TO: Faculty Senate
FROM: G. J. Yelagotes, Sociology/Anthropology
DATE: April 30, 1999
RE: FAILED SEARCHES
There is a problem that concerns me. I have searched for answers to this problem for years without having any success. Therefore, I am bringing it before you and ask for your help.
I am making reference to the inordinate amount of failed searches at M.U. This problem is not limited to my department alone. My sentiments are shared with many colleagues. These very concerns I have taken to our Rep. Council also. The stock answer I get there is I that this is an ongoing topic at Meet and Discuss. But, I have yet to see any progress.
In my department, we need ipecialists, not generalists. For the past two years, we've been after a criminologist with expertise in methods and techniques in sociological research. Good people with these credentials are few, but they are out there. This academic year, the three candidates at the top of our Est were invited by other schools to sign contracts in the months of December or January, while we could not have invited them for an initial interview until February. I ask you-why does our process move at a snail's pace? This is the second consecutive year that we've had a failed search for the same position and now we are starting anew. The applicants we had ranked 4, 5 and 6 and interviewed did not meet the caliber of competence we require. These failed searches, I am sure you'll agree, are costly. In addition to financial expense, they take up a great deal of faculty time and shortchange the students.
Please do not interpret these remarks as an attempt to be critical or to assess blame. That is not what I am after. If anything, this is a cry for help.
A few colleagues have asked: "George, why do you bother? You're a short timer. Your retirement is but a year away." I like to think that I am like the rest of you. We do give a damn about this institution. Not many of us put in 30-35 years of our fives at M.U. for just a paycheck. If you and the members of your various departments define failed searches as a concern, as we in Sociology/Anthropology do, then I invite us all to address this problem collectively in order to overcome it.