Search for new English position to be over soon

by Peter Kaspari

Members of the English Department are coming up on the conclusion of a faculty search, and they say they hope to fill the position that has been vacant since late last year.

The position, previously held by Assistant Professor of English Marci Carrasquillo, is unique in that the department is looking for someone who has experience with ethnic and multicultural literature.

David Wolf, associate professor and chair of the department of English, said Angela Glover, visiting assistant professor of English, is currently filling the position.

“(She’s) occupying the one-year position,” Wolf said. “That’s usually the way it goes if somebody leaves, especially at the end of the year, which is frequently when they do leave. The department will hire a one-year replacement and then conduct a full-faculty search.”

Wolf said in addition to fulfilling the requirements of the position, they will also help improve the entire curriculum as a whole.

“It’s always a chance for us to expand on what we can offer to students by hiring people who are the most current in their particular area,” Wolf said. “We’re always thinking primarily about staffing the department as we’ve constructed it, but making those strengths available to the campus at large makes them stand out.”

Senior English major Meagan Gamble has met with two of the candidates so far.

“Every professor brings something unique to the table,” Gamble said. “Each brings a different personality. I’m curious to see what the faculty member they hire brings to the department.”

Junior English major Sethy Billyard thinks personality should be a key factor in deciding whom to hire.

“We need fun professors on campus, and maybe we will get one,” Billyard said. “I think students have some input about the search, so hopefully that’s a good sign.”

While Billyard thinks personality should be a key factor, senior English major Robin Whitford believes that the professor should be comfortable discussing sensitive topics.

“I hope they get someone who has a strong background in ethnic literature, and who cares enough about the issues to push students to talk about the things that get brought up because sometimes they aren’t easy to talk about,” Whitford said.

According to Wolf, the search is getting close to completion. Two candidates for the position have already visited campus and the third will be coming tomorrow.

“We like to have them teach a sample class, particularly, in this case, American literature,” Wolf said. “We arrange a lunch with five of our majors, and then there are some standard appointments that all candidates, no matter what department, attend.”

Wolf said these include meeting with the president and academic dean, as well as with various program directors around campus. For the English department, Wolf said there is a dinner with the candidate the night before and breakfast with them the morning of the campus visit.

“There’s also a Mary Berry reception for humanities candidates,” Wolf said. “It’s pretty much a meet-and-greet session with the candidate. It can be a pretty open-ended session.”

Wolf said the department hopes to have someone hired by the end of the semester.

“We’re excited to fill this position, and we know that whomever we hire will contribute much to both the department and the Simpson community,” Wolf said.