Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You Say Potato....

I am pleased to have been invited to participate in this blog. Lately, I have been considering my position on the Penn State DSL appointments committee. The AALS recruitment conference (the “meat market”) is coming up in a few weeks and I have begun thinking about what questions I would like to ask each candidate.

I have a few considerations when thinking about a useful question. First, there is the time constraint. We have approximately 25 minutes with each candidate and obviously I cannot monopolize the conversation. Second, I want the question to surprise the candidate. I don’t want stock or prepared answers. Finally, I want the answer to provide me with some useful information. I could ask a candidate: if you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be? That would certainly surprise candidates, but I am quite sure it would not help in deciding whether they should be appointed to the faculty.

One question that I intend to ask is why the candidate thinks scholarship is important. Many candidates rightly view scholarship (or promise of scholarship) as a requirement to get the job, but I want to know if they have thought about why it is so important to our profession. I am also interested to hear candidate’s views on related scholarship issues such as target audience (other academics, lawyers, judges, Congress, students), scholarly aspirations, etc…I believe that the answers to these questions will tell me more about the candidates than merely their views on why we write.

No comments: