Thursday, May 31, 2007

I received this letter in the mail today:

May 25, 2007

Dear Mr. Cudlin:

The Search and Screen Committee for the Assistant Professor of Chemistry position at Penn State Harrisburg was pleased to have had an opportunity to meet with you and review your qualifications.

This letter is to advise the search has ended with the acceptance of an offer by one of the finalists brought to our campus.

Please accept our sincere appreciation for taking the time to become an active and serious candidate for our faculty position, and best wishes as you continue to seek an appropriate faculty position in higher education.

The strangeness of this letter cannot be understated.

First: Assistant Professor of Chemistry?

I could wallpaper my bathroom with the rejection letters I've collected over the last three years. As it turns out, there are rather a lot of MFAs out there trying to teach painting. And drawing. And theory. I can handle it.

But getting preemptively passed over for something I wasn't pursuing--a post I'm completely unqualified for, anyway? Turns out it's surprisingly demoralizing.

Second: Wait a minute. Penn State Harrisburg? These folks offered me a job last year! Heavy teaching load, mostly art appreciation...

I had to turn them down because of the money--we couldn't afford to relocate/give up our house/give up Cassandra's work.

Is this some sort of weird, cosmic retroactive rescindment?

Very sneaky, Penn State, Harrisburg. Very sneaky.


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