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September 23, 2016


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I love this post.

I love this post.

The business model may be great for business, but it just doesn't translate to institutions. There, I said it.

Rock on with your awesome humanity. It's something that money just can't buy.

This is my favorite career/vocation quote:

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
― Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

You can reframe the request to explicate a bit more the deep hunger part, since you've outlined the deep gladness part already. In my own work, I find deep joy out of bring order from chaos and I do that for local government, making the process for taxpayers more efficient and effective.

I love love love this post...real is important.

Could it be that you can keep both points of view in your statement?

The department chair seems to be asking a different question than the one you answered with your statement about your curiosity and your research.

The department might feel that they need to justify granting you tenure because of how important your work is to the university, while you wrote about why you're an excellent teacher and researcher because of your curiosity.

The university is undoubtedly interested in showing the results of its professors' works. Sure, prepared graduates with a love of research is one result, but not necessarily measurable. Having teachers who are happy in their lecture halls and in their research is nice but not necessarily a finding they can display for their supporters and corporate partners.

Find room for both aspects of your success in your statement. Future headline: "A curious and joyful tenured professor produces important results for university!"

I understand that they are not interested in my certainty that this is my vocation, that they're looking at different metrics. And I did address those metrics in my initial submission; I wouldn't have turned in something that was focused on self-actualization. They don't care whether my research lights me on fire as long as it gets done. I get that, and I have zero objection to talking about the relevance of my work. I see "importance" as a slightly different question.

What I find frustrating is the commodification of higher ed: does it make money? can it make money? is it high-status? Perhaps it is old-fashioned of me to lament the decline in love of learning for its own sake, but I lament it anyway.

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