Friday, May 30, 2008

Fun with Interviews

The Associate Director of our Writing Center is leaving at the end of the summer to complete her Ph.D., and as such, interviews are currently being held for her soon-to-be-vacant position. The job description had been advertised a couple weeks ago, and I thought long and hard about applying for the position - it's one I could do, and (I like to think) could do well. I have the background and experience, or enough of the requirements that I could learn the ropes quickly enough. The only requirement I do not yet have is the actual M.A. degree, which today I learned is an absolute requirement for the position; it's an aspect about which there's no negotiation. As I thought about it for a few weeks, I ultimately came to the conclusion - lack of necessary degree aside - that applying wouldn't be in my best interest; something kept me from applying, but I wasn't sure what. 

Earlier this week I was asked if if I would be available to sit in on a candidate's interview  that took place yesterday afternoon, and was given a question to ask. It was a very interesting interview, and compounded the feeling I had in making the decision not to apply - I got to witness the process firsthand, see the people who were likely to be on the interviewing committee, hear what questions were asked, and essentially get a good idea of what type of person might be good for this position. I wish I could write about the candidate, or the questions we asked or her answers, but there's no privacy settings on this blog so I'll have to keep them to myself, but suffice it to say I got a very good idea of what was good or bad, what could have been better, and had my ideas about what was needed for this position reinforced. And I could have articulated very well the answers to the questions indeed.

After the interview I began really thinking about all the reasons why I was glad I didn't actually apply. Associate or assistant director positions tend to be largely administrative, which is fine - it might be the first administrative job I would like to have - but they may or may not be tenure-track. (I actually tend to think most are not tenure track, but who wants to stay an assistant or associate director forever, anyway?) I got to realizing again that a lot of faculty and staff at LIU seem to be products of the LIU system; people get their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees and then find ways of staying in some capacity. 

I don't want to obtain a degree from a university and then stay at the same institution - at least not without working elsewhere first in the interim; I think it would be a mistake to get my M.A. from LIU and then not work elsewhere. And why on one hand I think it speaks volumes about the people who graduate from an institution but are reluctant to leave - because they've been made to feel comfortable, and welcome, and feel they've learned a lot and had a good education - I'm wary of the institution that doesn't highly encourage its graduates to move out of their comfort zones and move on, to meet new people in different positions and with different backgrounds. (This is one of the reasons I wasn't entirely unhappy or disappointed with St. John's University and their not accepting me into their doctoral program; while I could attended for my M.A., I wanted to meet new people and develop a sense of my own interests, and see how other universities organize their programs.)

Something else I've had to consider is that I'm not sure where I'll be, geographically speaking, after I graduate. I love Brooklyn, and I want to stay on the east coast, but I also need to consider where Chris might want to live after I graduate. While it's possible I'll be in the same area for a couple more years I can't commit to that right now.

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