exemplary faculty member since I arrived here. I am simply a bit stumped, and wish that the chair would have at least sought me out to discuss my status prior to posting about the other interviews, as it was a major let-down to find out in such an impersonal way. I feel like, since I am here, there should have been a bit more tact involved in the process. My main question is simply how to handle this situation, as it currently feels very awkward. I would like to ask my chair if I can get some feedback on the process and the weaknesses of my application packet, but I am not sure if that is appropriate to do or when I should ask - after the other interviews are all over, or now in the midst of them? Any advice from others would be much appreciated, especially if anyone has been in a similar circumstance on either the search committee or applicant side! Thanks in advance.
Date: 05 Dec 2013 15:42
Number of posts: 15
RSS: New posts
It is always awkward to be in such situation so I feel for you. I think there are several reasons why you may not have been a top candidate. Visiting professors gigs may attract a different pool than a tenure track position. Some strong candidates may not want to apply for such a job or there are new candidates in this cycle. Also, it is possible that the emphasis is different for the two jobs. Many visiting jobs tend to concentrate on teaching, since you will not have much time for research so they look at the short-term benefits you can give them, while for a TT jobs there are broader considerations. So you might have been an excellent faculty for the current position but they may not feel the same for a TT job. Having said that, I think it's perfectly fine to ask for a feedback, as long as you are respectful and not have an accusing tone. You can say that you are asking feedback for future searches and just want to improve as a candidate.
Hmm. I'm wondering if you indeed have not made the cut. They could assume that you know that you won't be interviewed, because they don't need to interview you. You're already there. They really only need to interview your competition.
I would send a note to the chair, very positive, re-instating your interest in the position and your excitement to be considered. Let them tell you point blank if they are not considering you.
I am sorry to hear about your situation. But i also think that you shouldn't see yourself less competent that other external candidates. I was once an internal application and the search committee explicitly informed me that holding qualification constant, they will always interview external candidates first. So it could the the case going on at your institution.
I have little to add that hasn't already been stated except to note to anyone on the academic job market - do not assume any visiting position will become permanent. In keeping track over this sort of thing from my past academic job search, none of the visiting positions I considered turned into a permanent position for those who were hired, and in most cases a new permanent faculty position never opened up. In all cases during my job search, I asked whether the visiting position would likely turn permanent, and was always given an "encouraging" (but no guarantees) response by the search committee.
A visiting position should always be treated as just that.
Agreed. In some schools, it seems that being a visitor puts you at a disadvantage. They might be interested in someone new and fresh. It's a shame, but it seems to be true. Other schools, however, seem to value their visitors.
I agree that your department is tactless in this regard. I think that you did not make the cut - you still need to do a job talk and have a real interview even if you are the visitor, so they'd have told you if you were in the pool. I think that as soon as they decided you weren't making the cut they should have told you, and why. I don't think it's out of line to ask for feedback, especially if you've been an "exemplary professor" this fall.
All of that being said, TT searches are much more competitive than visiting searches. I currently work at a regional liberal arts college with a 3/3 load. It is a nice place, but not elite. When I was on the market a few years ago, that's the type of place where I got bites from; I was rejected from the elite liberal arts colleges. However, I had also applied to a visiting position at a top 5 liberal arts college (with ostensibly a 2/1 load) and was offered the job enthusiastically. It was the only visiting position I considered. Since then, we've run both a visiting and TT search in our department and let me just say the pool is very different!
I was curious if the original poster had any updates. I was thinking about this thread the other day as I started seeing many visiting positions posted.
Original poster here - update is that they did hire one of the other 4 candidates that they interviewed. Unfortunately, I also had to receive a "canned" rejection email before talking to the chair (i.e. the same rejection email everyone else in the pool received). I was very disappointed by the process in that I expected that it would be handled a bit more gracefully since it was directly affecting the well-being of one of their own faculty members. I did talk to the chair personally after this was all over, but honestly I didn't really get much helpful feedback. It was something to the extent of they love me here but I just wasn't what they were looking for. Based on that conversation, it sounded like they might have been looking for something quite specific that would have put me out of the running from the get-go. The problem with that is, however, that the job ad was so broadly worded and they were so "enthusiastic" about mentioning this position to me when I interviewed for the visiting position, when in actuality I was never the fit they were looking for.
Anyways - it's all over now so looking forward to the future job that does want what I am offering and is a good fit all-around. For any current or future search committee members out there who might read this, I also just want to say to please be tactful when you do have an internal candidate. It is fine if that person is not a good fit for whatever reason, but please keep in mind that they are sitting there watching this whole process unfold with constant questions on their mind as they see the other candidates come through. A few conversations with feedback along the way would really help dampen the blow, especially if the person is simply not the match you are looking for a permanent position - it is really rough to get one's hopes so high when in actuality you could be told that it is simply not going to happen this year.
I'm sorry to read all that, internalanon! This all makes me nervous for any visiting position in which they advertise the possibility of another position, a TT one, coming up the following year.