Thursday, September 01, 2005

I suppose the job season is finally upon us. Monday brought a slew of ads to The Chronicle, several of which I think I am qualified for. But looking at job ads made me realise what my realistic job prospects are likely to be. My current 2/2 teaching isn't something I have much hope of maintaining - without the publications, I have no chance at an R1. There are two ads at liberal arts colleges that I paid serious attention to - one at a upper tier elite liberal arts college, and the other at a more middle of the road college. I'm paranoid enough not to name them, in the event that, by some strange means or other they were to somehow come across this posting.

So let's just call them School 1 and School 2. School 1 looks like a dream job - small liberal arts college with a huge biology faculty. People teach intro classes in whatever strikes their fancy. And research is required - in fact, undergraduate participation in real research appears to be a key part of their programme. I don't know what teaching loads are like, but I'm going to guess that they are 3-3. School 2 has a tiny biology faculty - maybe 5 people. Teaching loads are 3-4, 9-12 credit hours a semester, which one bonus hour for labs (i.e., a 3 hour lab is one credit hour for students, but the instructor gets to count it as 2 credit hours - which is, apparently, a lot better than many other universities). The idea of teaching somewhere where you don't have graduate students, where you have to run your own labs, is actualy somewhat appealing. And the truth is that a 4/4 could involve teaching the same class more than once, and running several lab streams - which appears to be what Bob is doing. School 2 lays out its teaching load at great lenghts, which makes it seem rather daunting, but that may be the point - to keep away non-serious candidates...I am reminded of the debate on the Chronicle fora when someone said that he didn't plan to interview Ivy Leaguers because they did not seem to be able to fathom the teaching load. Maybe School 2 is saying that up front to avoid having their time wasted by primadonnas. Who knows. Anyway, the worst thing to me of School 2 was the statement that, although faculty are expected to remain active in scholarly pursuits, this does not necessarily mean publication in scholarly journals...

The idea (or maybe ideal) of a small, close-knit community at a liberal arts college appeals to me. I don't know if it's realistic or not, but I could see myself as that kind of professor, the jack-of-all-trades generalist naturalist who can answer just about any question an undergrad brings. But then, you can be that at a big school too - look at both Pat and Pete - in very different ways, they meet the ideal. Who knows if I will get any job this year. But it's always fun to dream. I still hope that the ideal job will open up at UWI in a couple years, when Dookeran is Prime Minister and the crime situation is more in hand.

Which leads to another thought - what sort of a Prime Minister woudl Dookeran make, and would he really be the kind of person that Trinidad needs? I'm not asking, is he the kind of person the party needs (i.e., someone who can lead it to voctory), I'm not asking whether he would be better than Patrick Mugabe, because I think that's an obvious yes. I'm asking whether "Wins" is really the kind of person the country needs. That is, of course, a two-fold question - what kind of person is he really (of course, he went Naps, he must be a good person), and what sort of person does the country need right now. I'd still go back to Hudson-Philips, the tough law-and-order guy, but apart from no longer being active in politics, he's the same age as Bas. Well, there's always Gillian.

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