Preposterous Universe

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Full disclosure

Brian Leiter reports on an example of absolutely shameful pettiness. He compiles a very well-known list of the best law schools, which is competitive with the famous US News rankings in influence (and noticeably superior in methodology). Now he finds out that his law school alma mater, the University of Michigan, has been "explaining" their decline in his rankings by pointing out that they denied him a faculty job. He convincingly explains why this is just ridiculous (or preposterous, as we say around here).

But it got me thinking about a potential conflict-of-interest issue -- if I denigrate some institution or person, could someone assume it was just because they didn't give me a job? Hopefully I could avoid being so shallow, but full disclosure is probably the best policy. In that spirit, here is a list of universities to which I applied for jobs but was turned down, before being offered my current position:
  • UC Berkeley
  • Cornell
  • Penn State
  • University of California-Irvine
  • Duke
  • Stanford
  • Harvard
  • Princeton
  • University of Chicago
  • Rutgers
  • University of Kansas
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Brown
  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Johns Hopkins
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Minnesota
  • Northwestern
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics
  • SLAC
  • Williams College
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
  • University of Victoria
  • State University of New York, Stony Brook
  • MIT
  • Swarthmore
  • Yale
  • Dartmouth
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Minnesota
  • Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Oxford University
  • New York University
  • University of Michigan (!)
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • UCLA
  • University of Maryland
  • Columbia
  • University of Pennsylvania
There might be others, I forget. And that's only including faculty jobs, I didn't bother to include postdocs. And I only listed places once, even if they rejected me more than once. So, just to be safe, you might want to be skeptical of any disparaging remarks I might make about any of these universities or people affiliated with them.

Some of these places, like the University of Chicago, eventually saw the error of their ways and made me an offer on some later occasion. But still, a long list. Perhaps this will be heartening to some younger people on the job market today -- keep plugging, for a while anyway.

Somehow I suspect this will not become a popular meme.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
Sean Carroll

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