Today I have a new article on Vitae, in which I give a gentle, balanced, citation-packed critical eye to some of the longest-standing reasons for snubbing long-term contingent faculty on the job search. Just kidding, I rip them to shreds (with a bonus AbFab reference, sweetie darling). Here’s a taste:
Myth No. 2: Someone in a long-term contingent position has a dissertation, research topic, or methods that are “stale.”
Hmm. But what about that senior faculty member—lets call him O RLY—who defended his dissertation in 1985, published his first and only monograph for tenure in 1991, and has written but a smattering of book reviews since? Why do departments feel the need to base of their few tenure-track openings on the abject need for some voguish “turn” that will be ancient history in three years? “Fresh,” by definition, goes “stale.” Quickly.
Every single person on a search committee is also by definition “stale,” simply because they have been working for an institution long enough to be on a search committee. Having this kind of double standard for job candidates is not only counter to the department’s best interests, it is also fashion victimhood at its most ridiculous (all right, second-most ridiculous).