by Clara Webb
The faculty of the Department of Interdisciplinary, Applied Professional Studies at Eastern Atlantic State University expressed bewildered disbelief this week when Alicia Johnson turned down their offer of a tenure-track position in favor of another job. Johnson accepted an offer from River University, a liberal arts school in River View, Iowa.
Johnson cited the reasonable research expectations, manageable teaching load and the collegiality of the faculty at RU as her primary reasons for choosing the smaller university, despite EASU’s reputation as the 6th top APS program in the country. EASU was knocked out of the top 5 last year by Northern California Polytechnic & State University, even though everyone in the field knows that NorCal Tech State has gone downhill since they hired the new dean two years ago.
“It’s really unheard of,” said Professor John Eamon. “I plan to call her adviser and see if he knows what she’s done. He and I served on a committee together at the national conference and I’m sure he’d be upset if he knew she’d turned down such a prestigious job to go to Podunk U.”
Johnson said she accepted the RU job the day before EASU made her an offer, but would have gone with RU regardless. “Really, they just seemed genuinely interested in my research and I would have the opportunity to voice my opinion on the new curriculum they’re developing. If I went to EASU, I’d have to teach four sections of “Intro to Professional Studies” each semester while producing two top-tier journal articles a year to maybe get tenure.”
Johnson further stated that she was surprised to even be offered the EASU job. “The way they ripped apart my dissertation during the research presentation, I was sure they hated me,” said Johnson. “None of the faculty even showed up to the open session to meet me. One assistant professor seemed really insulted that I wore brown shoes with my grey suit. I know they didn’t look great, but it’s hard to be a fashion plate on a $13,000 a year graduate fellowship.”
Dr. Helena Marchek responded to Johnson’s statement with a roll of her eyes. “Well, of course I criticized her theory. We study the same area. I would be remiss in my responsibilities as the designated gunner if I didn’t question the entire premise of her work. Actually, I thought her study was pretty exciting, but I worry that it will undermine the conclusions of the book I have coming out next year. And those shoes were just heinous.”
The chair of the EASU search committee and the chair of the department were unavailable for comment because they are currently not speaking to each other and refused to go on record without knowing what the other had said first.
Meanwhile, Johnson looks for River View apartments on Craigslist. Her River University colleagues sent her an RU sweatshirt to welcome her to the faculty.
“Typical bourgeois behavior,” said Marchek.