Friday, April 5, 2013

Campus-visit eve

We're hiring for a new colleague this year -- the first one in my department since I came along. The two finalists are coming next week, one right after the other. The first one arrives tomorrow, although he's requested to have a day on his own to explore (which sounds like a fine idea), so I don't get to meet him until Monday. (I wonder if he knows exactly how dead downtown Deep South Town tends to be on a Sunday; although I think one of our two coffee shops is open on Sundays, so at least he won't starve.)

I walked around the campus a little, trying to imagine it through the new-person's eyes. We have some lovely buildings: Victorian, rambling, asymmetrical, towered, balconied. We'll be putting the candidates up in one of them. And April is our best month, I think. My own campus visit was in April, though at the other end of the month: magnolia-time rather than azalea-time. I remember the ivory cups spilling their fragrance on the air. I remember deciding (a good decision) to ditch the interview suit and wear a nice summer dress. I remember noticing all the little details that spoke of bare-bones budgeting -- one and only one search committee member at each meal, an ancient TV cart instead of a smart classroom for the teaching demo, a suite in the Honors dorm instead of a hotel room -- and deciding I didn't care. (This may not have been the best decision, as Misnomer U. spent my first couple of years lurching from one crisis to another.)

I hope one of them falls in love with this place. I hope the rest of us fall in love with the same one who falls in love with this place. (Oh God, what if they both fall in love with this place? And what if we fall in love with both of them? I want there to be enough happy endings to go around, but I know that in humanities job searches there never are.)

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