Where have I been this fall? I looked last week and realized that I haven’t posted in two months. Well, maybe it’s best to say that I haven’t posted to twelvefruits.com. I’ve posted a lot to the Statistics 22000 course site. That’s always a lot of work. Also, my schedule includes more early mornings. Class starts at 10:30, which is not early even by college standards. However, often I head to the gym before class, or I’ve brought my car downtown the night before. These involve leaving between 6 and 8, which is fairly early and prevents writing after midnight.
Beyond that, I have been writing. Specifically, a teaching statement, research statement, and many job application letters. I did eight drafts of the teaching statement and six for the research. When I look at what I sent last year, I’m a little ashamed. Yes, I wasn’t focusing on academic positions, so I spent less time. My statements weren’t bad, given my generally good writing skills and command of English. They were just plain. Combining that and my mediocre research profile, it’s no wonder I got no serious inquiries. I didn’t deserve any. Now, I have a better CV. It’s still not a top researchers’ list, but it’s got some stuff. Plus there’s a teaching award and more experience. On the statement side, I linked to PDF copies so you can read them. I like them both and they say what I believe.
This year, I’m serious about professoring. I made just under 30 applications. Looking at my strengths, I’m very strong in teaching, good in consulting and service, and fair at best in paper publication. Under those guidelines, I read the job listings very carefully and applied only to schools that stressed teaching in their position ad, or schools known more as “liberal-arts colleges”. It surprises me that four of my applications went to schools on the new Research I list, the
Carnegie Foundation’s 96 Very High Research Universities. I will defend myself by noting that three of those four are for explicitly teaching-oriented positions.
Oh, and I needed to find work after December. I caught a break. While looking at the website of a school, for a tenure-track position in August, I noticed that this department was advertising a spring position. So I hurriedly applied. I got a call a few days later, nudged my reference letter authors to forward results, was asked to visit campus, arranged my schedule to leave right after class Wednesday, got the volleyball final moved so I might be able to play, drove 300 miles, had dinner, finished a new talk, interviewed with the dean and provost, gave my talk, had lunch, drove 300 miles back, played in the volleyball game, then lectured the next morning.
I got the job. And we got the shirt, too.
From January until May, I will be part of the mathematics department at Bellarmine University in Louisville. (The S is silent, apparently.) My current title is Instructor. The faculty were very smart; they’ve encouraged me to complete my PhD quickly by offering me a completion bonus. That’s extra cool. I’ll have three sections, of which two are the same course as I’m currently lecturing. It even uses the same book. And I get like 50% more time to teach the same material! I can do examples! I don’t have to set aside all the fun topics! There’s one new class, which is work, but not unreasonable.
There’s so much more to talk about, like the difference in my attitude living in a nice place in a nice neighborhood. That’ll be the next topic, I suspect. But enough for now.