Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Little Family Update

(This is an email Lish just sent out to our family today. Thought some of you might like to know what's going on as well. Beware: It's very long!)

Hello Family!

I hope this email finds you all doing well and enjoying spring time. Whitney and I are trying to enjoy it here in Tally before it turns to the hot-box that is the summer. I figured it was time I sat down and shared all that has been happening with Whit and I these last few months. So much has happened that it has gotten to the point that I cannot remember who we told what, so if this is repetitive to you, consider yourself one of the lucky ones (or unlucky ones if you hate really long emails).

As all of you know, I went on the job market this last year to test the waters. Although I have only been working on my PhD for 3 years (a feat that normally takes 4-5 years), I had been lucky and was able to be in a position that I could have been done a year or so early. With this in mind, I sent out job applications thinking that maybe I could land a job earlier than anticipated. If not, I could extend my dissertation work and try again the next year without having a gap in my resume. The process has been pretty long as most applications for jobs that start in the fall of 2010 were due in the fall of 2009. I made what is called a short-list (the top 2-3 candidates for a job) for 5 different schools and was invited to visit their campus. And as Lady Fortuna would have it, I was offered one job at Gannon University in Erie, PA.

Although I was impressed with some of the aspects of Gannon, Whitney and I decided to reject their job offer. This was not a decision that was made in haste. We took ample time to sit and discuss, and sit and discuss, and sit and discuss (Whit can attest to this). I also ran this decision by my advisers and mentors and they were all in agreement about this particular position. Gannon University is a school that has its professors carry an extremely heavy teaching load. They teach what is referred to as a 4/4 load, which means each professor teaches 4 classes in each semester. (To put this in perspective, both BYU and FSU have their professors teach a 2/2 (this is offset by a heavier research load). Ideally, I'd like to be at a school that has a 3/3 policy. These universities focus more on teaching than research, but ask each professor to spend a more balanced amount of time doing both activities. I was lucky enough to make the short list for two schools like this (Towson University and The University of West Georgia), but did not get the job at either place. As another side note, The job at West Georgia was cancelled about a month ago due to budget restraints so we are glad we didn't get that offer after all!) The 4/4 teaching load is troublesome for a new professor who wants to move jobs within a few years because it sucks away anytime they may have to do research. Ultimately, this hurts their long-term marketability as they would not be a well-rounded candidate for a new job. With this in mind, we made the tough decision to say no.

Having rejected the job offer from Gannon, we moved into "What-Do-We-Do-Now" mode. Although we are not completely certain yet, we have narrowed our options down to 2: we will either stay here in Tally for another year while I finish and apply for jobs or we will move back to Utah for the year while I finish and apply for jobs. Our preference is to try and stay here because it would be a bit easier for me to finish if we didn't have to go anywhere, although I am very confident I will finish anywhere we go. The trick is getting the college to fund me for another year. Our college offers some students assistantships or scholarships to help them get through school. I was lucky enough to get one a few years ago. The problem with these assistantships is that they are only guaranteed for 3 years. Many students in the past have been able to secure a fourth year of funding, but like many institutions, FSU is experiencing budget retraction and there is less funding than there has been in years passed. Currently, we are waiting to hear if I can receive an extra year of funding. If that can fall into place, we will stay here. If not, we will head west. I have talked to my major professor (the guy in charge of my dissertation work) and he is very supportive of both of our options. In fact, he had to move the last year of his dissertation as well so he has been through this and knows how to work through it. To sum it up, we are not choosing between good and bad options, but good and better options.

I am confident that this next year will be great for us no matter where we end up. I experienced some success in a really tough job market and I will be a better candidate this next year with another year of work to put on my resume. We have thought a lot about these decisions and have received some great advice from people-in-the-know on these things. In fact, my major professor patted my back the other day and said, "You have made some tough, but really good decisions lately." That made me feel good, because it is easy to doubt decisions you make that seem so large and important. Thank you all for your love and support. The latest we will know about my funding here at FSU is May 10th, so we will keep you all in the loop as soon as we hear anything.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Silly Husband

I have a confession to make. Lish and I watch American Idol religiously. (No, that is not my confession.) My favorite part about watching American Idol? Watching Lish. Why? You'd know if you watched him too. Whenever they sing a song he knows, he always juts out his chin, sticks his tongue out a little, and mouths the words during the chorus. It makes me laugh every time. He reminds me of a little kid. I just love him!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Day After Easter

(I meant to write this post a few days ago, but you know how that works out sometimes.)

This is what happens when Lish goes shopping the day after Easter:
Yes, he loves his Easter candy. And if they had had some jelly beans, there would have been many more sweets in the picture. When I got home and saw his little display, I just laughed. That boy loves his sugar.

And yes, our Easter weekend was fabulous. We didn't do much of anything. For dinner, we had some stromboli that Lish had bought the night before. We slept in (especially me), listened to conference, relaxed, and stayed lazy all weekend. It was lovely.