Rate My JIL: We Know We’re Your Backup, It’s Fine + BONUS, Lit Professor Wanted, but No Lit Scholars Allowed!

The non-MLA-interviewing listings keep trickling in, one by one–as the Wiki continues to “move,” hearts continue to sink, stomachs continue to turn, and the walls continue to close in, we get stuff like this:

West Chester University (PA), Assistant Professor of German. They had a search for an assistant professor last year that one of my friends interviewed for, but it’s impossible to tell whether they hired anyone, because everyone on their website is referred to as a professor “of languages,” which sort of belongs in the “German and Russian” category of “Well, all those fern’ers basically talk the same: FERN.” I am guessing their search was cancelled, which is always a terrible sign, but if it wasn’t, then for some reason a regional university in the “WTF” part of Pennsylvania is hiring two years in a row, so, great?

The funniest/saddest thing about this listing is that the application is due 12/19–which happens to be the day when even the pokiest MLA-interviewing search committees make their long-lists before Christmas, and thus the Wiki its pronouncements. So I guess you have to hand it to them for being totally cool with acting as a contingency plan to a bunch of people who at this point will know they got few or no MLA interviews. Although, given how pathetic the market is, most job seekers this year will have few or no MLA interviews, so I imagine this very shitty job (“The successful candidate will create and teach traditional, alternative-format and distance education courses”) will have 200 applicants.

Since this department has Professors of Languages, I’m going to give this ad the Rebecca Schuman Seal of Disapproval (see post below for photo) but a generic Grade of “GRADE” to reflect the ludicrous generic titles of the faculty.

UPDATE! Here’s a bonus listing, with hat tip to my Twomie Douglas:

Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Professor of Liberal Arts (Open Rank)

“The college seeks a candidate who is closely attentive to the artistry in a work of literature-its imagery, nuance, tone, ambiguity, and language-rather than to the work as a text for political or ideological polemic.” Because no art students or artists should EVER think of literature as a form of artistic protest against hegemonic structures that oppress and hurt people! You can teach Invisible Man, but if you make so much as one comment about the paint scene having anything to do with something that isn’t paint, you are FIRED, COMMUNIST. Just in case you don’t know how to read (because, as a literature professor, you probably don’t, unless it’s Pravda), here’s more: “Requirements: Publications in peer-reviewed journals of literature and/or jargon-free publications treating literature not as raw material for “decorative” analysis but rather as the expression of the human spirit.” As long as that expression does not involve having an opinion about anything, of course. GRADE: decorative, polemical middle finger.


No further “movement” on the Wiki this week-i, so I guess your misery spirals are on “pause” for the time being.

It’s going to be very weird/therapeutic to relive the horrors of the worst part of Job Market Season (Dec./Jan) from outside instead of inside. One way that you can help me do this right is to join in the process–please continue to submit, in comments or via email, your horror stories and Bad Search Committee behavior, as well as your feelings about what it’s like to have yet another Wiki Season approach, and how it feels to see all those “requests” to come in while none (or few) come in for you. I believe that the more we are honest about this, the more we will realize our experiences are/were normal.

13 thoughts on “Rate My JIL: We Know We’re Your Backup, It’s Fine + BONUS, Lit Professor Wanted, but No Lit Scholars Allowed!

  1. I just saw your seal of disapproval on the last post–freaking hilarious! And wow about that liberal arts position. I can. even–wow.


    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. They all have to be from before 1960. Who in the everloving fuck wrote this ad, and what do they think literature professors actually do all day? I can only assume they think we spend most classes either assigning Mao memorizations or yelling about Nixon.


  2. I hope some of your readers apply to the Mass Art job with butt photos as part of their dossiers. For their aesthetic quality and reflection of the human spirit, not their political message, of course!


  3. Having worked at one of PA’s unionized state system unis in another WTF part of PA, trust me, this is not unusual. Doubt it’s open again…likey cancelled search & hired adjunct.


  4. I had to look it up, the MassArt post, that is, and it is real. For the love of god, is that even legal? I thought freedom of speech was taken seriously in the US. I think a First Amendment challenge is necessary here. I can’t I am in the UK.


  5. “Publications in peer-reviewed journals of literature and/or jargon-free publications treating literature not as raw material for “decorative” analysis but rather as the expression of the human spirit.” WTF does this even mean? And who would want to work for/with the person who wrote it? Wow. Amazing.


    • It is obviously a person who was very scarred by critical theory in college but has no experience with literary scholarship thereafter. I am as annoyed with French Theory as the next gal, but in this case the enemy of my enemy is just a much worse enemy.


  6. That Massachussetts College of Art and Design one is really amazing. The most amazing I have ever seen. Perfect form reflecting perfect spirit … they want to hire a fossil or a Heritage Foundation person … ?


  7. Here’s an odd one to evaluate:


    Whittier College, a 4-year liberal arts college in Southern California, seeks to hire its first digital scholar. The dynamic and enthusiastic candidate will help create and manage a newly remodeled collaborative digital workspace to be housed in the campus Library. The digital scholar will guide a team of faculty, students and technology specialists to support individual and campus-wide digital initiatives. We are particularly interested in a scholar who can inspire and implement the College’s commitment to innovative pedagogies associated with digital technologies. A generous Andrew Mellon Foundation grant of $750,000 provides bridge funding to create this permanent full-time position. Visit Whittier’s Digital Liberal Arts Center blog for more information.

    Major Responsibilities

    * Promote the innovative and evolving use of technology to advance the liberal arts curriculum at Whittier College
    * Research and lead development initiatives to identify emerging technologies, industry trends and best practices that are appropriate to the College’s environment
    * Promote and support the use of digital technologies to enhance hybrid learning, the use of web-based collaboration tools, mobile learning technologies and games and simulations in multi-user virtual environments
    * Serve as a liaison to faculty, informing them about options to integrate technology into their pedagogies
    * Promote the conceptualization, design, development, and assessment of scholarly digital projects
    * Coordinate training opportunities for faculty to increase their understanding and awareness of established and emerging technologies
    * Engage faculty and students in collaborative scholarship and the creation of knowledge using emerging digital technologies
    * Advance collaboration with other colleges, including efforts to expand undergraduate research
    * Be knowledgeable in the production of audio and video content in support of teaching and learning, and digital media, electronic media presentation, production, and distribution tools
    * Teach an annual course in your area of specialization, after year one
    * Participate in campus governance committee work, after year one


    Graduate degree in a Humanities field (PhD preferred). Evidence of successfully created and managed digital projects. Successful work experience with students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds and with various levels of technical expertise. Relevant experience working in higher education, Active involvement in academic communities related to digital scholarship (NITLE, EDUCAUSE, HASTAC), and Demonstrated effectiveness in a teaching environment. Sophisticated understanding of digital projects and publishing, Familiar with digital repositories, and Conversant with digital methodologies, geographic information systems, data visualization and other modes of digital scholarship. Exceptional organizational, presentation, project management, interpersonal and communication skills. Works effectively across disciplines and Working knowledge of Learning Management Systems (Moodle preferred).

    To be considered for this position, please email your CV with cover letter, three references and salary history in a single PDF file to: lcrump@whittier.edu .

    Applications will be reviewed beginning December 10th, and will be accepted until the position is filled. The start date for this position is open for negotiation, but preferably will begin by Spring, 2014.

    Whittier College is a nationally recognized, selective, independent liberal arts college with a diverse student body of approximately 1600 undergraduates and is distinguished by its small size and innovative interdisciplinary programs. The campus is located on a 95-acre hillside 18 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. We have a long history of commitment to equity, reflecting our Quaker origins, and our student body mirrors the diversity of the region. We are an official Hispanic-Serving Institution and have had two Title V grants. Our faculty, committed teacher-scholars, weave issues of diversity into their work with students. We seek to attract and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty (AA/EO).


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