Here at Wheaton we are searching for a new colleague to teach 18th century literature. Here is the official ad:
Wheaton College, in Massachusetts, seeks an Assistant Professor for a tenure-track position of English literature and culture in the long eighteenth century and its borders, any area of specialization. All members of the department teach courses outside their primary specializations, and we look forward to hearing how the range of your interests can enrich our program. Teaching load is 3-2, and junior faculty may apply for a pre-tenure semester of fully-funded research leave. All members of the department are committed to teaching first-year writing. Wheaton continues its dedication to hiring a diverse faculty and encourages applications from women and people of color.
Send letter, vita, and self-addressed postcard for acknowledgment, postmarked by November 8, 2005, to Katherine Conway, Chair, Department of English,Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts 02766. Ph.D. expected by time of appointment. AA/EOE
[N.B.: We are not the Wheaton College in Illinois that has a strong religious focus. We are the Wheaton College in Massachusetts, half-way between Boston and Providence, RI].
To flesh out what I think we mean (I speak only for myself on this blog) by "the long eighteenth century and its borders": a candidate must love, study and teach the literature and culture of the eighteenth century, but he or she can also be interested in literature back into the late 17th and forward into the early 19th; a candidate's interests also do not in any way need to be limited strictly to British literature. In some departments someone who comes near to and crosses boundaries might be seen as a turf threat. Not to us.
I would strongly recommend that applicants NOT take my blog as any reflection of the department as a whole (except in the sense that the department supports an obvious pest, malcontent and loose cannon like myself). You should research the entire department (start here ) and the college as a whole. I do feel confident in saying that to be happy and successful at Wheaton, you need to love and be committed to teaching.
Also, I can say with all honesty that cannot imagine a better department of English, anywhere, in which to work. There is not a single person in my department whom I do not genuinely like, and that is rare (perhaps even unique) in English. I love the college, the department, my colleagues and my students, and so I am not unbiased when speaking of Wheaton.
For the remainder of the search I am going to refrain from commenting on the academic job market. This is entirely voluntary on my part; no one in my department has suggested it. I do so (out of the obvious self interest of wanting the best possible colleagues) only because I worry that a candidate could be led astray by imagining that the things I write here represent the department.