Sunday, April 27, 2008

What Has Newton Taught Us? Three Stragglers Join the Debate on Our Northbound-Fleeing Colleague. Who, By the Way, Called Us all 'Weenies' in an Email!

  • I recently read the post by "Northbound Newton" regarding leaving a particular school. While the responses seemed appropriate in this particular situation, I was wondering if the readers at large had any advice on when one should leave and any"success" stories readers wish to share. Are there any clear-cut signs one should definitely watch out for on a daily basis? Do readers have a list of "slam dunk" reasons to try elsewhere? I'd be particularly interested in responses from tenured faculty.

  • Y'all had your fun with Newton, but a lot of us junior faculty probably understood his misery. We get wooed hard by you people during the hiring, and then when the contract is dry we get shown our closet and then ignored for about 6 years. That's bullshit. There seems to be such a level of dismissal when you're a young professor. All of the old guard where I am treat me like a 9 year old, and then idea that I'd have the nerve to speak up at a meeting has been the context of a few conversations. I don't think it's fair to call the senior faculty deadwood, but it sure wouldn't hurt if they'd soften a bit so that new folks feel welcome and then stay longer!

  • It all depends on the institution, I think, and the character. I can't imagine Northbound Newton would ever be happy anywhere. And I don't doubt that there are schools that are less than welcoming to new faculty. But in my own experience I've felt wanted, right from interview time through my 3 year review. My views are sought out, and my ideas are implemented in concert with the those of folks who've been here 20 years longer than me. And that sort of involvement and respect has made me love the place and feel like it's my own. I have friends at schools who can't wait to get out, and I think a lot of it has to do with how invested they feel in their school. For me, at least, it's the senior faculty who took me in, valued my input, and thus made me feel welcome and at home. Sure, there are other schools I could work, and I do have ambitions that might take me somewhere else, but it would have to be a pretty spectacular offer because I feel at home here, and I wish all junior faculty were as lucky.