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U of Northern Colorado (phone interview)

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Just wondering if this phone interview was as odd, rushed, and awkward for others as it was for me?

I loved it! They sounded somewhat stiff and ill at ease in the beginning, and I felt like I was on trial as each one fired one question. But the brevity and oddness of it made me feel in control. And having the grad student in the mix was a nice touch. I've got my fingers crossed for that campus visit...

Yes, it was for me too. I thought it was just me: that I said something they didn't like and they wanted to get the interview over. I thought it odd that they didn't do any description of the position, institution, department, students. They didn't ask any questions about poetry, really. I suppose it is impossible to know why...

Yes, it was rushed. Odd?...such is the nature of phone interviews.

Yes and no. I was prepared for the interview to be short, because I've heard about phone interviews. It was really organized and efficient, which can put some people off. Better than going all the way to MLA to have a half hour interview. I did feel a rapport with a number of committee members.

Strange that they had a student in on the interview but didn't announce that straight up, nor did they introduce themselves at the outset; never seen that before and I've done plenty of phone interviews. IMO, overworked unenthused bunch. And, the "talent" question? Really off-putting. Thought occurred to me that maybe they were joking, trying to show their grad student how horrible the interview process can be. LOL.

I thought it was great that they had a student on the committee. Says to me they actually care about graduate students and want to give them a chance to impact the hiring process and learn from it. I also wasn't surprised by the talent question; in fact, I've been asked something similar during another interview. It's certainly an obstacle pretty much ever creative writing professor will face on a regular basis. I also felt a rapport with members of the group. Though it was a short interview, I tried to keep my answers concise so I didn't end up having to rush through anything.

The "talent" question is offensive. (FYI: It was the 1st question, "What do you do about untalented students who want to keep taking your Creative Writing classes?") I've heard it before, and I definitely would not want to be teaching with people who believe in inherent talent at the beginning undergraduate level; that's what creative writing professors are for! & What do profs do with equally "untalented" students do in 18th century lit classes, kick them out???

Did you ever consider that that might be precisely why they asked the question: to discern how we view the question of talent in relation to the writing and teaching of poetry. I assumed that they were tried to discern precisely what strategies we use to help both students with "nature" abilities and those who need help grappling with the foundations of what makes good poetry. I would never assume they asked the question because they thought poetry cannot be taught. If so, why bother offering it as part of their program, particularly at the undergraduate level. And I actually enjoyed responding to that particular question, and the rest of the interview was quite pleasant too--or at least about as pleasant as one can expect from a rapid-fire academic interview. The question that you found offensive gave me a chance to talk about my teaching methods and my own growth as a writer and how I, too, might have appeared quite untalented during the early stages of my career. I guess everyone views these sorts of things differently.

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