Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Academic Position Description Writing 201 

In the process of settling the now-famous anti-Semitism suit last year, MnSCU and the plaintiffs agreed to fund a new Jewish communal center. They are looking for a director and have posted their ad now. Under "qualifications and experience" they list:
We are looking for someone who has the skills and enthusiasm to establish a center for Jewish Studies and communal relations in an environment in which Jewish culture has been mostly invisible.
Um, yeah. Unless you read the newspapers about these suits we've been having.
The center emerges from the University�s commitment to address past problems.
What about that sentence reflects on "qualifications and experience"? What is the point of putting this in the ad? What does it say about the biases of the people doing the hiring? Worse, what kind of person applies for a job with these red flags waving in the breeze?

I note that the chair of the search committee is also the president of the Jewish Faculty Association, which carries three of the five seats on the search committee. Apparently position description writing wasn't a factor in deciding who would be on the committee.