Budget cutting is no reason to end a tradition permanently if it is valuable, but I predict that budget cutting will jolt universities to some useful reforms. Or perhaps, more relevantly, the scales have fallen from my eyes because I did one search in each semester this year, at a total cost to the university for me alone of around 4.5K. Or perhaps I am hopeful about this possible transformation because I have had real success with phone interviews.
David Evans wrote a timely column about this annual ritual in yesterday’s Careers section of the Chronicle of Higher Ed.
Meeting candidates face-to-face is, I believe, considerably more effective than talking to them on the phone. With all due respect, there may be losses, but the points that Evans raises are the aspects of interviewing that I am ready to say goodbye to.
Here is a suggestion for my field (history): Why not have a centralized database, where candidates upload their materials? Here I disagree slightly with the suggestion that a next stage of information gathering be entirely eliminated, but this would be an otherwise outstanding use of existing technology.
One of the unnecessary tragedies of the hiring season is that there are not only great people who don’t get an offer, but there are jobs that go unfilled.
Such a data base would make hiring more of a year-round process, as it is in other professions. This entry was posted in graduate students, the Job Market, You Have Nothing To Lose But Your chains.
Comments Policy: There will be no purely personal attacks, no using the comments section to tease someone else relentlessly, and no derailing the comments thread into personal hobbyhorses. Contributors to this collection, edited by Claire Potter and Renee Romano, consider the wide range of challenges the practice of contemporary history poses. The Chronicle Blog Network, a digital salon sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education, features leading bloggers from all corners of academe. While I was watching Ivory Tower, a documentary about the state of college in America that appears in select theaters this month (the movie also airs on CNN this fall), it occurred to me that of the many problems with higher education these days, not the least concerns the way we talk about it.
Along the way we visit Harvard, Arizona State, Deep Springs, Spelman, Cooper Union, and Bunker Hill Community College, listen to professors, students, presidents, experts, and entrepreneurs, hear about the "uncollege" movement, the "flipped" classroom, and, of course, MOOCs.
Still, for all its admirable instincts, Ivory Tower ends up reproducing some of the errors, and more importantly, many of the limitations of the higher-education debate.
This is not to say that student debt is not a big, serious, and growing problem, or that tuitions are not far too high. Ivory Tower, to its credit, ends up undermining Thrun pretty thoroughly and Thiel quite effectively (though all too briefly). We should also note, what the movie understandably does not have time to tell us, who the people touting these alternatives to college are. As for Dale Stephens, who founded UnCollege with a Thiel Fellowship, and to whose ripened wisdom we are also treated, this is a young man who clearly knows how to get his bread buttered.
I’d like to know whether the rest of these people, if they had their educations to do over again, would take their own advice, or what they plan to tell their children. It isn’t likely that a lot of kids are going to follow these pied pipers anytime soon. The truth is, there are powerful forces at work in our society that are actively hostile to the college ideal.
William Deresiewicz is the author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life, forthcoming in August from Free Press.
The Chronicle welcomes constructive discussion, and our moderators highlight contributions that are thoughtful and relevant. Subscribe now for instant access to this article and thousands of others, data tables, and interactive charts — all available exclusively for Chronicle subscribers. Paul Quinn College, a campus in suburban Dallas that has struggled for years, is working hard to turn itself around, in part through the efforts of a 23-year-old graduate. Jessika Lara recruited more than half of the historically black liberal-arts college's new students in 2011, and again 2012.
Paul Quinn, which is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, is small, with about 200 students, the vast majority of whom are black.
Her success lies in her ability to connect with students through her experiences, officials say. The college was reaccredited by another agency, the Accreditation Commission of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, in April 2011. According to a recent survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) is one of the best colleges to work for in the nation. The results, released in The Chronicle’s seventh annual report on The Academic Workplace, are based on a survey of more than 43,000 employees at 278 colleges and universities nationwide. SRJC was the only California community college to earn this distinction, and one of only 12 community colleges nationwide to be named on the Honor Roll.
Honor Roll recognition is given only to the top ten schools in each four-year size category and the top four schools in each two-year size category based on the number of times they were honored in the individual recognition areas. Great Colleges to Work For® is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country.

To determine the North Bay Business Journal's Best Places to Work award winners, several months were spent gathering nominations and conducting an anonymous employee survey. The SMART train and pathway project is currently under construction and will provide a new regional transportation backbone with improved transit options for all North Bay residents. Simply being able to read their body language, make eye contact, and interact directly provides a clarity that isn’t available by phone. You can wear whatever you want, eat and drink without making the candidate uncomfortable, sleep in your own bed, and get up and stroll around the room in mid-interview if your back hurts.
Then, when a department is authorized to hire, the search committee trolls the database (searchable by field and other variables) and picks 4-5 candidates. These essays address sources like television and video games, the ethics of writing about living subjects, questions of privacy and copyright law, and the possibilities that new technologies offer for writing history.
College, as the movie points out, was always treated as a black box: 18-year-olds were inserted at one end, 22-year-olds came out the other, and as long as the system appeared to be working, no one bothered to inquire what happened in between. The movie, directed by Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times), covers a lot of territory, and it covers it patiently, clearly, and thoughtfully. The job market for recent graduates is undoubtedly tough, but it is very far from "miserable," as someone in the movie is allowed to say.
They know they have to go to college, and they also know they’re probably going to have to take on debt to do so.
When we cherry pick the scariest stories and numbers, we do two things: We open the door to hucksters selling easy answers, and we forget what college is really for. An oily charlatan who looks and sounds like a Bond villain, he wants to make a lot of money. Thiel’s concession comes after long, uncritical visits to the UnCollege Gap Year Program, in San Francisco, and an "education hacker house," in Silicon Valley. We see the kids in the UnCollege program being addressed by Michael Staton, who is identified as a partner in Learn Capital, a venture-capital company that specializes in education. Tuition for the gap year program runs $15,000-16,000 for a 10-week semester, which is more than what they’d make you pay at Stanford. I’d also like to know how many college dropouts Thiel, Thrun, Schiff, or Staton have hired, as well as whether Stark, were she to sit on the admissions committee at, say, Harvard Law, would admit one. Even in the narrowest of instrumental terms, the idea of learning being propagated here is absurdly simplistic and underinformed. That distrust critical thinking and deny the proposition that democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. In terms of the "can" (and it’s hard to believe the word could even pass his lips), the answer is clear.
Under the rubric "Take Action," the site encourages us to sign a petition that calls on Congress to pass legislation, of the kind proposed by Elizabeth Warren (and just blocked by Senate Republicans), allowing individuals to refinance their student loans. Seems either no one is talking about louis daguerre at this moment on GOOGLE-PLUS or the GOOGLE-PLUS service is congested. Plus your subscription includes weekly print or digital delivery of The Chronicle and The Review and the Chronicle iPad® Edition.
Lara, who is originally from Mexico, started off using word of mouth, telling her family, "this is a great school, with great opportunities." She offered to help relatives with the admissions process, and some of them enrolled. Applications from Latino students have quadrupled over the past year, the university says, but the enrollment of new freshmen and transfer students has dropped: 93 new students enrolled at Paul Quinn in 2012, compared with 114 in 2010.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges revoked its accreditation in 2009, though a court order temporarily restored it.
Lara tries to assuage their concerns about the college's past reputation and help them find a way to afford to enroll.
This year marks the second consecutive year the College has received the distinction and has been named an honor roll institution.
This year, SRJC won honors in the categories of Collaborative Governance, Compensation and Benefits, Confidence in Senior Leadership, Job Satisfaction, Professional Development Programs, Respect and Appreciation, Supervisor or Department Chair Relationship, and Teaching Environment. The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institutional audit that captures demographics and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff.
The intensity of the conference-interview process, while exhausting, gives hiring committees the opportunity to make direct comparisons between candidates, refine their impressions, and get a sense of the candidates’ interest in the position. Instead of paying to send a search committee to the AHA, the university can foot the bill to bring more candidates to campus. Doing Recent History offers guidance and insight to any researcher considering tackling the not-so-distant past. Its regrettably tendentious title notwithstanding, the documentary refrains from taking the usual swipes at the liberal arts, English majors, or those old standbys, the lazy academic and the overpaid professor. In fact, the higher you go up the educational ladder, the less severe the economic downturn has been. Thiel describes himself as an objectivist, has donated widely to right-wing candidates, and has said that he no longer believes "that freedom and democracy are compatible." Schiff opposes the minimum wage and the corporate income tax and believes that Medicare is a Ponzi scheme.
Which means that when you come to talk about the four years in between, you have already lost the argument. Institutions have been willing to spend on everything in recent years except the thing that matters most: instruction.

She also visited high schools to share her story and sought out high-school graduates who were enrolled at community colleges or working.
Sorrell, president of the college, named her director of recruiting this year, in early October. Lara and offered her a presidential scholarship in 2007—she was an illegal immigrant then who ranked seventh in her high-school class. Lara persuaded her to apply anyway, and she received a full presidential scholarship from Mr.
The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition is employee feedback. The debate has been left to the politicians, the pundits, and increasingly, the hustlers and ideologues. It understands that college is about a great deal more, for both the student and society, than training people for their first jobs. It reminds us that the total of outstanding student loans exceeds $1-trillion, tells us that the average debt is $25,000 at graduation, and touches on the story of a young person who has borrowed an enormous sum ($140,000) and faces a daunting labor market while living on food stamps. All that business about bringing the world’s educational resources to children in Outer Mongolia is nothing more than a loss leader. A kid on the gap-year program is allowed to assert that "in a couple of years," schools are going to start folding and "the only colleges that are going to matter in the future" are the ones in the Ivy League—an article of faith among the hack-your-education crowd. Everybody knows by now that the share of national income that accrues to the famous one percent has risen to about 23 percent, higher than at almost any time since 1928. If service workers can demand a $15 minimum wage, more than double the federal level, then those who care about higher education can insist on the elimination of tuition and fees at state institutions and their replacement by public funding furnished by taxes on the upper 10 percent. Under Texas law, any student who has lived in the state for three years before graduating from high school can pay in-state tuition at public colleges and receive financial aid, regardless of immigration status, but those who are illegal must pledge to apply to become permanent residents as soon as they are eligible.
A conversation can tell you a lot about a candidate as a teacher — particularly if the committee asks for a draft syllabus for a core course that person would be asked to teach.
Few who talk about college in public understand it, and few who understand it talk about it. The former is the sponsor of the Thiel Fellowship, which pays about two dozen students a year $100,000 each to drop out of school and pursue other projects. Their claims about higher education, and in Thiel’s case, his moves against it, are clearly driven by hostility to public institutions, public spending, public everything.
The notion that you now can get what you need out of college by going online is insistently repeated.
But the share that accrues to the top 10 percent as a whole, which stayed around 33 percent from the 1950s through the 1970s, has risen to its highest level ever (or at least, since record-keeping started), more than 50 percent. As with the minimum wage, the campaign can be conducted state by state, and it can and should involve a large coalition of interested groups: students, parents, and instructors, to start with. It doesn’t tell us that the rise in aggregate debt is mainly the result, not of individuals borrowing more for college, but of more individuals going. How much does that debt constrain her when it comes to making choices: about jobs, about starting a family, about buying a house, about further education?
As far as I’ve been able to discover, Stark does not have a significant financial stake in persuading students not to go to college, but she does have a degree from Harvard Law as well as teaching affiliations at Yale and NYU.
In a $17-trillion economy, the difference represents a premium of nearly $3-trillion a year, about five times the federal deficit and more than enough for this and many other public purposes. Total enrollment at American colleges and universities now stands at 20 million, on top of another million-plus on the faculty. Lara became a legal resident right before graduating from Paul Quinn and hopes to become a citizen next year.
From 2000 to 2012, per-student borrowing increased by about 30 percent—deplorable, but not catastrophic. The professoriate no longer has the luxury of thinking that all this is someone else’s problem.
Since the Occupy movement in 2011, it’s clear that the fight to reverse the tide of growing inequality has been joined. Forty-three percent of those who graduate from public universities, which accounts for about 70 percent of the college population, don’t take out any loans at all (a figure that changed very little over those 12 years). If you want to save your skins, let alone ensure the future of the enterprise, you need to wake up and organize against the people who are organizing against you.
The fact is that by focusing exclusively on monetary issues, the current conversation prevents us not only from remembering the higher objectives of an undergraduate education, but also from recognizing just how bad a job our institutions have been doing at fulfilling them.
Colleges and universities have a lot to answer for; if they want to regain the support of the larger society, they need to prove that they are worthy of it. Meanwhile, 43 percent of borrowers (and therefore more than 65 percent of students) owe $10,000 or less.

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