First, she reflects on the way that upward mobility among academics disrupts lives and often brings an end to the everyday nature of friendship. Historiann laments the fact that she has been left behind by friends in pursuit of “new jobs and lives.”
Her post got me thinking about the priorities of academics. We are often restless and ambitious creatures, always looking for the next big gig. I realize that there are a lot of reasons why people leave one academic institution and go to another one. No institution or job is perfect. But why don’t we hear anything about staying put? Why is the idea of investing in a place or an institution such a foreign concept to academics? I appreciate Historiann’s honesty–academic mobility can be painful to those who leave and those who are left behind. Yet we are all ready to deal with the pain for a lighter teaching load, higher salaries, and more prestige.
Second, Historiann wonders about upward mobility for Associate Professors. She writes:
I’ve noticed a lot more movement at the Associate level in history hires in the past five or ten years than I was led to believe existed 15 or 20 years ago. I’ve been invited to apply for some jobs at the Associate level, too. When I was in graduate school and making my first forays onto the job market, the conventional wisdom was that all of the movement was at the Assistant Professor level, and that if you were tenured somewhere you were pretty much stuck there unless and until you turned into a “star” who was recruited somewhere else at the full Professor rank. Are any of you seeing the same thing? What about other disciplines? What’s up with this?
As usual, Historiann’s commentators offer some rich insights.