Over at Brainstorm, Marc Bosquet notes the small, but growing number of schools who are bypassing traditional conference interviews in favor of conducting interviews using Skype. He writes:
By my count of positions discussed on the essential Academic Jobs Wiki: Seven of forty-three positions in French with “interviews scheduled” were interviewing by Skype and bypassing the MLA convention in Los Angeles this week. (More fools them: the rains are ending and the forecast is lovely.) Five of the seven were tenure track positions. In German 3 of 27 tenure track and 3 of 18 nontenurable positions are bypassing MLA. Traditional English literature fields aren’t Skyping much as yet (just one or two in most fields), but among writing specialists at least 7 tenure-track jobs of the 150 or so discussed are bypassing MLA.
Given that most MLA cities aren’t as desirable in early January as Los Angeles (Toronto, you know I’m talking about you!), will the cost savings of $5,000 to $10,000 per search lead to more Skyping and less flying of three to seven socially deficient individuals across the country to imprison them in their hotel rooms for most of three days? Um, yeah, duh.
The question is: how far will this trend go? It’s leading in writing and the foreign languages, where money is tightest and allegiance to the MLA is lowest. Let’s say most of the English literature and cultural studies fields follow suit– with spikes during years of conventions scheduled for, say, Philadelphia.
After a quick look at the Academic Jobs Wiki for American history, it appears that Skyping has yet to catch-on with history search committees.
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