The Wrong End of the Short List

Still reeling from the joy of seeing great friends in Boston, I was surprised to find a new hitch in our candidate negotiations: location.

We had a good number of applications for our position - very competitive. We had to split hairs to get from 10 candidates to the four we brought in. And in that large pool, we had a number of applicants who were from outside the country. And a couple of them made the short list. I knew it was more difficult to get a foreign candidate in, but my assumption was that it wouldn't be a problem except in terms of additional hoops to jump through.

Imagine my surprise when I found some bit of notice today that a foreign candidate is likely to wind up on the wrong end of the short list before anything else - like their visit to campus, for example - could even enter into the equation. I'm a little frustrated as I'd made the case that we might want to consider someone from outside our cultural sphere when we talked about diversity candidates (and bless my department for not even blinking as they gave me their agreement).

But it's terribly frustrating. And I wonder how willing schools are to come clean on things like this to candidates? Or are we going to tiptoe around the issue in favor of pretending it makes things more fair or us seem less exclusive? The downside, too, is that it means candidates from outside have be doubly dazzling .

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kermitthefrog said...

Just to clarify, you mean that a foreign candidate would be more likely to encounter resistance at the university level? For things like visa restrictions? That seems like something your school would have to come clean about to you before you could even think about indicating to candidates in some way.

February 19, 2008 at 9:47 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

Kermit - that's exactly what I mean. And yes, the school ideally would need to be clear about it before we could say something. But one of the things this search is reminding me of is how things happen on two levels - officially and unofficially.

Officially, we've no problem with international candidates. But it seems that increasingly - and unofficially - the view is that there's no way because it is seen as a logistical problem (even that seems euphemistic).

I guess what seems wrong to me is that the unofficial vibe was sent after the process was started - so that we've brought a candidate in who (if they're our candidate) will be resisted institutionally even if they're the best candidate. I hate that we may have wasted someone's time when we could have (and should have) known better. And I hate the overall climate of it.

February 20, 2008 at 11:27 AM