Louann Reid, chair of English at Colorado State, sees it differently. When asked if the ad discriminated against adjuncts, she said her department is seeking an entry-level professor with an entry-level salary and expectations, and added that the posting was approved by the university’s office of equal opportunity.
There’s a strange disconnect because the question—does the ad discriminate against adjuncts?—and Reid’s answer—the department wants to hire an entry-level professor with an entry-level salary and expectations. Do adjuncts not have entry-level salary expectations? Because I’m a short step above an adjunct and I can assure you that my salary expectations are entry-level. In a response Chad Black’s email, Reid made clear the reasoning behind that disconnect:
By specifying “between 2010 and time of appointment” we indicated that we are interested in applicants with up to three years in a tenure-track position as well as those who are just beginning their careers.
So they want their pool of applicants to consist of (1) the fortunate few who landed a tenure-track position between 2005 and 2009 and (2) those people who happened to finish their doctorate after 2010. Notice who’s absent from their ideal pool? Everyone who wasn’t fortunate enough to land a tenure-track position in the worst academic job market in recent memory. It seems like Colorado State wants to punish undeserving scholars for the crimes of having to pay rent and eat during an economic downturn. But it’s doubly cruel considering the fact that the hiring committees whose lines were plucked out from under them told applicants that the disappearance of the positions to which they’d applied wouldn’t have any impact on their future in the profession. Because as this callous ad demonstrates, it clearly did. Colorado State thinks the fact that schools didn’t have jobs to offer from 2005 to 2009 speaks poorly of applicants who failed to land non-existent jobs.
To which I can only say nothing because we’re in polite company.
UPDATE: Turns out sending pesky emails to the President of my professional organziation pays dividends:
In the Q&A, Bérubé said the CSU ad issue has been put on the MLA Exec Com agenda, and the MLA is un-approving the ad. @scottekaufman
— Chad Black (@parezcoydigo) September 11, 2012