Saturday, July 9

Wannabe teachers who blog need not apply

I found this really curious case about an American faculty search committee who disdains on applicants who blog. Is this like the new career requirement now--"Bloggers need not apply?"

What troubles the Ole Vanguards is that blogging seems like airing your laundry for everyone to see. Here's an excerpt:
A candidate's blog is more accessible to the search committee than most forms of scholarly output. It can be hard to lay your hands on an obscure journal or book chapter, but the applicant's blog comes up on any computer. Several members of our search committee found the sheer volume of blog entries daunting enough to quit after reading a few. Others persisted into what turned out, in some cases, to be the dank, dark depths of the blogger's tormented soul; in other cases, the far limits of techno-geekdom; and in one case, a cat better off left in the bag.

The pertinent question for bloggers is simply, Why? What is the purpose of broadcasting one's unfiltered thoughts to the whole wired world? It's not hard to imagine legitimate, constructive applications for such a forum. But it's also not hard to find examples of the worst kinds of uses.
So why indeed would a blogger blog? Lotsa answers, but what seems to disturb Ivan Tribble, a "humanities professor in a small, 'liberal' arts college in the Midwest" (and the Midwest is full of people spacey with estrogen, as one writer put it), the most is that most blogs tend to become electronic versions of laundry washing in public, global, international.

He also commits some really gross misconceptions, the foremost of which is equating blogging with serious academic publications. Thus, "it's a publishing medium with no vetting process, no review board, and no editor. The author is the sole judge of what constitutes publishable material, and the medium allows for instantaneous distribution. After wrapping up a juicy rant at 3 a.m., it only takes a few clicks to put it into global circulation."

I love blogging, but I know most academics wouldn't blur the distinction with personal desktop online publishing and getting published in those "peer evaluated journals." For an academic who surely knows his logical arguments, his reasons are just out of this world.

Also disturbing is their fact verification process--they Google you, the applicant. They search for your blog, other people's blog who have referred to you once, twice, and you are judged according to your online presence.

Got quibbles with that too, but what interests me is whether the same principle would soon apply to employment searches in our part of the world. If memory serves me right, I think I even put my blog's URL in my resume (a silly thing, really), although I don't think the Ole Vanguards in our particular search committee found that useful. But I remember sort of blogging (in a vague way--no proper nouns) about my beauty pageant like experience that was the faculty search. If that panel imposed a restriction like that given in the article, I would have thought twice about teaching.

But here we are, trudging along.

1 comment:

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