19 tenure-track professors to be hired

Williams will hire 19 tenure-track professors for the 2000-2001 academic year in the departments of art, biology, computer science, economics, English, history, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religion, romance languages and sociology.

The College usually hires a number of visiting professors and only a few tenure-track professors, but this year the trend will be reversed. A combination of factors such as professors leaving, professors retiring and 3 newly-created positions, led the College to hire an unusually large number of tenure-track professors.

“I don’t think anyone should regard this year’s unusual hiring pattern as a new trend,” Dean of the Faculty D.L. Smith said. “ It’s a fluke—I would expect that we will return to a more normal pattern in coming years.”

The economics department is hiring the largest number of professors. In addition to hiring three tenure-track professors, the department will also be hiring one or more senior-level positions specializing in economic development, international economics, macroeconomics or urban/regional economics. The senior-level position provides an opportunity for a qualified professor to secure tenure positions in a shorter than normal time.

Each year it is difficult for the economics department to maintain enough teaching professors to balance the professors who have taken jobs with the administration, taken leave, or who received grant or fellowship funding. This year, the economics department has eight professors on leave.

“We are actively in the market [for new professors],” Bradburd said. “We are calling placement offices at universities putting out fresh Ph.D’s and talking to people in the disciplines.”

The computer science and psychology departments will be hiring professors for new positions in the faculty. The computer science department lacked enough professors to match its high enrollment. Due to the business opportunities available for computer science graduates, it is often difficult to hire enough professors to keep the department balanced when professors are on leave.

The psychology department will now include a new Clinical Psychologist. “The department made persuasive arguments based on curricular needs and enrollment,” Smith said, explaining the new position.

A position in video art will be created in the art department. Currently, Associate Professor of Art Aida Laleian teaches both the photography and video classes. The new full-time video artists will allow Laleian to teach more photography courses and allow the art department to offer more video courses. Associate Professor and Chair of the Art Department Guy Hedreen hopes the increase in video classes will lead to increased cross-departmental courses in such departments as theater or English.

“Video relies upon the computer for sophisticated production, editing and sound,” Hedreen said. “The new offerings will enhance the opportunities available to students to consider the ways in which the computer may be useful in the discipline of studio art.”

In addition to the new video art position, the art department is also looking to replace painting professor Ed Epping, who recently took a job at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“After more than 5,000 years, painting continues (obstinately, some might say) to occupy a central, influential place among the media employed in the creation of art. We are pleased that the College has agreed to allow us to continue to represent this field in our curriculum with a full-time faculty-member,” Hedreen said.

The philosophy department will be hiring a Western philosophy professor. Professor of philosophy and chair of the philosophy department Alan White said the department is looking to hire an individual to “complement our current strengths, but we don’t recognize a single, optimal constellation: we’ll be looking for the new star that gives us the best of various possible patterns.” Despite losing a valuable member of the department, White said, “we expect to have plenty of attractive candidates to choose among…there continues to be a buyer’s market for academic positions.”

The physics department is not looking for a professor within a specific field of research, but rather someone with an interest in teaching and in whose research undergraduates will have the opportunity to participate.

However, other departments are looking for professors who specialize in a particular field. The biology department is looking for an ecologist, the English department is looking for a professor to teach 19th and 20th century African-American literature and the history department is looking for professors in African-American history and medieval European history.

Individuals hired as tenure-track professors enter the College as assistant professors for three-year terms with the possibility of consideration for tenure. The College’s advertisement in The Chronicle of Higher Education specifies, “Candidates should have the Ph.D or completed dissertation within one year of appointment.”

In addition to listing the positions available in the Chronicle, the College advertised in academic-specific journals to ensure maximum visibility. The College also placed an advertisement in Black Issues in Higher Education, The Affirmative Action Register and the Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education.

“Essentially, we are looking for talented and energetic people who are committed to serious research and excellence in under-graduate teaching,” Smith said.