Job Market

Preferred Qualifications: Be This Guy

When is a job description not a job description? How about when it’s describing a specific individual? Enter Santa Clara University and their search for a Quarterly Adjunct Lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences with a specialty in nonfiction writing. The basic qualifications state:

  • The successful applicant will have at least 25 books on topics ranging from the history of Silicon Valley to the biography of microprocessing to interviews with entrepreneurs to the history of human and mechanical memory;
  • will have been published by presses such as Harper/Collins, Doubleday, Random House, St. Martin’s, and SUNY Press;
  • will also have e-books on topics such as home life in the US, home life in the UK, and water conservation;
  • will have worked as both a journalist for a print newspaper and for magazines; will have hosted television and radio productions for PBS, cable television, and ABC;
  • will have worked in electronic media such as being editor of Forbes ASAP or a weekly columnist for ABC.com;
  • will have founded or co-founded at least two start-ups;
  • will have professional connections to Oxford University in the UK as well as to numerous media (print, electronic, and television) in the SF Bay Area and beyond.
  • The successful applicant must have demonstrated experience in teaching nonfiction writing and internship classes for undergraduates, must have demonstrated success in helping undergraduates secure internships in public writing that lead to jobs, and must be committed to working with undergraduates.

There are no preferred qualifications listed; though, Santa Clara University could have stated: successful applicants must be this guy.

The posting on Higher Ed Jobs (since removed) blew up on my Twitter feed this morning. While it seems like this is more of a contract renewal or some other administrative mistake, when combined with the equal employment opportunity statement at the bottom of the job ad, the whole thing reads poorly.

What would a tailor-made job description look like for you? Or, more seriously, is this a total farce of institutional policies or is there a problem with shutting out applicants?

Timothy A. Lepczyk

Tim is an instructional technologist and former librarian. On the side, he writes fiction and poetry, and publishes the magazine Scintilla. You can follow him on Twitter at @thirdcoast.

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