Monday, March 10, 2014

What's Next? TSU

Joy and I are happy to announce that we will be moving to Stephenville, TX, this summer. I have been hired at Tarleton State University's Department of Accounting, Finance, and Economics. We are very excited about it, for many reasons.

I had a Skype interview with TSU in December. It was a remarkably comfortable and enjoyable interview. As I described how it went to Joy, she said that I would know where we were going next because the interview would feel like that. She didn't mean we were going to TSU necessarily, just that it would feel that way wherever we were going. One of the best parts was that they were willing to talk about a possible fly out interview before I left for Nigeria. That would make life a lot easier.

I had several good interviews at the economics conference in Philadelphia at the beginning of January - almost as good as TSU's - so I was happily optimistic about my prospects. I flew out to TSU the week before I went back to Nigeria and it was a very pleasant experience. I really liked the people I met. The town felt cozy. Some friends happened to be driving along the interstate and took an hour long detour to have dinner with me. It all just felt really good.

When I had flown to AUN three years ago to decide if I should accept their offer, I didn't feel cozy, but I felt welcome and I felt needed. At TSU I feel welcome, needed, and comfortable. That's a nice upgrade.

I returned to AUN in expectation that I would have to return to the States in early-mid February for other flyouts. It turned out there was no need. Just at the very moment I thought it was time to start worrying about why I hadn't heard back yet, TSU made me an offer which we were very happy to accept. We waited a few weeks before making this public announcement until we had a contract in hand.

The position is mostly teaching. I'm part of a fairly large group of people the business school is hiring to strengthen their research output and offerings. One of the funnier moments from my interview with them was when the mentioned the teaching load was 4-4 and they still expected research; was I comfortable with that idea? I responded that that's exactly what I've been doing at AUN, plus being department chair and other service responsibilities. I think this is the mix I'm looking for.

Several people at Tarleton mentioned that the college is like a family and they want to keep it that way. I contrasted that with another interview I had where they asked me how I dealt with difficult colleagues - sends a totally different signal, doesn't it? *lol*

Tarleton State is part of the A&M system. They have a strong agricultural section which will be very useful for my research and outreach, particularly since I've studied meatpacking. Now this is dairy country, not meatpacking, but they're not that far apart; the ag school even has a packing facility where they can hold classes.

At the moment we are planning to move out there in late July, though our son who will be born one month from now may have other ideas.